Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lt. Colonel Frank Slade's Disciplinary Hearing Speech

(By Lt. Colonel Frank Slade (casted by Al Pacino) during a discplinary hearing for the expulsion of Charlie Simms, a young and innocent scholarship student, from the school for not whistle-blowing on his classmates)

(S = Lt. Colonel Frank Slade; T = Mr Trask, the headmaster of Baird School)

S: This is such a crock of shit.

T: Please watch your language, Mr. Slade, you are in the Baird school, not a barrack. Mr. Simms, I will give you one final opportunity to speak up.

S: Mr. Simms doesn’t want it. He doesn't need to be labeled, “still worthy of being a Baird man.” What the hell is that? What is your motto here? “Boys, inform on your classmates, save your hide, anything short of that we’re going to burn you at the stake"? Well, gentlemen, when the shit hits the fan, some guys run and some guys stay. Here’s Charlie, facing the fire, and there’s George, hiding in big daddy’s pocket. And what are you doing? You’re going to reward George and destroy Charlie.

T: Are you finished Mr. Slade?

S: No, I’m just getting warmed up. I don’t know who went to this place. William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bride, William Tell, whoever. Their spirit is dead, if they ever had one, it’s gone. You are building a rat ship here. A vessel for seagoing snitches. And if you think you’re preparing these minnows for manhood, you better think again. Because I say you are killing the very spirit this institution proclaims it instills. What a sham. What kind of a show are you putting on here today? I mean, the only class in this act is sitting next to me, and I’m here to tell you that this boy’s soul is intact. It’s non-negotiable, and you know how I know? Someone here, and I’m not going to say who, offered to buy. Only Charlie here wasn’t selling.

T: Sir, you’re out of order.

S: I’ll show you out of order! You don’t know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I’d show you but I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too fucking blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a flame thrower to this place! Out of order, who the hell you think you’re talking to? I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But that is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetics for that. You think you’re merely sending this splendid, foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs? But I say you are executing his soul. And why? Because he’s not a Baird man. Baird men. You hurt this boy, you’re gonna be Baird bums, the lot of you. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent wherever you are out there, fuck you too.

T: Stand down, Mr. Slade.

S: I’m not finished. As I came in here, I heard those words, ‘cradle of leadership’. Well when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and it has fallen here, it has fallen! Makers of men, creators of leaders, be careful what kind of leaders you’re producing here. I don’t know if Charlie’s silence here today is right or wrong, I’m not a judge or jury, but I can tell you this, he won’t sell anybody out to buy his future. And that, my friends, is called integrity. That’s called courage. Now that’s the stuff leaders should be made of.

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