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Apr 182013

When I read the news sometimes I just want to cry. It seems the news is filled with hate, prejudice, evil and just plain mean stuff!

The following article about a young man who was “hazed” to death in a college band and beaten so badly that his muscles were destroyed, made me just have to stop and “take a breath” before I could continue to read such a sad story.

Florida A&M Hazing charges upgraded to manslaughter    http://www.npr.org/2013/03/05/173559216/manslaughter-charges-upgraded-in-florida-a-m-hazing-case

An entire group of college age young adults who would inflict such punishment on a fellow band member, a person they probably called a “friend,” is beyond belief to me. This was not some group of inner-city dropped-out kids on drugs who were gang members; these young people were the “flower” of our society, receiving an education at college level.

I sincerely doubt that any of these young people who pummeled their friend hard enough to destroy his muscles intended for him to die, or be so severely injured that he would be crippled, yet that is exactly what they did. They killed him. The entire group on the bus participated in manslaughter.

In light of the Penn State scandal of child abuse that was “openly rumored” around campus, this school also had “open rumors” about hazing in the band that was no “big secret.” Apparently it was not seriously addressed by the band director or the administration of the school. I can only imagine what the family of this young man feels after his death, knowing that he wanted to be accepted badly enough that he was willing to participate in such a “ritual.”

I sincerely doubt that many, if any, of the young people who participated in such a ritual were what we would likely label as “psychopathic.” But for whatever reason that can be ascribed to the behavior that led to this young man’s mutilation and torture (I can’t find other words that fit), they behaved in a way that is totally unacceptable in a civilized society.

In order to stop this kind of behavior it is going to take not only the administrations of schools, coaches, and directors of programs, but it is going to take students who will stand up and say, “I will not be a part of this kind of behavior. I will not participate.”

I think about the times that I have participated in things that were painful to me, just like this young man did, because I wanted to be accepted by the people who were pummeling me with their words or their fists. I was afraid to stand up and say, “I don’t deserve to be treated like this,” or say, “People who treat me like this are NOT my friends, because friends do not hurt each other.” I felt shamed when those I loved treated me poorly, lied to me, physically or emotionally hurt me, but I’ve decided to stand up now, to face those who try to tell me that I must be abused in order to be accepted. To face those who would abuse me, and say a resounding “NO!!!! I will not be abused.”

Let us all stand up for those who are not yet strong enough to stand up and shout “NO!” and to speak out for them that abuse is NOT OKAY!

Joyce Alexander,RNP retired

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  80 Responses to “Abuse is abuse and it’s never okay Florida A&M hazing death

  1. Wini,

    I discovered LF in the fall and/or winter of 2008. I would read the articles from time-to-time, slowly figuring out my own unhealthy situation. I think that I first posted on LF in Feb. 2009. Needless to say, I was disappointed when you stopped posting on LF, possibly August 2009 (?). Anyway, I was happy to “see” you here, on this website.

  2. Many adopted children come from families in which there is drug use or alcohol use during the gestation, or mental illness or both. which gives the adopted children a bad start in life, as we all know. There has been an awareness for quite sometime now that children are not born blank slates on which environment writes, children are born with genetics and DNA just as any mammal is that influence how they will turn out. Some are smarter than others, some more outgoing than others, etc. and there is a tendency for adopted kids to have more problems than those children raised by their biological parents because those biological parents on average who keep their children are better adjusted on the whole than those who give their children up for adoption. It isn’t JUST that the children feel abandoned because they were given up. (as was once thought). That doesn’t of course mean that every child given up for adoption is going to have problems, but we are speaking of the fact that on average more of them than the average number of children who are not given out for adoption will have problems.

    Foster kids as well as adopted kids are also fated to have mega problems as well, even more than children who are adopted by healthy families as they are shuffled from “pillar to post.” and back again. The CASA program, court appointed special advocate programs for these kids who are mentors for these kids may help this somewhat. I hope so.

    The high number of law breakers in our country, though the murder rate is actually pretty low compared to many countries at 4.2 per 100,000 population, in some countries it is as high as 90+ per 100,000. Our crime rate is improved over what it once was actually, because we do have a high number of our violent offenders locked up and those are the ones who do 80% of the violent crimes.

  3. Well, the trials are starting and the first member of the band that beat the young man to death in a “hazing” incident has been sentenced.

    A former Florida A&M band member has become the first person to be sentenced to jail time for his role in the hazing death of a drum major.

    Jessie Baskin was sentenced Friday to 51 weeks in the county jail, five years of probation and 300 hours of community service for participating in the beating death of 26-year-old Robert Champion in November 2011.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2591916/Ex-FAMU-band-member-gets-1-year-hazing-death.html#ixzz2xOU2WnhR

    Although the one year seems pretty “light” for a death, I dont’ believe this young man intended to actually kill his victim, but at the same time, I think SOME jail time is necessary to show others that “hazing is NOT okay” Violence is violence and it is NEVER OKAY.

  4. I just read an article today that one of the members of this group of abusers, the “ring leader” got 6 and a half years, and one was sentenced this week to four years. I’m not sure what the rest of them got.

    But I also read about a “pillow fight” at West Point of all places, which is a tradition at the end of the first summer of “boot camp” for the cadets, and some of the members of the group put HARD objects in the pillow cases, 30 THIRTY cadets were SERIOUSLY injured, one knocked unconscious, several with broken noses, dislocated shoulder, one with a broken leg….the photos looked like a riot had taken place where the rioters used billy clubs on each other. Of course nothing was said about any disciplinary measures, and the West Point folks tried to keep it “secret” but in these days of video cameras and phones, you know there is NOTHING SECRET, it WILL “leak” out on the internet.

    I’m not sure I want folks like that in the military as OFFICERS, no less!

    The violence in our country is ramping up it seems, with over a dozen police officers gunned down in cold blooded executions all over the country in the last TWO weeks with various groups screaming out to “kill the cops”

    I recently watched the Malcom X story which I’ve seen a dozen times, and heard on the news at the time it happened, about Malcom distancing himself from the Nation of Islam group because of their increasing violence, and then not long after he left them, they murdered him. in front of his wife and children. So this isn’t about black versus white it is about violence versus peace,

    In just about any situation where there are people high in psychopathic traits and short on compassion and empathy, there will be violence…it doesn’t matter if it is a person beating their mate (repeatedly) or their children, or someone bombing the Federal building in Oklahoma city or a police officer shooting an unarmed man who is running away, or a person executing a police officer doing their job. Violence and repeated violence against others is only going to be stopped by incarcerating those who use whatever excuse they like to do violence and murder. Personally I do not think prison “improves” very many people, rehabiltation is not usually accomplished and the recidivism rate is quite high. But if we allow this violence to escalate and spread without appropriate consequences it will only mushroom. I think the time for this teaching is when the kids are in grade school.

    • Joyce, it’s interesting how “hazing” is seen as something close to a prang-gone-wrong. I cannot describe how many YouThing videos there are of pranks, and pranks that go terribly wrong.

      I also cannot describe how many times this subject has come up in general conversation, and I’ve always asked, “Is the world getting more violent?” I have always been answered with, “No, we’ve always been violent. It’s just easier to hear about it with technological advances and instant news.”

      I really don’t know if I believe this, or not. I know that family violence is more “out there” than it was when I was a child. Everything is “out there,” and it seems that there are absolutely NO holds barred, except when one group or another takes the stance that they have been “offended.” There are words out there that are being used specifically to incite rage, like, “privilege,” “shaming,” and “trigger.” These words are being used to justify very, very bad behaviors, and to excuse any (and, ALL) behaviors to erase boundaries of social behaviors. I do not remember people behaving like this when I was a child. Even people who were protesting the Viet Nam “Conflict” tried to remain non-violent with the exception of pockets of extremists.

      There is a HUGE difference between what Ghandi, King Jr, and others did, and what various groups are doing, today. I desperately want to believe that there are “answers” on how to reverse this downward trend, but I don’t see it. I try no to focus on the future, as much, but this is something that I believe to be inevitable: as a global society, anarchy will reign.

  5. Dr. Viktor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” which he wrote after spending I think it was four years in a Nazi prison slave labor camp observed how people reacted to the situation differently. How the same conditions that will make one person hateful and violent, and another passive, etc. My mother had a saying that summed it up as well, she said “The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax” And when you think about that proverb, it is absolutely right. If you put a piece of clay out in the sun it will get hard, and if you put a piece of wax beside it, the wax will melt—the result of a situation depends on what our internal make up is.

    Of course, our “make up” depends on lots of things, both genetic and environmental and that determines how we will respond in a given situation. We can’t change our DNA but we can change how we react. We can change our thinking and our ideas of what is right and wrong, good or bad. There was a time when I “thought” I could “fix” people, there was a time when I “thought” that I should be so self sacrificing that I should allow others to treat me poorly and still continue to associate with them. It never dawned on me that I could refuse to associate with those people.

    Now, I know I do not have to associate with people, WHOEVER they are, or how much genetic material I share with them, who treat me or others poorly (or worse). Learning this has made my life much more simple and peaceful.

    As for the Global problems with violence which is displayed on the nightly news every evening, with millions of people fleeing from ISIS and other monsters in human form, it is a sad commentary on humanity that men are cruel to their fellow men, it has always been that way and probably always will be. I heard a quote on television last night that sort of stuck with me. “War is always WRONG..always, always always, but there are some things that are WRONG-ER.” Fighting against Nazi Germany cost the Allies many many lives lost and many men whose lives were shattered if not lost, but to allow the Nazis to continue with their programs would have been WRONG-ER…ditto the Japanese. The things the Japanese and the Germans were doing at the time were as bad as what ISIS is doing now, but the difference I think is that what ISIS is doing is not on the nightly news. Atrocities are more AVAILABLE now, whereas prior to this, political crimes and genocides could be accomplished more in secret.

    While “family abuse” is still generally kept secret, when it is exposed, the law is starting to take action against it, whereas in the past unless a person killed their child or spouse abuse was “a family affair” not to be dealt with by the law and courts, that is no longer the case. Not to say there are still not judges and courts who do not deal adequately with abuse because there are those, but it is getting somewhat better. Researchers say that 75% of all domestic abusers are psychopaths, and I do believe that. People high in psychopathic traits account for I think the majority of abuse, violence and illegal activity in this world. We can’t change them, we can only change our response to them and what they do.

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