It Must End

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

WRCB Channel 3 recently did a story on an incident at a fraternity at UTC involving intoxicated, out of control students, and bottle rockets.  On their facebook page people have spoken out, both for and against, the story, the students, with many people asking why is this news, and what's the big deal?  Claiming that this behavior is acceptable, just a part of growing up, nothing previous generations haven't done, etc.  I can answer one of those questions... what's the big deal?  Allow me to introduce you to my son, Chris.

Several years ago, had I heard this story, I too would have asked what's the big deal?  Students maybe not showing the best judgement, but, the world didn't explode when the bottle rockets went off did they?  Losing your only child is a pretty big deal, my friend. 

I was a single mother, to a wonderful son named Chris.  Chris had a very bright future ahead of him.  Despite the hardships he faced as the only child of a young unwed mother, we both persevered, and he received a full scholarship to a major university.  He was headed to college, and then onto med school.  He wanted to be a pediatrician; he loved kids.   All of that was snuffed out one chilly fall night.  I got the phone call no parent ever wants to get.  My son was dead.  And as the investigation went on it was revealed he had died at the hands of his "brothers", his frat brothers, in a stupid stunt that has changed so many lives forever.   

My son was beaten, tied down to a chair, and straight liquor, of all kinds, forced down his throat until he passed out.  He was then released from the chair, and actually put in bed (his "brothers" were taking care of him you see, so they claimed.)  However no one checked on him until several hours later, and when they finally did, they found him dead.  He had choked on his own vomit.

This incident wasn't labeled as a hazing incident because Chris had already been accepted into the fraternity and already been hazed.  This incident happened well into his college career, he was almost finished with college in fact.  But, boys will be boys as they say, and what some have tried to play off as horsing around gone wrong, or a party that got out of control, is in fact much more serious than that.  And while I know Chris does share some responsibility in what happened to him, he was not the one who tied someone to a chair, beat them and then left.

And this is where things absolutely must change.  Chris's death at the hands of his fraternity brothers is not an isolated incident, it happens all across the country, a lot more often than you would think.  And it keeps happening because society has deemed this out of control, alcohol soaked behavior both at fraternities and sororities, acceptable.  We are becoming a culture that accepts excuses, irresponsibility, and passing the buck.  And it's costing our kids their lives.

Chris was 21 when he died.  His college friends and fraternity brothers have all gone on to have successful careers, some have married, and started their families.  Last week I went to the first birthday of one of his fraternity brothers' first child.  Tomorrow, on Chris's birthday, that fraternity brother will be coming with me to put flowers on Chris' grave.   It's a very sad ending, an ending that did not have to be.  But endings like this will keep happening and our children will continue to pay the price until society changes and helps our young men and women understand that life isn't always a game.  Actions have consequences and sometimes those actions and consequences can change your life forever.

Angie Dunn

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Tommy Crangle Is A True American - And Response

Tommy Crangle was trained to think like an engineer. Unlike his opponent who on occasion has classified herself as an Independent, Mr. Crangle has been a conservative state and federal constitution loving Republican to the bone all his life. He supports all the amendments. Tommy Crangle will take non-emotional problem solving to Nashville for the good of all the people of the 27 ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits on both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Ohls Avenue While Working In His Yard

A Chattanooga man was shot Tuesday evening, while working in his yard. At approximately 8:55 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 4217 Ohls Ave. for a shooting. Officers located 34-year-old Daniel Marlowe suffering from a single gunshot wound to his hip.  Mr. Marlowe stated to investigators that while he was working in his yard, three black males approached him and ... (click for more)

Recap of 17 Stop, Prep Football Tour

Starting at Soddy Daisy at 7:44 a.m. and leaving Silverdale 14 hours later ( 9:58 p.m.), the fifth annual Chattanoogan.com prep football tour made whistle stops at 17 schools covering 220 miles.   The Chattanooga Jamboree is Aug. 15-16 at Finley Stadium and the season openers are Thurs. Aug. 21   - Cleveland vs. McCallie (Finley Stadium) ... (click for more)

NPSL National Championship To Be Played At Red Bulls Arena

The NPSL announced on Monday that the national championship match between Chattanooga FC and the Red Bulls U23 will be played on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  The match will be played following an MLS match between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.   Local fans took to social media to appeal for the game to be played in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)