It Must End

Tuesday, April 9, 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

Why The Big Money In District 1 School Board Race? - And Response (2)

With the influx of money from Lookout and Signal Mountains as well as the teacher’s union, one of my opponents has already been able to send out 3-4 mailers, two letters and a postcard. One should ask why would the “big money” people on Lookout and Signal Mountains care about a school board race in District 1? The only answer is control and they know they cannot control me. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jerika’s Last Dance

There is a horrifying disease called spinal muscular atrophy type 2 that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. What happens is the nerve cells in a person’s brain stem and spinal cord slowly die and, without the ability to voluntarily control your muscles, your body withers away in one of the most painful ways you can imagine. Jerika Bolen, age 14, can’t stand it any longer, nor ... (click for more)

County Schools Receive Community Gift For Almost $1 Million To Fund Public School Bible History Program

Bible in the Schools presented a community gift for nearly $1 million to the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) to reimburse 100 percent of the costs of funding a Bible history program in 18 public schools for the 2015–2016 academic year. Enrollment data for 2015–2016 reported 3,582 students in grades 6–12 elected to take a Bible history classes. “This gift from the ... (click for more)

DA's Office Defends Suspended Sentence In School Bus Driver Rape Case

The District Attorney's Office defended a controversial suspended sentence in a rape case involving a substitute county school bus driver. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the March 2015 incident, was in agreement on the plea and refused to testify against Alexander Rodriquez. Rodriguez, 34, last Thursday pleaded guilty to ... (click for more)

Dunbar Promoted To Head Wrestling Job At Ooltewah

J.D. Dunbar had been promoted to head wrestling coach at Ooltewah High School. Dunbar, an assistant with the Owls’ mat program since 2012, becomes a head coach for the first time at the high school level. He replaces Bryant Blackmon, who recently resigned. The 36-year-old Dunbar is also the school’s strength and conditioning coach and assistant head football coach on ... (click for more)

Another Big Week For Chattanooga Football Club

More than 10,000 fans gathered at Finley Stadium last Saturday to see a 5-3 penalty kick win over Miami United.   CFC keeper Gregga Hartley made a save and scored the winning penalty kick, helping his team to advance to the national semifinals on Saturday.  They will host Sonoma County Sol at 7:30 in the comfy confines of "Fort Finley"  Chattanooga is the top ... (click for more)