I don't know how many of you are aware of this story, so I'll give you a bit of background. In 2011, Robert Champion, a drum major for Florida A&M University marching band, was found dead on the bus travelling to a football game. The death was ruled a homicide. However the perpetrators were his bandmates. He was a victim of hazing.
If you don't know what hazing is, it's basically a rite of passage to a group or team. It usually involves doing some absolutely disgusting things. Sometimes, hazing can go too far. There have been stories of deaths from alcohol poisoning, hypothermia, and blunt force trauma. It's absolutely frightening that this stuff happens.
The thing I want to commend is the fact that the entire band has been suspended for the 2012-2013 school year. They will not make appearances at football games. They will not exist. It's awesome to know that someone cares enough about their reputation to give consequences for heinous actions. You kind of wish that more people would get punished for their actions. People like O.J. Simpson, Charlie Sheen, and George Zimmerman come to mind.
It bothers me to no end that hazing exists. Gangs do hazing but they know enough to at least stop before permanent damage takes place. However in places of higher education, the kids seem to be slightly less concerned with a happy medium. They seem to want to show everyone that you have to be tough to be in a band or a fraternity. I was in middle school band, all I had to do was play my instrument well and I got respect. I didn't need to get beat up or have to swallow something gross just to prove myself worthy of playing a bass clarinet. So why in the world does hazing take place even with all the news coverage of deaths and permanent injury? It's because not enough people care about their fellow man enough to just respect them for their skills. They obviously have to be good enough if they made the band. I know of a lot of good that fraternities and sororities do for their community, but I don't think they need to be able to drink a barrel full of whiskey to prove their ability to feed a soup kitchen.
If you know of any group that does this sickening mess, don't bother joining them. Social status is not worth risking your life for. Make your own hazing free group or band. Trust me, you'll live without being in that group. In fact, you'll just live.