I have to admit that after hearing about so many cases of horrible hazing by fraternities on college campuses, I’ve gotten a little numb to them.
They all seem to follow the same pattern: Eager young freshman pledge gets initiated at a house party, forced to drink way too much, no one pays much attention to how sick the freshman is, until it’s far too late, and the kid dies.
The details tend to be a little different, the locations are different, the hand-wringing by college presidents about “we need to change the culture,” is a little different, but mostly I’ve read about so many of these tragedies that they sadly all blend together.
But every once in a while, I get shocked into outrage. And that’s what happened this weekend when I read about the disgusting, criminal behavior of the “men” at Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and their roles in the February death of pledge Tim Piazza (that’s him, above).
If you’re not familiar with the details, they are horrifying. Here are a few examples from the timeline that went on the night of Feb. 3:
— He fell down the stairs and was unconscious, and didn’t receive medical help for 12 hours.
10:47 p.m.: Piazza is carried back up the steps by Ryan Burke, Luke Visser, Greg Rizzo and Jonah Neuman. Piazza is limp and has a visible bruise on his abdomen. The brothers place Piazza on a couch. When Rizzo attempts to administer a sternum rub to Piazza, Piazza is unresponsive.
10:49 p.m.: Rizzo dumps liquid on Piazza’s face. Piazza does not respond. Following this Burke lifts Piazza’s arm, which immediately falls back to Piazza’s chest.
11:14 p.m.: Kordel Davis, a newly initiated brother to Beta Theta Pi as of December 2016, enters the great hall. Davis approaches Piazza, leans over him and then turns to the other brothers in an animated fashion, pointing to his head and then to Piazza. When he testified, Davis told jurors he told the other brothers that Piazza needed to be taken to the hospital. Davis told jurors he screamed at the brothers, telling them they needed to get help.
11:15 p.m.: Neuman shoves Davis into a wall and tells him things are under control. (Ed. note: Ridiculous, right?
Now at this point, clearly there is criminal negligence and just a complete disregard for Piazza’s well-being. But it gets worse…
11:25 p.m.: Daniel Casey, the pledge master, reenters the great hall to check on Timothy Piazza — he slaps Piazza three times in the face.
1:50 a.m.: Ems strikes Piazza’s abdomen.
3:22 a.m.: Piazza attempts to regain his feet, and Coyne is nearby. Piazza falls backward and strikes his head on the hardwood floor — Coyne shakes him for movement, and then leaves the room.
3:54 a.m.: Piazza attempts to stand up again, but falls face first onto the floor.
It goes on like this, agonizingly, for several more hours, with fraternity brothers stepping over him, filming him (filming!), until at 10:48 someone calls 911.
Outrageous, despicable behavior from young men who continue to think doing this to another human being is fine, that it’s all part of their glorious hazing tradition, etc.
I know I’ll hear from people reading this who will say it’s wrong to paint all fraternities with a broad brush, this is an extreme example, etc. And maybe it is atypical in its horror. But it happens in some degree ALL THE TIME at colleges across the country.
How many more young men need to die before college presidents actually do something about this? When will police and law enforcement make an example of these boys who tortured poor Tim Piazza?
Soon, I hope. Very very soon. 18 Beta Theta Pi brothers were charged criminally here. I hope they all go to jail.
**Next up today, this cracked me up big-time. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough host MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” a political roundtable show my wife watches that often gets me yelling at the TV.
Mika is a blonde know-nothing who rarely adds anything interesting to a discussion, while blowhard Joe is a former GOP Congressman who changes his mind on Donald Trump so often that I have no idea where he currently stands. (First he loved Trump, then he hated Trump. Then he loved him again, then hated him after the “Access Hollywood” tape. Then I think he flip-flopped three or four more times).
Anyway, “Morning Joe” has always had a weird dynamic between the two, and now it’s gotten even weirder: The two of them left their spouses for each other, and now are engaged to be married.
Happily, “Saturday Night Live” decided to spoof Mika and Joe on Saturday night’s cold open, with a guest role from Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump’s “spokesman,” John Miller, which is an alias Trump used in the 1980s when he’d pretend to be a publicist singing Trump’s praises.
**Finally today, a story about friendship and urinals. A Mets fan named Tom McDonald was best friends with fellow Mets fan (Mets sufferer?) Roy Riegel. Riegel died nine years ago, and McDonald was charged by Riegel’s family with disposing of his ashes in an appropriate manner.
Where to put them? At first McDonald scattered some at ballparks and notable places, but then he realized it’d just be easier to flush him down the toilet at ballparks around the country:
It’s appropriate, McDonald feels, because Riegel was a plumber.
“The game has to be in progress — that’s a rule of mine,” Mr. McDonald said one recent weeknight before entering a Citi Field bathroom, holding a little plastic bottle containing a scoopful of Mr. Riegel’s cremains . . . “I took care of Roy, and I had to use the facilities myself,” Mr. McDonald said, emerging from the stall with the empty container. “So I figure, you know, kill two birds . . I always flush in between, though,” he added. “That’s another rule of mine.”
Well sure, you’ve got to have rules when doing something like this