Good Clean Illegal Fun

According to the affidavits, the hazing included an incident on Sept. 9, 2006, following UT's football game with Ohio State University, when the pledges were gathered in a University Towers dorm room. Bolding, the president at the time, required a pledge to hold himself on a table on his elbows and toes, a position referred to as "bows and toes," and then turned the table over, sending the pledge falling to the floor, the affidavit said.

Also during that meeting, Sherrill touched a hot clothes iron to the face of two pledges, causing minor injuries, and Evans made a pledge put his hand on a dart board while Evans threw darts at him, the affidavits said. The pledges with the burn injuries were told to skip classes until their burns healed, the affidavit said.

During one event, a so-called cactus run, the pledges were taken to a ranch and made to gather cacti with their bare hands for an upcoming party, the affidavit said. At the ranch, Evans made three pledges eat Crisco shortening, made two eat cat food, made one pledge sit on a cactus and shocked several pledges with a cattle prod, the affidavit said.

Later in the semester, the fraternity held what members referred to as "jungle week" leading up to an annual jungle-themed party, the affidavit said. During that week, the pledges were divided into two teams in a competition centered on building pools, the affidavit said. The competition required the pledges to carry large rocks across the fraternity house yard while fraternity members struck their backs and legs with bamboo sticks, the affidavit said. The losing team was told to enter a Penske truck parked in front of the house, where Bolding and Sherrill used an electric cattle prod to shock them, the affidavit said.

On Nov. 16, 2006, the end of jungle week, nine pledges were selected to participate in an activity called "Senior Boo" that began with the pledges climbing into the back of the Penske truck and blindfolding themselves with their shirts, the affidavit said. The pledges, one of whom was "hog-tied," were shocked with a cattle prod on their way to another location, the affidavit said.

There, the pledges, who were all under the legal drinking age, were given half-gallon sized bottles of tequila, whiskey and Rumplemintz liquor and encouraged to drink excessive amounts, the affidavit said.

Bolding again made a pledge get into the "bows and toes" position and then kicked the pledge in the stomach, the affidavit said. "The kick was described a field-goal kick," the affidavit said. Later during the outing, Bolding and Sherill "traded swats" with several pledges, meaning the fraternity leaders hit the pledges with a bamboo stick and then allowed the pledges to hit them with the stick, the affidavit said.

On the way back to the fraternity house, the pledges drank from a keg, the affidavit said. [MORE]

The next morning, 18-year-old pledge Tyler Cross was found dead on the ground below his fifth-floor balcony. Blood tests revealed high levels of alcohol. Not surprising, given the activities of the previous evening as described above.

What is surprising is how many otherwise decent folks think such things are perfectly fine, even normal. "They're just being kids," people say. "It's normal. Things just got out of hand this time."

In the state of Texas, it is illegal for an 18-year-old like Tyler Cross to possess or consume any amount of alcohol. You could make a case that this law is unreasonable and unjust. I might even agree with you. For now, though, it is the law.

Yet some of the very same people who have no problem with the widespread flouting of the laws about alcohol are outraged when a poor Mexican crosses the border illegally in order to work and support his family. "They're breaking the law! Criminals! Stop them now!"

I totally agree that we need to get control of the border, for a variety of reasons, but some of us are being mighty selective in our devotion to the Rule of Law. If we are going to have laws, they need to be enforced. If they can't be enforced they ought to be changed. Otherwise you end up with anarchy.

One final question: which is the greater long-term threat to the survival of our culture: 1) immigrants who mow our lawns and pick our vegetables for very low wages, or 2) native-born college students whose "education" seems to consist of abusing younger peers and ignoring laws they find inconvenient? Think about it.

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