“Mom’s Night”: 22 Frat Members To Be Criminally Charged In Death Of Northern Illinois University Student

1931653_G1931654_G1931655_GThere is an interesting and tragic case out of Northern Illinois University in Dekalb where 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity have been criminally charged in the death of student David Bogenberger, 19, after a frat event with excessive drinking. It is one of the largest such prosecutions, if not the largest, that I have seen for a hazing or frat drinking death. The question is whether this is a matter that should be addressed on the criminal opposed to the civil docket as well as school proceedings for expulsion.

Five leaders of the fraternity have been charged with felony hazing: Alexander M. Jandick, 21, James P. Harvey, 21, Omar Salameh, 21, Patrick W. Merrill, 19, and Steven A. Libert, 20.

Arrest warrants were issued Monday for 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for the death in November. Most are to be charged with misdemeanors.

chi-alcohol-suspected-in-niu-fraternity-death--003Bogenberger died of cardiac arrest due to alcohol intoxication with a blood alcohol level was about five times the legal limit for driving. He had attended a fraternity hazing event called “Moms Night” or “Parents Night” where you have to run a gauntlet of girls and must basically drink five shots per girl. It appears that none of the girls were charged or the subject of warrants.

As a professor and a parent, my heart goes out to the family of Bogenberger. I can only imagine the terrible loss and pain that this family has had to endure for a senseless and reckless tradition at this frat. I also support both expulsion of students responsible for such hazing as well as removal of fraternities from campus. However, I am a bit uncomfortable with charging students criminally for their mere participation in such heavy drinking events. This has generally been handled as a civil matter with lawsuits against the students and fraternities.

The law states:

§ 720 ILCS 120/5. Hazing

Sec. 5. Hazing. A person commits hazing who knowingly requires the performance of any act by a student or other person in a school, college, university, or other educational institution of this State, for the purpose of induction or admission into any group, organization, or society associated or connected with that institution if:

(a) the act is not sanctioned or authorized by that educational institution; and

(b) the act results in bodily harm to any person.

§ 720 ILCS 120/10. Sentence

Sec. 10. Sentence. Hazing is a Class A misdemeanor, except hazing that results in death or great bodily harm is a Class 4 felony.

The law is rife with difficult ambiguities. What does it mean to “knowingly require” when you are dealing with a fraternity where a student can stop drinking and may or may not be denied entry in the fraternity. More importantly, the criteria of any act “not sanctioned or authorized by that educational institution” is remarkably broad. It also ties the applicability of a criminal charge to the varying rules of public and private institutions.

The problem is that we have consent of the victim and drinking may be lawful in some cases. It is an unfortunate reality that college students often use their newfound freedom to do things in excess. Drinking is one of the most common. One argument in favor of criminalization is that it is the only effective deterrent for such students — a criminal charge concentrates the mind of the most dimwitted college student. However, it also criminalizes another area of life in our country — part of a disturbing trend.

What do you think? Should this be handled as a criminal matter for all of these frat members?


52 thoughts on ““Mom’s Night”: 22 Frat Members To Be Criminally Charged In Death Of Northern Illinois University Student

  1. Sometimes one needs take responsibility for one’s own actions and there should not be any criminal prosecution….

  2. I would say that it is a clearly identifiable law, of the sort which may emerge from the Newtown massacre.

    It is surrounded by peripheral requirements which will in all likelihood disable any implementation and thus have no effect.
    The lawmakers must come up with a better case if it is to be criminalized.

    The basic problem is the lack of identification with other people. Spew parties should be supervised by hired guards and faculty members.
    Until `frats act like adults, why should they be treated as such

  3. A stupid, avoidable tragedy that occurs infrequently. The entire Fraternity tradition is ridiculous, but then again hazing is ridiculous and really a means of teaching people to conform to the norms of particular groups. When I started college in the early 60’s there was something called “Freshmen Hazing” requiring all Freshmen to wear “beanies” and perform random humiliating acts for bands of roaming upper class-men. I laughed at those requiring it and refused to wear a “beanie”.
    They gave me thousands of demerits, but I never went to the student tribunals held to punish for demerits. Nothing happened. Then again I was never asked to “rush” for a Fraternity and would not have been interested if asked. It all seemed so damned stupid.

    The problem here is that most who begin college are still immature and many who are immature feel pressure to conform to what seem like norms. The tradition of hazing is problem a very old and very human one. Having not been hazed myself, my knowledge only comes from what I read, or what I’ve heard.
    It seems that beyond the sadism of hazing in this country there is a closely tied in tradition of adding excessive drinking to the point of and beyond nausea. Thus another form of humiliation. What these Fraternity Brothers did was exceedingly stupid, but in a broad social sense winked at unless something bad happens. University Administrations know damned well what is going on and prefer to ignore it giving it license. This is then the result of failure on the part of Academia.
    These young men should be expelled and open to lawsuit. Jailing them is excessive given the permissive aura surrounding this practice, which after all young people allow themselves as willing volunteers.

  4. While the drafting of the law may be problematic, there is clearly a need to stamp out these damaging and abusive practices. I don’t see a problem in the principle of using the criminal law to send that message to potential participants and to colleges.

  5. While I agree with Mike’s comments about the stupid insipid nature of frats in general, regarding criminal prosecution I must side with Tony Sidaway. To not criminally prosecute only feeds in to the cultures of entitlement and exclusion that makes fraternities so repugnant in the first place.

  6. It is a Newtowne kind of moment for colleges nationawide. If you have a law such as Illinois has which prevents Hazing, then each school Dean must walk up to the door of each Frat House, and if no Frat House then to each dorm, and Post the statute on the door. Thence, have a heart to heart converstion with each went in dumb frat member and tell them if they want to come out dumb too that there is no hazing. If there is one incident of hazing then abolish the Frat. Dont suspend the Frat for a period of time. Abolish the Frat. Thence lower the upper case F to a lower case f.

    This apCray was going on 40 years ago in Illinois when I was a humanoid and a Frat member.

    End Frats as we know them.

    Chimne in you dumb deans, we know that you are listening and reading this blog.

  7. That state is a sovereign, so unless their criminal law violates federal law it is up to the people of the state, and their government, to determine their own techniques of social engineering.

    I would like to see statistics and other factors that can determine whether the traditional expulsion and civil liability methodology had improved the situation by diminishing the frequency of hazing catastrophes.

    Since absolutely eradicating loonies of bad behavior is not generally an attainable goal, if the non-criminal liabilities have made progress, it would seem that criminalization is unwise.

    However, if those non-criminal techniques were not working, i.e. were not diminishing the incidents of hazing catastrophes, then a further experiment of using criminal law is not ipso facto unwise for a sovereign.

    However, it might be wise to put a sunset clause in the law so that if it can be shown that it is not working either, then let it go and try something else.

  8. Robert Bork just died. I remember when Walter O’Malley died hardcore Brooklyn Dodger fans were happy. Any happiness here?

  9. nick spinelli 1, December 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Robert Bork just died. I remember when Walter O’Malley died hardcore Brooklyn Dodger fans were happy. Any happiness here?
    I am not happy that he exercised his right to die.

    We all do that sooner or later.

    I would rather see the divisiveness he experienced, whether his fault or not, diminish.

  10. I don’t belive the statute would survive a good challenge to its constitutionality based on the vagueness as JT has revealed. It could be broken by requiring plebes to donate their time as volunteers at a soup kitchen feeding the homeless since the school does not specifically authorize it. In this respect it might even violate first amendment rights of the association as they may certainly require any reasonable admission requirement without interference or approval of a government agency, which many colleges are.

    This is just a “tool law” crafted to punish whenever it suits the will of the authorities and hence why it is vague. If the plebes were required to write an essay on raising taxes to give the football coach a 400k raise, the school would not enforce the law but if the initiation embarassed the school administration, the campus police would issue summonses.

    I never was a frat boy and personally I didn’t see any reason to be one when I was in college. I thought fraternities were a waste of time. The only time it was present was when I entered high school. I refused to let any senior “initiate me” so I avoided the men’s rooms and was prepared to use whatever means I had to prevent it. Two years later, when we were now seniors, our class dedicded on its own that there would be no “initiations” of the new students. That broke the tradition and from what I understood, at least in the several years thereafter it stopped completely.

    Someone needs to break the cycle.

  11. That hazing law seems incredibly broad to me. For example, suppose a fraternity required any prospective members to put in X hours of public service at a particular charity and a pledge was killed in a car accident on the way to or from the charity. Unless the required act is “sanctioned or authorized by that educational institution” (I have no clue what that means), everyone in charge of pledging at the fraternity has just committed a felony.

  12. Obviously this is a terrible case and some sense of societal disapproval is required. The choice of whether to handle that disapproval criminally or civilly rests within the discretion of those who know the most about the case. Here, that looks the police and the prosecutor’s office. I can think of numerous factual permutations where one or the other or both would be appropriate.

    Hazing is a problem not just limited to fraternal organizations. We see it with sororities, bands, athletic teams, etc. I have been involved in fraternal organizations for many years and generally despise any form of physical or mental intimidation as a prerequisite to admission. However it is in the DNA to require some sort of trial prior to admission into any group. It is common in country clubs where sponsors and recommendations are required; the military where “boot camp” is required; and even in other private clubs and businesses where some form of “starting from the bottom” is de rigueur. There is something to the notion of shared adversity bringing a group together.

    However, the trend now is to punish most any unpleasant act as hazing. For instance, I was involved with a national fraternity that considered asking pledges to drive 35 miles and write fraternity letters IN CHALK on a sidewalk as hazing. The pledges were not drunk and they rode in a cab happily to perform the task. Still the act was deemed hazing and the fraternity was disciplined over my objection. The pendulum has swung so far the other way that we’re approaching zero tolerance for young people.

    How about we take a middle ground approach.

  13. I say charge them. It’s the law. They appear to have violated it. There are motions and procedures for sorting these issues out. I say let the process take its course. Empathy seems sorely lacking here. As a result, it is time for the duly passed statute to be enforced.

  14. “However it is in the DNA to require some sort of trial prior to admission into any group. It is common in country clubs where sponsors and recommendations are required; the military where “boot camp” is required; and even in other private clubs and businesses where some form of “starting from the bottom” is de rigueur. There is something to the notion of shared adversity bringing a group together.”


    you may be right, it could be in the DA of humans. From my perspective though it is merely the pleasure of sadism that drives it. I have repeatedly rejected being hazed in my life and I seem to have gotten away with it. when I was a manager of many people I would not hear of it being done to new workers and would step in when I became aware of the situation. There are a couple of ways to build a team. To me the most effective way to build and maintain a team was by warmly welcoming “newbies”.

  15. Can they be charged based on “conspiracy” statutes? What liability does the frat have as an entity or would that only be a civil case? NIU should ban the fraternity based on what’s already known. The Pikes are famous nationwide for behavior that gets them involved with the justice system.

  16. Perhaps it’s time that high school teachers and principals teach these ‘immature’ minds that hazing is stupid, cruel and a threat to one’s life and well-being? I have been waiting for a long time for somebody to do something as bold as those who filed criminal charges. Sorry, I am not worried about the ‘legality’ of this at all. I add this however: I have a young daughter in college.

  17. Chalk me up in the prosecution column. I, too, would be “a bit uncomfortable with charging students criminally for their mere participation in such heavy drinking events,” as JT states. However, it was more than mere participation – it was allegedly participation in extremely heavy drinking that was required for induction into the fraternity, which, IMO, is clearly prohibited by the criminal statute.

    As far as whether this type of conduct should be criminalized, and to add to Barkin Dog’s comment above, college deans are obviously not up to the task (or capable) of handling the matter.

  18. Mike S.,

    I agree with you. It’s not the best way to build team spirit/cohesiveness. It’s about sadism, exerting power over someone else, getting a perverse sense of pleasure from humiliating others. I think group initiation rites/ hazing practices may harken back to more primitive times. Maybe we aren’t as civilized as we think we are.

  19. http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2012/06/cornell-frat-guilty-in-alcohol-hazing-death.html

    Cornell Frat Guilty in Alcohol Hazing Death

    By Andrew Chow, JD on June 29, 2012 6:06 AM | No TrackBacks

    “Cornell University’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was found guilty of hazing, while three frat members were cleared in the alcohol-related death of a pledge in 2011.

    The conviction means the family of George Desdunes, 19, of Brooklyn, N.Y., will see — at most — $12,000 from the local fraternity chapter for the criminal conviction, The Ithaca Journal reports. But the family has also filed a civil lawsuit.

    In a hazing ritual gone wrong, SAE fraternity pledges kidnapped Desdunes from his home, bound his hands and feet with zip ties and duct tape, and then forced him to drink alcohol until he passed out, according to The New York Times.

    George Desdunes never regained consciousness after that hazing ritual. He was found dead hours later with his hands and feet still bound; a coroner’s report showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.356%, more than four times New York’s legal limit.

    In the Cornell hazing death criminal trial, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s local chapter, along with three SAE members, were charged with first-degree hazing and providing alcohol to someone who was underage. The hazing charge covers any intentional or reckless conduct that “creates a substantial risk of physical injury … and thereby causes such injury.”

    Verdicts for the three SAE members were sealed. But lawyers told The Times their cases turned on whether Desdunes was already intoxicated when he was kidnapped, and whether the men knew of his intoxication. Defense lawyers also argued Desdunes could have stopped the hazing ritual if he’d wanted to.

    The local SAE chapter, however, did not defend itself in court. Because it is a corporation, it can only be fined. “If the chapter had any money they would pay for it, but I don’t know if they do,” an attorney for SAE’s national headquarters told The Ithaca Journal. (The national headquarters is a separate legal entity from SAE’s local chapter.)

    The prosecutor was disappointed in the Cornell hazing death verdict. “We are not naive enough to think a fine will make up for death of a college student,” he told The Journal. George Desdunes’ family is also seeking $25 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit, which is pending.”

  20. “The question is whether this is a matter that should be addressed on the criminal opposed to the civil docket as well as school proceedings for expulsion.”

    All of the above.

  21. What a tragedy. Charging 22 people with the killing of someone who died of their own actions is horrific. They are not guilty of anything. The “victim” chose to behave in the manner that he did. The fact that he died is terrible and sad but it is no more sad than if they were drinking and acted on a dare.

  22. Some are not informed of the purpose of boot camp. It is not hazing leading to team building.
    It is simply a planned, well-tested and evaluated method of shaking people loose from their “civilian” presumptions.
    It is also a test of your reactions under extreme stress and even live fire exercises. Your ability to stay under control and take orders and carry them out as a member of a team. Your lives hang on it.

    The conditions are often one of hurry up and wait when it comes to training.
    You are assured that if you don’t stick up your head into the line of overhead fire, then you are safe.

    Without the arbitrary and continuous stress from your sergeant, then you would not be stressed and imprinted with necassary skills. Nor evaluated and found fit for combat.

    You are being prepared for an inhuman task under inhuman conditions, where even the best die.

    So it is not a version of frat sadism. Rest assured. All movies to the contrary.

  23. I agree with Professor Turley that these criminal charges are excessive, especially the students charged with felonies. I joined a fraternity in college and I am still close friends with most of my frat brothers to this day. We didn’t engage in any physical hazing, but we did have some wild parties. I would not have joined if there was physical hazing, because I have always balked at being pushed around or bullied in any way. Something to do with usually being one of the shortest kids in my class. Let’s deal with the problems associated with excessive drinking on campuses whether it is in fraternity houses or dorms or private residences. The school has the ability to deal with any abuses and the parents of the deceased could attempt a civil remedy, but I can’t agree on criminal charges in this kind of case.

  24. ID, I have not been in the military but have many friends who have. Their assessment is the same as yours. Our military does a very good training for battle. What it doesn’t do is debrief after the horror. American Indians had spiritual rituals for braves to become human again after the savagery of war.

  25. If the state has a law that says hazing is a crime, they should be prosecuted. Not only is it true that a civil remedy is not always effective (rich kids could just do as they pleased and daddy or mommy could hire bang-up-bomber-unscrupulous lawyers to get the suits kicked out with attorneys fees charged against the deceased’s grieving family) but once the legislature acts, the executive should follow. If the law is unconstitutionally vague, these boys will have to take an appeal and go up to get it declared so, but I will bet that the process will chill the desire to haze any future students to death. The one thing I would say is that if the administration of the school did not carefully inform the fraternities (and sororities) of the law and the expectations of the school itself, THEY should be sued, at least, and perhaps also fired. There should have been notice, expressed intent, notice of intended enforcement, and an understanding. Otherwise law is useless and, worst of all, for sale.

    By the way, even if it was the kids “choice” to perform the hazing ritual, that is not an excuse in my opinion. Any one of the older frat boys could have easily seen that there was danger involved; the kid was gradually reaching the toxic level of alcohol ingestion. These are COLLEGE KIDS getting the benefits of our education dollars, folks, not ten-year-olds trying to figure out how to behave in the world. COLLEGE KIDS. They’re supposed to have SOME intelligence to guide their conduct!

  26. Here in Illinois it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. At the very least the older members of the frat were clearly breaking that law by supply underage members with alcohol. Unfortunately underage drinking is not often prosecuted on college campuses. As for the hazing law it needs to be enforced to show these groups that they need to quit being stupid and dangerous. My older brother nearly died when his kidneys shut down from hazing in his frat house which made the “Animal House” frat look like a bunch of wimps. There are so many tragic cases around frat houses these days. Some friends lost their son when he overdid alcohol and set the bed he was in afire. He suffered for a several months in a burn ward before his burned lungs finally killed him.

  27. NickS,

    Damn good point. I assume we don’t. Israeli soldiers after dehumanizing take off to the east coast of India to waste themselves on pot.
    And psychiatry or extended counseling is not an answer, IMHO. Too slow. We need a ritual like the indians to take away the responsibilty for being the animal combat requires.

    You have a comment from me at Michigan legislature in re JTs and gangs.

    Good night for now.

  28. No one knows the real story, the media is blowing it up. Yes, it could and should of been prevented. The leaders of the fraternity and the people closely related to the death should face criminal charges. 22 members is way to many.

  29. I will put another angle on the topic. The criminal charges aside. Many commenters here use the terms “college kids” and “Frat boys” etc. Since the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, a person is an adult and can vote at age 18. The phrase “18, UP and OUT!” bears some discussion here. The so called “kid” in Newtown who murdered 26 humans was an adult. They keep showing his kid photo just like that dead guy down in Florida who Zimmerman shot in self defense. We dont need a kid photo of the 20 year old mass murderer from Newtown. We dont need to call adults who are in college “boys”. Now, if some schmuck is an adult and allows other adult schmucks to goad him into drinking too much and croaks then it is his own damn fault for not being a MAN. I dont know how old Frat Guy was but if he was 18 then he is an adult and the Constitution says so. That is Amendment 26 by the way. Not many Americans are aware of it.

    A second angle on the topic is why do we allow Frats to Flourish? Well, the right to assemble is guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Right to Petition the Government is also guaranteed. The Right To Exercise Free Speech is also protected. Together, the right to form a more perfect union of students to speak and assemble and organize in a group is protected. And if some damn dean in a state college comes around and tells us to get off of the podium and quit assemblying and quit petitioning the government for redress of grievances then we got a lawsuit on our hands. Now the guys who assembled and boarded boats and threw the cargo of tea overboard might have pushed the limit of the right to assemble and to petition their government (King George The Kraut). but when the redcoats intervened all helll broke loose didn’t it?

    When those students at Kent State got together to petition the government for redress of grievances about that damn war in Vietnam and the army shot some of them dead there was some repercussion. These werent Frat guys trying to outdrink each other and so it differs vastly from what went on in the topic of the day here. But we have to be careful about criminalizing behavior that is not physically coercive. No one put a gun to this guy’s head and told him to drink. If the action of others is not coercive then it is not or should not be criminal. If you tell an adult male that he is a pussy because he can not drink a quart of vodka and he drinks the vodka, he is not a pussy, he is an adult male with no brain. Where does it end? Budweiser tells you to have one for the Cardinals. Jack Buck is on the air and tells you to pop another Bud for Stan the Man and you do so. And by the Ninth Inning you are drunk as a skunk and run over a skunk. Is the skunk’s family gonna blame Jack Buck and prevail in court? I dont thnk so. But what do I know, I am just a dog barkin.

  30. Barkindog, you’re absolutely correct. It’s about time that these 18yr olds who are, by law, adults, start doing the adult thing and accept responsibility for their own actions.

  31. Barkin:

    “Since the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, a person is an adult and can vote at age 18.”


    Well, you must have never had teenage kids or been 18 if you believe a person is a mature adult at that age.

  32. Mespo. I did not vote for the 26th Amendment. Thirty year old brats are walking around with the mentalities and life skills of kids. But the law is the law. Quit coddling these brats. 18 up and out. That means that when the kid hits 18 he is an adult and it is time to get out of the house junior. When I was 17 they were sending kids my age to Nam. If you are old enough for war you are old enough to vote and too old to act like a brat.

  33. Barkin Dog, your comment goes more toward whether we should have a law in the first place against hazing, and that is something the people of Illinois decided through the legislative process was needed (at least in theory). While we may disagree, it is the law. I will defer the potential constitutional issues to JT and others more rehearsed in constitutional law, but my amateurish opinion is that the state has a rational basis in preventing this type of conduct. Vagueness of the statute, as JT noted, may be a problem but at first and second glance I don’t think so.

    Yes, “no one put a gun to this guy’s head and told him to drink” as you say, but I must disagree that it was not coercive conduct. Anyone familiar with fraternal organizations and activities know that if you don’t participate in the fraternal “activities” as a pledge, you most likely won’t be invited as a member. Not being invited is often a major blow to some of these kids, I have seen it happen. Not to mention, “5 shots” per girl is more than excessive. No doubt the dead student is to blame, but that doesn’t automatically mean others were not.

    And ditto what Mespo said about 18 year olds and maturity. All of us mature at different paces (and I was one of the slower ones), but, at least from my experience, the vast majority of 18 year old – 23 year old males are “kids” from a maturity standpoint. Mespo, I am scared sh*tless about the teenage years when my kids get there.

    BTW, How many alcohol related deaths does it take for fraternal and college institutions to take action? The ones that don’t should be ashamed.

    Barkin, I do appreciate the reference to the Cardinals and legends Jack Buck and Stan the Man.:-). I have done my fair share of cracking Buds and being wasted in the 9th inning. Lucky for my liver, I finally matured. But there is nothing like a cold one at a Cardinals ballgame, soaking in the hot sun.

  34. Is it the “brats” fault or is it society’s fault. I would say both, technically and materially. They have reached a legal age or responsibility. But we are the ones who taught, as parents and as society, the lessons they have or not have learned.

  35. Ive got no problem in theory with holding the frat members responsible. Just because the victim was an adult and participated voluntarily does not necessarily excuse others involved of criminal liability. For example, if you serve alcohol to a minor or to someone who’s clearly intoxicated, and that person is involved in a driving accident, then you too should have criminal liability. The fact that who was drinking is also responsible for what happens doesn’t relieve everyone else of responsibility for their own actions. As to this case, the statute seems vastly overbroad and vague to me. These kind of criminal statutes give the DA/government way too much power to imprison who they want, when they want, and make for unequal treatment under the law because the DA has so much discretion to do whatever he or she wants.

  36. ID707, don’t leave out the educational institutions and fraternal institutions. Plenty of blame to go around. I wonder how the “group effect” played in this. I am sure Mike S could enlighten us on the fascinating aspects of groups and how that affects decision-making.

    And as Mespo aptly pointed out, legal age of adulthood does not necessarily equate to maturity, so many lessons although taught, may not have been learned.

  37. Juris,

    “And as Mespo aptly pointed out, legal age of adulthood does not necessarily equate to maturity, so many lessons although taught, may not have been learned.”

    I know so well. Living example. But injuries sustained in the cradle are not always later reparable. But constant perseverance helps.

    I stiill feel that it is society’s responsibility to teach the benefits of the “3 B’s”-
    Being, belonging, becoming.

  38. JT: “Should this be handled as a criminal matter for all of these frat members?”

    “Those responsible for the party violated Illinois’ hazing statute by providing a large quantity of alcohol to underage pledges and “creating a situation where the pledges felt compelled to consume alcohol as part of membership initiation and the Greek parenting process,” according to a statement from DeKalb city and county officials and Bogenberger’s family.”


    Yes, if they all violated the statute. But don’t the officers decide what “activities” to participate in? I wonder if any of the non-officers will raise the defense that they did not “require” the participation. I would imagine at least some of the non-officers were there coercing pledges to drink in some form or another. Need to know more.

    Idealist: “I know so well. Living example.” You and I both. I am interested in your “society responsibility” comment. What do you mean by society?

    In a strict sense of the term, I am not so sure society has any “responsibilities” to its members, or that society intentionally teaches anything.

  39. Well, let me give it as I have learned and accepted and integrated into my growing perception of where “we” individuals or families are today.

    Some speak of our need for a compact between ourselves as individuals and the state as a control element, with powers we delegate to it to exercise on our behalf. The social compact.

    That is realized in the elements we find around us today, for better but mostly worsely.. Legal structures constrain commerce, organizations, and individuals, including family relationships. All nominally in the service of the citizens and the health of the nation to develop and prosper. For ex the copyright clause in the big C. which is clearly formulated not to preserve property rights but to encourage development for the public good. Commerce distorts this to its advandtage..

    The element of competition for the gain of wealth growth, the need of all of us for life and liberty, etc. And these come in conflict since the ratification of the big C.

    Some, myself included, say that the society compact that we bled for in the Revolution and even since then, is overwhelmed by commerce usurping the control of this nation and other ones.

    For example, we create schools to provide for all children using common resources for the benefit of all children. After the Civil War the higher eductaion institutes of Agriculture and Engineering were established.
    Not by private monies, but common ones, for the benefit of the nation and its members. Commerce would be served, but the individuals primarily as a result of advancement.

    The many violations, etc of this compact we’ve mentioned many times here.

  40. “In a strict sense of the term, I am not so sure society has any “responsibilities” to its members, or that society intentionally teaches anything.”

    As the letter’s Thomas Jefferson wrote on his views, recently quoted by another (GeneH?). As I remember it , TJ meant that when men gather, wherever in the world, they join an implicit compact, or an expressed one. People establish, choosing representation for their many voices and strive for benefit, and out of self-gain motives, submit to work for the common good to enjoy the gains for them and their progeny.

    We constantly discuss here in Sweden, where does our joint responsibility lie which all must contribute to after his own capabiity, and what must the individual supply. What is to the gain of all of us singly and collecyively.

    Corporations enter into the compact and assume a designated role as producer. But they have no responsibility nor responsiveness to joint interests, except as member of a branch organization. They are responsible only to providing a yield to their owners. Thetr sole interest is the interest of their own corporation. If they should have enlightened policies, then it is ultimately with a view to their own gain. Their actual goal is the constraint of others, be it by monopoly, oligopoly, cartels, international trace pacts, international money organizations, eluding regulation and financial burdens, such as by providing work weeks under limits which exclude them from providing health insurance, beating wages down to a level
    where society must through Medicaid and Foodstamps, assume this burden which the corporations refuse to bear.

    They use slave labor, and when called out for that, they point to contract terms to suppliers but do nothing to better. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Just like many of us, singly and jointly do.

    Society is us together, sharing the resources without violent strife.

    I want get into the many problems. But their exists a responsibility between society and the individual, commerce and the common weal—-in both directions. Who bears the greatest blame for abuse is another subject.

    I would only like us to return to the original compact, and return the stolen sovereignity to the people. Educated, mature, honest people with honest representatives.


  41. But I think you must define society in context – it can be macro or micro. The more macro, the more convoluted the norms, teachings, culture, etc., and the more conflict (e.g. world as society). The smaller you get, the more uniform relatively speaking (e.g., small municipalities or even smaller, families). With the worldwide web geographical boundaries are no longer as definitive relative to societies, depending on the condines, e.g., the commenters on this site. I guess you were referring to society as some form of democracy with geographical boundaries.

    I was thinking of society more along the lines of a stricter definition, which is a slippery one – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/society – #1. While we can learn much from society as so defined, I am not sure its purpose is to teach or that it has a responsibility, and that may be a good thing depending on which society we are referring.

    I get your main point, however, and hope as you do.

    “Educated, mature, honest people with honest representatives.”

    I would even settle for just the honest part.

  42. Juris,

    You make me laugh so hard that my chest hurts as does my throat. A seven day old cold caught at the hospiital. They warned, it may be a heart clinic, but it is infectious also.

    I’d settle for honest if it comes to that, the rest will take a lot more time.

    I do see it all interlinked, as do the corporations and our politicians.
    There are really no borders in modern times. Even though states have so-called recognized sovereign rights, it is more and more money that controls all levels of each nation. Money respects no borders or laws but its own. One bank cartel against another And let’s not get into freedom of informtion: merging, buying, Clear Channel (Baines Capital money) postings at all bus booths in Stockholm. Six ad combines cover the whole world. Dredd posted a link leading to 148 multis at the center of it all. No bigger than that. Check with him. External link.

    You don’t have to be paranoid if what you see is right in front of you.

    I understand folks there, they are full of with them and theirs. Not enough active retirees, with no grandchildren to fuss over. So I adopt mine, all of yours indirectly.

    Thanks for the link. You are not explicit. But very good at teasing with ideas. Do you sell stocks too? 😉

    Gotta beddybye now. Hospital ECG tomorrow at 11 AM.

    Say one word to me and I’ll fill a book back at you. Let’s do it again after I followed your link.

  43. Juris,

    Apologies for neither acknowledgeing or discussing your points.
    They simply require more thinking than spouting my thoughts.

    Doesn’t go down. More complicated at higher levels, ie macrocosmos vs the village. We have very few if any left in America.

    Fewer impinging relations visible at lower levels, but they are not insulated from the effects of higher levels. Buying of “jobs” by competing communities et al has brought us out of the farmer, factory paradigm and into an analogy of the human body and mind. We are all more or less specialized cells working in organs, dependent on other specialties to feed us, “clean” us, etc.

    The Chinese are smart. They said it doesn’t matter where they put the jobs, all the workers need are food, rest, and a new pair of red shoes per month
    If we can’t support them where they are, then we’ll starve them out and they will move here.

    Look at our Dust Bowl times. When do we read a Chinese version of Grapes of Wrath.

    And the Chinese copied us. They just were handicapped by a weaker infrastructure and more peasants than we. We started in 1917. Ask Mao when he did.


  44. Exactly why should they not be criminally charged? If this were not a frat party, but — say — a birthday party off campus among non-students, there would be no question.

    Above all else, they participated in providing alcohol to a minor. Businesses lose liquor license of such infractions. Stores where liquor is purchased warn that providing it to a minor is a felony.

    Stop infantilizing the behavior of males just because they’re in a club known for Animal House.

  45. Idealist: no worries, glad to tickle your fancy. Hope your ECG results are normal.


    “Exactly why should they not be criminally charged? If this were not a frat party, but — say — a birthday party off campus among non-students, there would be no question.”

    It all depends on what charge you are referring. I don’t think a charge under the hazing statute would result from your example – providing to minors no doubt- but not hazing. Most birthday parties don’t require attendees to drink alcohol and the purpose of drinking alcohol is usually not to join a group. BTW, in my state, selling alcohol to minors is not a felony.

    I think you may be oversimplfying the issue a bit. Whether those charged are guilty or not is going to boil down to whether they (1) knowlingly required the pledges to drink alcohol and (2) that they knew the purpose of drinking the alcohol was for induction or admission into the fraternity. I anticipate those charged will argue that the pledges were not required to drink the alcohol and that drinking alcohol is not required for admission, either of which would absolve them.

    I wonder if any nondrinkers are members of the fraternity. That would be a plus for those charged under the statute.

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