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What a wonderful world


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

David J. Cieslak

By David J. Cieslak
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 30, 1999

I am continually impressed by the goodness of humanity.

Turn on the news, and you'll hear stories about school crossing guards dying to protect a child from a speeding car.

Volunteers comfort terminally ill people as they take their last gasps of air and children help the elderly who struggle through life in nursing homes.

Sometimes, being alive is enjoyable and being a member of society is a perk.

Other times, however, people can be so despicable and morally corrupt that I wonder about this so-called society we live in.

For me, yesterday was one of those times.

It started at about 2:45 a.m., when I was driving home from work. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of people gathered on the corner of East First Street and North Cherry Avenue.

I figured it was a drunk group of friends wandering the streets, looking for a late-night snack.

Not quite.

Out of nowhere, one of the six men threw a punch at another. That same man was then kicked and his pants were pulled down from his waist.

Other group members joined in, kicking and punching the defenseless man.

My first thought - fraternity hazing incident. Considering the countless stories I've heard about greek violence on this campus, I would not have been surprised if this was yet another pledge being welcomed into a frat with a beating.

My second thought - do not play hero. Do not even think about trying to fight six possibly drunk bastards. Find a phone and call the police.

So I ran down First to the nearest sorority house. But when I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell, no one answered.

Running back to my car, I found two female students walking back to their sorority house.

Perfect - I'll tell them what's happening and they can call the police.

So I explained the situation, asking them to call 621-UAPD because it appears a fraternity hazing incident is underway and a man is being beaten.

Ordinarily, I would have expected the students to run inside their house and grab the nearest phone.

But they didn't.

Instead, one girl asked me the name of the group's fraternity. When I couldn't give an answer and asked them again to go inside and call the police, they half-heartedly agreed and walked away.

But by the time the students were inside, the beating was over. All the "men," including the assault victim, walked away chanting PIKE! PIKE! PIKE! (an apparent reference to Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, although I cannot say for sure that the individuals were members).

For some reason, I had doubts about the female students who I asked to call the police. So I got in my car and drove to the nearest pay phone to notify the police.

Turns out, my instincts about the female students were correct. When I called University of Arizona police yesterday afternoon, a spokeswoman said no one reported the incident.

And once again, criminals were able to escape prosecution for their heinous actions. Maybe the victim wasn't badly hurt, and maybe he didn't care if he was.

Please understand that I know fraternity hazing and brutality toward pledges occurs all the time.

But that doesn't mean I have to accept it.

And it certainly doesn't mean that I have to sympathize with the actions of the sorority members.

These two students knew that a man was being beaten in the middle of the street. But for some reason - possibly because they thought it was a greek ritual - they opted to stay silent.

Like sheep, they followed the rules perpetuated by a brutal system - plead ignorance at all costs. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

Maybe I don't understand the system.

I guess I'm just too immature to realize that assault and battery is acceptable, and that good Samaritanism doesn't always apply.

Silly me for thinking that people had morals.

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