Three prison guards in York County, Pennsylvania have been suspended and face charges for abusing inmates. That’s a pretty crappy abuse of power, and is exactly the kind of stuff that makes liberals cry out for prison reform and lament the “poor little criminals.”
However, reading what they did certainly made me raise an eyebrow, albeit for a different reason. The guards are accused of making the prisoners do “a range of activities, from eating a spoonful of cinnamon to taking pepper spray to the face…drinking a gallon of milk, eating unpeeled fruit and taking part in wrestling matches to win privileges.”
Why does that sound so familiar?
Of course my fraternity was a non-hazing organization, but during pledging, I may or may not have eaten a spoonful of cinnamon, chugged a gallon of milk, and took part in pledge wrestling for points…you know, for my own fun. I can’t say I’ve ever been pepper sprayed, and I’m not sure what the big deal is about eating fruit that hasn’t been peeled because I’m older than five, but this entire report can’t help but make me harken back to days of damp basements and Pantera.
The difference, of course, is that I wanted to be there and eventually I would be on the other side — the man in control. These prisoners were already lacking all control, held there against their will, and if that wasn’t bad enough, forced to do the cinnamon and dairy challenges and fight each other for the guard’s amusement.
Hazing is always a touchy subject, but essentially it exists as a rite of passage. When done just because you’re in control and you can, it’s no longer hazing, really. It’s just sociopathic.