Dear young man whose skull slammed against cement last night,
Walking through the parking lot late last night I saw you; a young drunk college kid crawling on all fours fighting with a few friends. Suddenly, a crack whipped through the air; the deafening sound of your skull slamming against the concrete. It was as a startling as it was unbelievable. My friends and I stood frozen, paralyzed by the sight of your limp body. I thought you were dead.
No one spoke for minutes. I walked forward slowly and realized the friend who slugged you was in shock too. He had no idea his own strength. He had no way of knowing his right hook might have just caused permanent brain damage. Standing a few feet away from your limp body, I asked them to put aside everything and focus on your brain health, and we agreed to call an ambulance. I didn’t know if they had weapons, I just knew you were in rough shape.
Ten minutes passed; your body stayed lifeless. “ You guys can go, we’re fine. He was just drunk”, one of your frat brothers ranted nonsensically, trying to shoo us away from the crime scene claiming it was self defense. My guy friend explained how hitting someone is never normal, that you were so helpless on your hands and knees and it couldn’t possibly have been self defense. It was a surreal thing to watch this young man defend his fraternity, delusionally claiming this behavior was acceptable because you’re all “ brothers”.
A cop car pulled up and started taking down notes. My guy friend walked him through the facts, gave his testimony. We all parted ways and I walked towards my car, noting that you were no longer unconscious but now quietly sobbing — moving barely — but alive. The ambulance we called pulled up, and relieved we went home.
As my friend and I got in my car to leave, one of the college girls approached my car and thanked us for helping out. We couldn’t imagine not. I wondered what would have happened if we didn’t jump in, if we didn’t call the ambulance, if we didn’t talk to the other boys and explain the gravity of the situation. Maybe nothing. And maybe everything. We have a responsibly to a global family, a universal code of humanity — so when we see fallen brothers and sisters, we act as we would if it was our own blood in trouble.
The ride home was heavy. Heavy with worry for the fate of you two young men; one may have charges pressed, one may never recover full brain function. How did you two get here? How are we responsible for creating a socially accepted system that breeds violence amongst young men? That this is considered acceptable under the guise of hazing?
In the snap of a skull slamming concrete, two lives have been changed.
Sending love to both of you young men, hoping you each receive the lessons needed to grow out of this toxic state of masculinity. I’m hoping that something more powerful rises above this unfathomable act; that tonight jolts you awake and inspires you to care for each other as true brothers. You now know the alternative is a zero sum game blood bath.