- Faith & Family
Some are claiming that with the recent decision of state prosecutors to increase the charge against a dozen former FAMU band members from third-degree felony hazing to manslaughter, Robert Champion, Jr. and his family can finally expect a semblance of justice. With these new charges, the young men who hazed the 26-year-old drum major and allegedly caused his death, could face up to 15 years in prison — double the six-year maximum for felony hazing.
However, the real tragedy is that a young man with tremendous potential and with a bevy of hopes and dreams has lost his life — all because he wanted to be part of the FAMU Marching 100 tradition. And as everyone knew, to become part of that lifelong ‘team” meant undergoing hazing. Still, he surely didn’t sign up for death — and those with more scruples and sanity should have stepped in and ensured his safety.
On the other hand, there are young men whose actions, whether based on impulse or premeditation, have drastically altered the course of their lives forever. They will have to acknowledge their roles in the death of Champion. It is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Instead of looking forward to graduations, new jobs, marriages and families, they must now contend with the fact that they may be headed to prison as convicted felons.
As for the family of Robert Champion, while one report recently described his parents as being “elated” after hearing that the charges against their son’s assailants had been upgraded, we can’t help but think that “elated” in an inaccurate description of their current state of mind. No matter how the case is resolved or how much financial renumeration may be awarded to his family, nothing will be able to bring Champion back to life.
We cannot predict how things will play out in court for the 12 accused young men but one thing is for certain — in the end there will be no winners.