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OPINION - The initiation

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  At my radio station in New York, one of our older announcers was very excited that he was going to join the Masons. Didn't I know there were two other people on staff who were also members? No, I didn't. I didn't really care, and didn't really keep track of who was a member of which social club. I'm sure we also had Elks Club and Moose Club members. It just wasn't on my radar.


For the next few months I'd joke with my coworker about what the initiation was like.


"Hey Jim," I'd say, "that guy in the hooded robe who was paddling you last night was actually Ed from accounting."


It was a running joke about who was doing what to whom to get into the club. To them it was serious. To me it was a little silly. To each their own.


Even today it reminds me of the old Groucho Marx line, "I wouldn't want to be a part of a club that would have me as a member."


Now consider another "club" -- a gang. (That's what a gang is; a club with violent tendencies.)


Everest-Metro police arrested five juveniles in a savage gang initiation. The new member was viciously beaten. It was filmed and posted on Facebook. Apparently the smack-down is a requirement of gang membership. The "victim"'s parents saw the video on-line and called the cops.


Imagine what kind of void there must be in someone's life to be willing to endure that in the name of belonging. 


Imagine what these animals might to do to you or me. We're not members.