I am normally not in favor of punitive justice…

…but I’m having an awfully hard time not thinking this is a good idea:

A civil trial is under way in the case of an Oregon State University fraternity member who shot a homeless man.

On Oct. 14, 2006, Dennis Sanderson, 41, was shot in the leg with a .22-caliber rifle behind the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house at 331 N.W. 26th St.

A fraternity member, Josh Grimes, pleaded guilty in March 2007 to unlawful use of a weapon and third-degree assaults, both felonies. In September 2007, Sanderson filed a civil lawsuit against Grimes and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Sanderson is seeking payment for medical expenses and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages.

The one caveat I have with this is that I used to know Cameron Krebs, who was the fraternity president at the time, and I got along with him pretty well.  But that’s about the only caveat.  What happened was disgusting, as were a lot of the reactions either downplaying the incident or trying to put distance between the fraternity and the shooting.  The evidence does not exactly point to Grimes being out of the mainstream of the rest of the frat members:

At least two members admitted to having shot at transients with BB guns in the past. Detectives were convinced at least one AGR member in addition to the shooter knew what had happened. One member took two polygraph tests – and failed them both.

Also, this:

But investigation reports say hewasn’t the only one present during the shooting, and he wasn’t the only one who had shot at transients over the past year.

“Alpha Gamma Rho doesn’t stand for that sort of behavior,” said Josh Wackler, director of chapter development for the national fraternity. “Nor tolerate that sort of behavior.”

Right.  It was a bad attempt at face-saving then, and it stinks now.  I actually think OSU should have banned that fraternity from campus after that incident.  I mean, setting aside how shitty it was for Wackler to hang Grimes out to dry, how would anyone from AGR justify this:

Another fraternity member told police that he was present during the shooting. He told police he was in his room at the fraternity when Grimes went “flying by,” saying to get his gun and go with him. He did get his gun and followed Grimes into another room overlooking the alley. Grimes told him there was a “hobo out there.” A that point Grimes shot and hit Sanderson.

The friend, who has not been charged, told police he didn’t realize at the time the ammunition Grimes used – and which he himself had in his rifle – was so powerful. He thought it was more like a BB gun.

What can I say?  Part of me really hopes AGR gets their clock cleaned in the civil suit.  And I’m a little frustrated that the frat idea as a whole escaped being connected to this, because it was so clearly representative of the mentality of more than one person.

UPDATE Check out this GT story on some of the testimony:

“I don’t accept the premise that there was any culture of animosity toward the homeless,” [AGR Executive Director] Josephson said.

Really?  Seriously?  How does he explain this:

Hayes said a discussion among frat members later revealed that people had shot off BB guns at or near Sanderson.

Hayes also said he didn’t see Sanderson display any signs of a leg injury.

A former cook for the fraternity said she occasionally heard the students shooting BB guns out there windows at leaves or squirrels.

Not only is that evidence that there were multiple incidents involving multiple people, but the implication that shooting at Sanderson was OK as long as they missed him makes me want to throw up.

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6 Comments on “I am normally not in favor of punitive justice…”

  1. Eric deBear Says:

    Is your negative position unrealistic or even a bit of reverse-bias since this type of activity is part and parcel of the elitist and exclusionary “frat” experience.
    Further, these social groups clearly have important functions above so called Greek “honor, academic or community service” fraternities.
    Additionally, it is clear, weapons are needed on many campuses and Greek houses to provide hunting tools and you apparently do not see the need for frequent target practice, whatever ammunition is used.

  2. Susan Says:

    I agree with Dennis completely. I was soooo p**sed when I read about this.

    What happened to the policy concerning enrolled students and guns on campus?

    I believe that OSU has a certain amount of responsibility because they choose NOT to ban AGR and their frat of human hunters.

  3. Dennis Says:

    Susan – since Greek houses are not located on campus, the shooting wasn’t on campus.

  4. Connie Says:

    Eric, are you for real?

    Seems this frat is way off base. What do they do to puppies and kittens on Halloween?

  5. Dennis Says:

    Connie – I think Eric’s being sarcastic. If not, Eric, let us know =)

  6. Eric deBear Says:

    Some say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit…but the highest form of intelligence.

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