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The death of Michael Davis a year ago continues to leave scars. Davis, a student at Southeast Missouri State University, died following fraternity hazing in which he was beaten. Several of his fraternity brothers were subsequently charged with various crimes.

There have been lessons learned from this tragedy:-- Regardless of policies and laws, bad things happen. Hazing has been a part of communal rituals since prehistoric times, and the practice continues, in one form or another, despite efforts to prevent major harm. Indeed, just this week four Army Rangers died during rigorous training that many would call hazing as part of their acceptance into an elite fighting unit.-- There is a renewed awareness that dangerous hazing is still with us. University officials, students and politicians across Missouri have taken note of what happened on a February night last year. The practice has been decried, and there have been calls for tougher laws to prohibit hazing. The fact is that there are plenty of laws on the books that set stiff penalties for killing someone. Yet murders continue at an alarming rate.-- The public is indignent over the mild sentences received by those involved in the hazing death. Insult is added to injury when the man convicted of involuntary manslaugter is out of jail is under two weeks. While this may make good sense in a justice system overburdened by demands for jailing criminals, the family and friends of Michael Davis -- and many others -- will never understand how this makes sense.

In the aftermath of any tragic death, there are haunting questions, many which will never be answered. Some of the scars will heal, while others will always fester.

In the end, the positive memories of the life of Michael Davis will be his enduring legacy, not the clamor for retribution. Like the grieving process, it will take time to move beyond those terrible memories. And there will always be the realization that it could happen again.