Party Host Mom Set for Va. Jail Term
June 8, 2007 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Alcohol at Son's 16th Gets 27-Month Sentence.
posted by anitanita (158 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't think I ever went to party where there wasn't alcohol when I was sixteen. That mother should be commended for doing the responsible thing.
posted by dydecker at 11:04 PM on June 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


At 15-16 years old, I wouldn't buy it for my kid. I would collect car keys and keep an eye on things and tell them that I don't want to see anything or know anything.

I would tell them that if i saw any alcohol I would take it (ie keep it out of sight).

Do I think she crossed certain lines? Yes. Does she deserve to go away for two years? Probably not, no.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:09 PM on June 8, 2007


Good. No mother for two years will definitely straighten him out.
posted by OrangeDrink at 11:11 PM on June 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


Ryan Kenty, 20...Ryan's 16th birthday party

So, how old is he? Not that it matters much. Adults bought alcohol for minors. They go to jail. What's the point of this post?
posted by sluglicker at 11:11 PM on June 8, 2007


"Politics had nothing to do with it. I've seen too many photographs of teenagers being killed in car wrecks because of drinking and driving."

But the judge, angry about the recent death of one of Ryan's classmates at Albemarle High School in an alcohol-related crash,

Considering the keys were taken away, I'm not sure how any of that was relevant to this case.

What a bunch of maroons.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:15 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


sluglicker: they have been appealling the case for that long. He was 16 when the party happened; he is 20 now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:18 PM on June 8, 2007


posted by CitrusFreak12
posted by OrangeDrink


What are the odds of that?
posted by sluglicker at 11:19 PM on June 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


Yes, agreed -- maroons. Two years in jail? Actual drunk drivers don't get that long!

On the other hand, my son is fifteen-and-a-half. I cannot imagine thinking it would be a good idea to buy alcohol for kids that age.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:22 PM on June 8, 2007


Actually, dydecker, CitrusFreak12 and OrangeDrink have taken up the point of this post in their responses - I'm interested in people's opinion of 'does the punishment fit the crime', and, how many of us have a) been to a party where alcohol was served when we were underage; b) have (or would) buy our children alcohol to 'keep them at home'. Lastly, it seems as if the judge is 'trying to send a message' - so I'm curious about what message the community is hearing in this sentence.
posted by anitanita at 11:22 PM on June 8, 2007


I think the point of the post is that people's lives are being ruined over nothing.

Yeah, they broke the law. For that, 90 days as suggested by the County Attorney might be reasonable, although community service would seem like a better idea for dealing with people who were misguided but were trying to be responsible, after a fashion.

The judge however, angry over another unrelated matter, sentenced them to eight years. The wonderfully lenient 27-month sentence was what they got out of their appeal.

I don't quite follow the "fuck 'em" attitude. Adults bought alcohol for minors. They go to jail. Justice was served, eh? What good comes of this?
posted by Ickster at 11:28 PM on June 8, 2007


No, the punishment did not fit the crime.
Yes, I've been to a party where alcohol was served when I was underage.
Yes, I would buy my kids alcohol.

Settled? Good. We can close this now.

Or, not. What I don't understand is why kids at age are allowed to drive by themselves anyway. If they're not legally an adult then why are they given so much responsibility?
posted by liquorice at 11:30 PM on June 8, 2007


anitanita, I'm guessing you meant me and not dydecker. Adults bought alcohol not only for their own kids, but their friends as well. It's against the law. This is a pretty standard punishment where I come from. This is not interesting, newsworthy, unusual or best-of-the-web.
posted by sluglicker at 11:31 PM on June 8, 2007


at that age
posted by liquorice at 11:31 PM on June 8, 2007


Hmh. That's an interesting point, liquorce. Does anyone know why the legal driving age is under 18?
posted by anitanita at 11:35 PM on June 8, 2007


We can never be too careful in this Post 9/11 world.
posted by chlorus at 11:40 PM on June 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


This is not interesting, newsworthy, unusual or best-of-the-web.

Says you.

Apparently a lot of other people think it's interesting, clearly it's newsworthy, I think it's unusual and can we fucking stop it with this "best of the web" bullshit?

Sluglicker, your shitting is blocking the orangey smell of this thread and it is making me sad.

Flag it and move on, take it to MeTa, or maybe discuss your beef with this post/situation in a less caustic manner, please?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:43 PM on June 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Anitanita: Historicaly, youths needed to drive to perform farming chores.

Punishment does not fit the crime. But I suppose it is reflective of the glorious Family Values, and will certainly do much to teach that family proper respect for the law.

We can't have parents buying alcohol for minors. They must see it, smell it, but never ever drink it before coming of age. This is to assure the breweries and distillers that when the kids become young adults, they will flock to purchase an abundance of alcohol, and worship at the shrine of the porcelain prophet. Otherwise, they might end up spending their lives consuming in moderate amounts. And that would be bad for America business.
posted by Goofyy at 11:43 PM on June 8, 2007 [6 favorites]


With all due respect, I don't believe it is my role to convince anyone of the 'interesting, newsworthy, unusual or best-of-the-webness' of this topic. I can only share that it is interesting to me, (and apparently the Washington Post, since it's featured prominently on their website) because while it may be a standard punishment thoughout the 50 states (is it?), I do wonder if it is an appropriate punishment.
posted by anitanita at 11:44 PM on June 8, 2007


can we fucking stop it with this "best of the web" bullshit?

You can stop anytime you want.
posted by The World Famous at 11:47 PM on June 8, 2007


Depending on the area, getting alcohol as a minor can be a trivial thing. I speak from experience as a (once) minor in that part of Virginia.

These parents strike me as being more responsible than most. This is a rural area where more sinister substances could have been available. They controlled the situation and kept everyone safe.

I hope the parents of the kids my kid hangs out with have as much sense.
posted by EmptyK at 12:08 AM on June 9, 2007


Maybe he can get out early because of an undisclosed medical condition.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:16 AM on June 9, 2007


Maybe he can get out early because of an undisclosed medical condition.

The mother happens to be a she.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:28 AM on June 9, 2007


Apologies. Obviously, anitanita (and others) found this interesting else she wouldn't have spent the time posting. I'll take CitrusFreak12's suggestions.
posted by sluglicker at 12:29 AM on June 9, 2007


Welcome to Virginia, the Wahhabi police state!

Do drunk drivers even get this much time?

So if you can get sent to jail for 8 years (the original sentence) for trying to provide a safe environment for teenagers to drink and not drive... what should be the punishment for sending teenagers to die in a foreign land based on a bunch of lies?

This case sends a horrible message: if you try to prevent your kids from driving when they drink, and thereby risk their own lives as well as the lives of innocent members of the community, you can go to jail.

So... if you know your kids and their friends drink, your only realistic legal options are to 1) lock them indoors 24-7 to make sure they never go to parties (including graduation parties) or 2) just pray they don't get into a horrible accident.

This is on par with the kind of illogical shitheadery that's so popular in the brutality-happy culture of Southern states, like teaching abstinence only in place of sex education. If you break a minor law, you apparently deserve to suffer severe consequences - disease, disfiguring injuries, or even death.

No matter how much these holier than thou thugs want to deny it, a certain (large) percentage of minors are going to do things they disapprove of, like drink and have sex. Making it illegal for teenagers to engage in these activities is one thing, but please have a sane and realistic appreciation for the reality-based members of society who are trying to reduce the risks of life and limb for those students they know are going to engage in these activities one way or another.

This is an obscene punishment, not to mention an unbelievable waste of time, money, and peoples lives.

Tell me again, why didn't we let the South secede? All we'd have to do is let Texas go to return a sane balance to the federal government.
posted by Davenhill at 12:40 AM on June 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


The sad thing is that even if she'd had signed permission slips from every parent, somebody/everybody would still have to be to blame for... wait, what was the problem exactly?
An adult provided a supervised environment for kids who were determined to party?
Kids will always want to do grownup things. In Germany, even though it's legal to drink beer, most teens prefer soda. In America, even though it's legal to drink coffee, most kids prefer soda.

Here's a frivolous idea: up the education, and just drop the taboo already.
posted by hypersloth at 12:44 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's that: War on Drugs or War on Mothers?
posted by homodigitalis at 12:44 AM on June 9, 2007


This whole case is mindboggling to me. Here in the UK, the legal drinking age is 5 - as long as its on private premises with parental permission. 16 year olds can legally drink in pubs, if served with a meal (but they can't buy it on their own), and the age to buy it on your own is 18 - pretty much all rights kick in at 18 here. Driving is 17.

Pretty much all of europe has no restrictions on drinking in the home with parental consent. 16 year olds drinking at a party under supervision of the mother, with no chance of driving afterwards? She should be commended for her care!

America - is it any wonder that alcohol is used so irresponsibly when it's treated like some terrible curse? If only you could introduce young people to alcohol slowly, in small amounts, in social situations as they grow up. Make it normal. Show them that it's better to have a glass of wine with dinner and friends or family, that you don't need to go out and drink bottles of cider in secret in some park with your friends, and then drive home afterwards.

Alas, some parents in the UK too are heading down the American path and treating alcohol like some adult secret which children shall never access - which of course just makes them want to experiment with it. It's such a shame when we have such a heritage of fine ales and stouts.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:00 AM on June 9, 2007 [16 favorites]


You know some foreign countries, 16 is the legal age for alcohol. America is so whack.
posted by j-urb at 1:01 AM on June 9, 2007


(You beat me to it ArkharnJG).
posted by j-urb at 1:02 AM on June 9, 2007


insanity.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:03 AM on June 9, 2007


When I was 16, the legal drinking age was 18. I'd go out to lunch with my mom at a local Chinese restaurant, and because I was with my mom, no one asked for ID, and I'd have a Mai Tai. I also started work in an office at a large company when I was 16, and attended all the corporate parties, replete with booze. No one batted an eye, and my parents' only concern was that I didn't drive after drinking (Mom or Dad came and picked me up after said revelry). I grew up to be a responsible, law-abiding adult, and so far my liver tests have always come back normal.

Seriously, the US needs to re-think its attitude on alcohol.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:13 AM on June 9, 2007


This is all manner of twisted...
But the judge, angry about the recent death of one of Ryan's classmates at Albemarle High School in an alcohol-related crash, sentenced them to eight years.
Definitely makes sense to vent your anger on a mother trying to prevent drunk driving, then. Idiot.

And don't miss the part where this case apparently made him decide to cancel college plans. But you know, getting a buzz on was the real risk to his future.

One last thing, the article says "her sons will be able to visit her only once a month for 15 minutes at a time." This isn't standard, is it? That seems incredibly draconian, are they saying she's providing an abusive environment or something?
posted by Riki tiki at 1:27 AM on June 9, 2007


This isn't an especially interesting newsfilter FPP, other than the fact that it points out the silliness of America's blue laws.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:34 AM on June 9, 2007


I find it to be an absolutely ridiculous situation. American booze laws/attitudes are so fucking crazy. Come to Scotland where at New Year even young kids can have a beer (though most prefer a Coke or Irn Bru) to celebrate. I would love to see the police rounding up all the parents in the country for this. Seriously, there are better things to be worrying about then kids getting boozed at a 16th birthday party.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:01 AM on June 9, 2007


Horrid situation. But, gotta point out, this is not an "American" thing. Attitudes towards alcohol and justice vary wildly county to county there.
posted by converge at 2:13 AM on June 9, 2007


Speaking as a European, articles like this worry me just as much as those about water board torture or extraordinary rendition. It indicates a sickness within American society.

I put this to you: America is a country stuck in its own version of a medieval period. It's ruled by a high number of religious zealots who have crazy ideas, such as the belief that suffering is somehow the answer to everything.

I'm starting to think that nations have some kind of memory, and that they have to go through various stages in order to learn. America is just too young. It's still got a lot of learning to do. Europe's already been through this kind of thing.

The trouble is that if America goes wrong, it'll drag the rest of the world down with it. It already got several other nations involved in an unjust war that was fought because of the president's personal vendetta.
posted by humblepigeon at 2:55 AM on June 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm beginning to think that the US attitude to alcohol and the UK attitude to gun control are symmetrical; each is rather too permissive about one, restrictive and hung up about the other, and considers the attitude across the Atlantic a bit crazy.
posted by Luddite at 3:26 AM on June 9, 2007


Methylviolet writes 'On the other hand, my son is fifteen-and-a-half. I cannot imagine thinking it would be a good idea to buy alcohol for kids that age.'

And yet in those cultures where children grow up drinking alcohol with their parents, they tend to drink more responsibly and have fewer problems with alcoholism and drunk driving.

In the UK, it's perfectly legal for an adult to purchase alcohol for a child to consume with their meal, and perfectly legal for children to consume alcohol in the home. The emphasis is on responsible drinking, not abstinence and prohibition.

When will the USA shake off it's puritan past?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:30 AM on June 9, 2007


Luddite writes 'I'm beginning to think that the US attitude to alcohol and the UK attitude to gun control are symmetrical; each is rather too permissive about one, restrictive and hung up about the other, and considers the attitude across the Atlantic a bit crazy.'

Except for this: one thing is designed to induce pleasure. The other is designed to induce death.

Now I know this may be a peculiarly European idea, so I apologize in advance if it seems alien to some of you, but if *I* had to err on one side or the other, I'm gonna go with the pleasure-inducing stuff, rather than the death-dealing stuff.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:35 AM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I put this to you: America is a country stuck in its own version of a medieval period. It's ruled by a high number of religious zealots who have crazy ideas, such as the belief that suffering is somehow the answer to everything.

I might agree with you, except that it's not medieval. I wish people would stop stereotyping and denigrating the medieval period without basis. For one thing, the medievals were decided UNpuritantical - they loved beer (they were also much more free about talking about sex). The Puritains (in the late 16th and 17th centuries), now they were Puritainical. I don't remember if they were Teetotallers, but they were definitely against alehouses.
posted by jb at 3:38 AM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd have few objections to serving my 16 year old and consider it no business of mine if any other parent serves theirs. I'd have big problems with another parent serving my kid and lying to me about it though.
posted by klarck at 3:39 AM on June 9, 2007


While America's drinking laws may not be perfect, the americans seem to have been living with them without too much trouble. The problem here was an angry judge that decided that justice was to take 2nd place to his moral message.

I would support, argue and pay for that this judge be put to death. But i'm not an american.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:52 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


For one thing, the medievals were decided UNpuritantical

I don't know a great deal about the medieval period, above and beyond common knowledge, but I stick by what I said. This isn't about puritanism. it's about modern America chiming with some commonly-held beliefs about the characteristics of medievalism, particularly the dark ages (either literally or metaphorically). Torture, witch hunting, the idea of suffering as a panacea, crusades, a lack of faith in science and learning...

American might be technologically modern, but in many ways it's thinking is based in the 9th century.
posted by humblepigeon at 3:56 AM on June 9, 2007


in many ways its thinking is based in the 9th century (sans apostrophe)
posted by humblepigeon at 3:58 AM on June 9, 2007


"And yet in those cultures where children grow up drinking alcohol with their parents, they tend to drink more responsibly and have fewer problems with alcoholism and drunk driving.

In the UK, it's perfectly legal for an adult to purchase alcohol for a child to consume with their meal, and perfectly legal for children to consume alcohol in the home. The emphasis is on responsible drinking, not abstinence and prohibition."


Yeah, those Brits certainly have a handle on their alcohol, all right.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:03 AM on June 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think the sentence is crazy myself -- one of the first times I ever got drunk was at a high school New Years' gathering, and the mother of a friend took our keys, let us go down to the basement, and that was that. She didn't buy anything for us, so maybe that's the difference. But nobody drove drunk that night, that's for damn sure. Nobody drove period.

I'd only fault the mom for not realizing that it's the 21 century though, and Americans tend to go completely apeshit insane when it comes to stuff like this. There's a weird infantile streak in American culture -- for all their talk about limited government, Republican ideology really is all about letting Daddy Government make all of your decisions for you, especially when it comes to raising children. We've become a hypocritical nation of boot-lickers.
posted by bardic at 4:38 AM on June 9, 2007


You know, I've only said that if I had kids that age that wanted to drink, I'd let them. They just go out drinking in college anyway, so we may as well get rid of it "oohh, I'm gonna get so smashed because my parents can't tell me not to!" idea in their heads.

Big deal. Alcohol at 16. Don't kids younger than that drink in Europe everyday?

This is so perfect. I guess the younger brother goes into foster care now, or will be looked after by his brother.

It's against the law.

Fuck the law.
posted by triolus at 4:58 AM on June 9, 2007


Yeah, but at most, she'll serve three days before getting sent home for having a rash.
posted by Eideteker at 5:10 AM on June 9, 2007


America is just too young. It's still got a lot of learning to do. Europe's already been through this kind of thing.

i look forward to the day when america can grow up and kill millions of its own people in repeated genocidal frenzies so the europeans can come over and save us from ourselves

obviously, that's what adult continents do if the last 100 years is any guide

i'm not going to argue it any further, but it's ridiculous for europeans to look down on us with their track record
posted by pyramid termite at 5:22 AM on June 9, 2007 [8 favorites]


as far as the sentence is concerned, it seems somewhat harsh ... however, there's an aggravating circumstance here

"Not only were they serving alcohol to 15- and 16-year-olds, they misled parents who called to ask about alcohol, and they tried to get the kids to cover it up after police got there,"

this is actively interfering with the right and ability of other parents to control what their kids are doing and is on a different level than merely providing them with alcohol ... they weren't charged with providing alcohol for underaged drinkers, they were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor ... it's not just that they served alcohol, it's that they lied about it to the kids' parents when they asked
posted by pyramid termite at 5:34 AM on June 9, 2007


The couple initially were charged with 16 misdemeanor counts, but seven of the partygoers had no alcohol in their systems. Of the nine who did, all were below the legal limit for intoxication, according to Wren. -- (the article)

Not only did she take their keys, the kids were not even over the legal driving limit (although in this state, there is a lower driving limit for those under 21)

There has been a push by groups like MADD and others to associate all drinking (no matter the quantity) with drinking and driving, and to try to make all drinking socially unacceptable. This judge apparently conflated the two and charged her as if she'd sent 16 drunk underage drivers on their way.

My favorite excess is arresting Amish kids being pulled home drunk in horse-drawn carriages. Presumably the horses are not drunk, so where's the risk?

Does anyone know why the legal driving age is under 18? --anitanita

Because nothing magical happens at 18? It's not like 16 year olds can't drive, and punishing law-abiding teens for the actions of others makes no sense.

Pretty much all of europe has no restrictions on drinking in the home with parental consent. -- ArkhanJG

I think that's how it is in most of the US, but this woman served it to kids who were not her own, and apparently mislead other parents. Not that I think the sentence is appropriate at all.

I put this to you: America is a country stuck in its own version of a medieval period. It's ruled by a high number of religious zealots who have crazy ideas, such as the belief that suffering is somehow the answer to everything. -- humblepigeon

Well look, laws about this are state laws, and different states get to choose how to deal with situations like this on their own.
posted by delmoi at 5:42 AM on June 9, 2007


yeah, but why were they asked? It's pretty odd for a parent to call and say "Is my son going to be drinking at the party?" The question is why would that person make that call in the first place? And then once the mother said "No, he's not", why would the parent come down? The only explanation I could think of is that that is one control freak parent who a) calls up the party and asks b) doesn't believe the answer and c) then calls the police.
posted by dydecker at 5:43 AM on June 9, 2007


Because nothing magical happens at 18?

But if you're only regarded as an adult at the age of 18 why on earth are you given the huge responsibility that comes with driving when you're still a minor?
posted by liquorice at 5:54 AM on June 9, 2007


I mean which is worse: lying to someone about what their kid is drinking or picking up the phone and calling the police on a party?
posted by dydecker at 5:54 AM on June 9, 2007


And it's got nothing to do with magic or not. If the government thinks you're incapable of drinking responsibly and voting at that age how can they think being allowed to drive is appropriate?
posted by liquorice at 5:59 AM on June 9, 2007


And yet in those cultures where children grow up drinking alcohol with their parents, they tend to drink more responsibly and have fewer problems with alcoholism and drunk driving.

Evidence? Having lived in some of these places, I doubt it's true. I'll tell you this tho, in countries where drinking is illegal they have fewer problems with alcoholism and drunk driving.
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:07 AM on June 9, 2007


that all attempts to influence...by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness
posted by larry_darrell at 6:12 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


They lived on Bleak House Road. They should have known better than to get involved with the law.
posted by ubiquity at 6:58 AM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


America: Tough on Crime That Didn't Actually Hurt Anyone
posted by adipocere at 7:05 AM on June 9, 2007


well look, laws about this are state laws, and different states get to choose how to deal with situations like this on their own.

not quite, delmoi. while this is traditionally a topic of state law, there is a federal law which provides for the withholding of a certain percentage of federal highway funds from states with a minimum drinking age lower than 21.

obviously, the answer to this is to let the kids bring their own alcohol and marijuana, and just play dumb if the cops come.
posted by bruce at 7:42 AM on June 9, 2007


yeah, but why were they asked? It's pretty odd for a parent to call and say "Is my son going to be drinking at the party?"

I don't know -- when my daughter was in kindergarten and had her first sleepover party, one of the parents asked if she could come over to make sure our house was gun, drug, and alcohol free before she allowed her daughter to come to the party....
posted by mothershock at 7:44 AM on June 9, 2007


I think the sentence is a little harsh in this case. Unfortunately, 'a little harsh' is probably typical for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have never dealt directly with their justice system, but from what others have related to me, decisions in this category are not uncommon.

Personally, I just try to stay the hell away from Virginia.
posted by Kikkoman at 7:48 AM on June 9, 2007


America: Tough on Crime That Didn't Actually Hurt Anyone

as a parent, i have the right to say that my underage kid should not be drinking ... and someone handing him or her a drink and lying about it to me is hurting me and my kid
posted by pyramid termite at 7:49 AM on June 9, 2007


Didn't the UK shut pubs at 11 PM for many years? Now that is a silly alcohol law.
posted by smackfu at 7:52 AM on June 9, 2007


This reminds of the 55 mph speed restriction. 10 years ago I knew Americans who were seriously scared to go at 70mph. And yet that law had been in operation for barely a generation. There is something about how cultures lose their memory. Likewise 21 as the legal age for drinking. It is treated as if it has been around since 1776. In fact, it dates from 1984
posted by A189Nut at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2007


i have the right to say that my underage kid should not be drinking ... and someone handing him or her a drink and lying about it to me is hurting me and my kid

Yes, but the appropriate thing to do in that situation is grab your kid by the scruff of the neck and drag him home. End of. Do you think the parent was right to call the police?
posted by dydecker at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2007


Do you think the parent was right to call the police?

Why are you suggesting that it's wrong to report illegal activity, just because it doesn't seem that bad to you? It's still illegal.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:10 AM on June 9, 2007


dydecker, there may be complicating factors to that part of the story. What if the party had been at this guy's house?

In other words, what if the parents hosting it gave you the heebie-jeebies? They hadn't (yet) done anything specifically wrong to justify prohibiting your kid from attending, but you certainly wouldn't want your child there, overnight, being given intoxicating substances.

As much as I oppose this judgement on every other basis, that part of it was a big no-no.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:13 AM on June 9, 2007


Why are you suggesting that it's wrong to report illegal activity, just because it doesn't seem that bad to you? It's still illegal.

Because we all should judge whether things are bad according to our own moral principles, not according to the law. Check this chart.
posted by dydecker at 8:24 AM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


riki tiki, your eg is a bit hypothetical because surely that man would never throw a party.
posted by dydecker at 8:29 AM on June 9, 2007


Pyramid Termite: What, we don't have our own history of genocide?

end derail.
posted by absalom at 8:31 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Likewise 21 as the legal age for drinking. It is treated as if it has been around since 1776. In fact, it dates from 1984

It's interesting... since it changed 23 years ago, and the only people who really care about the drinking age are aged 21 and under, it has essentially been changed "forever" at this point.
posted by smackfu at 8:34 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I made a big mistake. I know that," Kelly, a stay-at-home mother, said this week. "I am so sorry." Her son Ryan was so distraught that he dropped out of school and wants to serve her sentence for her.

There needs to be a new constitutional amendment or law of some sort. The "no harm, no foul" amendment. As a broad outline, if no one was hurt, nothing was stolen or destroyed, no one was forced to do anything against their will, and no intentional attempt was made to do any of the above, there can be no jail time, or maybe only a month, something like that. We'd have a much nicer country then. Putting people in prison seems to have become worse for everyone in society except the government, cops, and the owners of prisons than half the crimes people go to prison for.

There is something about how cultures lose their memory. Likewise 21 as the legal age for drinking. It is treated as if it has been around since 1776. In fact, it dates from 1984


Yeah, seriously. Off the top of my head, "illegal drugs" only became a concept at the federal level about 100 years ago, starting with opium. (Haven't done a lot of research on that, so I could be wrong though.) Marijuana was 70 years ago - there should actually be some old people around who smoked it legally. (That one I'm sure of.) The "tradition" of diamond engagement rings only goes back to a marketing campaign in the 1930s. I just looked it up and the concept of having a drinking age seems to also only go back to the 30's. I think once people grow up with something, it's hard to realize that it hasn't been around forever.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:34 AM on June 9, 2007


Because we all should judge whether things are bad according to our own moral principles, not according to the law. Check this chart.

And what if your moral principles coincide with the law?
posted by 23skidoo at 8:39 AM on June 9, 2007


Why are you suggesting that it's wrong to report illegal activity, just because it doesn't seem that bad to you? It's still illegal.

I'd say when the punishment is worse for society than the crime is, it's morally wrong to report an illegal activity. In this case, the mom is suffering in jail, had she been a working mom rather than stay-at-home she would no longer be working, we're paying to keep her in jail, her sons are separated from her, and the older son is not attending college.

Contrast with the negligible harms done by some 16-year olds getting drunk below the legal limit and sleeping at their friends' house.

In short, I'm never calling the cops without an immediate danger present or a very thorough consideration of the consequences to everyone.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:41 AM on June 9, 2007


The mom is going to jail and will only get to visit with her sons ONCE a month for 15 minutes at a time - anyone who thinks the punishment fits this crime is just as fucked as... fuck, I don't even know what to say about this I'm blown away.

Then again, I grew up in Calgary with a drinking age of 18 that wasn't enforced upon anyone under the age of 16 and I'm really hungover today.
posted by jeffmik at 8:49 AM on June 9, 2007


Dina Lohan - come on down.
posted by Webbster at 8:52 AM on June 9, 2007


Okay, so when I was underage and living in San Diego, they were REALLY strict about not serving people under 21. So you know what we kids all did? We snuck into our cars and drove a half hour. Parked. Walked across the Mexican border. Hailed a scary ass taxi & said we wanted to go to Revolucion. Then we'd wander from place to place and drink whatever was put in front of us for the most part. Because we were 17 and stupid. Then then night would get progressively blurrier and more surreal and scary until round-up time where I had to figure out where everyone was and push them all into another scary cab. (Fortunately none of us ever got arrested or abducted, we were really lucky.) Then we'd stagger across the border bridge together (usually singing "God Bless America") and sleep in the car until one of us felt okay to drive the half hour back to San Diego.

But yeah, having mom buy us beer would've probably been a lot more dangerous.

To this day, all i have to do is THINK about those bacon-wrapped hotdogs they sell on the streetcorners of Revolucion & I get nauseous.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:54 AM on June 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'd say when the punishment is worse for society than the crime is, it's morally wrong to report an illegal activity.

I'd almost agree with you, if I was certain that everyone knew the full extent to which people could be punished for any given activity. But people don't know that information.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:55 AM on June 9, 2007


1. It was not these adults' places to serve alcohol to the children of other parents who probably don't want their kids drinking. Those other parents had no idea it was going to happen, and as such had no say in the matter.

2. The length of this sentence is ridiculous in comparison to how little time drunk drivers, who are inarguably more of a danger to others, serve after being convicted.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:02 AM on June 9, 2007


I mostly avoided alcohol when I was in high school, but I have one friend whose mom would do this. She would specifically get everyone to sleep over and sleep it off. I remember wondering if that was legal and looking it up and I thought in California, at least in the early 90s that it was ok at a private residence.
posted by mathowie at 9:04 AM on June 9, 2007


I would tell them that if i saw any alcohol I would take it (ie keep it out of sight).

Good point. They raised the stakes of what is kept out of sight.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:15 AM on June 9, 2007


Well, I'm never asking my mother to buy me alcohol again.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:17 AM on June 9, 2007


It's not as if the mother was letting them drink alco-pops until they threw up over themselves. The recent targetting of youngsters by drinks firms making cheap sweet fizzy alcoholic beverages has encouraged binge drinking in youngsters in the UK and the relaxation of licensing hours has actually made things much worse with regard to the post-18 year old binge drinkers. The big nightclub near me has a special promotion - all drinks £1.50 (roughly 3 dollars) till 3 in the morning every Sunday. It's like a war zone when they chuck out.

Being allowed a bit of beer and wine under adult supervision is light years away from that sort of commercially-driven mayhem with its heavily-advertised cheap drink promotions, designed to make you think drinking shitloads of bacardi breezer will get you laid (and let's be fair, it probably does, it's just that you had to pour a lot of disgusting alcopop down your throat to get to the state where you're undiscriminating enough to shag whatever's going).

If they were serious about youth binge drinking, the legislators would do better to tackle the Diageos and WKDs and the Cavendish nightclubs of this world et al, but then of course, that would involve annoying multi-million pound companies, instead of beating up on the soft target of parents who're trying to teach children to drink responsibly and to drink stuff they might like to learn to enjoy the taste of someday, rather than swill right down.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:17 AM on June 9, 2007


Do you think the parent was right to call the police?

yes ... a child was being helped to do something illegal against the will of the parent ... it's inexcusable

I'd say when the punishment is worse for society than the crime is, it's morally wrong to report an illegal activity.

except that in this particular case, you would not know what the punishment would be or even what the charges would be or IF there would be charges

you certainly wouldn't know that the prosecutor would try for 8 years and settle for 27 months

and quite frankly, i'd be more concerned with my moral obligation to my children than with my moral obligation to irresponsible idiots

as for me, i think 30 to 60 days in the county lockup would be appropriate ... and anyone who wants to argue ought to consider whether they've been arguing on this site that paris should do her 45 days for a less serious offense
posted by pyramid termite at 9:25 AM on June 9, 2007


Likewise 21 as the legal age for drinking. It is treated as if it has been around since 1776. In fact, it dates from 1984

actually, in many states, it was 21 before the 60s, when it was pointed out that people who can go to war ought to be able to drink ... many states changed only to discover that accident rates shot up and pressure built to change it back to 21
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2007


The punishment here is excessive, but I think if the story had veered off in a direction where one of the kids died as a result, this thread would be more like 'what was the bitch thinking?' and 'she should rot in jail'.

Also, from the perspective of some party parents, giving the kids meth would be considered just as 'innocent.' The question is whether, if you're the parent of a 16-year-old, you're okay with letting some other parent decide for your kid the line between what is 'harmlessly' illegal and what is dangerous.

I'd say when the punishment is worse for society than the crime is, it's morally wrong to report an illegal activity.

You mean, like when one of my frat brothers rapes your daughter and I think, 'wow, he was just really drunk, and he's got so much potential, if i reported him it would only ruin more lives...'
posted by troybob at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2007


and anyone who wants to argue ought to consider whether they've been arguing on this site that paris should do her 45 days for a less serious offense

I haven't really been following the case -- so correct me if I'm wrong -- but didn't Paris get busted for violated her DUI probation?
I still think this was a dumb thing for those parents to do, but actually driving while drunk is about one thousand times worse.
posted by Bizurke at 9:45 AM on June 9, 2007


You mean, like when one of my frat brothers rapes your daughter and I think, 'wow, he was just really drunk, and he's got so much potential, if i reported him it would only ruin more lives...'

Except for the fact that, you know, if he was capable of raping one girl when drunk, it isn't too much of a stretch to think that he's capable of raping more girls.

And the fact that serving alcohol to someone and NOT letting them drive is not a violent crime, nor one likely to cause lasting psychological harm to the drinker. Rape is both.

In other words, your analogy sucks.
posted by papakwanz at 9:49 AM on June 9, 2007


...your analogy sucks.

Not as much as your ability to get a point: The decision as to whether punishment is worse 'for society' than the crime is ridiculously subjective and, more often than not, self-serving.
posted by troybob at 9:53 AM on June 9, 2007


Is it no longer legal in the state of Virginia for children to consume alcohol if their parents purchase it for them? Didn't we have this discussion in AskMe a while back about the drinking age?
posted by emelenjr at 10:02 AM on June 9, 2007


I'm pretty sure it's 21 or no booze in VA.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2007


Whoever says this is typical of the South has never been to Louisiana, or at least the southern half of the state. It was the last holdout in the 21 drinking age law sweepstakes. So I take it Louisiana would not have to secede. But I think a number of people in the New Orleans area, at least, would like to do that anyway.
posted by raysmj at 10:25 AM on June 9, 2007


I cant believe there are people who think that a teenager having a few glasses of wine or a beer at a party, is worth sending someone to jail for. Read Miss Lynster's excellent post. If you make it unsafe for people to offer supervised opportunities to sample drinking at parties then dont be surprised to find that drinking takes place in dangerous, unsupervised circumstances far from adult help.

Drink is different from drugs in that it's part of our social fabric. Unless you're planning on raising a kid as a teetotaller, then learning how to drink socially and safely is important. I dont think that draconian laws which make drinking in the home under adult supervision liable to prosecution and heavy sentences help at all - quite the reverse.
posted by Flitcraft at 10:31 AM on June 9, 2007


I cant believe there are people who think that a teenager having a few glasses of wine or a beer at a party, is worth sending someone to jail for.

i can't believe there are people who think their personal beliefs are more important that a parent's right to raise their children as they see fit

this isn't just about alcohol ... it's about two people who selfishly decided that they knew what was best for other peoples' kids
posted by pyramid termite at 10:44 AM on June 9, 2007


Alco-Terrorist?
posted by iamck at 10:46 AM on June 9, 2007


If you make it unsafe for people to offer supervised opportunities to sample drinking at parties then dont be surprised to find that drinking takes place in dangerous, unsupervised circumstances far from adult help.

Even if what the woman did were to become legal, you'd still have kids sneaking around because 1) kids don't like to be around their parents, 2) kids want to get seriously drunk, not just the kind of lightly toasted you can get at a party where parents are, and 3) kids want to do drugs and have sex, which are both difficult to do around parents.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:00 AM on June 9, 2007


Personally, I'm more mad at the judge than at the parents or whoever called the police. I mean, yes, she was giving alcohol to other people's kids and that's stepping over the line, but how was anyone supposed to know that the judge would get his mad on and call for an 8 year (!) sentence.

Just for giggles, let's see what else will give you a 27 month sentence (remember, the original judge called for 8 years, but using that long would be like shooting fish in a barrel).

You could:

accept bribes in Toledo

leak the name of CIA agent to the press.
embezzle $130,000 in Pennsylvania
hijack a plane (if you're really young)
steal trade secrets from Coca Cola
violate your cocaine possession conviction

set up a sexytime meeting with an underage boy
posted by concreteforest at 11:44 AM on June 9, 2007


a child was being helped to do something illegal against the will of the parent... it's inexcusable

"Hey, any of you kids wanna watch some of my downloaded Daily Shows?"

"Yes, Caleb; I know your dad says Jon Stewart's a Jew devil. I think your dad's a dick."
posted by dansdata at 12:14 PM on June 9, 2007


Interesting implications, which one hopes the WP Food section or Health section will spell out for us. . .if adults have a house party at which children are present, can they set out wine and beer? if the hostess makes a grasshopper pie, can the children have any? (Grasshopper pie has a strong kick from all the crème de menthe in it.)

Ludicrous implications, resembling the ban on wine for pregnant women.

The mother's lying to the police seems to have exacerbated her sentence.
posted by bad grammar at 12:32 PM on June 9, 2007


if *I* had to err on one side or the other, I'm gonna go with the pleasure-inducing stuff, rather than the death-dealing stuff.

No kidding, PeterMcDermott!

I side with you completely. Given the choice between a relaxing afternoon shooting trap and skeet with my friends, or an afternoon in the clinic and hospital, diagnosing and treating alcoholic coma, alcoholic ketoacidosis, acute alcoholic steatohepatitis, chronic alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic neuropathy, alcoholic vermian atrophy, and Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy - well, I choose skeet shooting!

Glad to see we're on the same page.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:04 PM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Personally I think people's 'parental rights' stop at the point where they help to whip up moral panics which actually ruin other people's lives over matters which don't, by any reasonable societal standard, harm a child.
posted by Flitcraft at 1:25 PM on June 9, 2007


matters which don't, by any reasonable societal standard, harm a child.

And I suppose you're just the person to decide what societal standards are "reasonable" and which are not. As well as the person to decide what is harmful to someone else's child.

How old does someone else's child have to be in order for it to be unharmful for another parent to get them drunk without consent? Is it harmful to get a 5-year-old drunk? 6? 7? Then what age, exactly?

How old would your child have to be before you, as a parent, would not seek recourse against another adult who, without your consent and without informing you, got your child drunk?

And why did you pick that age? Do you have some information about at what age getting drunk stops being harmful?
posted by The World Famous at 1:49 PM on June 9, 2007


Personally I think people's 'parental rights' stop at the point where they help to whip up moral panics which actually ruin other people's lives over matters which don't, by any reasonable societal standard, harm a child.

yeah, man, you've got to fight for your right to party and keep stacy's mom out of jail and by the pool where she belongs
posted by pyramid termite at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2007


Ah, but the loophole was only recently closed.
posted by emelenjr at 2:50 PM on June 9, 2007


except that in this particular case, you would not know what the punishment would be or even what the charges would be or IF there would be charges

you certainly wouldn't know that the prosecutor would try for 8 years and settle for 27 months


When I take actions I consider the reasonable consequences for myself and others. This would include, if I was going to report someone for violating some law, the punishment for that violation.

and quite frankly, i'd be more concerned with my moral obligation to my children than with my moral obligation to irresponsible idiots


That moral obligation could be fulfilled by going and bringing your child home from the evil drinking party, with no police involved, and no one's life ruined.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2007


There's a few posts along the lines of "blah, blah, had no right to give kids alcohol against the will of the parents blah, blah". And hey, they're probably right. But I guarantee that those kids are getting ripped all the time regardless of that. And I bet your teenaged kids are drinking at parties without you knowing about it too. "No mom, I see some of the other kids drinking, but not me, you know I promised you..."

Seems like since your kids are going to drink anyway (which they are) it might be better for them to do it in a safe environment with adults present? Then again, those beach parties when I was 15 where awesome, and perhaps I shouldn't take that away from today's youth?
posted by markr at 4:15 PM on June 9, 2007


Does anyone know why the legal driving age is under 18? --anitanita

Because nothing magical happens at 18?


Well, okay; so then what magically happens at 16, then?
posted by the other side at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2007


Well, okay; so then what magically happens at 16, then?

We'll have that talk when you're a little older, son.
posted by The World Famous at 4:36 PM on June 9, 2007


this isn't just about alcohol ... it's about two people who selfishly decided that they knew what was best for other peoples' kids


Because a sixteen year old kid is a innocent sieve with no thoughts or choices of his/her own and was coereced by the evil woman to have some wine? It was illegal for them to drink it also, no? Did they get into any trouble over it?

I totally agree with you if it was regarding decisions that my child couldn't get out of or felt pressured to participate in. Yet here nine of the kids at the party didn't have any alcohol in their system! I just think that stadard falls down when you apply it to this situation.
posted by liquorice at 5:06 PM on June 9, 2007


According to the police, everyone tested at that party was below the legal limit for intoxication - 0.08 in Virginia. Their standard - not mine. If someone wants to claim that levels of alcohol under that in a 15 year old or 16 year old represent serious harm, then please by all means show the medical/other evidence. On the other hand, consider the severe damage to the young man whose education has been stunted and whose family has been torn apart by the prosecution and jailing of his mother over this.

Taking a punitive approach to underage drinking which leaves legal casualties like this in its wake, is just another thing that hurts children and families. But the thing about moral panics in the courts is that they allow people to seriously damage other people's lives while feeling they are doing the right thing - that they are 'thinking of the children'. A young person and his family have been devastated over the evils of drink at a party where ostensibly no-one was drunk, shouldn't that give some pause for thought?
posted by Flitcraft at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


so basically you guys don't care what a kids' parents think as long as THE MAN doesn't bust the people who give the kids alcohol ... even though it's clearly against the law

Because a sixteen year old kid is a innocent sieve with no thoughts or choices of his/her own and was coereced by the evil woman to have some wine?

no, because a sixteen year old kid is someone i'm legally and morally responsible for and no one has the right to interfere with that relationship without good reason

and learning how to drink a few at the party without sleeping it off in the bushes is not a good reason

it slays me ... people around here are generally all for human rights issues but when it comes to the right of these parents to keep their kids alcohol free if they wish, suddenly you have no respect for that at all

that's gross hypocrisy ... and as soon as some of you actually have teenaged children of your own, you'll get over any lingering frustrations with adolescent rebellion you're still acting out now

Seems like since your kids are going to drink anyway (which they are)

i didn't have a drink until i was 18 ... and it was legal for me then ... furthermore, in spite of what you've stated, not everyone's kids are getting drunk behind the backs of their parents ... in fact, there are people who have tried one drink and sworn off of it for life, because they didn't like it

there are also kids whose parents actually talk to them sensibly about such things, and other things, who decide that they're not into drinking at that age ... or possibly any age

the "they're going to do it anyway" argument might sound like cynical realism to you, but it smacks of laziness to me

According to the police, everyone tested at that party was below the legal limit for intoxication - 0.08 in Virginia.

so? ... the party wasn't finished yet, was it? ... therefore you have no idea of how much was going to be consumed

i guess if we ever have a mefi-chaparone service, i sure as hell won't be using it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:36 PM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Taking a punitive approach to underage drinking which leaves legal casualties like this in its wake, is just another thing that hurts children and families.

It's like people don't think she knew that contributing to the delinquency of minors was a crime.

A young person and his family have been devastated over the evils of drink at a party where ostensibly no-one was drunk, shouldn't that give some pause for thought?

A young person and his family have been devastated over the stupidity of the young person's stupid mom who knowingly committed a crime and then lied about it. I'm going to guess that the families of the other kids, whose parents did not know or consent to the woman's crime and didn't commit crimes themselves, haven't been devastated at all.

If someone wants to claim that levels of alcohol under that in a 15 year old or 16 year old represent serious harm, then please by all means show the medical/other evidence.

Physical/medical harm are the only kinds of harm?
posted by The World Famous at 5:43 PM on June 9, 2007


lingering frustrations with adolescent rebellion you're still acting out now

One would think that I still would be acting them out because, y'know, I'm an adolescent.

Obviously my point of view is coming from that perspective and yours is coming from that of a parent. I can see how we would differ.
posted by liquorice at 5:48 PM on June 9, 2007


So raise the driving age to 21. Too many cars out there anyway.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:49 PM on June 9, 2007


So raise the driving age to 21. Too many cars out there anyway.

That's actually a great idea from an environmental perspective. Anyone who claims they care about global warming and drunk driving should enthusiastically support the idea of raising the driving age in the U.S.

I wonder how much the U.S.' gasoline consumption and CO2 production would be reduced if every driver under 21 was taken off the road. I bet it would be huge.

(Of course, when I was 16-21, I was a big-time environmentalist and a teetotaler, and you would have had to pry my car keys from my cold, dead hand, but that's neither here nor there.)
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on June 9, 2007


And raise the enlistment age to 21 while providing education to that age at the same time.
posted by Mitheral at 6:40 PM on June 9, 2007


And raise the enlistment age to 21 while providing education to that age at the same time.

I'm not sure how that would help stop global warming or drunk driving, but sure, why not.
posted by The World Famous at 6:42 PM on June 9, 2007


Good gravy, I know I'm getting old when I reflect back that the first whole beer I had, at the ripe age of 14, was given to me by a Denver police officer, as part of an impromptu celebration of the 16th birthday of one of the neighbor kids. As I recall, my parent's reaction was mostly surprise that I'd actually finished a whole beer. (They were practically teetotalers).

I hate to even think how painfully busted that cop would be nowadays by contributing to the delinquency of all the teens on the street like that. Sheesh!

And, okay, I can see how conspiring to subvert the desires of other parents would make this a bigger deal. One huge difference in my old case was that all the parents on our street (well, the Moms, mostly) had agreed on rough boundaries of acceptable behavior and had agreed that any of them could treat any of us kids just as they would their own. So if you got caught doing something wrong by someone else's Mom, she'd give you a whack and drag you by the ear back to your own Mom, where another good whack was surely coming. (I guess that wouldn't fly nowadays, either).
posted by gregor-e at 6:58 PM on June 9, 2007


so basically you guys don't care what a kids' parents think as long as THE MAN doesn't bust the people who give the kids alcohol ... even though it's clearly against the law

Legality should be determined by morality (the interpersonal and societal kind, not moral beliefs that only directly affect ones' self), not the other way around. ZOMG AGAINST THE LAW never makes anything morally wrong by itself.

no, because a sixteen year old kid is someone i'm legally and morally responsible for and no one has the right to interfere with that relationship without good reason

it slays me ... people around here are generally all for human rights issues but when it comes to the right of these parents to keep their kids alcohol free if they wish, suddenly you have no respect for that at all


I doubt this lady was holding kids down and forcing liquor down their throats. I doubt she was grabbing their cell phones and dashing them to the ground if they tried to call their parents to go home.

I forget who coined it, but the Libertarians like to say "Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins." Well, your right to protect your kids from willingly having some drinks ends where my not being in jail for over two years begins.

If the parents of the other kids had come over to that woman's house and broken a few bones, would you support that? I know I'd rather have a few broken bones than go to jail for a few years.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:48 PM on June 9, 2007


Legality should be determined by morality (the interpersonal and societal kind, not moral beliefs that only directly affect ones' self), not the other way around.

in other words you have no problem with interfering with the moral right of other people to raise their children as abstainers

ZOMG AGAINST THE LAW never makes anything morally wrong by itself.

it is morally wrong to entice a kid to do something potentially harmful that his parents do not want him to do ... and the law is a reflection of that

I forget who coined it, but the Libertarians like to say "Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins."

and i like to say, "your right to give people drinks ends where my kid's mouth begins"

which part of she had no right to do this don't you seem to get?

Well, your right to protect your kids from willingly having some drinks ends where my not being in jail for over two years begins.

well, she should have fired her defence lawyer and hired you instead ... i'm SURE the judge would have bought THAT argument

i have a right to protect my kid from willingly having some drinks until she is an adult ... you have no right to violate that ... your violation of this is not just a violation of underage drinking laws, which SHE WAS NOT CONVICTED OF ... she was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor ... in other words of willfully interfering with a parents' wishes of how they wanted their kid to behave ... and although i do think the sentence was harsh, the bottom line is, if you have no respect for this concept and violate it, you deserve to go to jail

so tell your friends in the dorm that if they can't do the time, don't do the time and that party animals don't get to decide for us how we raise our kids

wah, wah, wah, stacy's mom went to jail, get over it

goodbye, and learn some respect for what others believe and want for their children

ps - i don't support broken bones for giving kids drinks ... do you support suicide bombing police stations that bust up loud parties?

moron
posted by pyramid termite at 8:12 PM on June 9, 2007


On the broader concept of silly social custom in the U.S., I have to agree. I grew up drinking alcohol with dinner and on general social occasions. So when I became a teenager and some kids were talking about drinking at a party I really didn't care (about the drinking, I wanted to get laid of course, teenager here). I think the first time I overdid it was in the military. Mostly from not paying attention to how much I was drinking. Got the dry heaves. Never drank like that since.

I wouldn't want some other kids' parents pushing, say, their religion on my kid. By the same token I should know where my kid is and what he's doing for the most part. If he's going to be at someone's house, I'd probably call them and get the lowdown.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:01 PM on June 9, 2007


paris should do her 45 days for a less serious offense

Are you really saying that someone who operated a vehicle while intoxicated, a vehicle that is results in 40,000 deaths in America every year, should receive a lesser sentence than someone who let an underage person have a single drink against the wishes of that person's parents, and didn't let that person drive? Really? Really?

Because if you really, truly believe that the latter is worth eight years in prison (or even two), and that (less than) 45 days in jail is excessive for operating a dangerous vehicle while intoxicated, then you have truly lost your mind.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:33 AM on June 10, 2007


in other words of willfully interfering with a parents' wishes of how they wanted their kid to behave ... and although i do think the sentence was harsh, the bottom line is, if you have no respect for this concept and violate it, you deserve to go to jail

This hardline send-em-to-the-slammer stuff is completely bizarre too. There is a huge difference between having a difference in opinion on what is okay for kids and settling the matter with cops and jail terms. In a reasonable world the parent would be like "Billy can't come round here and play no more." "Okay, fine." But unfortunately we live in a world of righteous nasty people.
posted by dydecker at 2:54 AM on June 10, 2007


Cant'. Read. Any. More.

Kids kids kids kids kids.

There were no kids drinking alcohol. Stop infantilizing the youth of America. They are NOT children, no matter how much you want to think they are.

All you shrill pissants screaming about how someone else's "kids" were served alcohol, go burn. You're part of the problem, not the solution. They were not children. They deserve better from you. Is your own ego so weak you must demote youths to the status of mere "kids"?

Just because you decided to believe as you do does not change reality one bit. And reality has a way of biting you (and the rest of society) in the ass.

The whole thing about adults vs. "minors" is legal bullshit, convenient much of the time, but bullshit, just the same. There are children, then there are adults. But there young people who are no longer children, yet not yet legal adults. Deal with it.

Somewhere, somehow, many people started confusing legal fiction for reality. So rather than dealing with the grey in a responsible manner, they decided the grey wasn't real. And started throwing people in prison for daring to act on reality rather than the bullshit.

Near as I can tell, it is just too easy to lean on the legal fiction than accept the gross complications of handling teenagers. So few of us have the patience to deal with teenagers anymore. I doubt I could myself, from a parental position! But if you're going to be a parent, you'd serve your offspring better to recognize the reality.
posted by Goofyy at 5:26 AM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because if you really, truly believe that the latter is worth eight years in prison (or even two), and that (less than) 45 days in jail is excessive for operating a dangerous vehicle while intoxicated, then you have truly lost your mind.

that's not why she was sent to jail ... she was sent to jail for violating probation

and i didn't say WHAT sentence she should receive, did i?

There is a huge difference between having a difference in opinion on what is okay for kids and settling the matter with cops and jail terms.

yes ... it's the difference between arguing on the internet about it and actually handing my child an alcoholic drink

i'm glad you agree with me

Stop infantilizing the youth of America.

yeah, we should be irresponsible self-infantilizing people like yourself who have no respect for other people's wishes and self-righteously assume the right to interfere with their children and impose their morals on that relationship

and that is EXACTLY what you're doing when you give a teenager a drink without his parents' permission

sure is funny how respect for other peoples' rights and refusal to impose one's morality on people is demanded by liberals when it comes to conservatives dictating lifestyle issues to them, but you have NO scruples about dictating your own to them when they say they want to have their children stay alcohol-free

this, as i said, is GROSS hypocrisy of the worst sort

Just because you decided to believe as you do does not change reality one bit. And reality has a way of biting you (and the rest of society) in the ass.

reality is, i don't want my kid drinking as a teenager ... reality is, i can have that enforced by law against anyone who interferes with it ... reality is, that person who interferes is the one who's going to get their ass bitten

and if it was you in the defendant's chair, i bet you wouldn't DARE tell the judge all this crap

Near as I can tell, it is just too easy to lean on the legal fiction than accept the gross complications of handling teenagers.

i'll save you the trouble then - don't handle mine or anyone else's but let the people who have a RIGHT to do it - the parents - do it, and keep your self-righteous fiction of "hey, people ought to help your kid party, man" to yourself
posted by pyramid termite at 6:27 AM on June 10, 2007


i have a right to protect my kid from willingly having some drinks until she is an adult

I suggest that, given your attitude, should your child acquire some drinks on her own, you call the police on her. Unfortunately, she won't get any jail time just for underage possession, but if they catch her DUI or with a fake ID and get a harsh judge, I think that might get her put away. In jail she'll be much safer from drinking. Can't do the time, don't do the crime, and all that.

I don't at all think this country recognizes your right to prevent people from interacting with your 16 year old in ways you don't like, but which she willingly goes along with. The country does prohibit providing alcohol or drugs - but there's a lot of other stuff. What if you didn't want her having sex with her 16 year old boyfriend? If she slipped out and did that, he can't be arrested. What if it was important to you that she eat healthy? Can't arrest the kid at McDonald's for selling her a Big Mac (worse for you than a beer.)

This law is in place because it was decided underage drinking should be discouraged, not because people who can't teach their child not to do something deserve government parenting help in the form of jailing anyone who lets your child break your rules. And the discouragement of underage drinking is worth less, in my book, to society than 2-8 years of jail that destroys people's lives.

so tell your friends in the dorm that if they can't do the time, don't do the time and that party animals don't get to decide for us how we raise our kids

So if my profile says Student, it's PhD Student, and I haven't lived in a dorm in lo these many years.

goodbye, and learn some respect for what others believe and want for their children

I can respect what other people want for their children. I can't respect them throwing someone in jail because their children misbehave and that someone was involved.

ps - i don't support broken bones for giving kids drinks

Just 2 year prison terms, which are worse.

I'm done with this thread. This authoritarian shit gets on my nerves too much.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:49 AM on June 10, 2007


All you shrill pissants screaming about how someone else's "kids" were served alcohol, go burn. You're part of the problem, not the solution.


Well, as long as I'm part of the "Don't Serve Alcohol to People Who Can't Buy It" problem, that's cool by me. You're part of the "I Don't Understand What the Word Kids Means" problem.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:54 AM on June 10, 2007


I can respect what other people want for their children. I can't respect them throwing someone in jail because their children misbehave and that someone was involved.

Do you have any really hot teenage daughters? Can you show them my myspace page?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:00 AM on June 10, 2007


No doubt, my parents would have been locked up and the key thrown away, as when we started travelling to France when I was about six, I was introduced to alcohol in the same way that millions of French children are - as nothing special - a small glass of wine with a meal, part of the enjoyment of eating and something to be appreciated for its taste not its intoxicating properties. As Smedleyman pointed out, when you grow up like that, you wonder what the fuss is about when it comes to parties as a teenager. Surprise, suprise, (unless things have changed very recently) France has nothing like the binge drinking culture associated with Britain and the US where alcohol is mystified as something bad, cool and wicked where people under the magic age mustn't partake of the radioactive substance.

Attitudes like the ones here from the 'temperance' side of the lobby are actually a key to the Northern European-style drinking culture that ends up encouraging binge drinking. It wouldn't be possible for the drinks giants to glamourise alcohol abuse to the young so effectively if they didn't have people perpetuating the myth that a few glasses of beer at a teenage party is the end of the world, people must go to jail, their teenagers must be protected from exposure to such a horrifically dangerous and alluring substance. That image of danger, naughtiness and guardians of society wringing their hands in horror is exactly what they trade on in their advertising. It's no accident that one of the best-selling alcopops heavily marketed to young people here is a vodka mix brand 'WKD' that plays in its advertising on asking 'have you got a wicked side?' When people create high drama about teenagers having a few innocent glasses of wine, cider, beer, they are practically doing the advertisers work for them - making it easier to market alcohol as a means of adolescent rebellion and the unhealthy drinking culture that goes with it. Personally, I think it's a better idea not to invest alcohol with all this Manichaean significance in the first place. Make sensible respectful use of it ordinary for children from an early age and people wouldn't be helping to create the very frat boy culture they rail about.
posted by Flitcraft at 7:02 AM on June 10, 2007


Do you have any really hot teenage daughters?

Not for at least 13 years.

Can you show them my myspace page?

My kids will probably be forbidden from having a myspace page, just because of the ignorant pit that place is. But if they put one up anyway, I'll yell at them, not try to put the myspace guy in jail.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:06 AM on June 10, 2007



as long as i'm at it, there's other dumb assumptions people are making here

you're assuming that none of these partygoers had a spare car key in their pocket or hidden in their car ... did the mother strip search them?

then she didn't really know for sure if she had control of their cars

you're assuming that just because they were not legally impaired at the point the police walked in the door that they would not have become so later that night ... the fact is the opportunity to do so existed and we cannot rely on the mother's testimony about this, because she's already been proven to have lied to people about what their kids were up to

you're assuming that the mother would be able to tell accurately whether the partygoers would be legal to drive home after the party ... how so? ... did she have a breathalyzer on hand? ... was she trained to use it?

you're assuming that i, or parents in general are not able to control whether their children drink ... and yet, this mother is somehow magically able to control them drinking just *so* much and not a bit more

if they can sneak it into the parents' home while they're not looking, why couldn't they sneak it into this mom's home?

if they could lift it from the liquor store without the owner seeing them, why couldn't they lift a beer from fridge?

if they could get their big brother to buy a pint of whiskey for them to drink at $partytown central why couldn't they be drinking it at moms? ... "i've got to use the bathroom ... glug glug glug"

if they can lie to their folks about how many drinks they've had, why can't they lie to mom about it?

and last of all, you're assuming that all the kids at the party were caught by the cops ... and that somehow, this was a sedate little soiree where nothing suspicious was going on in anyone's eyes until some puritan got all paranoid about little johnny drinking ...

so this idea that she was somehow enabling them to party in a "responsible" manner is horseshit, because no one's really proven to me that she was qualified or responsible enough to handle it

I suggest that, given your attitude, should your child acquire some drinks on her own, you call the police on her.

i suggest that it's MY attitude that it's MY judgement and MY decision to make, not yours

I don't at all think this country recognizes your right to prevent people from interacting with your 16 year old in ways you don't like, but which she willingly goes along with.

when it comes to illegal activity, yes it does and you know it

it is legal in my state for 16 year olds to have sex and eat at mcdonalds so your argument is irrelevant

This law is in place because it was decided underage drinking should be discouraged,

read the article closely again ... she was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor ... although alcohol was a factor in the evidence in this case, under the definition of this offence there could have been others, including the fact that she was lying to their parents about it

not because people who can't teach their child not to do something deserve government parenting help in the form of jailing anyone who lets your child break your rules.

well, i don't have time to teach my child algebra either so why should i deserve government parenting help ... and they're not "my rules" they're society's LAWS

So if my profile says Student, it's PhD Student, and I haven't lived in a dorm in lo these many years.

then grow up and stop arguing like a dorm brat

I can respect what other people want for their children. I can't respect them throwing someone in jail because their children misbehave and that someone was involved.

in other words, you only respect it if that respect doesn't entail responsibilities, rules and consequences for violating other people's rights

that's so BIG of you

Just 2 year prison terms, which are worse.

actually, i didn't support that either and said so ... for a phd student, you sure have trouble understanding written english

i said 30-60 days ... and work release would be ok

and no, that isn't "destroying someone's life"

This authoritarian shit gets on my nerves too much.

well, "hurf durf people should do what the fuck they want, man, party" gets on MY nerves

No doubt, my parents would have been locked up and the key thrown away, as when we started travelling to France when I was about six, I was introduced to alcohol

dude, that's their decision to make with their child ... i have nothing against that

Attitudes like the ones here from the 'temperance' side of the lobby

i'm not on the temperance side of the lobby ... i'm on the parent's rights side of the lobby

It wouldn't be possible for the drinks giants to glamourise alcohol abuse to the young so effectively if they didn't have people perpetuating the myth that a few glasses of beer at a teenage party is the end of the world

for some unfortunate teenagers it's been the end of their world ... not myth, but fact
posted by pyramid termite at 7:17 AM on June 10, 2007


Why don't you use full stops or capital letters? The lack of such is quite distracting.
posted by liquorice at 7:27 AM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is a huge difference between having a difference in opinion on what is okay for kids and settling the matter with cops and jail terms.

Except that it's not an opinion on what is okay for kids that is the issue; it is the fact of what is legal for kids, and what is legal for what to provide to kids. If you think 16-year-olds are being denied their basic human rights in not being able to drink, then you go try to do something about that. Whether they should be able to drink at all is so not the issue here, despite the indignation of apparently many former 16-year-old victims of no-beer-access forms of torture who are still hurting from that. Heal, already, people--you can drink now!

And this law rests amongst quite a few laws that similarly restrict what an adult can do with/to/for kids. Whether you like it or not, sex between adults and kids is not legal. But I'm guessing you're not going to think it's okay for the guy next door to decide that the law is an immoral one and so it's open season on your daughter. (I mean, a 16-year-old girl is of childbearing age, and may 16-year-old girls are hot, and they're having sex with guys their own age anyway, and how else are they going to learn the life lessons on how to take care of horny older guys...and besides, it builds character...and if you don't agree, then you're just trying to impose your morals on others, nanny state, blah, blah, blah)...
posted by troybob at 8:08 AM on June 10, 2007


Crime? Yes. It's in the law books.
Should it be reported? Yes. The fact that she tried to cover it up suggest she knew it was wrong.
Should she be punished? Yes. (I wouldn't want some woman serving my underage child alcohol without my knowledge or permission.)
Was the punishment fair? Fuck no.
posted by grum@work at 8:33 AM on June 10, 2007


Why are you suggesting that it's wrong to report illegal activity, just because it doesn't seem that bad to you? It's still illegal.

People like you genuinely terrify me.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:23 AM on June 10, 2007


People like you genuinely terrify me.

Because you wish nobody would report your illegal activity that you think isn't that bad?
posted by The World Famous at 10:22 AM on June 10, 2007


People like you genuinely terrify me.

Well, it's one thing to break the law yourself based on some notion that the law is immoral. It's another to expect that others (and not only others, but all others, as indicated by many here) should respect your personal interpretation of the law and play along. I'm not inclined to break a law without accepting the legal consequences, and I'm certainly not going to be all indignant when those consequences are applied; and if I feel a law is sufficiently immoral that it should not be applied, and I'm so inclined, I'll do what I can to fight it beforehand and not try to use it as a defense once I've committed the crime.

So yeah, I guess if you go through life assuming that your idea of legal leniency is universal and should be respected, then you probably should be terrified. At the least, though, you should not be so hypocritical as to have those standards change depending on your role in the matter. A lot of people think it's unfair when they get a speeding ticket, but the moment they're in an accident with a speeding driver, the first thing they will do is say, "hey man, that guy was speeding."

And really, a 16-year old arguing for the legality of teenage drinking is just a normal 16-year-old fighting for the right to party; an adult arguing for the legality of 16-year-olds drinking seems a touch michael jackson to me.
posted by troybob at 10:26 AM on June 10, 2007


an adult arguing for the legality of 16-year-olds drinking seems a touch michael jackson to me.

Can you clarify what you mean by that so I can calibrate my WTF meter?
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:13 AM on June 10, 2007


Can you clarify what you mean by that so I can calibrate my WTF meter?

It is a comment along the same lines as the "Stacy's mom" comments above. It's a little bit "Mrs. Robinson," if you know what I mean.

If this woman, rather than holding a "safe drinking" party had held a "safe sex" party where she had sex with the kids to show them how to do it safely, would anyone be saying her sentence was too harsh? And yet, kids are going to have sex, and it's a good idea to teach them how to do it safely, right?

"But that would be illegal!" you might say. Yes, and so is contributing to the delinquency of minors.

"But that would be immoral!" you might say. Yes, and that's what people are saying who think that giving other people's kids alcohol is immoral.
posted by The World Famous at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2007


god, i need a beer.
posted by dydecker at 11:44 AM on June 10, 2007


god, i need a beer.

You're in luck. I know a guy whose mom will totally get you one -- and she's hot!
posted by The World Famous at 11:48 AM on June 10, 2007


Absolutely insane.

Yet another example of "American Justice" ruining lives.
posted by rougy at 11:49 AM on June 10, 2007


...and also in the sense that an adult who spends time pondering the injustice that a 16-year-old is not able to legally drink is kinda creepy.
posted by troybob at 11:52 AM on June 10, 2007


yeah, they're probably pedophiles too. time for a witchhunt, surely.
posted by dydecker at 12:04 PM on June 10, 2007


Can you clarify what you mean by that so I can calibrate my WTF meter?

you've never heard of michael jackson's jesus juice?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2007


wow, I had utterly no idea this was illegal. I was also under the mistaken impression that it was only illegal for minors to buy alcohol, not that they were legally prohibited from being given it with dinner by their own parents. My parents used to give me sips of wine on occasion when I was a kid - what if your parents were winemakers or something? would you really not be allowed to taste the family product until you were an adult? It just seems so bizarre...

it slays me ... people around here are generally all for human rights issues but when it comes to the right of these parents to keep their kids alcohol free if they wish, suddenly you have no respect for that at all

The rights of parents to control their kids is a kind of funny one all around, I would think. Of course you want what's best, but at the same time you want them to develop their own sense of judgment and responsibility, so if you don't want them to drink, perhaps it's best if they don't drink because they understand its potential negative consequences. On the other hand, if you think it could be negative b/c they're at a stage before they've matured enough for it, you might be concerned they wouldn't be mature enough to understand the argument either... This seems to me an unnecessary underestimation of 16 year olds.

Re: europe v america, I really don't think using the UK as an example of a country that has a great relationship to alcohol is on target. They start drinking early, and then spend the rest of their life drunk there, basically. It's a very easily going relationship to alcohol, not a big exciting taboo, and the idea isn't to go out and get smashed, but just to stay happy all night. There are more "functioning alcoholic" types than frat boy partyers, IME
posted by mdn at 2:58 PM on June 10, 2007


Should it be reported? Yes. The fact that she tried to cover it up suggest she knew it was wrong.

It suggests that she knew it was illegal, but not that she believed or agreed with the belief that anything she did was morally or ethically inappropriate. She provided a safe atmosphere for these kids to do something that they very clearly wanted to do and could easily have done in a much more dangerous and life-threatening fashion elsewhere. Someone got their nose out of joint and put her in a tenuous situation and she tried to get herself out from under the gun as well as she could, that's human nature, not an indication of a guilty conscience.

Giving alcohol to other peoples' kids is a bad idea. But you know what's a much worse idea? Freaking out when your teenagers act like teenagers and trying to get their friends' parents thrown in jail in anger over your own failure to maintain the rigid control over your teens' behavior that you wanted. No one was hurt, or in danger of being hurt. This was a situation that, at the most, called for stern lectures and punishments for the kids and an "Elisa, I'm hurt/stunned/disgusted and I can't ever let Bobby/Tommy/Andy spend time at your house again" toward this mom. This was not a situation that needed escalation into a call to 911. A lot of people need to get a lot of perspective, I think.
posted by Dreama at 3:07 PM on June 10, 2007


No one was hurt, or in danger of being hurt.

Not only do you not know this is true--in fact, often it proves to be tragically untrue--but it's pretty irresponsible to cite it as some kind of universal justification for not holding someone responsible for doing something illegal with someone else's kids. In fact, I think if you responded to the situation that way, and then my kid was hurt or killed in some drunken mishap at the same woman's house later on, I would seek some kind of prosecution for failing to report it appropriately.

There are solid, legitimate reasons why adolescence and drinking aren't a good mix; it's not as if this has yet to be proven. And I still don't see how alcohol is granted some special dispensation amongst any number of things an adult might engage in with kids illegally that might happen to be okay in that adult's moral universe. Your perception that it is safe does not make it so, anymore than that adult's perception that, say, gunplay would be safe is reasoning that you would accept.

But talk about perspective--whining about the inability of minors to drink is a perspective of teenage persecution complex--how unfair! That adults haven't grown out of that perspective and would defend it so vehemently is pretty sad.
posted by troybob at 3:50 PM on June 10, 2007


It suggests that she knew it was illegal, but not that she believed or agreed with the belief that anything she did was morally or ethically inappropriate.

how is lying to someone's parents about their children drinking morally or ethically appropriate?

She provided a safe atmosphere for these kids to do something that they very clearly wanted to do

i've debunked that point above ... she did not have the control she thought she did, nor was she qualified to tell how drunk a person was getting ... she may have believed she was providing a safe atmosphere, but how could she know?

considering the end of the party was a bunch of kids running from the police through the dark woods, it doesn't sound very safe to me

Freaking out when your teenagers act like teenagers and trying to get their friends' parents thrown in jail in anger over your own failure to maintain the rigid control over your teens' behavior that you wanted.

trusting in someone who betrays your trust and then lies about it to you is not YOUR failure the first time it happens ... and saying my kid shouldn't be handed alcohol by adults is hardly rigid control

This was not a situation that needed escalation into a call to 911.

but the parent already suspects that they're being lied to about the drinking

why would they assume that alcohol is the ONLY thing they're being lied to about? ... is this person allowing drugs? ... sex between teenagers?

how would i know it's just a situation where they're being handed a beer or two when the person doing it is lying?

A lot of people need to get a lot of perspective, I think.

like people who think lies and betrayal of trust are no big deal ... that's the real issue here
posted by pyramid termite at 4:04 PM on June 10, 2007


The problem is that we automatically expect other people will share our own moral standards, and it comes as a shock to find out that other people don't live by the same rules as we do. I myself find line-by-line rebuttals on Internet boards insufferably rude, for instance.
posted by dydecker at 5:01 PM on June 10, 2007


I don't know a great deal about the medieval period, above and beyond common knowledge, but I stick by what I said. This isn't about puritanism. it's about modern America chiming with some commonly-held beliefs about the characteristics of medievalism, particularly the dark ages (either literally or metaphorically). Torture, witch hunting, the idea of suffering as a panacea, crusades, a lack of faith in science and learning...

American might be technologically modern, but in many ways it's thinking is based in the 9th century.


I know what you are trying to say, but seriously, you are really insulting the medieval period without any grounds.

The medieval period is commonly accepted to be c500 (the fall of the Roman Empire) to c1500 (the Reformation, and the splitting of the Church). The "Dark" Ages were no more or less dark than the periods before or following - it was the Enlightenment Protestants who named it "Dark", largely because it was Catholic (and they were prejudiced). Historians now use the term "Dark Ages" to mean those periods (c500-1000) which are "dark" to us because we have so few records (but not all like the term at all, for obvious reasons).

Yes, the medieval period did have torture (as did the periods before and after), and Crusades. BUT the Crusades weren't nearly so bloody as the religious wars between the Protestants and the Catholics in the EARLY MODERN period (c1500-1650). And, notably, witchhunting was also a feature of the EARLY MODERN (c1500-1700). In fact, most of the more horrible things you have said about the middle ages actually happened in the Early Modern Period (the one I study).

(Nor did they renounce science - they didn't have that much of what we would recognise as science, but the high middle ages were the period of the founding of all the great universities, and learning and philosophy were highly prized. No one was actually doing anything like modern science - the rejection of Galileo by the Catholic Chuch was again in the 17th century, not the middle ages.)

And I would also like to point out that in the 9th century in England (among other things)
- Women owned property
- women could petition for divorce, just like men
- women headed double monastaries and abbesses were powerful political figures
- illegitimate children could and did receive recognition from their fathers and inherit along with legitimate children

They did also, of course, have slavery, but certainly as far as (free and propertied) women's rights went, things were better off than they would be until the 20th century. And their attitudes towards sex were far more permissive than the 18th or 19th centuries, which were the really prudish periods.

I put to you that your impression of the middle ages is based off of the ill-informed prejudices of 18th century Protestants, and your points are more appropriate about the 17th century. Please go on denouncing the puritanical movement in the United States, but please don't slander the medieval period while you are at it. It was a violent period of great inequality -- but it was not at all prudish.

I would reccomend that you go and read the Canterbury Tales with a good guide to all the sex jokes. That would change your mind about the Middle Ages.
posted by jb at 5:08 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, I think even the economic and legal inequality might have been greater in the early modern period - certainly the nobility in Europe were more powerful in the Early Modern Period than in the medieval.
posted by jb at 5:10 PM on June 10, 2007


I myself find line-by-line rebuttals on Internet boards insufferably rude, for instance.

they were doing it 21 years ago, n00b ... get over it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:49 PM on June 10, 2007



The parents absolutely should not have lied to the other parents. However, the parents of the other kids should not expect that other people will enforce their morality for them: if you haven't raised your kids to share your values, it's *their fault and yours* not that of those around them when they don't do so.

Based on simply maximizing health and reducing death, the law should allow parents to serve kids and take the keys rather than criminalizing this behavior.

Given that 90% of kids drink before they turn 21, given that drunk-driving crashes kill several thousand kids each year (though interestingly, drinking is responsible for more crash deaths by proportion amongst adults than amongst kids-- inexperience kills more than drinking with teen drivers), harm reduction is a good idea.

It is far better for teens to drink in a supervised situation-- where any overdoses will be dealt with by getting help rather than worrying about "oh no, we'll get expelled from school, my parents will kill me, i'm sure he'll be fine if we wait" and where driving can be prevented and where the presence of adults itself has a moderating influence-- than it is for them to do so unsupervised.

Since 90% will do so, it's pretty ridiculous to argue that parents not serving has any kind of preventive impact. And yes, in Europe in cultures where kids drink early with meals (Italy, France, Spain), there are far lower rates of alcohol problems than in cultures where drinking is done as a recreational activity (England, Scandinivia, U.S. etc.).

Unfortunately, the "northern" drinking culture is beginning to infect places like Italy-- but this is a relatively recent development.
posted by Maias at 6:22 PM on June 10, 2007


However, the parents of the other kids should not expect that other people will enforce their morality for them:

again, someone is twisting this around ... the parents have every right to insist that other people will not veto their morality by overriding their wishes

it is NOT just about drinking ... it is about willfully interfering with a parent child relationship

stop spinning this, it's NOT working
posted by pyramid termite at 6:45 PM on June 10, 2007


My parents used to give me sips of wine on occasion when I was a kid - what if your parents were winemakers or something? would you really not be allowed to taste the family product until you were an adult? It just seems so bizarre...

Your parents can give you alcohol. They just can't give other kids alcohol.
posted by smackfu at 7:57 PM on June 10, 2007


they were doing it 21 years ago, n00b ... get over it

People have been letting young adults drink alcohol for thousands of years ... get over it
posted by dydecker at 8:43 PM on June 10, 2007


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