Mothers Against Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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Radley Balko has a good piece in the Washington Post today about the truly insane prosecution of parents who host safe (keys collected at the door) parties with alcohol for their teenage kids. Especially appalling is that among the biggest supporters of multi-year jail sentences for these responsible parents are local MADD chapters. I suppose we have to chalk that up to professional jealousy: Given that it's pretty much inevitable that teens will drink somewhere, they're doing exponentially more to prevent drunk driving than the umpteenth Blood on the Asphalt knock-off public service announcement.

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  1. MADD should just be honest and change its name to MOB– Mothers Opposing Booze.

  2. I think it’s stupid to give booze to other people’s kids in your house because of simple liability.

    If your immature/inexperienced guest manages to sneak out, or consumes so much he/she gets sick, that’s your ass.

    The only way to make it work is to get all parents to sign wavers.

  3. If Peter Bagge ever gets around to doing his feature on prosecutors, he can start with the Wisconsin prosecutor mentioned in this article.

  4. Yet another chilling example of the increasingly obvious fact that the “Driving” portion of the organization’s title is merely for show. Full Disclosure would merit amending that title to read “Nannies Against Alcohol”. They are no more than a neoprohibitionist outfit—but, since prohibition is vastly unpopular, they resort to invoking two time-tested heartstring-tuggers: drunk driving, and children (read: “mothers” = mothers of children)

    Yet, when conscientious parents actually do something to curb drunk driving, the NAA (Nannies Against Alcohol) supports throwing them in prison for years upon years. How is this a defensible position, in any way, shape or form?

    One can’t help but wonder, if that couple had gotten the original 8-year sentence, do you think the kids might resort to the comfort of alcohol to assuage the misplaced but inevitable guilt they would feel? This, this is what NAA stands for. Disgusting.

  5. Jen,

    If MADD really wanted to be honest, they’d take “Mothers” out of their name since the higher ups in the organization are men.

  6. The police then began writing traffic tickets for all of the cars around the house hosting the party. The mother told The Post, “It almost seemed like they were angry that they didn’t find anything.”

    I liked this quote, because it is pretty telling of the attitude that some police officers have toward the public.

  7. I was thinking about this this morning when I heard that the number of parents who allow their kids to drink at home has gone up. I think it’s fine to do that, 21 has always been a ridiculous age limit, and I’ve always thought that a healthy attitude towards alcohol begins in the home. How much would college binge drinking be reduced if more teens were allowed to drink beer responsibly in the home at 15 or 16? However, a parent who gives alcohol to someone else’s child without permission SHOULD be prosecuted.

  8. And given their apparent support for lowering the BAC threshhold for a DUI as far down as possible, the “Drunk” probably ought to go too. So we’re left with “Against.” Apt.

  9. Julian, I’ve only worked in advertising for a couple of months now, and I won’t claim to be an expert, but let me tell you that the mere word “Against” is nowhere near catchy enough to be the name of a successful force-my-will-on-yours advocacy group.

    But I’m sure you already knew that.

    How about, “People Who Know Better Than You Against Things You Think You Enjoy Only Because You Don’t Know Any Better?”

  10. However, a parent who gives alcohol to someone else’s child without permission SHOULD be prosecuted.

    There’s a world of difference between “giving” and “having available”.

  11. Jennifer,

    That could be a good T-shirt slogan, but it doesn’t acronym very well.

  12. MADD: Mothers Against Designated Drivers? Hmmmm…

  13. MADD is simply a prohibitionist group and they should own up to it.

    It’s odd, though, that here in Washington state, birthplace of MADD, I am able to purchase beer and wine at gas stations. Not that I’m complaining, but it was an observation that I made years ago. Detroit, at the time I left the place, didn’t allow for that.

  14. Oh Yeah, the PWKBTYATYTYEOBYDKAB I thnk I know I few members of that orginazation but they have a couple !! at the end not a ?.

  15. David–

    If you can’t make a decent acronym out of it, you’re just not trying hard enough. Maybe you need a good, stiff drink, until you reach the point where everything you try to pronounce sounds like “Pwkb tyaty tye obyd kab” anyway.

  16. Anyone want to buy some
    “DAMM – Drunks Against Mad Mothers”
    bumper stickers?

    Mr. F.

  17. Here’s a good acro:

    PBR: Prohibitionists for Bad Regulation

  18. This just sickens me so much. As someone who lived in Germany for one teenage year, after I got past the “oh cool!” factor that kids are allowed to drink, I noticed that there seemed to be far less of an alcohol problem than in the US. At least I never noticed drunks roving the streets and swerving in their cars like you might see on an average Saturday night in America. You’d think the truism about “forbidden fruit” would be a well-understood phenomenon by now. I guess not.

  19. However, a parent who gives alcohol to someone else’s child without permission SHOULD be prosecuted.

    I wonder how far this is to be taken, though.

    If a kid comes over, and his parents are strict vegans, and he eats a hamburger that you had laying on the table, should the parents be “prosecuted”?

    If a kid comes over, and his parents are healthfood nuts, and you let him eat some pork cracklin’s from the cupboard, should you be prosecuted?

    If the parents want to take civil action, fine, let them. But, quite honestly, how many sane parents are going to object to other parents doing their best to keep them safe and off the road? But de-facto prosecution by the criminal enforcement branch is going a little far, in most cases.

  20. The “Wisconsin prosecutor” in question has a blog of his own, as it happens. Comments are disabled for some reason, however. Apparently he’s running for state AG in ’06, lucky me. Anyway, check him out at: http://bucherblog.blogspot.com/

  21. Laws are meant to protect us. No one has the right to break any law because they are endangering society. That being said, children under 21 are not supposed to be drinking. These parents were encouraging drunk driving. They should be locked up forever.

    There are plenty of drunks on the road at .15+ who are a danger to us all. We need to lower the legal limit and encourage more use of roadblocks to get more drunks off the road.

  22. Was it this Website or another that had a story a few months ago about how some towns are effectively making it illegal for teenagers to be the sober “designated drivers” for their drunk friends? I forget the particulars, but it was something like: if you’re a minor in the company of drunk minors then you get busted the same as they would.

    All of this–MADD, WOD, anti-fat, anti-cigarette, et cetera–it doesn’t have a goddamned thing to do with public health. This is just people who like to inflict their will on others, that’s all.

    Since these folks like bossing people around, maybe we can solve this problem by having the Queer Eye guys and other style experts give these people makeovers so that they’re attractive enough to become S&M prostitutes. It’s a win-win situation for all: they get to indulge their taste for dominating others AND make good money doing it, while the rest of us get to be left the hell alone.

  23. “Pwkb tyaty tye obyd kab”

    That sounds a lot like Russian, and we all know the Russians don’t have a problem with drinking at any age.

    Bring on the vodka, comrades!

  24. April–

    If you play it backwards you’ll hear a Satanic message.

  25. Apparently this is a sensitive issue for Jane.

    Slippery (Pete) Slope Alert:

    “Laws are meant to protect us. No one has the right to break any law because they are endangering society”

    who wants to start the usual list of “silly laws” or quibble about what societal endangerment is.

    Now all we need is someone to cry “straw man” or “ad hominum” or the new one “appeal to authority”, and we have the limit of the widely-used fallacies 🙂

  26. Cool. It says, “back de boy tyta, tb quip.” That can only mean that Satan wants us to have more sex and watch more cartoons. But I don’t get Satan, because the former is no fun when drunk. IMO.

  27. This has to be one of the most irresponsible things I’ve ever read. Just because the parents took the kids’ car keys away, that makes it OK for them to host a party where teenagers are openly drinking (which, last time I checked, is still illegal, no matter what the circumstances)?

    Would this still be OK if a kid dropped from alcohol poisoning, or if property got damaged, or a fight broke out, or one of the girls at the party passed out and got raped? Exactly how much supervision took place with only two parents on watch? Did the parents stay up all night to make sure nothing happened?

    Why not give out condoms and host an orgy, so that these kids aren’t off having unprotected sex on their own?

    Seriously, I like to consider myself a libertarian, but I don’t think this is anywhere close to OK. It’s indefensible. These parents should be prosecuted.

    Did most of the other kids’ parents know this was going on? Something tells me they didn’t.

  28. What Balko conveniently omits is whether the host parent had permission from the other children’s parents to serve them alcohol. A parent may, repeat may, have a right to “corrupt” their own kids, but they never have a right to corrupt other parents’ kids.

    This is reminiscent of the widely misreported story of the parents who hired a stripper for their son’s 16th birthday. They were charged, not with contributing to the delinquency of their minor, but rather to the delinquency of other people’s minors. Important detail.

    I’m far more concerned with the Fourth Amendment issues Balko describes.

  29. I still can’t get my mind wrapped around the notion that 18 is old enough to tote a gun in Basra, but not old enough to have a beer.

  30. SPD wrote:
    “Seriously, I like to consider myself a libertarian, but I don’t think this is anywhere close to OK. It’s indefensible.”

    Indefensible? My friend, the Holocaust was indefensible. Parents providing a safe and contained enviornment for teenagers to consume alcohol is simply a matter of mind your own damn business and help yourself to a big steaming cup of shut the fuck up.

  31. Satan jokes aside, I agree that this is irresponsible. I wouldn’t want it on my conscience if any kid got alcohol poisoned, date-raped, or injured in any way because of my complicity in their getting wasted.

  32. “But, quite honestly, how many sane parents are going to object to other parents doing their best to keep them safe and off the road?”

    Evan:
    Sanity has very little to do with modern parenting. Many of these jokers seek to have other people raise their kids, and take blame if something goes wrong.

    If their little Johnny boy drinks at your house and 1) sneaks out and/or 2) consumes so much he gets sick, you’re looking at a lawsuit.

  33. Jane is either:
    a)naive MADD supporter who doesn’t understand comments boards.
    b)parodist
    c)troll
    d)some combination

    Tough one. I hate “cool parents” who justify hosting a party like this and claim its responsible parenting. I think the drinking age is too high and causes the forbidden fruit problem that Rhywun describes. And I really resent having the MADD moms who hand their propaganda to me after I smile and prove my sobreity to the sherriff’s deputy at the check point near my house.

    Bleh, I hate everything. I feel like I’m 15 again.

  34. Drf-

    Jane, aka Juanita, is our resident troll.

    Art-
    If you think that’s asinine, do you remember a few months ago when some newsmagazine had a cover photo of an exhausted soldier in Iraq, face covered in camo paint, smoking a cigarette after a long battle? Everybody freaked out, because cigarettes are dangerous to your health and everybody knows that a soldier ducking bombs is most concerned with the possibility of lung cancer in thirty years.

  35. I think that the neo-prohibitionism is an indicator of our poor way our scoiety goes about solving problems. We punish those who were following the rules.

    You can plug in any case where someone breaks an existing law, and the loudest voice will always clamor for stricter laws. Person A gets drunk(well beyong the existing limit) and causes a tragedy, the solution is “We need to lower the limit”. Person B buys a gun illegally and uses it to kill somebody, the solution is ” We need to make it tougher to buy guns legally”. Person C crashes while driving 120mph, the solution is “we need to lower the speed limit from 40 to 25”.

    I’ve never understood how making laws tougher on those who follow them is supposed to discourage those who’d disregard them anyway. It only serves to make us all criminals.

  36. Herman:

    no worries. Just light some candles, listen to the Cure (pre “Just like heaven” bullshit) or Ministry, and you’ll feel much more at home in the uncomfortable snakeskin of teenagedom on this subject 🙂

    “warm glas of shut the fuck up” he.

    “just shut up”. he.

  37. SPD:

    In essence, you’re making the perfect the enemy of the better. Sure, everything would be great if no teens drank and they were all responsible and they obeyed their parents and never did stupid shit. But, to paraphrase the Walgreen’s commercial, back here in the real world, kids drink, do stupid shit, disobey their parents, and are irresponsible. Surely, making certain that they do these things under the supervision of an adult is not perfect, but it is, pragmatically speaking, better.

    Would this still be OK if a kid dropped from alcohol poisoning, or if property got damaged, or a fight broke out, or one of the girls at the party passed out and got raped?

    These things can happen either way, regardless of whether the parents allow alcohol to be consumed in their presence. They are incidental to the real issue. The question is, are they less likely to happen under their supervision, I would argue, yes, they are.

    which, last time I checked, is still illegal, no matter what the circumstances

    Illegal doesn’t always equal wrong, pal. I would pass out from exhaustion long before I could list all the great things that are illegal in this country.

  38. ah – i didn’t know that it’s now “Jane”.

    What ever happened to Pat Cameltoe, by the way. Or Twisted Merkin? those were two great handles. They probably kept Mona away, too 🙂

  39. Justin writes: “Parents providing a safe and contained enviornment for teenagers to consume alcohol is simply a matter of mind your own damn business and help yourself to a big steaming cup of shut the fuck up.”

    Oh, how hip and progressive of you! Let’s have a simple law quiz, shall we?

    The provision of alcohol to those under the legal drinking age, regardless of who watches them consume it, is:

    a. Legal
    b. Illegal

    I’ll give you time to think about it while I’m drinking my big steaming cup of shut the fuck up.

  40. This is yet another example of a true American dogma: we can punish our way out of any problem.

  41. um, SPD, this is a libertarian site. Arguing that something is bad because it’s illegal isn’t going to get you too far.

  42. Mista niceguy:

    I’ll grant you this: it would be smart for the parents to get the permission of the parents of everyone attending.

    However, I offer this hypothetical for your ponderance: Let’s say a kid has uber-strict parents. They won’t let him have a drop of alcohol. The kid goes out on prom night, intent to drink some booze. He gets invited to this supervised party, and at the door, the parents ask, “do you have permission from your parents?” He replies “no, they won’t let me, but I’m gonna drink either way, whether it’s here or in the woods”. Now, certainly from a legal standpoint, they should shut the door in his face. However, from a moral standpoint, it’s fuzzy. They could call the police, but he might be gone by the time he gets there, and the police would probably arrest them for having the party in the first place. The could call his parents, but I doubt that’d fix the drinking issue. You have a choice between letting him drink under your supervision but not telling his parents, or shoving him back into the street to wherever the night takes him. So, what would YOU do, morally speaking?

  43. SPD–

    The issue we’re discussing isn’t what the law is, but whether the law makes sense.

  44. Evan,

    Do you assume, then, that these parents should not be held liable if something were to happen under their watch, because they were breaking the law in a “safe” environment? If I happened to have a teenaged son or daughter who went to this party, I’d be suing these people in court, if not flat-out kicking their asses.

    “Illegal doesn’t always equal wrong, pal. I would pass out from exhaustion long before I could list all the great things that are illegal in this country.”

    I think the legal drinking age, like every other age of permission, should be determined on a state level and not a federal one. But then we should just break the laws we don’t agree with? Interesting concept, but don’t be surprised if it still doesn’t land you in jail.

    It’s defending crap like this that gives libertarians a bad name. If you disagree, fine. You can help yourself to some of this “shut the fuck up” I still have left in my cup. Hurry, ‘cuz it’s getting cold.

  45. SPD,
    You might “like to think of yourself as a libertarian”, but you have quite a bit of heavy lifting to do before you can lay credit to that claim.

    I know of no libertarian worth his/her salt that would fall back on the wholly asinine position of “Legal vs. Illegal”. Keep enjoying your drink and feel free to try again.

    -Justin

  46. Evan, of course, you realize that in your example the moral thing to do is wholly illegal. No, just follow SPD’s advice, obey the laws, and let the kid drink himself blind out in the woods. And if he chokes on his own vomit and dies, just remember that his fate would have been much worse if he wasn’t protected by drinking laws.

  47. Oh, how hip and progressive of you! Let’s have a simple law quiz, shall we?

    Oh, SPD, how utterly…shallow. If our moral obligations were truly bound in stone by that which the political class declared illegal, this would be a rather pestilent and vapid existence.

    Evoking the question of legality, surely you are aware of the concept of jury nullification, no? If a jury thinks that a law is unjust, they can find the defendent not guilty, even if, by the letter of the law, he/she was 100% guilty.

    What is your feeling on jury nullification? Should it be allowed? Or is the letter of the law our one true compass?

  48. Justin,

    I guess my definition of libertarian doesn’t include “hosting keggers for the neighborhood teens.” I thought it meant defending free markets and our constitutional rights, but I guess those battles have been won and we can focus on this instead.

  49. I totally think you should go with “Mista Niceguy.”

  50. SPD wrote:
    “I thought it meant defending free markets and our constitutional rights, but I guess those battles have been won and we can focus on this instead.”

    Explain to me how this issue is not about free markets and our constitutional rights.

    -Justin

  51. Why not give out condoms and host an orgy, so that these kids aren’t off having unprotected sex on their own?

    The kids can probably get free condoms from their high schools.

  52. Do you assume, then, that these parents should not be held liable if something were to happen under their watch, because they were breaking the law in a “safe” environment?

    That depends on the circumstances. Hopefully, a civil court would review the case objectively, and determine if the “something” that happened “under their watch” was due to their own negligence, or was something that would have happened anyway. I cannot give you a blanket answer to that, because it is highly context-dependent.

    I think the legal drinking age, like every other age of permission, should be determined on a state level and not a federal one. But then we should just break the laws we don’t agree with? Interesting concept, but don’t be surprised if it still doesn’t land you in jail.

    If I had to choose between performing my moral duty and going to jail, or failing to perform that duty, and walking free, I would, in most cases, choose the former. As a society, we have a duty to rebel against those laws which are unjust and immoral. Sure, some of us might end up in jail, but that’s hardly a reason to cower in the corner and simply gobble down whatever the political class feeds us.

    It’s defending crap like this that gives libertarians a bad name.

    No, it’s defending the letter of the law, regardless of the justness of it, that gives constructionists like you a bad name.

    Mmm, that’s some good shut the fuck up. Roasted yesterday, I presume?

  53. SPD–

    What did you think of Evan’s hypothetical? Do you give the kid a safe place to drink, or let him go out and drink rotgut in the woods?

  54. Because Justin, it’s obviously about keggers and about teenage girls getting their tramp stamps and thongs and about fat, hairy adults not being able to reach their johnson, what with the gut and all, so they want to ban it.

    Russ D: the free condoms have a pic of the virgin mary on the resevoir tip, so they’re kosher.

    does that clear it up?

    jest tryin’,
    drf

  55. Do you assume, then, that these parents should not be held liable if something were to happen under their watch, because they were breaking the law in a “safe” environment?

    They should be liable. Liability is not the issue. The fact that they took the keys was an indication of their awareness of liability.

  56. I guess my definition of libertarian doesn’t include “hosting keggers for the neighborhood teens.”

    No, that’s not my definition of “libertarian” either. Some people seem to think that libertarianism is an all-encompassing worldview guidelight for life. It ain’t. Libertarianism pertains to my views on government & politics, not my personal morality and ethics.

  57. “hosting keggers for the neighborhood teens.”

    I don’t know the specific details of this case, but there’s a BIG difference between “hosting keggers” and providing, say, a couple beers per kid, ? la the many, many countries in the world where such a concept doesn’t cause a collective nanny-gasp.

  58. Wow! A friend’s parents did this for us in high school. They cleared it with all our parents first. Anybody who was drunk was not allowed to drive home. I guess today they’d be facing jail time.

    Where does parental consent rank in the federal, state and local legal pecking order, SPD?

    BTW, worst thing that happened was my Robert Plant – obsessed friend passed out and woke up to find “Led-Zeppelin Sucks!” written backwards on his forehead. Looking back on it, that little stunt was probably a sobriety test. ;}

  59. Rhywun:

    Don’t expect someone like SPD to be genuine about this. Illegal=wrong, no matter what. And if he needs to reinforce his point by hyperbolically painting these responsible parents as crazy hippies throwing keggers for all the kids, then, so be it. It’s not lost on us.

  60. So, all the higher-ups in MADD are men. That is not reason enough to change the name of the organization. They’re still “mothers.”

  61. There is a lot of talk bout legal v illegal, and moral v immoral on this issue. What Im not seeing is enough honesty. As someone not all that long out of high school, someone who drank in the woods, in the school, and at the cool parents house, I can say this: there wasnt much difference in behaviour. Not driving, because plenty of kids went in and out the back door/window/claimed they rode with someone else to not give up there keys. And not sexual, teenagers will have three minutes of sex in a closet with forty people outside and adults upstairs.

    These cool parent parties had a minor effect on the behavior of there children and a few close friends to that particular family with whom the parents had some kind of relationship with, other than that, it was typical suburban teeageanarchy. Oops, I think I just wrote a blurb for Hilary’s book.

    Notice we havent had too many contributions from libertarian parents on here who’ve actually hosted one of these parties?

  62. NoStar–

    The acronym “MFADD” is even worse than the one I came up with.

  63. “You have a choice between letting him drink under your supervision but not telling his parents, or shoving him back into the street to wherever the night takes him. So, what would YOU do, morally speaking?”

    Aaaaah.. the moral dilemma. I used to love these in theology/philosophy class.

    The way I look at it, the parents in question have the sole determination of the life, liberty, and property of their spawn, whether or not I agree with them.

    If the kid ends up hurt or dead, I would feel really bad about it, but not one single bit guilty. I would split the blame 60% his parents and 40% the prohibitionist collectivist culture.

  64. Matt,

    As long as kids are getting getting the contradictory messages from the rest of American society that “drinking is evil” and that “getting wasted is cool”, one or two cool parents aren’t going to change anything.

  65. Hey Handsome Dan, good find on the prosecutor’s blog.

    http://bucherblog.blogspot.com/

    Check out the third article down, “Memo to Law Enforcement.” He’s grousing about how the “New Federalism” has taken root in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “Law enforcement officials cannot utilize physical evidence that is a derivative of an intentional Miranda violation. This is in direct contradiction to what Federal agents may do, as well as what most other states require.” Bucher takes particular exception to a particular Wisconsin Supreme Court judhe who “(does) not feel he should allow those we entrust to enforce the law to intentionally subvert a suspect?s constitutional rights.” He then notes (I am not making this up) “The Wisconsin Supreme Court is definitely out of lock step” and concludes, “I am the very last possibility in the way of an ass.” OK, he didn’t say that, Mark Twain did.

    But he should have.

  66. Patrick D,

    If you can find out for me if any parents of the kids who attended this party gave written permission to be there, I’d love to know. That might actually temper my initial reaction to this story, because that would mean other parents were aware of this and did not object and turned responsibility over to the hosts. If this was done without their knowledge, then the hosts overstepped their bounds in a huge way.

    Here are some other things I’d like to know:

    1. How much alcohol were the kids allowed to drink? Did the hosts estimate what each guest’s tolerance level was?

    2. Were certain areas of the house off-limits? Was every child accounted for at every point in time? Were the doors locked so nobody could sneak out or in?

    3. Was there a “cut-off” time at which the host parents said, “OK, no more alcohol after X?” If so, was it enforced? How?

    4. Was alcohol the only thing permitted at this party?

    My objection to this is that I believe that responsible adults (again, adults) have a right to do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Since Radley Balko’s piece does not mention what happened during or after the party, can we all still be OK with this if harm was, in fact, done?

  67. If the kid’s parents did not provide him with permission to drink than I tell him to come on in, obey his parents, and smoke this joint.

  68. Would this still be OK if a kid dropped from alcohol poisoning, or if property got damaged, or a fight broke out, or one of the girls at the party passed out and got raped?

    There are many programs which provide the materials to do illegal things so to render them safer.

    Is the Government/charities liable if someone overdoses using the free needles they provided?

    Are schools liable if kids have sex, or get pregnant, or catch herpes using the free condoms they provided?

    I have to agree with the “this is safer than it would be, and it would happen anyway” concept here.

    Of course the total prohibition against teenage drinking is the bigger problem here. I spent 4 years in Japan as a teenager, and could buy Saki and Beer (and porn!) from vending machines on the street. Didn’t seem to have much trouble with teenage drinking there…..

  69. SPD wrote:
    “Here are some other things I’d like to know:”

    Again, how is it that someone who “likes to think of himself as a libertarian” can bring up these questions and expect a non snarky answer?

    If I decide I want to host a part for my 16 year old daughter and her friends where alcohol is provided and I have the consent of all parental units involved, what makes you think it is any of your business?

    If the parents were not notified, then clearly civil litigation would be in order. If my child and those under my charge went on a drunken rampage…then police involvement may be in order.

    Your line of reasoning reminds me of the type of tortured logic that bans squirt guns from school premises because, after all, what if someone filled them with bleach?

    -Justin

  70. there is nothing about being a libertarian that requires me to support adult rights for children. even teenagers are physically, mentally, and emotionally much less capable than adults at handling alcohol, drugs, guns, jobs, contracts, etc. it may be cool to find yet another fringe issue to get all worked up about, but count me out on this one. and we wonder why we get 0.4% of the vote every year.

  71. Anvilwyrm,

    If I decide that my kid’s mature enough to drink alcohol, then he or she can enjoy responsible amounts of it in my home, with my supervision. I certainly do not have the right to determine if someone else’s child is mature enough to drink alochol, much less allow a group of them over to spend the night drinking.

    To put it in Hillaryspeak: Does it take a village to decide how much booze your kid can handle?

    The argument “they’re going to do it anyway” is a pretty weak one. They’re not ALL going to, but they might if they know there’s a safe place they can go to do it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy (kind of how Bush made his case for invading Iraq because there were terrorists there, and lo and behold!, we invaded and terrorist attacks began).

  72. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the idea of suing the brewery. They should have known that their product would be used in an illegal manner.

  73. “If the parents were not notified, then clearly civil litigation would be in order. If my child and those under my charge went on a drunken rampage…then police involvement may be in order.”

    Justin, either you now agree with me you’ve missed my point completely. If you’d bothered to read my later posts, you’d know that you and I were making the same argument.

    IF every parent gave their consent, and IF the party was properly supervised (and the number of adults could adequately handle the number of teenagers there), then I might have not reacted as strongly. But none of these points were mentioned in the article, so how are we to know that everything was above board, and this wasn’t a case of one set of parents deciding they knew what was best for other people’s children?

    jimmy,

    I hear you. This is not the cause around which I’d base a campaign or anything. I’m pretty sure popular support would hover somwhere between slim and none — except, of course, for citizens between the ages of 13 and 20.

  74. So, all the higher-ups in MADD are men. That is not reason enough to change the name of the organization. They’re still “mothers.”

    I think you meant “muthas”.

  75. SPD,
    I said that civil litigation may be in order. I didn’t say that that gave the Police a right to arrest the parents. I certainly didn’t say that it gave prosecutors the right to charge them. In fact, I never insinuated that the parents be punished criminally at all.

    Now, if my neighbor gave a beer to my 16 year old without my knowledge, I would certainly be pissed off. At the very least, I would have a talk with this person. At the most, I might hire a lawyer and see him/her in civil court.

    Therefore, you were not making the same argument. Your statement was:

    “Seriously, I like to consider myself a libertarian, but I don’t think this is anywhere close to OK. It’s indefensible. These parents should be prosecuted.”

    The situation is not indefensible and the parents should not be prosecuted. As I said before, this is a case of mind your own damned business. At the most extreme, this is a matter for the parents involved to settle between themselves, not the whole state of Rhode Island. In this case, the whole state of Rhode Island can pack sand.

    -Justin

  76. Since Radley Balko’s piece does not mention what happened during or after the party, can we all still be OK with this if harm was, in fact, done?

    Do you honestly believe that if there was some negative consequence as a result of this party that it wouldn’t have been smeared all over every newspaper and local tv station?

    I mean, really? It was already a controversial enough event. If some kid had gotten killed or injured as a result of it you can damn well bet that the press would have been out there snapping photos of the body bag and the blood-stained ground.

  77. Oh, and is Jane just being all ironical, or is she just batshit insane?

    I honestly couldn’t tell, and lately I’ve been having this problem where I mistake something meant to be serious for satire simply because it’s such a goddamned stupid idea.

  78. Uh-oh, another nannies (SPD, jimmy) vs. non-nannies (pretty much everyone else) post…

    “As long as kids are getting getting the contradictory messages from the rest of American society that “drinking is evil” and that “getting wasted is cool”, one or two cool parents aren’t going to change anything.”

    Does anyone think that these attitudes do anything other than completely perpetuate eachother? In no other (non-middle eastern) country is there such a puritanical view towards alcohol, and in no other country (save MAYBE Ireland or some of the cold countries) is there such a drinking problem as here, especially regarding teen drinking. Yes, there are many dumbass teenage children who think it’s so damn cool to go out and get wasted, but many times it’s due to the desire to rebel against our nanny, collectivist puritanism culture. There are also many teens with heads on their shoulders who don’t see the value in mindless inebriation, and they should be allowed to indulge responsibly (the others can go destroy their livers, for all i care. Survival of the Fittest, anyone?)

    As for the question at hand. Definitely a grey area, but the state probably shouldn’t be involved. If, like someone said, kids are going to lie/sneak out/ have sex etc. it’s not the parents’ fault. They would have done it anyway.

  79. Hey Kids,

    Stay over at my place tonight and drink some “Jesus juice”! Don’t worry, I’ll keep the doors locked so you can’t escape and run around causing trouble. It’s better that you stay here where I can “supervise” you! You were going to get drunk and groped anyway, and I think laws against sleeping in a bed with minors and giving them liquor are stupid, so come on by! I’m a nice, responsible adult. Heck, I’m a parent myself!

    Sincerely,

    Michael Jackson

    (And I do have your parents’ permission!)

  80. I certainly do not have the right to determine if someone else’s child is mature enough to drink alochol, much less allow a group of them over to spend the night drinking. To put it in Hillaryspeak: Does it take a village to decide how much booze your kid can handle? The argument “they’re going to do it anyway” is a pretty weak one. They’re not ALL going to, but they might if they know there’s a safe place they can go to do it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy (kind of how Bush made his case for invading Iraq because there were terrorists there, and lo and behold!, we invaded and terrorist attacks began)

    To find an analogy in the Iraq war is dishonest at best, obfuscatory at worst. Were you ever in high school? The temptation/pressure to drink was omnipresent. Only those who were the strongest-willed or the goody-goodyest of good were completely dry. Everyone else drank, some more than others.

    But, in effect, YOU are saying that the incredible peer pressure and omnipresent opportunities of high school life might not crack their will, but, hey, the temptation of some parents letting people have a few beers on prom night? Oh, holy shit, they’ll crumble like a terrorist with fake-vaginal-fluid-stained panties on his head! Please. You keep trying to make the better the enemy of the perfect, but the practical reality of high school life shatters your abstract hypotheticals.

    And…you continue to look at this issue solely through the incredibly narrow lens of legality. As I’ve said, if there is a civil case to be made, let it be made in civil court—don’t arrest them and charge them with criminal charges. This is not a matter for the state.

  81. I spent my social life in hich school generally at the houses of my friends with the most permissive parents. These parents were rarely monitoring our activities. They were just aware that a passel of high school kids were on their property smoking, drinking and getting high. In retrospect these parents were simply lazy and uninterested in offering any kind of moral guidance.

    Having said that, kids will always congregate in areas where they can engage in questionable activies, be it a basement, park, cul-de-sac or woods.

    The real issue is not hosting keggers vs. chasing kids into the woods. It is taking responsibility for teaching your kids how to handle parties, alcohol, tobacco and drugs regardless of the location and situation. I tend to think that parents who think they should be progressive and host parties featuring alcohol would find their efforts better spent getting to know their kids’ friends and promoting relatively square activities like paintball or scavenger hunts.

  82. Evan,

    Yes, I was in high school and amazingly, I didn’t drink. I’m not sure which of your two sociological pigeonholes I’d fall into on that one. Your argument is that peer pressure makes everything alright. It doesn’t. Sorry to burst your bubble. Give kids credit for having a little self control. Saying they’re going to misbehave because we expect them to and then providing the environment to do so is an incredibly pessimistic view of teenagers in our society.

    Whether or not you think it should be a crime to provide drinks to minors, it’s still a crime. Are prosecutors not suppose to do their job? As I’ve stated before, I think minimum legal ages for drinking should be decided locally, same as with driver’s licenses and similar status symbols of maturity.

    My apologies if you were offended by my example, but it was the first one that came to mind and I don’t think in itself that it was incorrect. But that’s for a different discussion.

  83. Christina:

    I’m with you on the “responsibility” thing, but after that, well, you begin to sound like the naive grandma. “Ohhh, yes, I remember back when I was in the grade school! Some of the yunguns were hankerin’ for a thimble of mint julep, but my mama, she put out some crackers and juice, and them demons were promptly chased away!” No offense, but, um, don’t you think it’s a tad silly to think you can keep kids from drinking on prom night by, uh, staging scavenger hunts? Do you have teenagers? Were you ever a teenager? Back here in reality, you can be the best parent in the world, and your kids still have a good chance of being peer-pressured into the juice, or worse. Short of locking your kids in a bomb shelter a la that terrible Brendan Fraser flick “blast from my ass” or some such nonsense, your kids will inevitably be exposed to risks, and they may not always make the best decisions. And, I’m sorry, but staging fun, wholesome little games to distract them just h’aint gonna work past elementary school.

  84. Evan,

    So then should parents just stop trying and surrender to the inevitable? Sorry, but some of us don’t feel that way. Ad hominem attacks won’t change that.

    I’m completely for adults doing whatever they want safely and responsibly. Teenagers are a different matter and should be for obvious reasons.

    And yes, that Brendan Fraser movie sucked.

  85. SPD wrote:
    “Whether or not you think it should be a crime to provide drinks to minors, it’s still a crime. Are prosecutors not supposed to do their job? As I’ve stated before, I think minimum legal ages for drinking should be decided locally, same as with driver’s licenses and similar status symbols of maturity.”

    I’m going for the obvious cheap shot here, not for dramatic effect but, for some reason, it’s the easiest way to shut this argument down.

    Terminally ill patients who smoke marijuana are breaking the law as well. as you like to say…it’s illegal. Prosecutors who “do their job” when dealing with this sad issue deserve to be thrown out the nearest air vent (ala “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”)

    So, no…Prosecutors should not do their job. In fact, prosecutors and the police should be held strictly accountable when they do do said jobs.

    I simply cannot understand why you don’t get this.

    -Justin

  86. Does anyone think that these attitudes do anything other than completely perpetuate eachother?

    Of course, which is why we need to send a strong, consistant message that underage drinking is unhealthy, illegal and immorral.

    Having said that, kids will always congregate in areas where they can engage in questionable activies, be it a basement, park, cul-de-sac or woods.

    They should not be out after school, they should be doing homework and chores. Kids shouldn’t be doing anything that might interfere with doing good in school.

    As I’ve stated before, I think minimum legal ages for drinking should be decided locally, same as with driver’s licenses and similar status symbols of maturity.

    No, there needs to be a consistant national standard.

  87. If the parents were not notified, then clearly civil litigation would be in order.

    What would their damages be? The fact that there are no damages is a clue that there is no harm. No harm, tort, my friend.

    A parent may, repeat may, have a right to “corrupt” their own kids, but they never have a right to corrupt other parents’ kids.

    Who said anything about corrupting anyone? What kind of whack world-view regards a couple of beers as corrupting? This reminds me of the kind of magical thinking that blames guns for crime or money for greed.

  88. I’m not sure which of your two sociological pigeonholes I’d fall into on that one.

    Not pigeonholing, just making observational generalizations, since I don’t have the time to do a detailed analysis of high school social dynamics. Anyway, you obviously had a strong will, or were a big ol’ nerd who never was around any of the crowds who provided the pressure and/or the opportunity.

    Your argument is that peer pressure makes everything alright. It doesn’t. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    No, you’re putting words in my mouth. I’m not justifying anything, I’m just being a fucking realist. I never said “drinking is al-right!”. Never! You’re just making up strawmen. There is a huge difference between excusing X, and simply acknowledging that X takes place. Do you understand?

    Give kids credit for having a little self control.

    I never said they had no self control, either. I just said that teens drink, esp. on prom night. I’m not putting them down, just making an observation.

    Saying they’re going to misbehave because we expect them to

    AGAIN with the strawmen. I never said that their actions were a result of our expectations! Their actions are a result of myriad pressures and effects. But ignoring reality because you don’t like how it looks, that’s simply irresponsible. I’m not JUSTIFYING reality, I’m not EXCUSING reality, I’m not BLAMING reality on our expectations—I’m simply acknowledging reality. Do. You. See. The. Difference? Now, if you wouldn’t mind, please stop hitting me with all these strawmen.

    Whether or not you think it should be a crime to provide drinks to minors, it’s still a crime.

    That IS NOT the issue here. I never said it wasn’t a crime. I said that the fact that it is a crime is wrong. This could go on for hours: is a law right because it is just, or because it is a law…the chicken before the egg quandry. Ugh. Yes, the optimal democratic methodology would be to exercise your right to protest and vote, and get the laws changed through the typical processes. But sometimes, that just is not efficient or fast enough, and lives are at stake here and now.

    My apologies if you were offended by my example, but it was the first one that came to mind and I don’t think in itself that it was incorrect.

    Not offended at all. Your example might be apt IF these supervised prom parties actually BRED new drinkers. Until you can prove such a phenomenon (we can PROVE that the war has bred new insurgents), then your example is inapt.

  89. Of course, which is why we need to send a strong, consistant message that underage drinking is unhealthy, illegal and immorral.

    In moderation, it is certainly not unhealthy. Lying to people about stuff like this generally has the opposite effect to what you want.

    As to whether it is immoral for a 16 year old to have a beer or a glass of wine, I would say it is debatable at the least, and unless you are some kind of hardcore fundie/jihadi you are unlikely to believe that it is immoral in the way lying, cheating, stealing, etc. are.

  90. So then should parents just stop trying and surrender to the inevitable? Sorry, but some of us don’t feel that way. Ad hominem attacks won’t change that.

    I don’t feel that way either. Yet another strawman. SPD, ponder this: I assert that there is a difference between

    A) Parents should stop trying and surrender to the inevitable

    and

    B) Responsible parents should not be thrown into prison for 8 years for trying to keep kids off the road on prom night, even if, by the letter of the law, ti is illegal.

    Now, out of those two statements, which one did I say? Can you remember?

  91. SPD: your other mistake is that you think that this is an all-or-nothing game. If one parent allows a few beers to be consumed under their watch on prom night, then that’s the only thing that can be done? Just because I don’t think these folks should go to prison, doesn’t mean that I think that all parents should give up. Hey, continue to educate your kids about being responsible. Do everything you can to make them good people. Why does it have to be one or the other?

  92. I think parents who DON’T teach their kids how to drink responsibly should be held accountable for any drunk driving deaths they cause. The whole point of parenting is to teach your kids about life’s risks and hazards, not to keep them ignorant of the real world.

  93. Responsible parents should not be thrown into prison for 8 years for trying to keep kids off the road on prom night, even if, by the letter of the law, ti is illegal.

    Breaking the law is endangering the kids, following the law is not.

  94. Rhywun: When I got to college, most of the kids who were the worst binge drinkers were the ones whose parents had isolated them from alcohol all their lives.

  95. Jane/Juanita,

    I like your deadpan humor. Keep it up.

  96. Jane, you silly troll! Take a hint: I’m not gonna bite your hook. Go troll somewheres else.

  97. I forget where I read this, but somebody wrote that assuming teens forbidden to ever touch alcohol will become responsible-drinker adults is like raising your child to be financially responsible by never, ever letting him spend a dime on his own, and then giving him a credit card with a $50,000 limit when he reaches 21.

  98. You mean “abstinence only” doesn’t work?!

    And A.O. is exactly what the MADD-nannies are trying to promote.

  99. I’m pretty much in agreement with the side being argued by Evan here, but I have to take issue with one thing: There’s a lot of unsupported assertion going around about what does and doesn’t happen in other countries with different attitudes towards alcohol. I have to say, I’ve lived overseas (Europe), traveled overseas (Europe, Canada, Australia) and have friends who live around the world, and if there’s one thing I’ve never had difficulty finding overseas, it’s plenty of drunk people all over the streets on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone have figures at hand for rates of public drunkenness arrests and DUI arrests in other countries?

  100. So is Jane/Juanita actually serious, or is s/he just writing swell satire?

    I still can’t tell, it seems my sarcasometer is out of whack.

  101. Perhaps is Jane/Juanita our favorite spagett, Melissa (the one who doesn’t understand engrish velly werr, but comments anyways?)

    phil – where did you live in Europe, and for how long? did you enjoy it? etc. do tell! 🙂

  102. Mediageek–

    Satire.

  103. Anyone have figures at hand for rates of public drunkenness arrests and DUI arrests in other countries?
    Comment by: Phil at August 9, 2005 03:37 PM

    But don’t other countries have better mass transit systems than the U.S.?

    If I get drunk here, there’s very little chance of me catching a bus or train home. I could pay for a cab, but the price of cab fare makes the risk of drunk driving look attractive.* In Europe, that might not be the case.

    Hopefully, somebody with more experience getting drunk in Europe can enlighten me.

    * Plus, the hassle of having to get my car the next morning. In many parts of this city, parking is not permitted between 2:00 am – 5:00 am. So even if I did do the responsible thing, and take a bus or cab home, my car — which was legally parked at 1:59 am — might be impounded by the city before I could get it.

  104. Evan,

    I think you might be of the opinion that I think that parents need to keep their kids occupied with wholesome activities. That wasn’t my point. I was simply trying to say that there are a ton of truly fun things teenagers enjoy doing that don’t involve being wasted. You don’t have to set-up a scavenger hunt, but you could suggest that they do it. Back in my day (8 years ago) a group of boys in my senior class organized an all-night scavenger hunt that was so fun that the police shut us down before we could tally our points. We couldn’t be shitfaced because then how do you drive around the area and steal other teams’ hubcaps?

    I guess my big point is that kids have plenty of peers and media sources encouraging them to do crap that isn’t good for them. So shouldn’t parents be that beacon of positive influence?

  105. Christina,

    I don’t think anyone here is advocating that kids should “get wasted”. One or two drinks with a meal is totally fine, and if you teach your kids any self-control, does not lead to “getting wasted”.

    Phil,

    Maybe you’re right. My experience in Europe was almost 20 years ago – plus I was in high school, so it’s not like I was out and about late at night. But given the many times I drank with friends at pubs after school or with my “host” family at meals, my gut feeling tells me that a healthy attitude towards alcohol is more common there. This all applies only to Germany, BTW. Mileage in other countries may vary.

  106. Nobody Important,

    In my (somewhat limited) experience, nothing worth doing in Europe was outside the range of public transportation. The auto-dependent suburb did not exist in Germany when I lived there – there really isn’t room for it.

  107. This is interesting to me. On the one hand, we have the problem of children and age of “consent” versus legal age. The law says 21, plenty of people say younger. So are we going to make up our own standard? Were these kids all 18? If not, then the decision falls to their parents regardless, no?

    On the other hand we have the idea that perhaps these kids were going to break the law anyway so it’s better to provide a “safe” environment for them. Rape, sickness, etc. have already been mentioned, but how about the fact that the host parents are allwing children to break the law?

    I know if I had kids I would be very pissed to find that my child got arrested because someone else thought they’d take the law into their own hands. Let us not forget that not all parents are libertarians, and they should have the right to raise their children to obey all laws if they want to.

  108. Nobody Important,

    In Paris last month, the Metro left my wife and I stranded at 1 AM on a Saturday night miles from our hotel, with taxis hard to come by. We ended up walking.

    The public transit in Europe is great, but as here, it comes with a curfew.

  109. Let us not forget that if they were all 18+, they are not children and are responsible for there own law breaking.

    Initially, the 21 age was for preventing drunk driving, with the way it is enforced, it has morphed into prohibition for adults 18-20.

  110. I fail to see that parental permission is necessary for teens to drink. Parental consent isn’t necessary for teens to have sex. Informing parents isn’t even necessary when their kids have abortions.

    So how can parental permission be relevant to the discusion, especially since getting drunk is just a part of the sexual foreplay?

  111. a group of boys in my senior class organized an all-night scavenger hunt that was so fun that the police shut us down before we could tally our points. We couldn’t be shitfaced because then how do you drive around the area and steal other teams’ hubcaps?

    So the moral disdain you heap on the notion of a kid drinking a beer doesn’t spread over onto the kid’s stealing hubcaps?

  112. It is only inevitable that some teens will drink. Other teens, like me, were/are knew our ass was grass if we came home drunk or stoned. Therefore, the fear of God, or more precisely, the fear of my six foot tall 200 lb father kept me sober until I was 18.

    That said, I am a charter member of Drunks Against Mad Mothers.

    That also said, no matter the good intentions, no matter the morality, parents who host these kinds of parties are asking for trouble and it seems they got some.

    Truth is, if my kid was at your party and you let him drink without my permission I’d kick your ass from here to breakfast. I say that in spite of the fact that I think that the legal drinking age should be abolished.

  113. Nostar,

    Sure kids don’t have to get permission to have an abortion. But try getting a driver’s license without your parent’s permission. Or a kidney transplant. Make any sense to you?

    BTW, getting drunk isn’t foreplay and last time I checked some people get drunk without any thought of getting laid.

  114. Evan said: When I got to college, most of the kids who were the worst binge drinkers were the ones whose parents had isolated them from alcohol all their lives.

    Jennifer said: I forget where I read this, but somebody wrote that assuming teens forbidden to ever touch alcohol will become responsible-drinker adults is like raising your child to be financially responsible by never, ever letting him spend a dime on his own, and then giving him a credit card with a $50,000 limit when he reaches 21.

    I believe there are studies that bear this out. I have also heard that rates of alcoholism are relatively lower among cultures where there may be a lot of drinking, and they even give their kids a nip now and then, but much higher among cultures where drinking alcohol is strictly a “grown-up” thing, forbidden to children. Trying to find a reference online…

    Link says: Forbidding drinking by children does not seem to reduce alcohol abuse. Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who tracked a group of Boston adolescents for four decades, found that Irish-Americans were seven times as likely to become alcoholic as were Italians, Greeks, and Jews. Yet the latter groups typically introduce children to alcohol, while in Irish culture children traditionally do not drink in the home.

    Link2 says: Ironically, in the United States today, we follow the method of alcohol education found least successful in the Vaillant study. That is, alcohol is grouped with illicit drugs, and children are taught that abstinence is the only answer. Yet children are aware that most adults drink, and many drink alcohol themselves on the sly. Moreover, drinking will be legal and widely available to them within a few short years. Clearly, many young people find the abstinence message confusing and hypocritical.

  115. Some-one asked for a perspective from outside the US, since I am a Belgian let me tell you how it is here.

    People here have a general positive attitude towards alcohol and try to give that attitude to their children. This usually starts at a very early age, parents start with giving the tast of beer or wine to the children by dipping their fopsicle (sp?) in it or make them sip on it. This is considered fairly normal since everybody is brought up with it and so they know that the kids won’t be harmed.

    But as a result of this I must add that I know have to be carefull were I put my beer when my nephews are around, since they have the habbit of drinking it ( they are 4 and 6).

    Also we have table beers that have a mild alcohol content and is also often given to children with dinner. They really fill you up so you don’t drink a lott off it.

    The children are also used to going to a cafe with their parents so they are acustomed to the atmosphere there.
    When they are in their teens they will go to youth clubs or a cafe. The youth clubs only serve you beer when your 16.
    For cafes on the other hand the law says that “no unmarried minor under the age of 16 is allowed unaccompanied in the establishment” so usually an older brother will come along.
    Since the driving age here is 18 people usually have a better understanding of alcohol.
    The government has also a designated driver campaign called “BOB”. This is also a very big succes since it did distill some responsibillity (sp?) in people and in fact is being copied in more countries.

    Hope this brings some perspective.

  116. The government has also a designated driver campaign called “BOB”. This is also a very big succes since it did distill some responsibillity (sp?) in people and in fact is being copied in more countries.

    Sounds like the Belgians’ main concern is reducing the harmful effects of drinking, especially in regards to driving. In America, the main concern is to mete out punishment to people who drink. BIG difference.

  117. Oh Jennifer,

    The traditional government bloodlust for punishment is met here by the speeding regulations.

    They do love their speeding tickets.

  118. Ambiorix–

    Yeah, every government has a certain sleaze factor. But (despite the number of libertarians who think that taxation is the single most egregious violation of human rights, and anything else is just secondary) I’d damn sure rather be at the mercy of a government that will fine or tax me a portion of my wages, versus a government that will imprison me for a portion of my life.

  119. I sure wish Christina would come back and tell us more about these wonderful wholesome scavenger hunts that replace immoral beer-drinking with healthy, upstanding petty theft and vandalism. Don’t drink a beer, my child–steal a hubcap instead!

  120. Jennifer,

    Reading back over the posts I came across this gem of yours:

    “Since these folks like bossing people around, maybe we can solve this problem by having the Queer Eye guys and other style experts give these people makeovers so that they’re attractive enough to become S&M prostitutes. It’s a win-win situation for all: they get to indulge their taste for dominating others AND make good money doing it, while the rest of us get to be left the hell alone.”

    Would that make Jane/juanita the dominatrix or the Submissive? I’m confused!

  121. Ambiorix–

    That would make Jane/Juan/Juanita the person who sits back, watches the action, and whacks off.

  122. To be fair, Jennifer, it sounded to me like they were stealing each other’s hubcaps.

    I recall from my time in the Netherlands that the penalty for driving drunk was something on the order of a fifth of your previous year’s gross income, and suspension of your license. Compare that to here, where a few hundred dollars in court and attorney’s fees let you keep a restricted license…

  123. Rich Ard-

    How many teenagers are in the habit of keeping spare hubcaps in their wallets?

    I remember a scavenger hunt when I was in high school (I didn’t take part); among the items that had to be found were hubcaps, gravestones and street signs. Personally, I’d have a higher opinion of a kid who had a beer.

    As for the Netherlands, I think drunk driving SHOULD have a harsh penalty, because you can seriously hurt someone that way. I dunno–seems fucked up to me to have a country where the penalty for drunk driving is a relative slap on the wrist, while the penalty for preventing kids from drunk driving can be up to eight years in jail.

  124. Here in Belgium you can also pay a hefty (sp?) fine and risk losing your drivers license, but most people choose a BOB and the police will sometimes be leaniant (sp?) as I have found out personally.

    In France the system is that you have ( I believe) 6 points on your drivers license and each time you make an offence there will be points deducted depending on want kind of violation it was. Once you are without points you’ll lose it for a certain period and you will have to do your drivers exam.

    Jennifer,

    “That would make Jane/Juan/Juanita the person who sits back, watches the action, and whacks off.”

    I don’t know, I just cann’t get the image of Jane/Juanita with a leather cap over her head and ball in her mouth enjoying a good spanking from a bunch off people in fascists uniforms out off my head!!!

    But that may just be me?

  125. “How many teenagers are in the habit of keeping spare hubcaps in their wallets?”

    that sound like the jock’s conceited term for the melted condom he would keep in his billfold.

  126. “with a leather cap over her head and ball in her mouth enjoying a good spanking from a bunch off people in fascists uniforms”

    mon dieu…..

    (don’t forget the low BAC limit in sweden – partially skunked OJ could be enough. And how alcohol is priced and regulated there. Go to Helings?r and check out the swedes. But go to a country where booze is cheaper and the danes go nuts, too)

  127. Actually, Ambiorix, the more I think about it the more I realize Juanita would actually be on the sidelines dolorously explaining why the guy getting the crap beat out of him needs to appreciate the fact that it’s for his own good.

    Back to your original point, though, from what I’ve read, losing your license in Europe is far less severe a penalty than losing it here. Europe has decent mass transit, for the most part, so a carless person could at least get to work and the grocery store, although pleasure drives would of course be impossible. But in America, with the exception of Manhattan, or a few people who live, work and shop in dense downtowns, a car is an absolute necessity. No car means no way to get to work, no way to make a living, no way to buy food. Going without a driver’s license could literally ruin your life. (This is also why we have so many old people who refuse to surrender their licenses even after their vision and reflexes have deteriorated to the point where they’re an absolute menace on the road.)

  128. Jennifer,

    Point taken, it is also ( at least I know here in Belgium) that most people live close enough to go to work by bike. One can even get an extra bonus if you do that ( kyoto and stuff).

    I remember my brother in law had that experience a few years ago. He fenderbendered a car when plastered a drove off, didn’t realise it. He lost his license for 3 months so he had to take the bike. He was the sober one in his car I must add. His passanger was an even more drunk off-duty gendarm!

  129. Forget moving stuff from one planet to another. This is why someone needs to invent teleportation…

    /too much coffee this morning

  130. Dear TWC,
    Alcohol not a part of foreplay????
    And you call yourself a wine commonsewer!

    Any activity that gets you in the mood is foreplay.

  131. Nostar, touche! 🙂

    Here’s a truly anarcho/libertarian one for you:

    If you are drunk as a pig, get in your car, drive home, make it in one piece without hitting anyone else, how have you harmed anyone?

    My old friend Jim used to ask that question a lot before he took on the telephone pole and lost.

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