If parents really want to know what their kids are up to, they should read the Facebook entries -- but it's probably better not to know. A friend of mine with a frat-boy son returned shaken from one weekend visit to the fraternity house, where he witnessed a lad who vomited on the sleeping fathers during "Dads Weekend." This was after he had drained a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, which followed a day of nonstop drinking. "I don't know how he survived," my friend concluded in some perplexity.
A recent survey done in Montana, admittedly a heavy drinking state across all age groups, had 38 percent of high-schoolers admitting binge drinking within the past 30 days, above the national average of 28 percent. Binge drinking is defined in these stats as having five or more drinks in one session. Over a third of these young boozers said they'd been in a car whose driver was also busy getting loaded. You trip over reports of the resultant auto disasters all the time, in local papers everywhere.
Teen and college drinkers include returning vets from Iraq, mostly in their mid-20s. Portland State University in Oregon, 400 miles north of where I live, has 800 vets enrolling this fall, and many other colleges across the country have a similarly huge inrush. These include a predictable complement of people with severe problems of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which is likely to produce sociopathic behavior.
Parents who are worried that some drunk will drive their own drunken children into walls or other cars, or that their own drunken children will be behind the wheel, now encourage the parties to take place in their own homes. This carries its own risks, in the form of "social hosting" laws in many states, where the householder -- even if away on holiday or on business -- can get nailed for allowing the party. This includes liability for damages if any death or injury stems from the revelry, either on site or in some carload of party-goers on their way home.
If Americans look for leadership amidst this crisis, they probably won't want to dwell too long on George Bush, a frat boy with a major drinking problem until -- supposedly -- he laid off after Laura had been on the receiving end of one too many unpleasant homecomings. George claims God saved him, but there are no signs of the mass religious revival that would now be necessary.
Any good news? There is a study out there, conducted by people at the University of Virginia, that shows teens having consensual sex early in their teens or even preteen years are less likely to become delinquents later on. Seems the steady diet of sex drains them of the energy and initiative required to do all the other bad things.
© Creators Syndicate
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Albion Monitor November
30, 2007 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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