Monday, June 02, 2008

Beach Week

The Washington Post takes on a DC high school tradition: high schoolers who take to the Delaware beaches en masse after graduation to, er, celebrate for a week.

Despite not being a drinker myself (indeed, about 20 of my friends and I decided to go to the Outer Banks for beach week instead, for a quieter atmosphere), I don't really get worked up about it or think it is the scariest thing in the universe. The impetus to respond to it as if it were a menace to society grates me far more. Here's Rehoboth Beach police chief Keith Banks:
"In one call last year, the parents were upset and crying and telling me I've ruined their child's [future] because they had a college scholarship revoked because of an arrest. I had one parent tell me, 'My child was just drinking beer and didn't even buy it in your town.' I said, 'How did they get the beer?' And the parent said, 'I bought it for them.'

"I ask you: Is that a responsible parent?"

Perhaps not, but it sounds far more like over-policing to me.


PG said...

The woes of kids whose parents rent them beach houses for a week are the problems of the privileged. They might not be a menace to society, but I'm trying to think of a group more likely to have the education and resources to a) be aware of the law; and b) be able to defend against charges.

Underage drinking, except in private and under parental supervision, is against the law in 33 states. Unless the parents are militating to change the law and boycott those states, I'm not taking the wailing about over-policing very seriously. Parents are happy to have these laws enforced -- on other people's children. Maybe if enforcement is spread higher up the socioeconomic ladder, those with more political power will change the law.

Anonymous said...

"The woes of kids whose parents rent them beach houses for a week are the problems of the privileged."


Here my love of underage drinking runs up against my resentment for snotty rich kids and their sense of entitlement. When a black kid loses his job and does real, hard time for a minor marijuana bust, that's being "tough on crime." When some waspy East Coast collar-popper loses his scholarship because he got busted drinking, that's supposed to be unfair. Cries about over-policing assume that other people are being appropriately policed, assumptions based in racist and classist ideas of who the "real" bad kids are.

So I agree with PG. When your pals skip their graduation kegger to protest mandatory minimum sentencing laws, I'll lend them my sympathy. Until then, they can just let dad the scummy trial attorney buy their way out.

David Schraub said...

...says the Carleton attending underaged drinker.

Not that I disagree that the whole gamut of our substance policies and enforcement is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well if the whole gamut is wrong then it's wrong, but should the police really opt not to enforce the existing law when violations are flagrant and public?

(Personally, I don't see why graduating high school calls for much celebration anyway. But then, I'm an avowed elitist.)