Morning meditation - Primacy of individual conscience prevents the rise of totalitarian fascism
Children cannot trust their borderline mothers.

Party Host Mom Set for Va. Jail Term

On June 9, 2007, the Washington Post has an interesting article about Elisa_kelly Elisa Kelly and her ex-husband, George Robinson, who were sentenced to 27 months in a Virginia jail for providing alcohol a few years ago to her 16 and 15 year old sons and their friends. Elisa and George were charged with nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and were found guilty. Elisa and George appealed their convictions and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which refused to hear the case allowing the convictions to stand.

Is this penalty too severe for the offense?

We live in a society which sees nothing wrong with the abuse of alcohol and yet alcohol contributes to over 17,000 deaths a year from DWI crashes, hundred of thousands of injuries, millions of dollars in property destruction, hundreds of thousands of rapes and assaults, and we continue to see commercials on TV and in magazines which promise us joy, excitement, pleasure if we drink this beer, or that alcopop beverage, and imbide fine whiskey.

When parents allow young people to abuse alcohol you have to wonder about the judgment of such people. Whether they belong in jail is another question. I would much rather see them on probation where their behavior can be monitored to encourage better judgment and healthier decisions when it comes to the parenting of their children.

As a public health issue, underage drinking and adult alcohol abuse is a huge concern with high mortality and injury consequences. Elisa Kelly and George Robinson don't deserve to be exploited to be made examples of in an attempt to change societal norms and attitudes, and yet societal norms and attitudes do need to change if the public health is to improve. The breweries and distilleries lie continually to the public about the benefits of their products and they spend millions of dollars a year creating expectations that using their products leads to pleasure and fun and to some extent this may be true, but the use of their products also leads to destructive, tragic, and very expensive consequences as well. Children are in no position to use good judgement in making good decisions without parental and adult guidance and when the parents let the kids down it is right for the broader community to be concerned and hold such parents accountable.

Link: Party Host Mom Set for Va. Jail Term -



It's sad that the mom lives in one of less than 10 countries in the world where the purchase (and public possession) of alcohol by those under 21 is illegal. Yes the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 did change a lot, but now binge drinking and the beginning of a lifelong disrespect for the law are problems for the college-aged among us. Europeans have a much more transparent approach towards educating their children about alcohol; many let their children have a sip of wine from an early age. And maybe that's why their college-aged citizens don't have a frenzied fascination with alcohol like ours do. America's abstinence-based policies and education is arguably causing more problems than it solves. At least a few college administrators have supported lowering the drinking age.

The mom may have followed the intent of the law to reduce drunk driving, but she didn't know she lives in one of 15 states that completely prohibit underage consumption. Had she been in any of the other 35 she wouldn't have been charged. Yes it is wrong to have other children drink without their parents knowing, but that's far from surprising thanks to the conservatism that probably strongly prevails in the heads of those other parents.

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