Drinkers will drink, partyers will party
I must first begin this letter by expressing my deepest sympathy and hope for a speedy recovery to Christa and Monika Williams. (Editor’s note: Christa was burned after falling into a bonfire at a party earlier this month.)
I’m writing in response to the article about under-aged drinking and high school partying. I go to parties, and I go for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons include seeing all my friends outside of school, having fun after dark and getting a buzz.
Michelle Bergman and Monika Williams are right: There really isn’t anything to do for older teens in Truckee. Town is too small to support a youth center that could provide activities that would keep older teens from going to the woods to drink.
Police Chief Scott Berry thinks that when high schoolers go to the woods to drink, the proper precautions of having a fire are not taken into account and that the safety of all in attendance is set aside. As a regular party-goer, I know this not to be true.
For the past two summers I have taken it upon myself to make sure that there is proper defensible space around the firepit, and that the fire is extinguished after every party.
Each night that I party, I camp. My shovel and my water are never too far away. I keep a watchful eye on the fire and make sure that it doesn’t get too big and never gets out of control.
Partying in the woods is not as dangerous as it is being portrayed. Not everyone that goes to parties is drunk. There are plenty of drivers and plenty of campers. There are plenty of people making sure that everyone that isn’t camping is getting somewhere safely.
The most dangerous part of partying is when people don’t know their limits and drink too much. That’s when accidents happen like the accident that happened recently. And it only takes one accident to make these parties seem more dangerous than they actually are.
Adults and parents, think back to when you were in high school. Weren’t most of you doing the same thing? Experimenting? I know it’s not a rite of passage until we’re 21, but what we’re doing is what teenagers all across the nation have been doing since prohibition and will continue to do for years to come.
On the flip side of things, I understand that what were doing is against the law. I believe that the police should enforce the law because their job is to serve and protect. But sending about 12 cop cars to bust a party of around 100 – not 300 – is overkill. Three cop cars would have accomplished the same thing as they did with half the force like last weekend.
My point is that under-aged drinking isn’t going to stop. It may be slowed or stalled, but the drinkers will continue to drink and the partyers will continue to party.
There are dangers with drinking in the woods, but these dangers aren’t as perilous as they’re made out to be. We want to see our peers get home safely just as much as the rest of the community does. We are kids, and we’re not stupid. We’re responsible, even though we’re breaking the law.
RJ Ballou is a Truckee resident
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