(My Clovis News Journal column for May 22, 2015)
Recently there was a situation near Farwell that stirred up a lot of residents. I doubt the backlash is finished.
The reaction reminds me of my cats watching a bird through the window — lots of chattering and gnashing of teeth.
The situation involved young people, a school board member, an after-prom party, and alcohol.
Bear in mind, as far as I know, no one is claiming the adults present even knew any alcohol was on the rural premises.
I also haven't heard any credible claims the alcohol was being used irresponsibly (at least until law enforcement showed up) or causing any actual problems- all such claims I have seen are simply based on arbitrary age criteria, which is meaningless.
I'm not anti-alcohol; I'm an alcohol agnostic. Like any other substance, you can use it safely, or you can abuse it and cause yourself and others harm. Age is not a magic wand; it can't make wrong right or vice versa.
Obviously laws forbidding people below some arbitrary age (which varies around the globe) to drink alcohol won't stop them. In fact, it probably encourages them more than if the whole thing weren't imagined to be a behavior subject to other people's silly legislative opinions, mistakenly called "laws". There's always an appetite to taste the forbidden fruit, even if the fruit is spoiled. Prohibition is a powerful seasoning.
The extended infantilization of young people today also leaves them woefully unprepared to make responsible choices once they are suddenly expected to be adults upon reaching a particular birthday.
If you live in a bubble-wrapped world where you don't realize teens and alcohol will find a way to be together, regardless of your wishes, there's not much I can do for your misperceptions of reality.
If you don't want your offspring to drink alcohol, lead by example. Don't allow it on your property. Tell your kids the consequences of you finding them using it anyway. The truthful, objective consequences; not nonsense such as the various legal ramifications of being caught.
The fact that some "concerned citizen" called law enforcement just made the situation get instantly worse when the party-goers suddenly found it preferable to flee rather than remain more safely in place. That's just what such an irresponsible and uncivil action as reporting your neighbors to law enforcement always does.
Vices are not crimes, except in the imagination. Even if this were wrong, it shouldn't be turned into a law enforcement situation. It is strictly a family concern, to be handled as the families involved see fit. Very few things, if any, should ever involve laws and enforcement. To me, this is "much ado about nothing".