There's a truly disturbing story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today about underage drinking in Haddonfield, New Jersey. They've had two teenage deaths directly related to alcohol in the past seven months, teens taken to the hospital for heavy drinking in the past two weeks, and a serious problem with underaged house parties when parents go away, including one disgusting incident in which...well, a lot of really nasty stuff happened. I'm not going to sensationalize this post with it, just say that this "party" did $18,000 of damage to the house. That one's been an ongoing story as a small number of kids wiggled off the hook with the help of their parents and lawyers, disgusting the readers of Monica Yant Kinney's column in the Inky. It's turning into a nasty class thing, with everyone talking about "those rich white kids in Haddonfield."
Two things to note. First, I'm appalled. Not only is this out of hand, but this is almost all about kids who are well under 18. The girl who invited students to the piss-piano-poo party was 14. I'm appalled by the age, I'm appalled by the lack of effective punishment. This is one of the main reasons I'm pushing an 18 LDA: so we can focus enforcement efforts on students under 18. The New Drys say an 18 LDA will put more booze in the hands of under 18 students. Reading this story, I don't hardly see how. I say, an 18 LDA will let us stop wasting time and money trying to get college students to stop drinking, and let us help parents keep an eye on their at-home kids.
But the real thing that got me writing this in the first place...is that no one has mentioned that Haddonfield is a dry town. Since 1873. Dry town. Another great policy that is just working so swell. Do you need one more piece of evidence that prohibition doesn't work?
New Jersey towns...they've got a 'grass-roots' movement going now to spread the keg registration stupidity one town at a time. I've seen this in other states, most recently in Iowa. They get town after to town to swallow this policy placebo, and then start telling them that the reason it's not working -- which it won't -- is because "the kids" are just buying kegs in the town next door (plenty of those in NJ, too), so what we really need is a state-wide law.
Right. And that worked so well with the dry movement that spawned Haddonfield's Noble Experiment.