Fourth vandal attack on local advocate

I don't get offended by much, but this is really shocking to me:

A woman who has been fighting to stop high school students from drinking at unsupervised parties had three vehicles egged [and received an obscene note] at her home...

It's the fourth such incident since Pratt-Wilson went public with her concerns that local teenagers seem to have easy access to alcohol and that parents aren't properly supervising their children.

The first incident occurred July 14, when someone threw beer bottles and trash in Pratt-Wilson's yard, Cousins said. The second incident occurred July 23, when someone broke the right side mirror off her car, cracked the windshield and put a dent in the door above the window, according to the police.
- Chapel Hill Herald, Police Log, 10/18/04

I don't usually side with teetotallers trying to demonize kids for stuff they are going to do anyway. But this violent reaction indicates there is a much more serious problem than some kids recreationally abusing legal substances. It may be just one kid, but it's one really bad, really messed up kid!

This extremely disproportionate and extremely violent reaction against a well-intentioned community activist makes me worry that we have a psychopath in the making, right here in Chapel Hill. What can we do about this?

Issues: 

Total votes: 460

Comments

I agree, this is HORRIBLE. You would think the woman displayed a Bush/Cheney yard sign in Chapel Hill/Carrboro or something.

What can we do about this...

I've been involved in some of the activities in getting this moving forward, but there is no doubt that the energy is coming from Mrs. Pratt-Wilson.

Here's what the community can do:

1.Attend and support the forums which the group has organized;
2.Talk to our children. After receiving the e-mail from Pratt-Wilson, my wife and I spoke to our children (3 in High School) about what was going on - - - this incident has all of the makings of volatility, activism and free speech...
3.Expect more from parents in the community who "enable" this by hosting parties in their home where alcohol is served, or not being supportive of the effort generally...so forth.

Believe it or not, Pratt-Wilson's efforts make people uncomfortable.

More coverage of the incident, with reaction from Pratt-Wilson and the police chief, is available at http://www.heraldsun.com/orange/10-534687.html.

Our editorial on the subject is at http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/chhedits/57-534629.html.

Ruby: Obviously the actions against her are wrong and range from mildly to moderately illegal, however you might wish to reserve the phrases "extremely disproportionate" and "extremely violent reaction" for actions that directly threaten or hurt a person - otherwise you loss the ability to differentiate between say an egging and beating.

I think to understand (very distinct from supporting!) the actions you merely have to realize that part of the problem is that the people she is trying to suppress do not have currently have the legal right to drink. This means that they can not reasonably come forward publicly and fight for their right to drink without getting in trouble or casting suspicion on themselves. You can be sure any student that politically fights for the right to drink will have their school locker searched on a daily basis and their car keys taken away by their parents.

Frankly, I think that she is wasting time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere by the police, schools and parents.

Todd: You are not by chance from Mebane are you? :) (A reference to both your off topic reply and the police blotter Ruby linked to.)

It is normal for an oppressed people to act out violently. It is not “psychopathic".

Reluctantly, I agree -- Ruby's characterization is an overstatement. Since I have a friend locally whose house was firebombed (the Klan suspected but no one ever charged) and I've been threatened with more than eggs once or twice myself, it's important to keep a perspective about all this. Vandalism is bad -- no argument, but egging someone's car is not an act of "extreme violence."

When I wrote a column about underage drinking a few years ago, I found broken beer bottles at my mailbox shortly thereafter. Though such things are not something I would normally make known publicly, I think it's important for people to realize that when you engage in the public discourse, you give up some privacy and some sense of minding-your-own-business security. When you stir the pot, you should do so with your eyes open or not at all.

Parents who think Pratt-Wilson is a nuisance will probably continue to do so. The rest of us might benefit form keeping our sense of humor. In that light, in honor of all those broken eggs, a toast to Pratt-Wilson for speaking out with the courage of her convictions and working to improve her community.
-----

Josh -

I had to speak up. You are way out of line to state that Pratt-Wilson is "wasting her time" to poo-poo this subject. And to state that young people can't speak up because they are underage is not true either.

Our society is full of substance abuse problems...alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and illegal substances. Pratt-Wilson is making a case for responsible dialogue on a major problem in our community. Data support the prevalence of the problem, health information supports the impact on young people of substance abuse, and police and crime information support the impact on society in the short and medium term.

Pratt-Wilson is a parent and has been a catalist for bringing together community services, parents, students and kids to advocate for elevating the priority of this societal problem. To blow it off by saying she should focus her time elsewhere is to perpetuate the problem, and to apply the same type of indirect roadblock some are trying to do through intimidation.

I'm not speaking for Josh--but the way I read his remark, he was saying that alcohol is a symptom of other problems. Dealing with those others problems has a better chance of actually reducing the use of alcohol.

OK, I accept that. My point is that we need people involved and mobilized. Mrs. Pratt-Wilson is really approaching the matter in the right way. She has involved the schools, police, social services and the community as a whole. This is more than a one-person crusade, and the effort is aimed at the broad problem(s).

Part of my frustration is the laze-fare attitude our community can take on such issues - - - the effort needs our support, not more reasons why we cannot impact the problem, which I believe we fall into at times.

I love that Jean Bolduc offers a toast to Pratt-Wilson for her fight against underage drinking.

I'll drink to that, Ed!

Seriously, though this vandalism is beyond juvenile - but then I guess it's not really *beyond* juvenile. I mean think about who probably did it. Okay, so juvenile is exactly what it is.

You'll recall though that Margaret Brown's recycling bin (or mailbox?) was vandalized earlier this year, too. All the more disgraceful because it probably was done by an adult.

Bobby: I agree that Pratt-Wilson is doing a great job of making her case and has every right to spend her time as she sees fit. Good for her. As Terri suspected, I meant that the police, schools, and many parents have other issues to deal with that I believe are more important. She seems to have successfully pushed people into make this THE number one priority.

With the caveat that I have not heard her speak and can only base my thoughts on what The Herald Sun has deigned to tell us, I disagree that she is actually looking for a dialog. She seems to fully believe in the very stringent enforcement of a total prohibition on alcohol for those under twenty one years of age and is looking for help in obtaining her goal. I doubt that there is any tolerance at these meetings for discussing the wisdom of the goal.

For example, nobody has EVER given me a satisfactory explanation for why society should make the drinking age 21 when the enlistment age is 18 and you can drive at 16. How can it make sense to get a driver's license BEFORE you are allowed to drink? The only reason we moved the drinking age up is the threat of federal highway funds being taken away. There are, however, many other federal mandates we choose not to focus our efforts on.

Y'all are right that this pales in comparison to serious political and ethnic (and gender, and class, and...) intimidation. We have to put it into perspective.

But I still find it shockingly disproportionate. Almost everyone I knew in high school drank, including myself. Most of the adults we interacted with would have liked to stop us. Our reaction was to hide from them and sneak around, not to attack their homes and try to personally indimidate them!

With this stupid response, the perpretrator is demonstrating his or her immaturity quite clearly. This is exactly why I don't want that person to drink. He or she obviously can't handle it.

But I also still think that generally trying to stop kids from drinking is futile. I'd prefer to see efforts to teach responsibility, decision-making, and better social skills. I have seen teenagers in Europe drink and even get drunk in front of their parents. It seems like a healthier way to learn some limits than doing stupid things and making yourself sick.

I guess 21,887 lives saved since 1975 does not mean much to some of you who love to debate with no facts at hand...

--All states and the District of Columbia now have 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws. It is estimated that these laws have reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13 percent and have saved an estimated 21,887 lives since 1975. In 2002, an estimated 917 lives were saved by minimum drinking age laws. (NHTSA, 2002)

--Youth who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. (NIAAA, 1997)

--The total cost attributable to the consequences of underage drinking was more than $53 billion per year in 1998 dollars. (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 1999)

--In 2002, 29 percent of 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking. Twenty-four percent were intoxicated. (NHTSA, 2003)

--Students who attended schools with high rates of heavy drinking experienced a greater number of secondhand effects, including disruption of sleep or studies; property damage; and verbal, physical, or sexual violence. (Wechsler et al, 2002)

Bored kids look for targets. She's just the most convenient. I don't think this is particularly shocking--terrible yes, but surprising, no. Compare this to other routine vandalism around town--cars with Duke bumper stickers getting turned over after a big basketball win, for example.

Remember how mad you were when Tipper Gore started making a fuss about music? My guess is that local teens are probably feeling now like we did then.

Ruby, I agree with your thoughts on teen drinking--as a culture, we have pretty conflicted feelings about alcohol. Kids are just learning our messed up attitudes.

Josh--I wasn't saying that the police have more important things to do. I thought you were saying that (some) kids drink for a reason and it's the reason that should be treated--not the response. For example, we know that kids feel a great deal of performance pressure at school and that they have publicly expressed a need for an outlet of that pressure (http://orangepolitics.org/2004/05/calling-all-friends-of-bill-w/). Peer pressure is another major contributor. Instead of putting additional barriers in their way--along with the challenge of getting around those barriers--we should be discussing how to alleviate pressure, helping them deal with peer pressure, etc. Telling kids not to do something is like waving a red flag in front of a bull!

I can't believe Pratt Wilson really said "It's incredible to me that young people will go to such extremes to protect what they think is their right." Does she really have a teenager?

Hey Todd, those are all ...uhmm... old and misleading talking points from MADD. Unlike most people I don't beleive what I read.

–Youth who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. (NIAAA, 1997)
From:

http://www.madd.org/stats/1,1056,1807,00.html

Is a reference to:
(NIAAA) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Washington, D.C. Alcohol Alert No. 35, PH 371, January 1997

which is on Alcohol Metabolism:
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa35.htm

Can't comment on that one and neither should you till you find the correct source.

–In 2002, 29 percent of 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking. Twenty-four percent were intoxicated. (NHTSA, 2003)

Wow, that seems staggaring, but not so when you compare it to other dirvers of different age groups. See this study Percentage of Drivers with BAC 0.08 g/dl or Higher:
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2003/809761.pdf

<16: 10%
16 -20: 19%
21 - 24: 32%
25 - 34: 27%
34 - 44: 24%

Seems we are focusing on the wrong group. Maybe we should go back to prohibition? Although the percentages did go down over the last 10 years for the older age groups.

I could go on with the others but why? Spouting out statistics is useless. The point is not that kids are drinking but why they are drinking. My brother was an alchoholic by the time he was 17. Why? He was using it to control his struggle with Bipolar Disorder.

Why do you drink?

I'm not sure what to make of Josh's comment about "what The Herald Sun has deigned to tell us." In this matter, you know everything we know.

At every juncture we've checked out the things that Pratt-Wilson has told us with police and others. The most important story was the first, the May 18 piece on the party at Sherwood Colony Apts. (It's available at http://www.heraldsun.com/tools/printfriendly.cfm?URN=0452531691.) We asked our two cop reporters and our school reporter to look into the matter, and they found that if anything, Pratt-Wilson had understated the situation.

By that, I mean the most eye-catching thing about the incident was not the drinking per se, but its external effects on neighbors and other citizens -- noise, disturbance, trashing of the grounds, overflowing parking, drunk driving, etc. The crowd-control aspect alone was troubling, given the large number of people (~200) involved and the fact that the apparent host of the gathering disclaimed any responsibility for most of the people there.

We do know, from having talked to them, that the other residents of the complex were very unhappy with what had transpired. Is this something we, or the police, should have ignored?

If parents would PARENT this problem would still exist, but to a much lesser degree. My kid has a relatively early curfew (11:00 PM) unless I know who he is with, where he is, and that THE PARENTS ARE HOME. now, has this protected him from all experimentation? No. Has it limited his ability to get into serious trouble? I certainly hope so.

He once queried (at the top of his lungs) "Don't you TRUST me?" To which I replied...no. I don't. I remember being 16. What rubs me raw is the parents who leave their HS juniors and seniors HOME ALONE for the weekend. People, that is ASKING for your home to be turned into a beer/substance hall. My kids know they won't be "home alone" until after theya re 21...by which time, lord willing, they'll have homes of their OWN.

I take exception to the idea that this problem has suddenly grown worse. I think alcohol use by underage kids has ALWAYS been a problem in this area. I think every few years people decide we need to address it. I've had contact with teens for 20 years (first as a youth group leader at church, and then with my own kids) and I can tell you, field parties, parties at "parent's absent" homes, and drinking/smoking dope during school are NOTHING NEW. The only new twist is the kids who have their own aprtments so they can go to HS in-town. That cropped up a few years ago when the School Board quit allowing out-of-system families to pay tuition. A reasonable decision with an unforseen consequence.

Dollars-to-donuts that was the case in the party that sparked this whole controversy...

Another, EASY thing parents could do is LOCK UP their liqour, and keep the wine and beer counted. We don't drink liqour, and all wine and beer is counted. AND the kids are informed of this.

None of this is going to work 1005 of the time. But it CAN'T hurt.

it's hard for me to speak on this issue without taking it personally.

i'm a former heavy drinker, and, as clapp puts it, a former KID.

moreover, i've been to the forums. i've heard the arguments and lamentations. yet i was disgusted not by the words of survivors and their loved ones, but by the total absence of an opposing viewpoint.

granted it was liberal, progressive talk, but it was groupthink at its worst. i saw no KID volunteer the truth, only testimonials pulled forth like confessions at a new england witch trial...

until we recognize teens as conscious, rational and responsible actors in this situation, there will be no Dialogue.

right now self righteousness abounds. i don't think we should be surprised when the disenfranchised lash out against those who tell them how to act.

Bobby: While admitting that I was being intentionally provocative, I think you misinterpret my reasoning, or perhaps I did not say it well. In the leaf blower case, I think it would be equivalent to someone trying to stop other people, but not themselves, from using leaf blowers. (Maybe anti-leaf-blower yet pro-lawnmower people?) I was emphasizing the hypocrisy of beer/wine chugging/sipping adults telling kids not to drink. There are LOTS of good reasons to not drink, but very few to none are specific to people under the magic age of 21. See the post above that had a link to traffic data, drivers 21-25 were MORE likely to die then those under 21.

I would slightly modify your next to last point: “drinking (whatever the age) is a problem. It's pervasive and its harmful.” That would be a much fairer and productive goal as there would be no energy wasted with “us against them”. I would not vote for a return to legal prohibition because it can't work and isn't right, but I do try to nudge things, as much as I can, towards a culture of prohibition. And you can be sure that I will try real hard to keep my niece from drinking when the time comes. I believe that I will have extra credibility with her on the basis of my not drinking.

Josh, point taken.

Daniel, you were not at the same forum I was at. It is totally misleading for you to say that those kids addressing the forum were not speaking from their heart when they spoke so articulately of their problems with addiction, and their stating that there was inadequate intervention or limits on them. To imply that there is some mob-mentality is also not true; energy and vibrance yes, many hope will continue.

Bottom line for me, is that parents have a responsibility to set the example, teach and yes, to place limits on what their kids can do. Society needs to be part of setting these limits.

No one is talking about the odd glass of wine a family indulges with their teen or Holy communion, so don't paint it that way. It's not.

People are, however, talking about parties hosted in homes where parents enable alcohol consumption by minors, or tolerating breaking the age limit laws, which lead to dangerous situations on our roads, and for the teen consumers.

Controversial statement back at you... If we held to your contention for arguement sake that adults who drink alcohol should not be in the conversation, then lets extend that to say someone who uses a leaf blower should not be in the conversation regarding the banning of leaf blowing, or someone who drives an SUV, should not be involved in the ecological discussion...it never ends, and narrows one's perspective.

Alternately, to your comment about drinking age being too high at 21. Lets assume the legal drinking age was lowered to 18...the same points regarding intervention apply. The point is still the point; underage drinking (whatever the age) is a problem. It's pevasive and its harmful.

Our community needs to be engaged in addressing this is what I support.

The drinking age limit is silly. I spent last summer in Sardania, Italy and at dinner one night I watched a boy not more than fourteen crack open a beer. I asked my friend who lived in Milan if kids got drunk a lot. He laughed and said "What, like American kids?" No, they did not. Sure sometimes they did, sure some were abusive, but it was not a problem. FFerget about world cup time. And their is no drinking age in Italy.

What we need is not control of children but a change in our culture. Until that happens I will laugh and toast some wine with my 14 year old nephew.

I have to guess that the problem is more intense in our area because of the attitudes of parents who do not care, taking a liberal stance like we see on this board.

You can't fix something until you admitt it's broken.

Ray: I was really trying to be fair to the people in this story and say, as Bobby notes, that I do not know anything about the person except what The Herald Sun has “deigned to” tell me. So it was a disclaimer that happened to poke a finger at the Herald Sun because of something unrelated in the paper that day that annoyed me.

Bobby: I don't argue with the sentiment that tobacco, alcohol, pot and hard drugs are bad. That is why I don't use ANY of them and I don't think anyone should be using any of them! There is no point in a crackdown however – pot is illegal for everyone and we see how well that works. You can not expect for teenagers to become responsible adults without ever having to make decisions.

Controversial statement: I think any adult who drinks should have no standing in this discussion. Nothing undermines the development of responsibility more then seeing hypocrisy. I feel that I can say this because no one has yet given a reason for why the drinking age should be higher then the enlistment age - bullets harm brain development more then alcohol does.

Don't lose sight of what Pratt-Wilson is really trying to do, which is consistent with what a number of people on this site have encouraged in their comments: dialogue involving the responsible roles parents, schools, kids, social services, law enforcment and so forth play in this problem. The forums have been very open, with a recognition of the complexity of this issue, not judgemental, and most importantly focused on what is in the best interest of the kids...I remind everyone that these are KIDS, not adults.

I would also point out that scientific data show that the brain is not fully developed in the late teen years in KIDS, and substance abuse (nicotine, coffee, alcohol and others) hinders brain development - - - thems the facts! For example, there are some researchers who believe that cigarettes are THE true gateway drug. Society has a responsibility to deal responsibly with this issue. That means intervention in some fashion.

And lastly, it is unfair to critigue based solely on news articles - - - if anything, we should be grateful that the papers are doing the socially responsible thing by reporting this work.

Come to the forum. Most would have found very moving the testimonials of student and parents who have struggled with substance abuse, and their calls for guidance, help and intervention of the nature Pratt-Wilson is pushing.

Amen.

Did you want those dollars or donuts? Because, you are right. The party that became the impetous for this recent effort occured at an apartment rented by parents. But get this, it was parents who had a house in the CHCCS district. But I gather they wanted the teen at East specifically. It is bad enough to twist the system this way, but why would you even give the kid keys to the apartment?*!

Bobby, according to my daughter who knows the kids involved, ( I think there are two teens) the parents specifically told the kids that if they wanted to have friends over, they should do it at the apartment because they didn't want their house messed up.

also when the police called the parents they said they knew there was a party going on and that they (the parents) had OK'd it. That's why the police couldn't do much more than they did.

Anita -

That is basically my understanding of the circumstances. I would be the last person to blame the police in this instance for the situation what occured - - - the message as you described coming from the parents is enough for me to know who was enabling irresponsible behavior. This cicumstance is to my point made earlier. As parents, we can do just so much to teach our kids, know where they are, and give them freedom to experience, but there must be some controls and consequences over adults and kids who enable settings which can create a bad situation for others.

Why are the police and newspapers protecting the identities of these parents? Renting an apartment to rig the system is bad enough, but to allow it to be a party house is disgraceful.

Oh, that is REALLY sad.

Proud to be OGRE MOM!

Melanie

If you know the address of the apartment, you can look up and find the owner's name:
http://gis.co.orange.nc.us/gisdisclaimer.htm

Ed, that's a good question--I don't know why the tenants of the apartment cannot be named, there certainly doesn't seem to be a problem printing other people's names and addresses in the police blotter. when police respond to a call.

I attended the forum last night at Town Hall. There was a good crowd, and lots of productive discussion. I must say, the schools were there in force (Board members, Principals, RSOs...), local law enforcement (Orange Co., C.H. and Carrboro...), counselling and mental health advocates.

No one from the Town of C.H. or Carrboro Government however. The advocacy group will be addressing Town Council this evening seeking solid support for this community initiative.

Suddenly I'm remembering Eric Idle hunting mosquitoes with a bazooka...

The Chapel Hill Herald reported these folks as saying this: "We are calling for the town of Chapel Hill to enforce the underage drinking laws. That's not the way drinking parties are handled now."

The accompanying article (which was reporting on another town meeting about the issue) quoted a police officer as saying that they have been following community norms in enforcing rules, which seemed pretty reasonable to me (for example, they also said they don't ticket every driver who rolls through a stop sign). However, now folks are calling for total enforcement of underage drinking laws, including going after parents who allow teens to drink in their homes. This would necessarily include enforcing these rules with all underage drinkers, including UNC undergrads.

If they enforce all the rules, does that mean that mom and dad can't share a class of wine with junior during Thanksgiving? It apparently means that police would then have to bust into every college party, too, if they suspected that 20 year olds were drinking.

I realize there are real concerns about teen drinking, but I'm not sure full enforcement of this issue is the solution. I'd rather have my (theoretical) kids drinking in my own house than elsewhere, and I don't want the cops knocking on my door. Similarly, I'm not sure police officer's time should be spent busting the 20 year olds. I'd rather they keep more dangerous criminals off the street.

Activist's home littered again

The Herald-Sun
Nov 8, 2004 : 6:50 pm ET

CHAPEL HILL -- Dale Pratt-Wilson, an activist against teen drinking, called 911 Friday to report someone had thrown beer bottles and cans into her yard, a police report said.

Pratt-Wilson heard glass breaking in her yard and after investigating investigation, saw the items in her yard.

Since she took a public stand against teenage drinking, Pratt-Wilson's home and vehicles have been vandalized and littered with beer cans and bottles numerous times.

Mmmmh. No one is talking about busting into people's homes as they share a celebration glass of wine with their kid. No one is talking about stopping Holy Communion for kids. Get off of that sort of rhetoric - - - its just off base and misses the point.

Additionally, the idea that "I'd rather have my kids drinking in my house, than elsewhere" is part of the problem. Parents with that philosophy, unfortunately don't distinguish the logic they chose to apply to their kids for other minors, who end up getting served alcohol at this adult's home, and then may drive; all without the knowledge of the parent. The logic then leaves your kids to sit at home drinking by themselves. Neither works.

What is this bogus "community norms" term floating around? "Sounds ok to (you)"? Is the community norm therefore not to apply the local regulations and policies our own elected officials have directed? Is the community norm not to listen to the public when it is crying out for the support of the town, social and public services to HELP parents with this problem?

If my child deserves to be cited by the police for underage drinking, then do it. As a parent I can follow-up from there - - - I would love my child no less, and support them no less. But either way, they would see that one must take responsibility for actions which society does not sanction. And if my 14 year old daughter is at the College party Joan is at where alcohol is served...BUST DOWN THE DOOR FOR SURE!

Bobby, attacks like yours on me are unnecessary and only weaken your argument. Further, while this is hardly relevant, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that just because I think it's okay for 20 years olds to drink that I too must be hosting large college parties for my similarly underage friends. Let me assure you that it's been quite some time since I've been carded or hosted anything resembling a "college party."

My comments were based on an article in the Chapel Hill Herald on October 29th (here's a snippet):

The discussions have helped the police learn what the community expects of them, Jarvies said.

"The police department doesn't set the community norms," he said. "The community sets the norms on how they want police to police."
--
Here's another quote:
"We are calling for the town of Chapel Hill to enforce the underage drinking laws," said Pratt-Wilson,
--
You may distinguish between certain kinds of underage drinking, but I did not introduce this rhetoric. So, while you may not be talking about busting into every college party, it'd indeed be a bit complex to ask the police to "enforce underage drinking laws" to the fullest degree, but only with high school kids.

Look, I'm not suggesting this isn't a problem. I am suggesting that some parents may have different attitudes towards this--that's all.

My apologies for the tone of my e-mail. I think we mostly agree; I did not mean to attack you as perhaps the posting came across. I will admit, however, to being very passionate about this issue, which is the intent of my comments. My concern is that we will not reach a common ground as a community (particularly parents of local teens and the public services needed) to deal with this. Instead, we'll go round-and-round with some sort of intellectual discussion.

Bobby, thanks for your reply. Being passionate about your kids is a great thing.

Kids feel powerless and this is their way of protesting. Not condoning their behavior, but what needs to be addressed is the root cause. Look at what Pratt-Wilson is doing or saying before feeling sorry for her. You may feel she is passionate about her cause but others feel she is over zealous. A zelot can reach a point where they loose all semblance of reason. Pratt-Wilson has a good cause she just goes abouy it in the wrong way and makes errors in judgement and false acusations which have created enemies.

Always fascinates me how certain kinds of destructive behavior (let's start with drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, but it can go beyond that) seems to prompt such peculiar and ardent self-righteousness -- not on the part of the critics but on the part of those bent on pursuing the behavior. Very often, they not only quote "rights" as the justification of why they should be able to go ahead and do something potentially harmful to themselves and others (or their survivors), they also go on aggressive attack against those who point out just what the terms of the destructiveness are.

It's a good guess that those kids who attacked Pratt-Wilson felt they were on some sort of perverted mission to "defend" their right to drink; and I worry about those who, in turn, defend those kids, for whatever reason. The very fact of defending them because they are, afterall, "just kids," just emphasizes the very lack of judgment that they're likely to have about alcohol, too.

 

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