Clarke Community Seeks Answers on Underage Drinking

Ask people living in Clarke County whether or not the county has an underage drinking problem and you’re certain to gain agreement on one point; “If even one teenager is injured due to alcohol then we have a significant problem.”

Based on the “injury criteria” alone, Clarke County sadly qualifies as having an underage drinking problem and has had for many years. But recent events involving the tragic death of Aaron Shirley as well as the suspension of several Clarke County High School students for alcohol possession during a school-sponsored trip has many community members wondering aloud about the pervasiveness of the problem.

Unfortunately, tracking underage drinking only by the statistics generated when our sons and daughters are devastated by its impacts, either by an automobile accident or some other tragic calamity, is a painfully inadequate solution for assessing the problem. It is all too easy to assume progress until the tragedy shocks underage drinking back into the forefront of our collective community consciousness and we find that nothing has really changed.

While statistical tools and approaches exist to help gauge the extent of teen drinking, Clarke County and many other Virginia municipalities have opted out of formal sampling programs in recent years making credible information about teen alcohol abuse hard to find. Without hard data to quantify the problem, the Clarke County community and its leaders are left with largely anecdotal information insufficient to assess and address the true scope of the problem.

Underage Drinking – Virginia and Nationwide

According to the “2005 Virginia Youth Survey” conducted across 62 Virginia school districts statewide by the Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University, 46% of Virginia high school seniors reported using alcohol during the 30 days prior to answering the survey questionnaire. 76% said that they had used alcohol at least once during 12th grade.

Virginia 8th graders and 10th graders demonstrated a similar trend with 19% of 8th graders and 35% of 10th graders reporting alcohol use in the previous 30 days. 42% and 64%, respectively, claimed alcohol use during the school year.

Unfortunately, specific data for Clarke County is not available from the survey because the county was not represented in either the 2003 or 2005 Virginia Youth Survey. In 2003 Clarke County was not selected for inclusion in the Virginia Youth Survey. In 2005 the survey lists Clarke as one of 19 counties that “refused to participate” in the survey.

Apparently Clarke County was not alone in opting out of the Virginia Youth Survey. Lack of participation broadened in 2009 preventing the data from being shared at all according Dr. Mary A. Moore, senior research associate at VCU’s Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory.

“The Virginia Department of Health did not release the data from the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2009) because they did not get enough participation from the selected schools” Moore said. “Unfortunately, there is no good youth data for Virginia. The CYS (Community Youth Survey) is so old now that it’s no longer good.”

While Clarke County specific data is difficult to find, a more recent regional reference point for Clarke County exists in survey results of teens in neighboring Loudoun County.

“Voices for Virginia’s Children” summarizes data from youth health risk surveys administered in four Northern Virginia localities including Loudoun. The survey data highlights the strengths and challenges facing the region’s youth. The information is intended to expand the knowledge of legislators, policymakers, community leaders, program directors, and other stakeholders and to promote community initiatives which address the complex and diverse needs of youth in Northern Virginia, including alcohol abuse.

According to the “Voices for Virginia’s Children” survey, 31% of Loudoun County 10th graders and 43% of 12th graders used alcohol over the past 30 days in 2009.

Similar studies demonstrate that alcohol abuse is also a serious problem nationwide.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol is the “drug of choice” for middle school and high school students eclipsing both marijuana and other illicit drugs in 2009:

Nationwide Alcohol Use – 2009

8th Graders (%) 10th Graders (%) 12th Graders (%)
Lifetime [36.6] 59.1 72.3
Past Year 30.3 52.8 66.2
Past Month 14.9 30.4 43.5
Daily [0.5] 1.1 2.5

(Note: “Brackets” indicate a statistically significant change from 2008 data)

“That Will Never Happen to Me”


A common frustration voiced by adults when speaking to teens about the dangers of alcohol abuse is the response “That wouldn’t happen to me.”

Despite the common perception of invincibility among young people, statistics indicate alcohol abuse and its associated deleterious side effects do occur with unsettling frequency.


The 2005 Virginia Youth Survey indicates that alcohol is the most commonly used substance by Virginia high school and middle school students; 59% of the students surveyed had used alcohol and 32% reported drinking within the past 30 days.

Approximately 14% of students reported having been drunk or high at school.

Given the frequent incidence of alcohol use, underage drinkers still reported ambivalence towards potential dangers associated with its use:

–                 40% of rural students surveyed from rural school districts believe that alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs pose little risk

–                 9% of students surveyed believe that having one or two alcoholic beverages nearly every day poses no risks

–                 53% of rural students surveyed believe they will not be caught by police if they use illegal substances (including alcohol)

–                 Binge drinking within the past two weeks was reported by 7% of eighth graders, 16% of tenth graders and 26% of twelfth graders.

80% of the students surveyed reported that their family had rules about alcohol and drug use, yet slightly less than half of those same students believed that they would be “caught” by their parents if they drank without their parent’s permission.

The Virginia Youth Survey found that the mean age for first using alcohol is 13.23 years with “drinking regularly” (consuming alcoholic beverages at least once or twice per month) commencing at 14.43 years of age.

Student survey responses consistently underestimate the risk of alcohol use and underscore the denial expressed by many young people towards their own mortality when it comes to the impacts of drinking.

Alcohol is also linked to more subtle problems that can result in life-long challenges for the early drinker. According to “Voices for Virginia’s Children“, youth who regularly use alcohol are more likely to experience major depression, engage in unplanned and unprotected sex, have been victims of violence and drop out of school.

Underage drinking is a factor in nearly half of all teen automobile crashes, the leading cause of death among teenagers.

Does Clarke County Share in the Nation’s Underage Drinking Problem?

What little statistical data that exists on underage drinking in Clarke County comes from law enforcement. From January 1st through July 15th, 2010 the following arrest statistics were reported by the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department and the Berryville Police Department:

  Adult DUI Juvenile DUI Juvenile Alcohol Offenses
Clarke County Sheriff’s Department 25 0 0
Berryville Police Department 4 0 2

Clarke County “field parties”, secluded gatherings of often underage drinkers in isolated agricultural areas of the county, have been mythologized by teens and adults for years. Many Clarke County teens describe field party events as occurring nearly every weekend.

Yet anecdotal perceptions of field party regularity are at odds with law enforcement statistics.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Department reports that it has responded to just five “field parties” during 2010. However, three of the field party investigations have occurred since the traffic accident that claimed the life of Aaron Shirley and, according to the Sheriff Department’s “Weekly Crime Report”, a field party arrest was made on Beydler Lane for underage possession of alcohol and marijuana possession on July 17th.

Community concern is also piqued by factors other than field party rumors. Evidence of recent push back from anonymous teen drinkers is also fueling public perception of a larger problem.

Aaron Benjamin Shirley - Photo courtesy Enders Shirley Funeral Home

A recent Facebook page snapshot entitled “Teen Awareness, Making a Difference Through Aaron Shirley” includes the following indication of a sub-surface rebellion against attempts to address teen alcohol abuse:

Leea [redacted]: I am sorry that some of the teens in Clarke County find it necessary to falsely accuse [redacted] of busting the parties. I am very upset that this is how you show your respect to Aaron and his family. I will promise that when I hear of a party I will be turning it in to law enforcement. We are on a mission that NO OTHER …family has to deal with what our family has endured over the past month.

Teen Awareness, Making a Difference Through Aaron Shirley: This page is for people who want to change & make a difference, not for people who still continue to party. Smashing mail boxes is not only immature but disrespectful to someone who is trying to save lives. Sorry some of us care more about you, then you seem to care about yourself. We arent trying to make life “suck” for you. Were trying to prevent this from happening so you or your friends won’t be the next victim.

Mary Ann [redacted]: Smashing mail boxes is tampering with government property. What happened to sticking to the law? Why weren’t charges brought forth? Instead the teens were rewarded by letting them stay on the team. Where was the athletic director, coach and or principal? What kind of message did they send out to the kids? […] Because it has gone on way too long. […] I pray that everyone who reads this site will take a stance and support you.

Perhaps most perplexing to many community leaders and residents is the seeming disconnect between the public perception that county teens regularly abuse alcohol and arrest statistics that don’t corroborate the public’s assumptions.  Many people simply don’t know what to believe when it comes to teen alcohol abuse in Clarke County.

Both the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department and the Berryville Police Department say that deputies enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy for any juvenile found to be in use or possession of alcohol. Clarke County law enforcement officials all say that the level of liability is simply too high to ever consider allowing a juvenile to be released with only a warning when an alcohol offense is suspected.

Similarly, some community members have asked; “If the level of field parties and house parties is as common as some believe, isn’t the fact that so few parties are investigated indicative of law enforcement looking the other way?”

Both Clarke County law enforcement agencies said that the low number of investigations into parties and alcohol are only indicative of the lack of reports of such events. Law enforcement says that without a report from a citizen about an event where teen alcohol abuse is occurring, it is nearly impossible to make an investigation or arrest.

Clarke County’s law enforcement officials all expressed disappointment about the unwillingness of citizens to step forward to make a report, the first step in battling teen alcohol abuse.

County officials fare little better than citizens when it comes to assessing the teen drinking problem.

One county official said “While any underage drinking in our community could be considered a significant concern, I do not think we are uniquely affected by this public health problem, and believe that our School District and the Sheriff’s Department have been sensitive to this issue.”

Another county official cited a lack of compelling evidence specific to Clarke County on the issue; “It is my understanding that under-age drinking is a national problem. Obviously, the recent accidents show that Clarke is not immune but I  have no data with which to state we are better or worse than other  areas.”

A school official characterized the scope of the issue as “Since all [redacted] of my children are well beyond the teen years, I really don’t have a pulse on current situation.  […] I do not think there are any more drinking issues now than what was here  over the past  [redacted] that I have been in Clarke County.  There has always been an issue that only appears more prevalent today because of the increased student population and several recent tragedies.  And the same degree of teen drinking  is in our neighboring counties so it is not a Clarke County problem [only]”.

A school staff member with daily exposure to Clarke County teens may have summarized the issue most concisely;

“If state and national statistics all indicate a teen alcohol problem both nationwide and in neighboring counties, what would make any of us believe that Clarke County is any different? The statistics indicate that four out of ten seniors are getting hammered at least once a month. That’s just not acceptable.”

Who Takes the Lead?

In speaking with Clarke County officials it is clear that that there is both empathy and concern in addressing teen alcohol abuse, regardless of the level of its severity. Every official interviewed for this article expressed the position that “even one child injured due to alcohol is too severe of a price to pay.”

However, while the most consistent sentiment expressed by officials is that the public school system should take the lead with the teen alcohol abuse issue, it was not clear that that the school system is fully empowered from an authoritative and financial perspective to implement the complex educational, law enforcement and community response necessary to fully address the problem.

“I personally think it should begin in the home but that doesn’t seem to happen.  The community as a whole needs to embrace the need to curb teen drinking.  Perhaps better modeling by the adults would be a good start.  I think all of our civic groups, churches and assembled bodies need to have programs presented by authoritarians on what is happening and try to problem solve ways to improve.  Having more things for the teens to do and a safe place to congregate would be exceedingly helpful.  The schools could provide safe locations but we must have community members involved in the chaperoning.  We cannot expect teachers who are already underpaid and overworked to do this aspect” said one school official.

A Clarke County Supervisor shared the view that changing attitudes about underage drinking is a community challenge.

“Parents have to work on developing good judgment and being good role models for their kids. But the community has to help too. We have to help kids understand that while it’s fine to be successful and popular you should first strive to be an individual” the county supervisor said. “Don’t do things just to be part of a clique.”

A school official echoed a similar sentiment; “The schools can do a lot but underage drinking is a community issue. Meaningful change will not occur until the county’s leadership helps the community see the importance of its role in the process.”

Is it possible to change the public’s perception that teen drinking is unavoidable and is simply an unavoidable reality”?

Yes, according to a social services official who likened it to acceptance of public smoking thirty years ago; “Some people probably believe that kids are always going to drink and that we can’t change public tolerance about teen drinking. But that also used to be true about smoking. People used to smoke in meetings and at work around non-smokers” the official said. “Today it’s unheard of because we were somehow able to change our level of tolerance about this type of substance abuse. It shows that we can do the same thing when it comes to teen drinking.”

Steps for Clarke County

While anecdotal evidence of teen alcohol abuse in Clarke County exists, many people in our community may rightly demand stronger documentation prior to committing the public funding necessary to develop a concerted educational and community response.

Statistical review can be easily performed according to VCU’s Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory Senior Research Associate Dr. Mary A. Moore:

“If Clarke County is ever interested in doing a survey like this just let me know.  We have done them for various localities over the years and would be happy to help.  Some localities do their own surveys – some use Pride, some YRBS and some use the CTC survey that was done for the CYS.”

In addition to statistical sampling, qualitative assessments are also possible.

In 2006 Loudoun County recruited the assistance of George Mason University to assess the quality of life for Loudoun’s youth through a comprehensive study of county “engagement opportunities”, including recreation, social and cultural opportunities available to young people as well as “healthy living” factors that address both alcohol and drug abuse.

The “Loudoun Youth Study” generated a range of “forward-thinking” initiatives that have since helped guide county supervisors in their decisions regarding youth. A similar study might help Clarke County assess whether it is doing enough to engage county youth in positive activities.

Of course, the most important question may be “Who takes the lead in changing the community response to teen drinking?”

If Clarke County does decide to increase its commitment to preventing teen drinking within its borders, such a community response would almost certainly need to be facilitated by Clarke County’s Board of Supervisors.

Several supervisors interviewed for this article expressed a willingness to provide the needed leadership if the community asks for it.

“In any case, teen drinking will certainly continue to be a matter of great concern in the community, and I am sure the Board of Supervisors stands ready to work with its citizens and community groups to promote a call to action to renew addressing this important effort, as well as to support our Sheriff in his continuing efforts to promote public safety” said one county supervisor.

Another county supervisor responded “However, I feel  that if a “summit” were called it should be called by the School Board  or Sheriff as they are the ones with the most responsibility of this  issue.  Also, they are the ones with access to the confidential data  that would have to be examined.  If such a summit were called I would  encourage the Supervisors to support it in any way they could.”


  1. Right Winger says:

    Instead of just saying “Oh, kids will be kids”, or “I did it when I was their age”, how about real punishment instead of a slap on the wrist?

    Sometimes a real kick to the butt and a dose of reality is all it takes to get a kid to straighten up and fly right.

    • Left Winger says:

      I typically do not agree with Right Winger’s comments, but here I absolutely agree. If anyone (a child or adult) knows that there are no consequences for their actions then of course people will do bad or illegal activities. People would rob banks if they knew that if they were caught all they would get is community service.
      Kids will be kids is a great motto, but not when it comes to underage drinking or drinking and driving. That is when it affects more people than just themselves.

  2. Debacle Watcher says:

    Home is absolutely the place where our youth should be taught the dangers and effects of certain behaviors. But, those lessons must be strongly reinforced in our schools and community. In the interest of protecting the records of a few students who have been caught, our school administartors inadvertantly sent the message “it’s no big deal” to every student who drinks, uses drugs, or smashes mailboxes, as well as to those who don’t.

    No one wants to hurt the future of a student who makes a mistake, but minimizing the punishment for those who have been caught to a simple slap on the wrist, sends the wrong message to every single student in the system. Fear of consequences is an extremely strong motivator. For a teenager, no observed consequences equals no reinforcement to refrain from risky behavior.

  3. Jeane Cromer says:

    The Virginia Department of Education provides each citizen access to incidents, offenses, and discipinary outcomes of 93 reportable offenses-to include alcohol- at any CCPS.

    As per the code of VA, each school must report on stdent offenses while at school, on a bus, while at a school sponsored event, or in their community not under school
    supervision. Alcohol offenses and their respective discipinary actions from CCHS students can be viewed here:

    CDN Editor Repsonse: Many thanks for your contribution on this issue.

    • Jeane Cromer says:

      Users of the Safe School Inormation Resource (SSIR)-the link listed above-should be cautioned to read the Quick Start Guide in the right hand column. Here is an
      example of a specific offense broken down by type. A graph will follow. Switch over to Discipline and another graph will tell you the discipline of the offense.

      School Year 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09
      Region Name : Region IV – Northern
      Division Name : Clarke County
      School Type : High
      School Name : Clarke County High
      Offense Category : Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Offenses
      Offense Type : Alcohol – (AL1)
      Time Element : All

      • Michelle says:

        Jeane perhaps you may be able to answer a question about this report. When I looked at the discipline section for a particular year, it appears by far and away most of the offenses (even weapons offenses) had had no disciplinary action taken. Could that mean that the offenses were unfounded? Surely a weapons violation that was found to be valid would have had some action taken??? Thanks for the link, BTW, never knew that info was so readily available.

        • Travis Goodwin says:

          I think you’re reading the data incorrectly. On p.32 of the SSIR User’s Guide, it says the following:

          “When reviewing disciplinary data, it is important to understand that the disciplinary outcome “none” means there was no out-of-school suspension or expulsion. It does not mean there was no disciplinary action taken. Typically, it means disciplinary action such as in-school suspension, after school detention, or suspension or privileges were taken.”

          In other words, it was most likely handled in-house (in-school-suspension, etc.).

          • Michelle says:

            Ahh, thank you Travis, I was guilty of reading the “Quick-Start” guide only :/ “Bad research consumer, BAD research consumer!”

          • Travis Goodwin says:

            It’s all good. It took me a while to dig through all of the info, and I had made the initial assumption you arrived at, too. The labeling could be clearer on the graphs.

          • Jeane Cromer says:

            Travis is indeed correct. The User’s guide is a must read. So sorry. Many variables account for reporting and inferences should not be made without reading the guide. While some of the data may seem a bit “odd”; I can assure you the current administration is keenly aware of some of the oddities and are doing their very best to bring us transparency on all issures concerning discipline, crime and violence in all CCPS.

  4. Clarke County Caucasian says:

    Wing Team (both left and right), respectfully, your “solution” is part of the problem! Do adults understand that there are consequences to actions? Maybe sometimes they do, but kids lack judgement. That’s because they are kids! That’s why society limits their freedoms! Why aren’t they allowed to smoke, drink or drive? Because they lack judgement!

    Your argument that punishment is an important part of learning judgement is correct but please include at least a little deference to the fact that most of us remember being kids and making mistakes. Are you willing to tell me that your youth was governed solely based on logical decisions about crime an punishment?

    We’re all pleased that we’re getting a new school for the kids. What about taking some of the extra money and showing that we’re really serious about education? Let’s design and implement the country’s top drug and alcohol education program for Clarke County students.

    Robina? Mike? What do you say?

    • Did I drink when I was underage? Yep.
      Did I get in trouble when I was caught? Nope. Ergo, that behavior continued.

      Did I skip school? Nope. I was so scared of what would happen if I got caught, I didn’t do it. Not once, not EVER!

      Did I ever cheat on tests? Nope. Knew it was wrong, and the consequences again scared the beejeebies out of me.

      Did I act up or disrupt the classroom or disrespect a teacher? Nope. Again, I was scared to death of the consequences and I also knew it was rude.

      Society has unfortunately trended away from punishment and follow through. That trend needs to stop. Period.

      • J.C.Coon says:

        Consequences. hummmm……do schools still have The Scarlet Letter as required reading in Schools.

  5. Who is providing the alcohol? Parents? Retailers? Friends of legal age? If they don’t have access to it they won’t use it.

  6. The Wise One says:

    A teacher, coach, friend can educate, and stress the consequences and penalties over and over, and it will not sink in. It MUST start in the home and be reinforced there. There must be supervision, at all times possible. 16, 17 and most 18 year-olds should not have cars. That’s why we fund school buses.
    It starts in the home. It starts in the home. It starts in the home.

    • Who do parents answer too? says:

      I agree that the home is a foundation for education in many areas of life. The trouble is that there is a spectrum of ideaology of what is “right” or “wrong”. For almost 20 years I battled with in-laws at family gatherings that alcohol shouldn’t be served to our underage children. These same in-laws happen to be public school teachers and their children have gone on to become public school teachers. They justified their thinking because of exposure to European parents who believe if children are exposed to alcohol from a younger age as in Europe then 1)they will have learned and accepted the effects of alcohol and 2)it won’t hold the “prohibiton mystique” or “right of adults only”, etc which may entice and excite teenagers to rebelliously try. They also felt better having the kids drink in their presence than not and they absolutely would NOT have been allowed to drive after consumption.
      My argument was that 1)alcoholism had presented itself in our family tree why take the chance of jeopardizing our children’s health in this way and 2)surely if it’s against the law for vendors to sell to minors it’s illegal for parents or other adullts to serve minors. To prove my point in regards to the law after calling the police(in another more metropolitan jurisdiction) to inquire about what was legal, I was informed that parents have that authority to allow underage drinking in their homes for their own children;however if any ill circumstances were to occur from such action they would be held accountable under the law for the consequences.I held firm in my convictions of a “NO ALCOHOL FOR MINORS” policy.
      I was an avid reader of the policies of PANDAA (Parents Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse). I knew of schools that had SADD clubs or groups which help kids to be informed, educated and committed to “saying no” to any destructive and detrimental behavior. My kids had attended schools which had all night graduation parties (an activity which is believed to decrease teen drunk driving incidents which occur around graduation)
      I was surprised that a car you could win at the faculty-student baskeball game fundraiser was displayed on school grounds but not a mangled one from a drunk driving incident during prom week as I’ve seen in other schools.
      My point of all these anecdotes is that it takes many voices and venues to get the point across to kids. When I was in high school we had to contend with the loss of a dear friend to many due to what most of us believed was a stupid thing for him to do in the first place-drive with an intoxicated friend while intoxicated himself. Would one of us had done something to stop him if we had known what he was doing? You betcha. No one knew till it was too late. Can awareness and education make a difference? It seems so. Should a community “pawn” the responsibilty off to one group such as parents or should everyone’s voice or opinion be heard? Can everyone make a difference?
      Recently, I viewed the movie “To Save A Life”, although this had to do with teen suicide mainly, I believe it is relevant to this matter also. I highly recommend it.

  7. Parents and friends of legal age.

    • That is surely a part of it but if you think that’s it you are fooling yourself. In Fairfax County police conduct regular sting operations to catch retailers selling to minors. When was the last time you heard of that happening in Clarke or Frederick County? Never.
      Controlling access is important but only a part of the problem.
      The reality is that if there is a will there is a way,

  8. Travis Goodwin says:

    Clarke County has a reputation as “a drinking community with a farming problem.” From the well-heeled “whiskey set” to the folks who think it’s fine to enable underage drinking @ their homes or in their fields, it’s a known entity.

    The schools can implement a decent health curriculum, to include information on alcohol, drugs, teen pregnancy, etc., but if the message is not reinforced at home it’ll last about the length of time it takes to get home from school.

    Yes, teens will drink, smoke, dope up, fool around, etc. If we want to have any hope of reining it in, then they need to hear a consistent message from home, school, church, and amongst themselves that doing so leads to unfortunate accidents and unintended consequences. Even if one person enables a shortcut (“Well, it’s in my house, and I take the keys, so it’s better than them going somewhere else”, etc.), then the effectiveness is undermined.

  9. hoopsfan says:

    I am amazed at how many parents in this county will allow and purchase alcohol for minors in this county. And let them party at their house. Last spring this had even happened with middle school kids. To many parents want to be cool and friends rather than parents

  10. Recent Clarke Resident says:

    I just heard about the issue with the high schoolers at the DECA conference. I am a teacher myself and wonder why they weren’t being properly chaperoned. I just recently moved to the area and these kinds of things make me question many things. If it were my child going, I would be furious that they weren’t being chaperoned appropriately. Perhaps I missed something in all of this, but does anyone know?

    • Travis Goodwin says:

      It had something to do with alcohol hidden in sport bottles and such in their hotel room(s). The girls were busted at the IHOP, and the staff member in charge dealt with it pretty quickly. There’s a lot of hearsay and scuttlebutt on the street about it, and any consequences handed down. Ultimately, it was handled by the school and school board.

    • Not properly chaperoned just about sums it up. And the slap on the wrist they all received did no good at all.

  11. CCHS Observer says:

    With the DECA situation, I do not believe it was poor chaperoning at all. I know the teacher and chaperons that went on that trip, and its the fact that these students took advantage of the situation and their chaperons. As soon as alcohol was seen, the teachers reacted properly. But Right Winger is right, they did get in a fair amount of trouble, and yet they continued their actions. What gets me is, yes the school punished them with suspension from school and teams, but where is the legal action? How come the police did not become involved?

    But I agree with Clarke County Caucasian- where is the health program telling us the consequences of these actions? As a Clarke student who has gone through the system, I was appalled at how little of a health program there is here. With siblings and cousins that go to schools in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William Counties, I’ve heard how they have DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) as early as elementary school. That continues all throughout middle and high school, reminding them the legal and health consequences of drinking. The “program” or lack thereof they have now is literally pointless. It is looked at as routine and not taken seriously. There is maybe one week on drinking and nothing else, not even sex education! (which is another rising problem along with underage drinking- but i wont even go there…) The school needs to seriously rethink their alcohol and drug prevention program in health class.
    I mean, in all honesty we all know kids are going to drink, as much as some people want to change the world and stop all teen drinking completely. I will pay you a million dollars if you can do that, because it is impossible. The key to helping curve this problem is one little thing- RESPONSIBILITY! If you are going to break the law and underage drink, at least do it responsibly (which I’m aware sounds like an oxymoron). If people were responsible, they would know not to drink and drive, which is what put this problem in the spotlight now isn’t it?

    • Our DARE program went out the door when the supervisors decided not to fund it anymore, syaing we didn’t have the money.

    • Mayor Quinsby says:

      Responsible? How do you expext kids to be responsible when their parents are not.
      I drove to Leesburg today on rt. 7 with my cruise control on 55, and was passed by more than 150 cars and trucks. These are the parents of the children you want to be responible.
      If children watched their parents drive correctly from an early age, I would bet you would see a much safer world. I would also bet 90% of the kids drinking, have parents that drink.
      I’m not saying drinking is bad, but controlling it is our responsibility. We should adopt the European way of life. Let our kids drink from the get-go. That way they won’t be so tempted as teens to do something behind mom and dads back.

  12. Jeane Cromer says:

    Each Virginia public school board establishes a school health advisory board consisting of representation from parents, students, health professionals, educators and others. The school health advisory board assists with the development of health policy in the school division and the evaluation of the status of school health, health education, the school environment and health services. See full Code of Virginia § 22.1-275.1 language.

    Attend a meeting folks. Sign up to be on the committee. This IS a serious health issue.

  13. concerned says:

    I am not sure, how are there no juvenile alcohol offenses from Jan 1 – July 15, but supposedly the vehicle that the young man who died was ejected from had several underage drinkers in it and an underage drinking driver? Is there not enough evidence, or are they waiting to report this? From what I have heard, and this is only what I have heard, the young man who was driving the vehicle that evening is participating in weight training at the high school for the football players? I may be wrong, but I am really hoping that our community children will be told and shown what the consequences for this group are going to be. It is sad, but really how can we as parents tell our children the consequences for drinking and driving, and then they see it is not so in this case??

  14. Seriously Misjudged says:

    Hello Concerned, do you believe in forgiveness?? Don’t you know that this kid made a mistake that he will live with for the rest of his life ??? Actually everyone in that truck!! Partaking in sports will not show that he is not being held responsible for his actions. He must go on with his life and take responsibility when needed for his fatal actions, we all know that this was a terrible tragedy that EVERYONE wished never happened. The ones that really should be held accountable are the people (ADULTS) who allowed this to take place at their home and then allowed them to drive. Let’s be realistic here, at some point our Commonwealth Attorney will have to hold someone accountable for supplying these kids with beer/drugs, this has been going on for years, parents need to become responsible and know where their kids are at ALL times, not just when they feel like it, we love to think that we can trust them, but we just cant or what happened will happen again.

    • Travis Goodwin says:

      If the star footballers who bashed up mailboxes and paperboxes, felony offenses all, got to play on on the football team, why can’t a football player who involuntarily killed his friend by recklessly driving while intoxicated, which is a felony, not also participate? The answer is that the one (the fatal truck wreck) has nothing to do with the other (participating in a fall sport 3 months after the wreck). Whether he plays football or not, he has to look in the mirror, and in his teammates eyes, every day and face the reality of what he drunkly caused.

      I agree that the adults who hosted the party should be held accountable, too. It’s choices like that which undermine any good gained from any sort of education or awareness effort.

    • Mayor Quinsby says:

      Forgiveness? Lock their butts in prison. When they get out, I will forgive them.

      • Honestly?
        This is NOT the Clarke County i knew and loved.
        I’m incredibly ashamed to say i come from a town where the mayor is so judgmental. You’re supposed to be an example for CC residents, a compassionate, forgiving leader.
        Seems to be you’re exactly the kind of person that has been tearing our county apart.

        I’ll be praying for you Mayor Quinsby.
        May God be more merciful to you one day..

        • “Mayor Quinsby” is not the Mayor of Berryville, it’s just a screen name!

        • uh, Mayor Quinsby is not a real name, at least not from here. I assure you it is NOT the mayor of Berryville. Our mayor is a kind, Christian, and forgiving man. Far from the judgmental stone throwers some of the commenters are on here.

    • Naked Truth says:

      The adults who allowed thier child to drive a vehicle , which I am sure the title and insurance is in thier name, should be resposible. He had too many underage people in the truck. He was under the influence of alcohol. Maybe driving to fast for the road he was on.

  15. concerned says:

    Participating in sports is a privilege not a right. If the young men on the sports teams are not allowed to play due to a positive drug test, problems with alcohol, etc. then why in the world would this young man be allowed to play? I think I am showing forgiveness by not saying I feel this young man should be tried for involuntary manslaughter or the like. I am saying how do we show our teenagers that there are consequences to your actions if this young man is allowed to play football. God bless this young man, but old enough to realize it or not, he has set a path for himself now. My concerns also must lay with all of the other young adults who have not done so yet but could if they see there are no consequences. I also feel the adults in this situation should have consequences for their irresponsibility in the situation. However, this is not an either/or situation. The young adults in this situation should also have some type of consequence. Doing your best to know where your young adults are at all times is definitely a wonderful thing, reality says that once a license is in place the only way you can know… by having raised a young adult whose word you can trust. God bless the young man who will deal with this the rest of his life, and God bless the young man who did not get that choice…….

    • Travis Goodwin says:

      A positive drug/alcohol test during the football season should result in a ban from football, and would fall under VHSL as well as criminal regs. There is going to be some legal debt to be paid by this young man, but banning him from teh football team isn’t a valid response. He’s already going to be a huge pariah at school, and on the football team, and among his friends. He has to shoulder that blame. That’s quite a lot for someone who can’t yet vote. Let’s not pile on.

      • concerned says:

        1. It is a privilege, not a right, to participate on an interscholastic team. Therefore, this privilege can be revoked for improper conduct of a student at school or in the community.

        I believe improper conduct is quite the case in this issue. He is not a pariah among many of his friends, most of them are supporting him through this tragedy. I do feel that he is young and has made a horrible mistake, and God bless him. However, once again what type of message is this sending to our teens if he is allowed to participate on the football team. The time he will spend in practices and at football games would be much better spent in an alcohol or substance abuse program.

        • Well, when his name is announced at the games, we could all boo very loudly and yell “MURDERER”!!!

          But then we’ll get called a bunch of racists.

          • that comment would indicate that you ARE a racist.

            what a hateful thing to say. yes this kid made a horrible and fatal mistake. it is one that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, which is most likely a far worse punnishment than anything we could ever impose. furthermore, every kid in that truck had been out partying and they all chose to get into a motor vehicle. i wonder if any of them had been the ones with the keys would they have chosen not to drive?

            it is time for this community to begin healing and stop the hateful talk. this is an opportunity to teach and learn and no one will learn from name calling.

          • No, the one kid who hadn’t been out partying, but was on his way, ended up dead.

            What part of my comment makes me a racist?

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            “Racist”? Nope. Tactless? Yep.

          • But the fact that the label “Racist” was thrown at me now takes away from the point I was making. The only people that throw the “Racist” label are the ones who have no valid counterpoint, but like to throw racism in the mix so all focus on the real issue is lost.

          • YOU are the one who brought race into a topic where it has no place. That is why the lable seems to fit you. You brought it up. Race has nothing to do with this accident.

          • No, race has nothing to do with it, but if we booed the kid if he’s playing football still, we’d be labelled as such.

          • Well RW, I would not participate in any such behavior, however observing it I would not conclude that it was driven by racism.

            Perhaps your conclusion indicates a propensity or disposition?

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            NO…you would NOT be seen as “racist,” RW. Ignorant? Probably. Crass? Perhaps. Insensitive? Without a doubt.

          • Insensitive to who? The kid who caused all this mess? Boo hoo, big deal. So what? Insensitive to his family? They raised him. They’re as much to blame. Tell me, who am I being insensitive to???

            Yeah, I’m incensed by this mess. There is no reason for this to have happened, none whatsoever. Yet there are folks on here telling us to forgive, his family is hurting, and all this touchy-feely baloney. Touchy-feely doesn’t work. I feel bad for the VICTIM’s family!!! The VICTIM!!! To heck with the perpetrator! I hope he rots for what he did.

          • I guess I should make sure that we do the same for the cheerleader involved too? Whaddya want, a slap on the wrist? The driver caused someone’s death because of his STUPID choices!! Punishment is the only way to go, period. Kids respond to PUNISHMENT, not hand wringing.

            Bank robbers, rapists, killers, etc. all have to live with what they did for the rest of their life, should they not be PUNISHED as well?

            Bottom line, you want a certain behavior to stop, make the punishment for that behavior harsh. Wake up.

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            Yeah…and we’ve seen how well capital punishment has eliminated violent crimes. And how well “3 strikes and no parole” has reduced crime and emptied our jails.

            It’s not just going to be one way (education & awareness) or another (punishment & enforecement). It’s going to take a combination of both aspects. Education/awareness to inform teens (and their parents and the community) to the laws against and the consequences of underage drinking, and of providing alcohol or hosting parties in houses/yards/barns/riverfront parcels, etc. Punishment & enforcement comes from folks reporting field/house/riverfront parties; punishing those who provide alcohol or at least a place to party; etc.

            Basically…what does the community as a whole value more – the ability to keep underage partying & drinking “on the low” or teens who realize that such activities are stupid and potentially disastrous?

      • You’re all forgetting about the justice system. When the Commonwealth files charges against this kid, there ain’t no football being played no more.

        • concerned says:

          That is very true! And I must say I have quite a bit of confidence in Ms. Perka and the way she works with both victims and perpetrators to obtain justice. For me, I guess it is just frustrating to hear all of the rumors, etc. and not see any results yet. I am hoping when there are results maybe more of the teens will step back and see that the “partying” can have serious consequences to all. This discussion has been very helpful to me as far as looking at this issue from all angles. Thanks all!

        • I don’t think they can stop him from playing unless he’s found guilty. For now, he’s not even charged with anything.

      • Mayor Quinsby says:

        Let the state pile on. Take his drivers license away until he is 25.

  16. hoops fan says:

    I have had one kid attend CCHS and one starting. I am amazed at the people who blame this on the school system or think the school should fix it . This is a problem that should be taken care of at home when they are young. I am also amazed by the parents of high schoolers that will purchase alcohol and host parties for their kids and friends all under age. As parents we need to take the responsibility to educate our kids, and help hold the adults that purchase and host these parties.. oh and fyi it happened for middle school kids this year

  17. Travis Goodwin says:

    Agreed, Concerned.

    And…talkin’ it up on here is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to talk it up where it needs to happen – with our kids. At home and at school, the message needs to be consistent – underage drinking is stupid and can lead to tragic consequences.

    • Drinking AND driving is stupid.

      • Right Winger, when ‘Drinking AND driving is stupid’ gets a negative rating, it may be time to move on…

        • Michelle says:

          Righty, I think what may have happened is that TG stated that “underage drinking is stupid . . .”, and RW emphasized that drinking AND driving is stupid, implying that underage drinking is okay, it’s the driving along with it that makes it stupid. I think that’s probably not what he meant, but it kind of reads that way.

        • My skin’s a bit thicker than that. I don’t pay attention to those ratings things anyway, they mean nothing.

  18. Left Winger says:

    As most people have already said…it starts at home and should be reinforced at school. Parents should not rely on the school system to raise their children and bestow morals into their children. If that was the intention of the schools then what are parents for.

    On a side note, for all of those who post that the driver and others who were involved in the most recent accident involving CCHS students should be forgiven with little to no repercussions…would your thoughts be different if this was not a single car accident? Say if the car made it to 340 shot across the median and hit a family traveling on vacation or even hit someone coming home from work at Charles Town Races? Say if someone’s lack of good decisions (decisions made by those involved, the parents of those involved or those who decided that it was okay to throw a party) affected your family?

  19. Clay Boggess says:

    Education and awareness help to prevent bad choices made by using alcohol but stiff and harsh consequences and penalties prevent it from happening a second time.

  20. The majority of these comments are utterly rediculous. Instead of dealing with the problem by educating the youth of this community, some of you find it neccessary to talk about these kids as if you have never messed up yourself. As i look though these comments, i would like to ask Right Winger…Can you honestly say you’ve lived a perfect life and never made a mistake? I would like you to put yourself in the shoes of the young man who was driving during the accident. If you killed one of your best friends because you made a stupid mistake dont you think the pain would be punishment enough? Personally i think the football team might be the best place for him since it will give him a minor distraction from the intense guilt he has to feel for the rest of his life. I’m not saying what he did wasn’t wrong, but in shouting out “murderer” to a high school kid you are proving nothing.

    • If you read through the comments, you’d already know the answer to your own question about my living a perfect life.

      Educating the youth community? Really? You mean to tell me that’s not being done enough? Obviously just knowing the pain you would cause by killing someone through drunk driving is not enough of a deterrant.

      20 years in a prison cell might just be a good enough start.

      • Doug Landry says:

        It’s knee-jerk, shoot-from-the-hip posits like that which cause folks to discredit anything you post, RW. If teens have been enabled by parents and other adults in this county, for a generation or more, to learn that (A) it’s alright to drink even though they’re not old enough and (B) folks will just turn a blind eye to it, a tragedy such as this might be enough to open their eyes. To make a long-term change, education and open discussion of the consequences of poor choices – and the negative impact alcohol has on one’s reason and judgement – will do more than tossing the teen driver into a jail cell.

        You claim you want to focus on the victim? Fine. But your persistent harping on the driver and locking him away is tiresome. It would do far more to honor the victim if this community did all it can – both in homes and at school – to spread the word that underage drinking really isn’t cool, that it can cause irreversible tragedies, and will not be tolerated. Adults who host parties/provide alcohol to minors/etc. should be held accountable, and folks should continue to call in and report underage drinking parties. Continuing to single out 1 person (the driver) only makes you look small.

        • These are not knee-jerk nor shot from the hip posts. All you guys keep talking about is underage drinking. I realize that’s almost impossible to stop.

          I am talking about DRINKING AND DRIVING. That’s the issue here. TOUGH PENALTIES for DRINKING AND DRIVING!

          Can I make that any clearer to folks?

          • Doug Landry says:

            It’s one component of the larger issue broached by this article, RW. The article sought to begin a dialogue about the problem of underage drinking in our community, the lack of solid data, and so on.

            Your persistent flogging of drinking and driving alone – and only regarding punitive reponses to such offenses – makes you really no more than Polly squawking to get a cracker. The tough consequences for drunk driving as a minor are already there. However, if cops don’t know where the parties are, they won’t know to set up checkpoints or other enforcement measures. Affecting change on a larger scale through education of alcohol’s effects and the unintended consequences will do more good in the long run.

            Really…there’s no more flesh on that horse’s carcass. Give it a rest.

          • Well, I guess then that most folks don’t want to listen to my suggestions on how to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. The article invites all to participate, but when one person’s view isn’t popular, that person should be told that their opinion/suggestions aren’t what everyone else wants to hear?

            Tough noogies.

            Every weekend night, set up checkpoints around known party areas. There aren’t that many. Arrest anyone under 21 who blows .01 or above and is driving. Make it a felony to drink and drive, for anyone. Mandatory 1 year prison for first offense. Forfeiture of drivers license and vehicle. You injure someone, 10 years mandatory. You kill someone, 20 years mandatory.

            Chew on that.

          • Maybe you should get out from behind your computer and do something for once.

          • Sounds like a personal attack or challenge.

            You don’t know me or what I do or how I am involved in this community. For all I know, you may be someone who sits at a computer all day and does nothing to improve the community. What I do know is that you may not agree with my opinions and that is your right.

            But don’t you dare tell me I’m not entitled to mine and can’t voice them.

          • Doug Landry says:

            Folks don’t want to listen to your ideas, regardless if the floor was opened for debate or not, because you are a one-note hack. All you harp on is punitive, punitive, punitive. You espouse a rather draconian view of how to deal with such offenses. Yet, in your zeal to sound like a modern-day Wyatt Earp, you proffer ideas with no thought to incumbent costs: does the Sheriff’s Department have sufficient manpower (and overtime funds) to set up those weekly checkpoints? 10 years for injuring someone, and 20 for a death…our prisons are already overcroded. How do you handle such things? Make drinking & driving a felony? So, anyone thus convicted should lose the benefits of citizenship (voting privileges, etc.) and also deal with the burden of such a conviction when trying to apply for a job, a loan, etc.? Would you not want there to be some sort of judicial discretion if you were so convicted?

            No, RW, folks tire of your rants because they are like the vuvuzelas at the World Cup – full of annoying buzz, but lacking in any true substance pleasing to the ear.

          • Ha, I like it. A Vuvuzela!

            As much as RW rants about the thumbs down mean nothing to him, he doesn’t understand that it’s not for him, it’s for everyone else to identify the value of the response.

            Leave him (or her) to his vitriol. All we can do is pity him and those around him.

          • “but lacking in any true substance pleasing to the ear.” You don’t like it because it doesn’t sound nice to you? Big deal.

            I won’t spell out how it should be implemented. That’s not my job. Opinions were asked for, I gave mine. You either agree with it, or you don’t. Telling me it’s not welcome is a big mistake.

            People want to know how to modify behavior, you reward good, you punish bad. It’s that simple.

          • Where’s your substance? The only thing you’ve offered to this discussion is a put-down of my suggestions.

          • Doug Landry says:

            Clearly, you’ve not read earlier posts. Here’s a bit from my earlier post:
            “It would do far more to honor the victim if this community did all it can – both in homes and at school – to spread the word that underage drinking really isn’t cool, that it can cause irreversible tragedies, and will not be tolerated. Adults who host parties/provide alcohol to minors/etc. should be held accountable, and folks should continue to call in and report underage drinking parties.”

            To give you more substance:
            “Spread the word @ home and school”: Get the word out through forums such as CDN, or Facebook groups seeking to honor the victim (a demand of yours) by promoting an awareness of the negatives of underage drinking, or folks just talking with their neighbors and their kids; the schools need responsible health education back as a required part of the MS & HS curriculum; I believe a SADD chapter is beginning @ CCHS, and that’s a good thing.

            “Folks call in and report underage drinking parties”: This should be self-explanatory; still, the more these types of things are reported, the more the local PDs have to begin to enforce laws already on the books. (It’s interesting that on the most recent Sheriff’s Office weekly report, there were over a dozen traffic stops but only 1 drunk in public. Does that mean the focus of the SO is more on traffic than drunkeness? Not necessarily. Speeders are easier to nab than house/field/river parties are reported.)

            So…while you certainly have the right to post whatever opinions you wish, they’ll get called for the one-note, short-sighted, negative rants that they are.

          • Gee, aren’t all those things already being done? Yet it still happens.

            Consequences, that’s what will work.

          • Doug Landry says:

            They’re being done now, with more sincerity and purpose, perhaps.

            Your “hard-nosed” stance is betrayed by facts from history:
            1.) Prohibition called for strict penalties for violating a Constitutional Amendment (not merely a local, state, or federal law)…yet…Al Capone et al. rang up huge fortunes smuggling hooch in from Canada, speakeasies flourished for a time, and it never achieved a teetotaling society it strove for.
            2.) Look at our “War on Drugs” – how many billions have been spent on that effort in the past 30 years, with rather stiff consequences on the books at the state AND federal level, yet drugs continue to plague our fair county and elsewhere in Virginia and the country.
            3.) Virginia’s 3 Strikes & Done Stance: Virginia toughened up on parole opportunities for repeat offenders. Some might argue that violent crimes have dipped, but – of you look at urban areas like Norfolk, Newport News, and Richmond – folks there might have a different opinion. Plus, removal of parole – even for non-violent offenders – has caused a noticeable increase in the need for (and thus costs for) prisons & staff to oversee them. This cost is borne by the state’s already stressed General Fund.
            4.) Capital punishment – Of all the states that utilize capital punishment, only Texas kills more residents than Virginia. Yet, violent crimes that earn a death sentence still occur.
            5.) In England, at one time some 318 offenses earned the death penalty. Was it a deterrent? Hardly. England had so many prisoners in prisons and jails that it was able to send thousands to populate the colonies of Georgia (now in the USA), Australia, and elsewhere.

            So…you advocate stiff, harsh penalties as the only means to address the ills of underage drinking and driving. Your stance is not supported by too many facts. Unless you’re advocating a system that foregoes any sort of appeals process and utilizes more immediate punishment (as in some countries, where if you steal something they cut your hand off), stiffer penalties alone won’t cut it.

          • This sort of thing happens every year, some drunk kid gets behind the wheel and kills someone or severely injurs someone. Lots of times, these kids get sentenced to speaking to other kids about what impact drinking and driving had on their lives. Yet it still happens every year. There’s a kid that just graduated from another local HS that was drunk and drove his car into the side of a HOUSE! His mother called the family affected and said “Oh, he’s a good boy, don’t press charges.” And what is that kid doing right now? Is he in jail awaiting trial? Nope. Meanwhile, the family who had their life turned upside down because of this idiot waits and suffers the consequences of the kid’s actions. People who are affected by lawbreakers deserve much better treatment than the lawbreakers themselves. As it stands right now, you break the law, you are guaranteed 3 hots and a cot, plus cable tv and recreation.

            I’d really like to see a sheriff Joe clone in our area. He treats criminals the way the should be treated, like criminals.

          • Doug Landry says:

            What? You’d go Medieval on someone? Throw them in the stocks? Publicly flog them? Serve them cold gruel and bread, and make them turn big rocks into little ones? Bring back next-day hanging on the gallows?

            Earlier, you advocated 10 years in prison for drunkenly injuring someone with a car; 20 years for killing someone. Now, it sounds like you resent that they are sheltered, fed, and given oh-so-fashionable jumpsuits in prison. Sorry if civil rights (which apply to victims as well as perps) are an inconvenient truth for you.

            Still…you persist in ignoring the fact that punitive consequences (again, many of which are already on the books) are only 1 part of the resolution of this issue. It has to go hand in hand with more and better education and awareness. Yes, you can beat a dog into submission, but that is only an external motivator (fear of stick = compliance). Longlasting change must be internalized (education of consequences – legal as well as life-related = a willingness to cease destructive behaviors).

          • Yup, that’s me. I’d go medieval, easily. That’s why I’m not in charge, because I don’t have the patience to put up with destructive behaviors that cost innocent lives. You all can spin it any way you want to, but to me, right and wrong is black and white. No gray area. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”.

          • Mayor Quinsby says:

            5.) In England, at one time some 318 offenses earned the death penalty. Was it a deterrent? Hardly. England had so many prisoners in prisons and jails that it was able to send thousands to populate the colonies of Georgia (now in the USA), Australia, and elsewhere.
            So you could commit 317 offenses without being punished?

    • Sure, we all have made “mistakes” but, we all haven’t killed another human…..recklessly.

      • I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody wants stiff penalties applied because they are so afraid that somebody they know or a relative may get caught up in the same kind of mess that they wouldn’t want them to be penalized harshly. So keep forming your little talking groups and work on your feelings rather than take a hard nosed approach to nip something in the bud. Until a collective societal change takes place on how to deal with these types of issues, I’m afraid that this tragedy will repeat itself.

        What a wonderful legacy for Aaron.

        • Lonnie Bishop says:

          You can’t “nip something in the bud” that’s been going on in this county for a generation or more, and wink-winked at by parents and adults. This isn’t a new development, RW. What we’re finally seeing is a willingness of folks to stand up say that enough is enough. You refuse to accept that it’s going to take more than stiff consequences – of which many are currently on the books, waiting to be enforced and levied on offenders (loss of licenses, jail time, fines, etc.).

        • Here is a wonderful legacy for Aaron. One his loved ones probably feel he would approve of. Not the idiocy you speak.

          • Again you resort to name-calling regarding my suggestions? What are you afraid of?

          • It’s not “name calling”. You’re over the top unrealistic and clueless about solutions to the problem.

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            No name-calling there. He addressed your inane postings for what they are – idiocy.

            You regularly pontificate on how much “insider” scuttlebutt you know because you’re some “long-timer” here in the county, yet all you are – to borrow from The Bard – is a poor player strutting and fretting an hour upon the keyboard of a computer somewhere, burning up pixels with posits full of sound and fury, yet really offering nothing of substance.

            God Himself grants more forgiveness than you advocate showing towards those who make foolhardy and reckless choices; there is only 1 sin He doesn’t overlook, and that is the rejection of His Son. Thank God that you are not the Almighty, for I venture that you’d be raining thunderbolts down like Zeus with a hayfever attack.

          • Mayor Quinsby says:

            What’s a posit?

          • Care to change your tune yet? I told you the kid was a known problem and has no remorse or conscience.

          • Doug Landry says:

            Nope…no reason to change my tune based on recent developments. This component is a just outcome for what he chose to do. It doesn’t change the need for other aspects, though…[redacted].

    • Mayor Quinsby says:

      I totally disagree. You can’t kill someone and have your conscience be the punishment. “Gosh, I feel soooo guilty for robbing that person, and killing his mother. I hope I can live with the pain.”
      Old enough to get a drive, old enough to suffer the consequences.