Paying The Cost Of Partying Hardy

Simon McCormack
3 min read
These guys eat teens for breakfast
Share ::
I recently came across the headline of an Albuquerque Tribune article about 23 La Cueva High School students being given minor in possession citations at a large party just outside Albuquerque city limits. At first glance, I began to lament what I feel is the misuse of law enforcement resources targeted at stopping the inevitable phenomenon of teenage drinking.

However, the full text of the article reveals a much more complex and troubling situation for several reasons. For one thing, the party was being supervised by Christopher and Maureen Harris, two parents in their forties who, according to the incident report filed by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, seemed to have let the party get way out of hand.

The report says two of the party’s attendees were so intoxicated they had to be taken to a hospital. It also speculates the Harrises’ own 11-year-old daughter may have been under the influence of marijuana. While I think allowing kids under the age of 21 to drink under parental supervision is not necessarily a bad thing, allowing teenagers to get so drunk they require emergency medical treatment clearly is. That’s not to say the students don’t deserve a large portion of the blame for what transpired during the evening, but the Harrises deserve the lion’s share. After all, they’re adults, they let it happen on their watch, and their own pre-pubescent child may have been high as a kite. Accordingly, the Harrises were each charged with 23 counts of providing alcohol to a minor and three charges of child abuse—one for their daughter and two for the teens who went to the hospital. They may also face lawsuits from some of the students’ parents.

It’s unclear from the article whether the two teens were taken to the hospital as a precaution or if their lives were in immediate danger, but if one puts any faith in the report’s contents, the law enforcement intervention at the party definitely served some good. I also don’t know how many sheriff’s deputies were needed to break up the party, but I would bet it was more than a couple.

Previously, I believed cops going to parties and making everyone leave or handing out citations was a huge waste of law enforcement resources. After a lot of posturing and false assertions, such as "everyone here’s going to jail," cops at the parties I went to in my high school years would watch as underage youths scampered to their cars and drunkenly drove home or to another party. But in this case, all of the kids cited had their parents called to take them home. This practice not only ensures parents are made aware of their children’s activities, it also, much more importantly, ensures they get home safely.

But if this raid was a "good thing," then when are police party raids a bad thing? How can police possibly know when partiers are in real danger before entering a home? I still don’t think every party requires a large-scale response, but how big does a party have to be in order to necessitate that kind of police presence? Can a party be broken up with one or two cops regardless of its size? These questions didn’t have to be asked when I believed most parties didn’t require a lot of police attention, but now I have to look at them. What do you think?

1 2 3 746