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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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 Post subject: What's the message?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 1:24 pm 
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An editorial in the May 1 Tomahawk Leader:

We just don’t get it!

What is the message?

What is the deterrent?

Three teens supplied alcohol at an underage drinking party that took place last year in the town of Bradley. Unfortunately, there’s probably nothing unusual about that.

Another teen – a foreign exchange student attending Merrill High School – died at that party, however. That’s a tragedy that cannot be undone. That’s the ultimate warning we give our community’s children when we tell them underage drinking is dangerous. That’s the message emergency personnel try desperately to portray during the annual mock accidents they hold just before prom and graduation. That’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Initially, the teens were tabbed with individual felony charges of procuring alcohol for a minor resulting in death. That meant the potential of 10 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, or both.

We don’t know these young men and no one knows what potential they hold. Certainly a felony on their record would limit their futures. We’re not advocating that they be saddled with a felony. Perhaps they do deserve a second chance.

But, the news of the probable plea agreement in this case has us shaking our heads in disbelief. District Attorney Don Dunphy is proposing that the prosecution be deferred a year. In the meantime, the teenagers must refrain from consuming alcohol or being on any premises with alcohol, do 100 hours of community service and identify the others who brought and provided alcohol at the party.

If they meet ALL the requirements of the plea bargain, their charges will be reduced to procuring alcohol for an underage person, which carries, get this, a $500 forfeiture!

Dunphy is quoted in the Wausau paper as saying it’s his hope the conditions will act as a deterrent for their peers.

And what deterrent is that, exactly?

What is the lesson?

That breaking the law – that ultimately leads to the worse case scenario, death – can be paid for in less than two and a half weeks at a minimum wage job?

Perhaps, we concede, the foreign exchange student was most at fault for his own actions.

Perhaps, there will be repercussions for these young men when they tell who else provided the alcohol, from others friends to the adult(s) responsible for buying the booze. But one would think that should have happened already and not be part of a bribe-like bargain.

Perhaps a couple of weekends of community service look pretty threatening.

Perhaps avoiding alcohol will be real tough for them this coming year, despite the fact that it is already against the law.

Yes, the punishment is tough. But at least we can rest easier knowing these young men will have learned a lesson.

And, we can be certain the conditions they must meet will help deter future underage parties!


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 Post subject: Re: What's the message?
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:25 pm 
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I'm confused, can an underage person really be charged with "procuring alcohol for an underage person"?

(Either way, What an unfortunate happening..)

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 Post subject: Re: What's the message?
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 1:14 am 
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After some thought and research I found some of these facts interesting.

The drinking age in France is 16.In fact the United States is the only country that has a 21 year old drinking age. We have the most strict youth drinking laws, yet the most drinking related problems amoung its youth. Evidence supports the fact that early introduction of drinking is the safest way to reduce alcohol abuse. In the U.S. we treat our emergening adults as infants and get infatile behavior as a result. But of course if you are 18, you can sign up and put your life on the line for this country in the military. But just dont drink a beer, or have a glass of wine, or you will be kicked out of sports,get a hefty fine, and be the bad kid that all the parents are talking about.

As for this horrible outcome to a drinking party, each individual kid at that party decided to drink or not. And they also decided how much they were going to drink. The news stated the alcohol and the medical condition contributed to his death. He made the choice to drink in excess that along with his medical condition contributed to his death. Always looking to put the blame on someone else is easy to do, but we all make choices and unfortunatly his choice cost him his life.

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 Post subject: Re: What's the message?
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:19 pm 
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A friend of ours son was at that party. He says when the French student walked in the door he was holding his own liquer bottle which only had a quarter of it left. He (French Student) and his friends had just arrived from another party before coming there.


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