alcohol-related deaths and unfair punishments
I have a problem with the way some unfortunate alcohol-related deaths have been addressed in the law lately. I have two cases that have made news in the last week that have gotten me a little irritated. The first of which involves the case of Amanda Jax, who died last year celebrating her 21st birthday at bars in Mankato. Jax was found to have had a blood-alcohol level more than 6 times the legal limit to operate a vehicle when she was found the next morning. In the past week, the bar that Jax was at that night and served her the alcohol had it's liquor liscense taken away (link). The second case involves Sean Humphrey,19, a Chaska boy who froze to death last winter attempting to walk home from a party when he was heavily intoxicated (link). In this case, the man who bought the alcohol for the party has been sentenced to 90 days in jail. I will start with this case first. In a statement released by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wentzell, he said, "If they don't have access to the alcohol then this isn't going to happen." Blame in this case has been very misplaced I feel. I don't know what high school and early college years were like for this person, but for me and everyone else I know, that statement doesn't ring true. If one person declines to buy alcohol for minors, which Wentzell is saying that man should have done, Humphrey and the others would have had a long list of others that would have. When I was in high school, our class had mutliple people we could go to. Some people in our class dated girls and guys that were 21 that we could go to, some had friends or siblings that were over 21, and some had parents that were willing to do it. The bottom line is, one guy telling those kids "no" does not solve the problem, it only delays the time it takes for the kids to get the alcohol buy a few more minutes. To me, it comes down to the individual making the right choices for himself. Humphrey did not have to walk home, he made that decision himself. He did not have to drink as much as he did, he made that decision also. Don't get me wrong, I think what happened to him is very, very sad and I all the sympathy in the world for the friends and family, but I won't believe for one second that if that man had not bought the alcohol, no one else would have and the kids would have never gotten to drink that night. I think anyone who does think that way is really missing the big picture. Punishing that man is a lot like putting a bandaid on a broken leg, it just doesn't solve to problem completely, sorry. In the second case, Jax's family has sued the bar for their daughter's death, saying they should have cut her off. Again, the decision to drink and order those drinks falls on the individual. She didn't have to keep drinking. And how is the bartender supposed to keep track of how many drinks she has? Speaking for someone who has been at that bar, its pretty crowded. It's next to impossible to keep and exact number of drinks pinned to one person. So I'm not gonna sit around and let people try and convince me that the bartender is responsible for the death in some way. I think as a person, you reach a point in your life were you need to take responsibility for your own actions, and stop placing the blame on others. Once you reach a certain age, you can't rely on someone else to change your diapers forever. Eventually, you gotten make your own dinner, do your own laundry. Once again, not that the situation is not extremely sad. It always is when a young person dies from drinking. As a college-aged person, hearing about it always puts a different perspective on life. I'm just sick of hearing the wrong people getting blamed for other people's mistakes.