I’m really curious what’s gotten into today’s youth. No, this is not one of those rhetorical statements; I honestly want to know. Two major issues have come out in the news, lately: Namely, the Steubenville, OH, rape of a 16-year-old girl by two football players at a party; and the Philadelphia area father and son arrested after having a drinking/drug party with 19 underage kids.

Well, quite frankly, I’d like to know what got into that father to host a party like that; but I also want to know what’s gotten into today’s youth…

When I was a lad, I had respect for myself, and for others – and that included other people’s property. It was taught to me by my parents who showed us how to live with others – and I think I turned out pretty well. I think I have a good sense of right and wrong.

Was I a perfect, little angel? Oh, hell no! And every time we got a good beating, we damn well deserved it! But I don’t remember ever disrespecting someone or taking advantage of someone, or getting drunk every time I went to a party. Back in the day, it was more about having Doritos than beer that made the party. Was there alcohol at any of the parties I went to? You betcha! But we didn’t drink till we passed out. And mostly, I think it was because of two reasons: (1) we all knew that we had to return home where our parents were waiting for us; and (2) the shit we mixed up tasted so nasty that if you could make it past one glass without puking, you had a stomach of steel. (The crap was called “Gurgleblaster” – whatever anyone could bring/sneak out of the house got dumped into a large container; the last thing to get dumped in was a bottle of Scope to mask the taste and smell and turn it green. It really wasn’t pretty…)

But I’m also curious about that 16-year-old girl that was allegedly raped by the two football players. Clearly there was underage drinking going on. The girl admitted to drinking (though she claims that she must have been drugged for her to have passed out). This whole thing went to court. I haven’t heard anything about any of those children getting citations for underage drinking; yet the report on the Philadelphia shindig mentions all the youths received citations (meaning they’ll probably have to appear in court, pay a fine, maybe have their driving licenses suspended for a time). It’s almost like the system is telling our youth (at least in Ohio), “Oh, go ahead! It’s okay to drink even though you’re underage! it’s even okay to drink until you pass out! it’s also okay to do drugs at a party! Everything’s allowed, provided you can accuse someone of rape afterwards.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist, I’m not saying that rape is okay, and I’m not making light of whether the girl was or was not raped (though the boys were found guilty by the court). I’m just saying that the story isn’t done (or shouldn’t be), until the rest of those in attendance at the party are taught that the alleged rape is not the only thing wrong here.

What it all boils down to, is that so many of these youth today don’t have an “off” switch they can reference. When they drink, they keep going until they pass out. When they have a party, they go all the way until the police are called, and even then don’t know enough to back down. They don’t seem to realize that rape is not consensual sex (especially when your “partner” is passed out from drinking too much).

And before you tell me, yes I know these are generalizations. Not every youth is hell-bent on destroying himself through excess. I’m just curious why we seem to hear so much of it these days in the news. Is it a Lindsay Lohan phase that needs to be addressed? Do we need to show them where that “off” switch is?

I found mine. It’s under my left arm.