Saturday, June 06, 2009

ABC 20/20 presents tragedies associated with teen drinking; horrible car crash in FL; a teen's jail time and apology


ABC 20/20, on Friday June 5, presented a couple of stories about high school and college sports teams, in baseball and soccer, that recalled perhaps the North Carolina Lacrosse case, where lacrosse players were cleared and an overzealous prosecutor disbarred. Nevertheless, the reports about a baseball and then soccer team presented a biased picture, suggesting that athletes feel free to invite young women to drink and then abuse them. There was a similar episode like that with a character named “Ford” on “Days of our Lives” about two years ago. Still, I think that this sort of behavior is atypical of what happens on or near most campuses. The 20/20 broadcast seemed a bit cynical.

But the most important part of the broadcast dealt with a teen drunken driving case. The story on ABC by Alan Goldberg is titled “Drunken Driving Crash Shattered Teen's Life: Victim's Parents Accuse Jessica Rasdall of Ulterior Motives in Public Awareness Campaign”, link here.

Elizabeth Vargas reported the story of Jessica Rasdall, who killed her best friend, Laura Gorman, in a crash along I-275 near St. Petersburg, FL. They had been to a bar where women could enter at age 18 and men had to be 21.

(I’ve never personally known of a disco to do this; in all gay establishments like what I visit, the age is always 18 on special nights, or the usual 21; and on special nights you have to get a wristband proving age 21 to drink alcohol; fake ID’s are a big problem, however. On two occasions, I spotted people whom I knew were under age 21 in bars because they had been in classes where I substitute taught.).

The broadcast (“The Secret Life of Teens”) showed her in prison in Florida and drafting a public apology, which the victim’s parents found hollow. The ABC story offers several supplementary videos that can be shared.

No wonder social networking site videos of underage drinking create so much offense for prospective employers.

Picture: Near Clearwater, FL, my own visit in Nov. 2004.

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