Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Drinking lessons

Once again, a major national story is diverting Greta Van Susteren, et al, from the Natalee Holloway story. One could only wish that Van Susteren would have the journalistic cojones to shake Beth Twitty's hand, offer her condolences and say, "Mrs. Twitty, our nation is facing war, soaring gasoline prices, assaults on our Constitution, and a continuing threat from Islamofascists. I feel sorry for your family, but I have a job to do."

Nevertheless, I agree with Marianne Jennings that the Natalee Holloway saga has an important underlying lesson that few are willing to admit. As Jennings puts it:

Jimmy Stewart chivalry has expired. Young men slip mickeys (or whatever they are called now) into young women's drink to get them truly amenable to romance, a charitable label for their planned activities with the fairer sex in a stupor. Liquor + nightclubs + young attractive women = Trouble, When did we lose this wisdom?

The GGB has her own story about this. In my junior year of college, I got rip-roaringly drunk at a party hosted by a married couple I knew very well -- or so I thought. They let me crash on their couch so I wouldn't kill myself trying to drive home. The husband -- thinking I was unconscious and with his wife sleeping in the next room -- unfastened my clothing and fondled me. He stopped when I woke up. I shudder to think what would have happened if I actually had been out cold.

He was someone I never perceived as a threat. Never, never, never. Yet I came dangerously close to full-on sexual assault because I pounded down four drinks in rapid succession in an attempt to have a good time. And I was 21 and legal -- three years older than Natalee Holloway and, you'd think, old enough to know better.

I'm not blaming Natalee Holloway for the fact that, more than likely, she's dead. But folks, let's be clear-headed about this. Anytime you drink to excess, you are assuming a certain amount of risk. That risk increases if you are female, young and in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.

Natalee Holloway either was too drunk to think straight when she got into a car with three young men, or she was drugged and lured away. Either way, she was too young, too naive and too inexperienced to be partying in a foreign country with virtually no adult supervision. She took an unnecessary and unwise risk and, in my opinion, I don't think her parents were acting wisely either when they let her go on this trip.

And if that's the lesson we take away, then maybe all the media coverage was worth something.

1 comment:

megabethcom said...

Your past experience with drinking sounded frightening and I'm glad that you came through that relatively unscathed!

I think you make a good point about learning from Natalee Holloway, but I'm not sure that most folks will derive that lesson from her story. At least some parents might be the wiser about high school graduation trips from now on!