Friday, October 25, 2013

Bureaucratic Baloney: I Refuse To Digest It

   I don’t eat meat anymore. There is more than ample evidence showing how dangerous our food has become and I refuse to subject myself to something, within my power to control, that is dangerous to my physical health. I take this stand with our society as well. The difference is that the “power” is a collective one, made up of enough people with the same opinion and the willingness to see that opinion manifest so that we (society/community/neighborhood) are not subjected to a dangerous condition.

   Recently, the story of Erin Cox has gained national attention, and make no mistake...her story represents a dangerous condition within our society. Called by a friend that had too much to drink at a party in Boxford, but thankfully was cognizant enough to realize this fact, Erin drove to the party to provide safe transportation. If there is nothing else about this story that strikes you, let this simple fact be it.

   It is said the road to hell is paved with good intentions...and that no good deed goes unpunished. I’ll just chalk it up to more shenanigans by the universe, and say it was simply bad timing...or good timing if you set your watch to the tenets of Murphy’s Law. Whatever philosophy you ascribe to, mere moments after Erin arrives and enters the house to retrieve her friend, the police make their entrance and go about the business of upholding the law.

   Now the next part of this story is where I can see how things went wrong, but still see no excuse after the relevant facts have become known. Erin Cox, was not arrested, but was given a summons to appear in court for underage possession of alcohol. I’d say the picture here is obvious, although I loathe assuming, but it seems that sans the kids that got arrested, everyone else probably had to furnish their identification so the summons could be sent later. I think that was the time to head all this not giving Cox one since she was not drinking, but things happen in situations like these and sometimes minor details that become major headaches later on, slip through the cracks of the moment.

   Back to the baloney...North Andover High responded to this (which they didn’t have to) by suspending Cox for five volleyball games and demoting her from team captain. Let me interject, Cox is an honor student...that clearly cares about her piers by demonstrating a level of responsibility not common among them.

   North Andover High has a “zero tolerance” policy with underage drinking...and I applaud that. I just think they should execute it against students that actually break the policy. Even the Boxford police have come forward as witnesses supporting Cox’s version of events. She was not drinking, didn’t have alcohol in her possession...and didn’t have a hint, smell, or show any sign of having consumed any alcohol...unlike the friend she came to help.

   If it isn’t clear by now, let me spell it out. North Andover High is sending the wrong message to young adults...and by sticking to their erroneous decision to punish Cox for demonstrating responsible behavior, have set up a dangerous condition that could have future teens not call for a ride, and others not respond to a call for help...all of which could cause a tragic situation.

   I think having authority should automatically dictate you use it responsibly and in a world where details matter, blanket policies that are blind to facts will have us all stumbling around wondering where we went wrong.

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