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Zachary Ploppert, Part 2: Underage Drinking Is a Societal Problem, But That's Not an Excuse to Ignore It

Ploppert offers an addendum to "Sending a Message About Underage Drinking."

One reason I love the Patch is because it is a great way for people to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions. After hearing from some Patch readers, I believe you all have hit the preverbal nail right on the head.

I still stick by what I wrote originally and believe that it is from $100 to $250. The notion that some parents will pay the fine for the underage person is absolutely true, that is going to happen. The fact is, there is nothing that the city of Geneva or anyone else can do about that.

I believe this should be in addition to requiring 25 hours of community service to be done by anyone caught drinking underage. For those who do have to pay the fines themselves, this sends the message that underage drinking will not be tolerated in Geneva. The 25 hours of community service is something that will, ideally, teach those that have been caught that there are consequences to their actions, and have them think about their community and what it means to them as they complete these 25 hours.

Calling underage drinking a societal problem is a true statement, but it is not a reason to ignore a problem that is going on. Issuing a fine and requiring community service is something that other communities are already requiring. Considering recent events, it is time that the city takes this opportunity to send the message loud and clear that underage drinking will not be tolerated in the city of Geneva.

Justin Eggar October 19, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Zach - thanks for the additional post. I wasn't suggesting the problem be ignored. Well, in a way I was. I think that there are quite a few countries out there that handle the issue better than we do. That results in fewer alcohol related incidents in general and refrains from implementing arbitrary limits that cannot be explained in any other way than "Because I said so". Anyways, back to the point at hand. I'd say make it 40 hours of community service, make them attend an alcohol cessation class,and keep the fine low. The brunt of increasing the fine will be felt by those that can't afford it (unemployed, etc) and it won't really be felt at all by those that are still bringing in 6 digits as many locally are. To summarize my thoughts - We first need to make sure this is worth investing time and money in changing. Then, we need to make sure our targets are those that we actually want to have an impact on. If so, let's strip away things that are likely not impacting them a whole lot and turn our attention to those that are. Thanks again for your article!
Jim J October 19, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Zac- Don't fall into the trap that Geneva needs to do something because other communities do it. Just ask the Patch's own Opinion columnist where that will get you. I agree with Justin (again) as to higher hours and a nominal fine because the fine increase is just a revenue source, not a deterrent. The other alternative that no one has mentioned is to actually bring these violators into branch court for imposition of a penalty. A taste of the system (as opposed to paying a ticket) might be a pretty good weapon. Jim James
Colin C. October 20, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Zac, Before I retired I was an addictions counselor and drug abuse (alcohol IS a drug) prevention specialist for 35 years. All of this is like "deje-vu all over again-and again-and again, but it is very necessary to keep the effort alive for each new generation. Thank you for doing so. One very logical and appropriate consequence for parents who allow underage drinking through approval or negligence in their homes is legislation that specifically allows anyone damaged as a result to file a civil suit for restitution. In the event that this suit is successful the parents would not be allowed to declare bankruptcy or exempt personal property from a settlement. There goes the house, the cars, everything. Wages garnished for the rest of their lives. Great deterrent for irresponsible parents and some relief, perhaps, for the parents of the kid that was killed in the crash after the "oh, let them drink here where they'll be safe" party.

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