23 thoughts on “Elisa Kelly and George Robinson released from jail.”

  1. They shouldn’t have spent more than a weekend in jail (if that) anyway. I’m glad they’re out in time for Thanksgiving.

  2. The facts of the case were a little less than the wanton corruption of minors. I think that far more damage was done by depriving kids of their parents for five months than was done at that party. Their judgment was clouded, but definitely understandable and not malicious.

    Instead of going after families like these, shouldn’t we be focusing on a meth lab somewhere?

  3. Yeah, I really think that they tried to make an example of these parents. I personally think our societies attitudes about alchohol are part of the reason we have so many problems with it.

    People learn by modeling responsible behavior; however, kids often end up learning about alchohol from their friends and without parental guidance. My parents often let me try their beer or wine when I was a little kid, and at special dinners I was given a small glass of wine. When I became a teenager, they simply told me to ask first if I wanted any alchohol (so they’d know what to replace).

    When I got to college, my peers who grew up in more restrictive environments just went nuts. They’d go out everynight, get completely wasted, and often either make themselves sick or do things they’d end up regretting. For the most part, I never felt the need to do that sort of thing becuase I had parental guidance to show me the right way to drink.

    I completely understand these parents intention, and while I feel it was poorly executed, I wish that it was possible for more teens to have spaces where they could drink responsibly like these parents tired to provide. Where they went really wrong, was that they didn’t get the permission from the parents of the kids who’d be there. Nonetheless, like Falstaff, I see this as a crime that merits a weekend in jail at most. I think we get way too extreme about these things.

    As another example of extremes regarding alchohol. I had a high school teacher at Western who was almost fired because he had a single glass of wine with dinner while with a group of students in Italy. It’s this kind of puritanical nonsense that really screws up our kids.

  4. According to the article, as I remember it from this morning, Kelly and Robinson supplied $360 worth of beer and wine coolers. At $9 a six pack, that’s 40 six packs for 30 people attending a 16 year old’s birthday party. That scenario does not remotely resemble the description Lonnie gives of his “responcible” introduction to alcohol with his parents’ guidance.

  5. Cville Eye,

    Although I never meant to argue that these parents were exactly a model of responsibility… that is a relevant detail I apparently missed. I did hear though that they collected all the kids keys so no one could drive. While they should get points for that, you’re right that’s alot of alchohol for thirty teenagers.

    Nonetheless, I still feel the parents probably deserved a weekend in jail and a significant fine. At absolte max, maybe a week or two. That would have been enough of a deterrant to keep most other parents from doing the same. I also still maintain that it’s a real shame that these parents felt the need to provide a safer space for teenagers to drink because there are no legal spaces for them to do so.

    I also still maintain that our general puritanical attitudes are generally to blame for the excesses of teenagers. We have this whole culture of Binge and purge, sin and redemption, and no one really teaching moderation. Even for the parents that are sucessful in keeping their kids away from alchohol as teenagers, I’ve seen what happens when they get to college and it ain’t pretty. No one can reasonably expect teenagers to have no experience and guidance whatsoever for 21 years then suddenly allow them complete access to alchohol and expect them to be responsible.

  6. 8 years, 27 months, 5 months, 90 days, weekend, I don’t know. They were convicted on 16 counts of providing alcohol to minors, “contributing,” not two (for their own sons). The issue has nothing to do with the kids’ drinking then driving. The decision says that 14 victims should have redress. How much, I don’t know and I recognize that is the concern here. As you can see, Lonnie, there is a variety of opinions. Whether any of those sentences would have served as a deterrent, I have no clue. That may have been the orginial judge’s motive in awarding such a huge sentence, believing that the publicity alone would deter some adults. Since it was an unprecedented decision, I suspect the judge knew it would be reduced on appeal. The couple crossed some steep boundaries when they decided whether other people’s children can drink and how much. I personally have no problem with my twelve year old’s (I don’t have one) having a glass of wine during Thanksgiving’s dinner. I don’t have the right to provide that same glass of wine to other people’s children. Similarly, I do not have the right to decide if other people’s kids can engage in sex with their peers in my home because I may think that other parents who think that teenage sex should be taboo is making an error in judgment. If I do give them that one glass, then that may be reasonably considered an error in judgment; to give them a six pack is something else. Likewise, to let them pet may be considered an error in judgment, to let them “go all the way” is something else. What it is, nobody will say, but, apparently it was a transgression worth more than a weekend in jail.

  7. Doh, I had a really great response, and then accidentally lost it when an errant click send me to another page… Alas, suffice it to say that I agree that reasonable people could differ on exactly how much punishment they deserved…

    What concerns me far more is both the effect this had on their family (which is probably wrecked permanently), and on other parents trying to do things the right way. After all, this punishment was so harsh that most parents won’t even want to know anymore about a party their kids are at that involves alcohol. That means that teen parties will become far more clandestine, and far more dangerous. I also suspect these secret parties will involve far more that just a six pack of beer..

    In a perfect world, we’d treat drinking as we do driving. We’d issue “learners” permits that allow them to drink in moderation under the guidance of parents. Or we’d simply have a non-enforcement policy allowing parents to host parties for teenagers with alchohol as long as permission was obtained from all parents of those participating. Heck, we could even require that gatherings be registered with the police to make sure they are conducted responsibly. I’m sure there are any number of ways that we could provide more reasonable ways for kids to be exposed to alchohol with more guidance and moderation. Of course, that makes far too much sense to actually happen, especially now.

  8. Lonnie has hit the nail on the head here. One case is debateable, but the real issue here is national attitudes on alcohol policy. The current drinking age was a result of a legally questionable imposition of Elizabeth Dole’s personal moral views on the rest of the country, and many, many people view drinking as a sin, which of course translates to public life and public policy. We all know that the one way to make something more appealing is prohibition. Prohibition leads to irresponsible behaviors that lead to more prohibition, sometimes to an absurd degree (like high school athletes accused of violating no-drinking contracts for taking communion).

    We need to adopt a more responsible view of alcohol (Lonnie’s driving analogy is a good one). For some reason, a lot of my college roommates were RAs, so I got to hang out with them while they were on duty. And on many occasions, I saw kids who did not know how to handle liquor, including people who put their lives in serious danger. And funny thing, it was never the Italian kids who grew up drinking wine. The puritanical streak in this country keeps many people from realizing that alcohol is a great thing when enjoyed responsibly and has been a part of human history, often by necessity, since the dawn of humanity. Instead, it leads to very destructive behavior, both individually and nationally.

    Now I’m off to enjoy a weizen!

  9. Stop! I have been converted with your logic. I have been converted with your logic. I now believe that in order for college students to stop engaging in excessive promiscuity and recreational sex once they leave their home they need to learn to have sex responsibly under the supervision of their parents at parties. Let’s just get rid of all of this puritanical stuff and ignore the consequences.
    So it’s fine for adults to go behind other parents’ backs and teach their kids how to drink “responsibly” because they know what’s best for other people’s children? The ones on medication? The ones with emothional problems? The ones with drug abuse problems? The ones under psychiatric care? The millions on ADHD midications? Yes! At least they would have learned by the time they’re 18 that they don’t feel well after a night of binge drinking every two weeks or so. I am convinced. I guess I should tell my neighbors with teenagers they should start having parties and give them the new ground rules.

  10. CVille Eye, you missed the point of my post entirely. Perhaps you should go back to school and study reading comprehension. Or perhaps you should just get over your ego and realize that my post does not contradict yours in the least.

  11. Dan Kachur, I had not read your response when I finished writing my response to Lonnie and posted it this morning. The article I linked to in the Daily Progress following that post points to an article that seems to imply that drinking habits are more influenced by one’s peers than one’s parents. Again, this comment is not a response to your post. I’m not ignoring your post, I just don’t have a response. Since I have never wanted to be a sociologist, I have nothing to prove in this chat and my ego is not a part of it.

  12. Sorry. You didn’t direct your post to anyone and it was directly after mine, so I drew the conclusion that it was directed at me, and therefore I responded to the tone of your post. (Apparently I need to go back to school to avoid run-on sentences). Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  13. Dan Kachur, no harm taken. I should have checked the updated post before I posted. I have been enjoying Lonnie’s comments on two different threads and got too narrowly focused. Bad manners on my part. Just checked, you’re the last. Although I do not disagree with Lonnie’s opinion on responsible intake of alcohol, we have a difference of opinion on the Robinson/Kelly sentences which is probably small enough that it’s not worth all of the words we have used to state it.

  14. I agree with the spirit of what Lonnie is saying. I don’t know enough about the facts of this particular party or this case to know what I think the sentence should have been, but I agree that to me it seemed way too severe.

    When my kids (ages 1 and 3 right now) get older, I will probably let them have a tablespoon or two of wine so they can see what it tastes like, and as they continue to get older, I’ll talk to them about my opinions about drinking, and drunkenness, and legal drinking age.

    Roughly, my opinion is that average kids, kids who are not on meds or allergic to alcohol or who have medical conditions, are probably better off learning what the effects of one, two, three beers on their bodies, before they set foot on a college campus. I first consumed alcohol at age 15, just little experimentation with it, and then I “learned how to drink” when I was 16. I had to come home each night and live under my parents’ roof, so I couldn’t go too wild. I got drunk sometimes. I never ever drove drunk. I learned how much I could drink without feeling terrible, and how little I needed to drink to feel tipsy and pleasant, and I always got home safely. My mom told me that if I ever found myself at a party and the person who was supposed to drive me home had been drinking, I should call her. I knew she meant it, and I knew I could. I never had to, because my friends were really responsible, even at 16, 17, 18, etc., about being a designated driver.

    It was good for me to learn to drink in high school. I was scared to face the wrath of my parents, if I came home drunk or if anything ‘bad’ happened – and that fear helped keep me in line. I never became a big partyer, and the drinking that I did do didn’t get in the way of my good grades (I was an honor student, etc.) nor my family or community responsibilities.

    If I had had my first exposure to alcohol in college, I think I might have really screwed up my life, at least for a while there. But, as it was, by the time I got to college the novelty of being intoxicated had worn off, and I knew that I could comfortably have one or two or three drinks in a night, and still have my wits about me. So I did that, I consumed 2-3 drinks in a night, maybe two or three times a month. And that was it. The rest of the time, I had fun in college without alcohol. Because I had learned all that already.

    I am fiercely opposed to drinking and driving.
    I think that feeling the buzz of alcohol can be fun, and it can be dangerous.
    I think that some teenagers have the potential to learn to handle intoxicants responsibly. Some probably don’t.
    But I feel constrained as a parent, because I don’t WANT my kids to delay their first sip of alcohol til age 21. That means that I’ll probably be encouraging (actively or passively) my kids to do something illegal. And I find it aggravating and insulting to my intelligence and competence as a parent that the law is telling me that the lawmakers are better judges of when my child (my adult child at that point!) is ready to experience alcohol than I am, or than my child is.

    I would never give alcohol to anyone else’s child. I would, however, happily host a very “tame” beer/wine party in my basement with the express consent of both parents of each of my child’s friends, if the parents were going to come pick them up or if I had a minibus and could drive everyone home to their waiting families, or if they were going to sleep over in my basement. Again, with all parents’ consent. I would be fine to do that once a month, or to find a collective of parents who would rotate hosting. Of course, if I were a teen, that scenario would not sound at all fun or appealing. Having it be that controlled, that nerdy, really takes all the casual, cool, fun out of it. And despite how nerdy and controlled and tame that sounds, the parents would all be arrested and our asses thrown in jail. So, what do we do? Look the other way and let them go as high schoolers to frat parties at UVa and drink? Drink in other unsafe situations? Or “obey the law” and try to encourage them to wait til 21, and then see what happens to them when they go away to college? I’m not comfortable with any of those options.

    I’d like for my kids to have the same opportunity to learn about their tolerance for alcohol as I did, with the same built-in safety net and checks on behavior that I felt like I had in my family.

    I don’t want my kids to grow up to be teetotalers nor alcoholics. I don’t want them to flunk out or crash their cars, hurt themselves or anyone else. I want them to have fun. I want them to be safe. I don’t want them or me to get arrested.

    It’s hard to know what to do sometimes as a parent, to achieve what you’re trying to do. Sigh. I think Robinson and Kelly made bad choices. But if I thought their motives were like mine, I sure would have sympathy for them.

  15. C-ville Eye,

    Sorry, I’d totally left this thread so I just now saw your post. I have to say that it definitely brightened up my day:

    I now believe that in order for college students to stop engaging in excessive promiscuity and recreational sex once they leave their home they need to learn to have sex responsibly under the supervision of their parents at parties.
    Hah! Well… while I have heard of cultures where that is the case, and while it might indeed cause kids to delay having irresponsible sex (or any for that matter!) I think it would cross a few too many cultural taboos and laws to be really practical! ;-)

    Suffice it to say that I agree with Dan Kachur.

    Nonetheless, I raise my glass of Dark Starr Stout to you C-ville Eye and toast you as a worthy adversary! (In this thread and others…)

  16. Doh! I forgot to close my tag — Should have looked like this: (Waldo, could we get some kind of preview on this blog?)

    C-ville Eye,

    Sorry, I’d totally left this thread so I just now saw your post. I have to say that it definitely brightened up my day:

    I now believe that in order for college students to stop engaging in excessive promiscuity and recreational sex once they leave their home they need to learn to have sex responsibly under the supervision of their parents at parties.

    Hah! Well… while I have heard of cultures where that is the case, and while it might indeed cause kids to delay having irresponsible sex (or any for that matter!) I think it would cross a few too many cultural taboos and laws to be really practical! ;-)

    Suffice it to say that I agree with Dan Kachur.

    Nonetheless, I raise my glass of Dark Starr Stout to you C-ville Eye, and toast you as a worthy adversary! (In this debate and others…)

  17. Thanks, and like wise. I think we have all beaten this dead horse to death, but I did want to say I appreciated Dan Kachur’s and ChrEliz’s also. Lonnie, have you seen the new one on county proffers?

  18. Yup. I’ll probably make a comment at some point on that, but suffice it to say that, from what I know about it so far, I’m for it.

  19. ChrEliz-
    I think that when my children were little, I could have (almost) written your post! The problem is that at some point you just don’t want to sit at any more memorials or go to graduations with those awful moments of silence and you become less tolerant of the cultural approval of teenage drinking.
    I do not think there are any magic “correct” ways to deal with this problem but I am sure that I do not want other parents providing my teenager with drinking experience/alcohol education- that is my job. I do not feel sorry for the folks recently released from jail because they lied to other parents when asked about alcohol at the infamous party.

  20. I work in Denmark. In this country 16 year olds can buy their alcohol on their own if they go down to the city hall and buy an ID-card, which identifies them when the shop ask for ID.

    Children as young as 8 has been spotted drunk on Danish beaches.

    The funny thing is that early introduction to alcohol results in a very low number of murders (about 50 per year for the entire country), few deaths caused by DUI and a low number of teenage pregnancies.

    Why? According to their research it is because alcohol are being consider to a rite of passage the youth have to get over with before they are adults.

    When a Dane can drive for the first time, he or she knows about the danger of alcohol, because it has been tried before access to the deadly weapon – a car can be – can be obtained.

    Alcohol does not impose any kind of danger if people learn about it over time and of course with parental supervision.

  21. “Children as young as 8 has been spotted drunk on Danish beaches.”
    Finally, we have found the solution that sociologists have been looking for in the problems of teenage unwanted pregnancies, drunk driving and resulting fatalities, and murder.
    Couldn’t resist this comment, too twisted. Feel free to bypass.

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