Editorials

Alcohol mixes poorly with teen decision making

Breese teenager found guilty in involuntary manslaughter case

A 17-year-old from Breese was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday for throwing the punch that killed 18-year-old Jacob Arter back in April at a clubhouse in rural Clinton County.
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A 17-year-old from Breese was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday for throwing the punch that killed 18-year-old Jacob Arter back in April at a clubhouse in rural Clinton County.

Teens. Rural areas. Drinking. Those three things just seem to go together.

But they shouldn’t.

Teen brains are poor at risk analysis. Many of us are lucky we survived our bad decisions.

Add alcohol, and decision impairment quickly can become tragedy. Dares become ER visits. Slowed reactions become crashes with entrapment. Perceived threats become a single, fatal punch.

The life of Jacob J. Arter, 18, of Breese, ended on April 23 during a party where about 100 teens gathered to drink at a rural clubhouse in Clinton County. A 17-year-old with whom he’d been arguing said Arter posed a threat and delivered a single punch that killed Arter.

The young football player should be moving into a dorm at college right now. The 17-year-old just convicted of involuntary manslaughter should be facing his last year of high school rather than the possibility of confinement until he is 21 followed by bleak prospects as the product of a correctional institution rather than as a graduate of an academic institution.

Neither of their families will fully recover.

So who’s really at fault?

Drunk teens? A liquor store clerk? An older sibling? A parent who looked the other way? A community that decided what was happening at the clubhouse was no different than what they did as kids?

Yes. Shame is on everyone, but price was paid by two young lives.

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