Intoxication not viable excuse for endangering others

We all know what it’s like. It’s 2 a.m. and you’re just about to nod off to sleep. Boom! At that one precious moment, the jerk down the hall comes crashing down outside your door. You open the door and there they are, yelling and causing a ruckus while reeking of alcohol.

OK, enough hypothetical drama.

While I personally have nothing against drinking – in accordance with our flawed drinking age or otherwise – I do have a problem with those who use inebriation as an excuse for being lousy members of our community. To put it bluntly, if you cannot follow the basic rules of etiquette – such as not disturbing the public, destroying property or endangering the welfare of others – then you should be ostracized, not congratulated by your “bros.”

To paint the picture properly, let’s equate the joyous outcomes of getting wasted to firing a gun into the air. Just imagine someone hunting in Sturges quad, firing shot after shot at the sky while proclaiming their desire to “Kiww the wabbit.” Hell, they’d be tackled by passersby, if not arrested, in minutes. Why? Because their actions would be a danger to the people of Geneseo. Although the bullets flying weren’t directly aimed at another, there was the possibility that they’d hit someone on the way back down.

The same applies to alcohol. Although the majority of those who participate in typical weekend parties, “Thirsty Thursday” and various intoxicating events go on their merry way without issue, there are events that show a need for a better social response to the combination of stupidity and drinking.

The most prominent and saddest example of the need for such a change was the 2009 case of Arman Partamian, a Geneseo student who died of alcohol poisoning while attending a party held by the now defunct Pigs organization. This is in and of itself a sad story, but it is even sadder considering that current college president Christopher Dahl stripped Pigs of their college affiliation in 1996 after the alcohol-related hospitalizations of two other Geneseo students. The threat of alcohol-related illness had been recognized a decade earlier but the students of Geneseo still attended the parties and it cost a bright young student his life.

Although in the wake of such a tragedy we have the Stand Up! program to educate students in the importance of helping other students in need – this is a passive, after-the-fact approach to the problem. It’s basically the equivalent of cutting the noose as a fellow student hangs, as opposed to stopping them from being in the dangerous situation entirely.

A more useful approach is twofold. First, students must recognize that drinking to the point of doing stupid things – such as breaking windows, waking up entire halls and defacing personal property – is, in fact, stupid. The second factor is for others to recognize foolish and disruptive behavior, and as such mock the wrongdoer tirelessly until they understand too.

We’re all in this together, so why not hurt those who do idiotic things where it hurts: their pride.

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