Our Opinion: Stephentown 300 are hardly victims
There is only one victim in the aftermath of the Stephentown, N.Y., "flash party" of Labor Day weekend, and that is former New England Patriots player Brian Holloway, whose home was trashed in the destructive gathering of roughly 300 teenagers. That some of the parents see their kids as victims isn't surprising in an entitled society where it is easy to manufacture grounds for victimhood, and it is not surprising either that they threaten to clog the courts with lawsuits on behalf of their "victimized" kids. It's only disappointing.
According to Mr. Holloway, the angry parents told him that that their teens are suffering from "anxiety" and "depression" because of the publicity generated when Mr. Holloway collected the tweets and photographs taken by the partiers and posted them on a website (Eagle, Sept. 22). In truth, the teens should be deeply embarrassed and their parents even more so. Apparently the former have no respect for private property or understand the perils of excessive drinking, and the latter didn't know or didn't care what Jimmy and Janey were up to when they were either wrecking Mr. Holloway's home or standing around and watching it being wrecked.
It is difficult to comprehend what the grounds for a lawsuit would be given that it was the partygoers from Pittsfield to Albany, N.Y. and towns in between who proudly posted their vulgar tweets and photos on the Internet. All Mr. Holloway did was gather them off the World Wide Web (tweeters: that's what www. means) and post them for all to see on a website (helpmesave300.com).
An Albany lawyer told The Eagle that Mr. Holloway "may have overstepped the bounds of social decency" in his web posting but it is the teens who by urinating on carpets, painting vulgar graffiti on walls, destroying property and throwing alcohol bottles around thoroughly overstepped the bounds of social decency. All Mr. Holloway did was use social media to draw attention to the perpetrators or those who simply went along, and perhaps assist police in pursuing the guilty.
Schools will find it difficult to get a handle on bullying as long as parents defend and alibi for their bullying kids, and that is the same dynamic at work in this incident, as parents who should be disciplining their children are instead portraying them as victims, which the teens are undoubtedly happy to believe. And on goes the vicious circle of victimization.