Special Reports

Shame the drunks

The eye-opening one-hour public radio broadcast by "This American Life" about our town's party-school culture should be a wake-up call to those participating in the disgusting behavior the program described.

Instead the kids parade their drunken exploits as a badge, regaling each other with, "I got so drunk last night that ... (insert disgusting behavior here)." How proud they are at Penn State's prominence as a party school, "Whoopie, we're No. 1!" — We wonder how Penn State ranks in alcohol-related deaths and rapes.

Youthful drunkenness in State College has reached epidemic proportions. By the time the kids graduate, Penn State is handing diplomas to full-blown alcoholics and telling them to go out and make a difference in the world. For their own sake and the sake of America's future, we've got to get tough.

The best suggestions made so far are that the kid's parents pay top dollar and the kids do public service for alcohol-related costs, such as ambulance, hospital, and police service, and property damage — with incarcerated treatment and Penn State expulsion for further offenses. These suggestions should be implemented ASAP, if they haven't already.

We applaud the CDT's editorials on the subject and weekly Focus on Excessive Drinking series. But we think you could do more than talk and host talk. The CDT should put a reporter with a camera on the party-scene beat. Let's show the kids how good they look falling-down drunk and puking. It's legitimate news, and it targets the guilty parties, who, as we know are a minority of the student body.

The notion of "privacy" cannot apply to young adults destroying themselves and our town in public: Being disgusting in our streets, yards, bars, and open parties — those kids earned the shame. Our greater fear is that kids would flaunt their notoriety as fame. The kid who's ashamed enough to be angry might actually be the more redeemable.

Gloria and Herb Thompson State College