So where were the parents? And not just in California but in Halifax and in Steubenville. And in Overland Park, Kan., where my best friend’s daughter was raped at a teen party with alcohol at somebody’s house five years ago. Were the parents out of town and unaware of what was happening in their absence? Did they turn a blind eye to what was going on, figuring kids will be kids? Or did they condone and even help with the party, believing that if teens are going to drink, it would be better if it happened in the safety of someone’s home?

It seems like the parents who host these parties with alcohol in their homes ought to shoulder part of the blame — and in some states, the law agrees. In Virginia, a parent may be open to a civil lawsuit and possible criminal charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor if someone is sexually assaulted at a party with alcohol for minors in the home. …

It’s not a popular stance, believe me, to say parents should become more involved. If you ask too many questions or make too many rules, your kid won’t be one of the cool kids or a member of the popular crowd.

But maybe parents need to stop and consider their role as parents. They need to think about whether providing a comfortable, “safe” place for kids to drink isn’t also providing a place where young women end up defenseless and young men do things might not do sober.