Surely, this can’t be right, right? I mean, I know we talk about the decline of Western Civilization and basic decency, but this? Former Pro Bowler Brian Holloway was staying at his primary residence in Florida when an estimated 300 teenagers crashed his house in New York and held a giant party. Teens being forward-looking and responsible, they naturally documented their destruction of his pad— estimated at $20,000 of graffiti, damaged floors, and stolen property— in photos, videos, tweets, and Facebook posts.
Holloway responded by publicizing some of the photos and publicly pleading with parents and teens to remedy the situation. His website www.helpmesave300.com expresses concern about the teens’ drinking, drug use, and criminal behavior and a desire to prevent kids from “get[ting] off track” and hold them accountable for their actions.
But rather than apologize to Holloway for their children’s behavior, some parents have contacted their lawyers to see what legal action they can take against the former Patriots and Raiders offensive lineman, local affiliate ABC News 10 reported.
“Parents have threatened me,” Holloway, a three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XX veteran, told ABC News. “Your kids are in my house breaking and stealing my stuff and you are mad at me because I posted pictures that they took and posted themselves of them partying and tearing things up?”
Now, that’s disturbing on its own, but maybe it’s just one or two crazy, litigious parents, I thought to myself. The rest of them are probably lining up to repay Holloway and have their kids clean up the mess. This part is devastating:
The former grid iron star is holding a picnic for veterans at the home on Saturday, and invited the rowdy teens and their parents to help him clean the house.
“Come out and help set up, fix up, bring food, and picnic stuff, so we can honor these real HEROS,” he wrote on his website. “I’m here. Come now. Take a stand for your future. This is called redemption.”
Holloway says one parent showed up. ONE! My parents would have had my butt over there so fast, long before Holloway publicly asked for help, and probably my brothers, too, in case they had any ideas of pulling a similar stunt. Teenagers do stupid things. Acting in groups of 300, those things can be so stupid that they veer into destructive and criminal. Even when the initial act is pretty terrible, it’s hard for me to imagine that 300 teenagers and their parents are so shameless as to eschew a chance to make amends. But that’s what we have, along with possible lawsuits.
If there’s some saving grace, it’s that the eagle sculpture stolen from the house, which was part of a tribute to Holloway’s stillborn son has apparently been returned. But, really, that’s a pretty low bar for something calling itself a civilization.
And, this isn’t the only way our litigious society is keeping kids from learning responsibility. Mollie Hemingway pens a great piece today on “what your neighborhood list-serv tells you about America’s demise.” I come from a neighborhood with one of these list-servs, seemingly full of naught but busybodies and those who sit in politically correct judgment of their neighbors offering constant, critical commentary on things you had naively thought were non-controversial. In my neighborhood, someone innocently announced there’d be hay and pony rides at a neighborhood fall festival, to which the obvious response was a lengthy exchange on whether that was humane for the horses.
In Mollie’s neighborhood, it was lawn-mowing by minors that was at issue, for safety reasons. The e-mail exchange in question:
“We just had a group of adorable and entrepreneurial kids (young, maybe 9-11 years old) offer to mow our grass. Not to be Scrooges in the neighborhood, but what is the general consensus on this around [the neighborhood] re: safety? They looked pretty young, and we didn’t see a parent with them supervising. I realize kids want to earn spending money, but I was interested in getting the pulse on this sort of thing. Teenagers, maybe. But these kids looked like they may be older elementary school aged (guess). We had a family member lose a couple of toes mowing while a young kid, so maybe I’m just overly sensitive.”
The next email read, “For anyone whose interested, the [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends that children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and 16 for a ride-on mower, along with a list of safety precautions. Just FYI.”
A link was provided to a page on the AAP web site headlined “Mowing the Lawn Can Be a Dangerous Chore.” Injury prevention tips there include: “Have anyone who uses a mower or is in the vicinity wear polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.”
I repeat. One tip was that everyone in the vicinity of a lawn mower should be wearing polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.
Read the whole thing. My favorite line:
Safety isn’t even a virtue. If you’re teaching your kids more about safety than you are about honesty, kindness, respect for others, responsibility, gratitude, integrity, cooperation, determination, social skills, enthusiasm, compassion and manners, you’re doing it wrong.
Would that the kids in Holloway’s house had learned to mow their neighbor’s lawns instead of crapping on them and suing them for the privilege.