Monday, October 21, 2013

Drunk Runs Escalate

 AFD and UMPD assist intoxicated UMass student early Sunday morning (12:53 AM)

Saturday night was even worse than Friday for all things alcohol in our little college town; but fortunately the calls were spread out -- just barely enough -- so mutual aid from a surrounding Fire Department was not required.

Of course it helps greatly that AFD brings in extra staffing on weekends, almost doubling from the weekday level of 7 first responders up to 13.  With that, five ambulances and a fire engine can be simultaneously staffed.

Ominously, the first ETOH call came in Saturday at 7:53 PM from the Mullins Center, during a UMass hockey game, for two intoxicated college aged youth, one male and one female.  The night before the first (of six) ETOH cases started later, at 9:18 PM.

Before the dawn of Sunday morning AFD would do 8 runs to UMass vs 6 the previous night.

But the one incident that stands out in my mind and makes me question whether things will ever get better occurred at Amherst College:  A3 is dispatched for an ETOH male at Crossett Dorm at 11:13 PM and upon arrival at the scene requests assistance from Engine 1.

 AFD Engine 1 and A3 Amherst College Saturday night 11:15 PM

While paramedics are all inside dealing with the patient, a pack of boisterous students in preppie attire walk by.  I hear one of them say loudly, "Go ahead, that would be awesome."

One young man sprints across the street to position himself alongside Engine 1, holds out his iPhone at arm's length taking "selfies" while holding up a can of beer in the other hand.  

Two hours later AFD would respond again to Amherst College for an ETOH female with a head laceration due to a fall.  Which of course could have been fatal.

I wonder if the smart ass who took the stupid selfies a few hours earlier gets that?

Yes, 22 ETOH calls, almost two-third of them to UMass, is a new record for this year.


AlexKG said...

I'm not sure the data supports the narrative that they're escalating. It mainly seems to indicate that ETOH calls are higher during the semester than when school is out, and highest at the beginning of September, right before spring break, and right before finals in the spring. Even that conclusion is a little sketchy without more data. One year's worth is really inadequate to define any trend. Here's a better version of that chart that I made.

Larry Kelley said...

You must be the guy who created a chart to prove bees can't actually fly.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the moment of humor will be lost soon enough. Funny thing about "selfies", they will eventually find there way online.

Dr. Ed said...

I wonder if the smart ass who took the stupid selfies a few hours earlier gets that?

Three things.

First, other than it being rather sophomoric, exactly what is wrong with what he did? According to your reporting, he didn't damage anything, he didn't steal anything, he wasn't obstructing anything/anyone, and he had to have been relatively sober to not fall down.

Would you have a different opinion had he held - instead of a beer can -- a sign reading "Support Amherst FireFighters"? Or perhaps one urging AC to help fund the AFD? Or how about if he had been holding an American flag (or an Irish flag)?

All of these are political speech, him holding the beer can is political speech -- one may not agree with it, but it is the unpopular speech which is most needing of protection.

Second, if you want a clear example of how the 21-year-old drinking age and the related prohibitionist approaches to collegiate drinking are counterproductive, you saw it. Would you have seen someone do that with a can of Diet Coke -- no, and the reason why is that it wouldn't be "against the rules" to do that -- hence it wouldn't be fun.

In the Native American culture, an item which had been stolen was considered to be of far more value than it's physical worth or usefulness -- because it had been stolen. Think of that to understand this...

Third, this shows how young people are interpreting the message the Town (and gown) are sending on alcohol. Instead of viewing it as "we are concerned about your wellbeing, death sucks and we don't want to see you dead", the kids are seeing it as "we want to control you and prevent you from having a good time" -- even -- "we are cranky old people with boring lives who can't stand you young folks having fun."

While I do believe that there is no small amount of validity in the third perspective, that some (but not all) of the concerns about the college kids is indirectly caused by issues in the lives of those doing the complaining, the legitimate (and important) message that you ought not drink yourself blotto each & every night is getting lost.

I realized this when a quite intelligent/responsible young lady told me that she believed it "normal" for one to "black out" (ETOH-induced memory loss) once or twice a week -- she was telling me this in the context of telling me about a young man who, urinating in a parking lot, had urinated onto another young lady standing nearby. "After all, she added, I 'black out' myself a couple times a week."

This is the extent to which they are dismissing everything they are told about alcohol -- much like an earlier generation dismissed everything that General Westmoreland said about Vietnam. They think it is all lies and propaganda intended to prevent them from "having fun."

To understand how twisted the culture has become, it is socially acceptable to urinate on a girl as long as you apologize to her afterwards -- that was the social norm the young man had violated. And apparently I was the only one upset about the fact that he then -- while quite intoxicated -- had then proceeded to drive the bunch of them down to MHC.

These are the social norms and accepted beliefs of Gen Y (the so-called "Millennium Generation") -- and Larry, there are times when I think you are more exacerbating it than anything else.

Larry Kelley said...

I try to keep my exacerbation to a minimum.

Anonymous said...

It takes an exacerbater to know one Mr. Ed.

Greg C said...

Larry, I appreciate your willingness to cover Amherst College as well as UMass.

Obviously it's no surprise to anyone that UMass would take up more than 2/3 of the calls, given their population.

Do you happen to have data on ETOH calls as a percentage of the enrolled student populations? This would illuminate a more accurate representation of student behavior -- very much akin to "GDP" vs. "GDP per capita."


Dr. Ed said...

Can't blame me for this one -- it made Inside Higher Ed before I even heard about it.

Anonymous said...

I have concerns about the story coming out of the UMass campus that just made the news last night about the now former 18-year old UMass student who was arraigned on a charge of aggravated rape in Eastern Hampshire Oct 4th for an incident that occurred on Sept 2nd near the UMass campus center.

People are just learning of this story now and the campus never sent out any information either at the incident occurred or at the time of the arraignment.

(From a masslive article on the incident) "In a statement, the school said it was not necessary [to send out a campus alert] because 'The UMass Amherst Police made a prompt arrest in the case and the alleged assailant was immediately referred for disciplinary action through the campus judicial system.'"

True, but I think that the UMass community and larger public still have a right to know.