Tuesday, 25 June 2024

CyberSoulMan: Tis the season to be wary

T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.


Don’t drive drunk …”

Stevie Wonder, circa 1984

A few season’s ago when my son was a senior in high school, his school partnered with local law enforcement and emergency agencies and presented a great public awareness program around the hazards of drunk driving.

We simulated (I say we because I was a parent volunteer) a fatal drunk driving accident complete with a wrecked car, student actors and real props including a Medvac helicopter, fire trucks, California Highway Patrol and Lake County Sheriff's personnel. It was a quite impressive dramatic presentation – so powerful that real tears were shed in its wake.

Later during graduation week, great pains were taken by the school and booster club to insure that Sober Grad night was indeed a sober affair. Again, I was a parent volunteer, and stayed up all night long chaperoning and supervising as our senior teens frolicked in ritual celebration without the social lubrication of alcohol and drugs at a local business that was equipped to handle the affair.

Nonetheless, since that class has graduated there have been at least a couple of alcohol- or drug-related real fatalities involving teenaged peers of that same class. Again, real tears were shed. Memorial flowers are still left at the scene of one of the fatalities that occurred at least three years ago.

Thrust into the role of investigative journalist through simple dialogue with students and parents alike, I was astounded and perplexed to learn of some incongruous allegations involving students, parents and, dare I say, law enforcement as well.

The first thing I learned was that the teens of today are pretty hip when it comes to circumventing the law around intoxication. They know how to use the designated driver concept to the max.

The second thing I learned was that there seemed to be private parties every weekend that were chaperoned by parents who allowed underage drinking at these events. Frequently the revelers would simply crash all night long at the party site which diminished the probability that these young’uns would be out behind the wheels of automobiles.

The third piece of information that was laid upon me was the assertion of the unwritten, look-the-other-way code by law enforcement. My sources implied that if an officer made a stop of a vehicle that contained inebriated minors, they would be cut loose as long as the driver was not under the influence. Hmm … These are deep allegations that permeate the very social order or lack thereof in the county of Lake. Part of the problem is the lack of activities for young folks here.

There certainly is talk and money being bandied about for the revitalization of Lake County. Catchphrases like county plan and redevelopment corridor of Lucerne and other neighborhood projects costing millions of dollars. Strange that it seems with all these monied, revitalization talks, there is not much evidence of jobs for young people here. There has been heavy resistance to drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education in this county. The old NIMBY routine. You know, not in my backyard!

Meanwhile, the crank that has been cooked here through generations continues to be cooked. Ganja farms possibly legal and hugely illegal proliferate. Seems like our priorities are pretty skewed.

This piece kinda started out as a dialogue about the hazards of underage drunkenness. Seems as though the issue(s) are much larger and more interrelated than just that. Where have all the Mothers Against Drunk Driving gone? Or the parents against drunken societal decisions? Or the connected societal big ol’ boys who skirt the law and laugh all the way to the … can I say bank? They shoot banks, don’t they? With apologies to Elvis and Otis Blackwell, we are all shook up here.

Goin’ out with a little Curtis Mayfield. Why don’t you check out your mind? Been with you all the time

Have a blessed Easter.

Keep prayin’, Keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts!


Upcoming cool event:

Tallman Hotel/Blue Wing Saloon “Concert with Conversation” Boogie Woogie Queen Wendy DeWitt, Friday April 24, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 707-275-2233.

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at www.teewatts.biz.

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