This post is an opinion piece that was published on 10/22/2013 in The Daily Beacon, a student newspaper published at The University of Tennessee. It has been posted here with the permission of the author, Katie Dean, a junior in political science. I found it to be very refreshing to hear this from a younger adult and future leader.
Earlier this month, at least 300 teenagers broke into a beautiful residence in Stephentown, N.Y., and threw a Labor Day party rager that, by the looks of it, was not a party to be forgotten.
Not only was the house incredibly nice, but alcohol was abundant and the location was fairly isolated. Pictures of the party show broken windows, dozens of holes in the walls and an overall lack of respect for the residence.
Turns out, the Stephentown home actually belongs to former NFL football star, Brian Holloway.
Not only were the kids stupid enough to break into the vacation house of a well-known athlete, but they proceeded to post pictures of the party and tweet about it as the festivities continued. Holloway, who was in Florida at the time, was shown the live twitter feed by his son and quickly realized he had more than 300 unwanted guests in his New York home.
Holloway immediately set up a website called helpmesave300.com where you can view pictures from the party and read the tweets of the kids involved. On the website, Holloway discusses his love of Stephentown and the priceless memories made in that house, as well as his desire to reach these kids and truly show them that what they did was wrong. He talks about how saddening it is that kids dies every year from alcohol-related accidents, and he clearly expresses his wish not to punish the kids, but to reach out to them and help them.
He even set up a catered picnic and invited the kids to come have lunch and help him clean up the mess, stating that he would not press charges if they came back to help. He also asked that a statue that was taken the night of the party be returned, as it was of great importance to his family. The statue was a tribute to Holloway’s stillborn grandson.
Unfortunately, only four of the kids showed up to help Holloway. Even more saddening is the fact that after creating the website, Holloway received threats from some of the 300 [parents] saying they would sue him for defamation and hurting their children’s chances of getting into college.
All the time I hear people talking about how America is going to hell in a hand basket, or whining about what the federal government is doing or not doing. We certainly have a lot of problems facing us right now, but parents like the ones who raised these kids are truly one of the biggest problems with our society. This generation includes future leaders and businessmen and women of our country, and they are being taught to take whatever they want and do whatever they want regardless of the consequences. And if there are consequences, just sue the victim for defaming you.
As much as it pains me to sound like an old grandma on a soapbox, this situation truly speaks volumes about what we value as a society and out ability to accept responsibility for our actions. Brian Holloway is obviously one of the most kind-hearted, generous people alive today and he is being spat on for trying to do a fantastic thing. While anyone else would have immediately sought legal action against these kids, he actually tried to go to the root of the problem and teach them a valuable lesson.
Due to a lack of remorse from the Stephentown vandals, Holloway has now decided to pursue legal action. Four kids between 17 and 21 have been arrested and the charges include felony larceny and burglary, as well as alcohol charges and trespassing. The sheriff’s department has said that up to 100 kids could face charges.
This story is not about a group of kids who vandalized a football player’s house; it’s about a generation who enjoys drunken destruction devoid of consequence, and the parents who refuse to enforce the consequence at all.
There is a strangely familiar thread running through this story. We see this same “no consequences” mindset in our current administration, our federal government, our entitlement-minded free-loaders, many of today’s parents, and the kids who will, someday, be our future leaders. Pretty scary isn’t!
- 6 Arrests In Vandalism Of Former Patriot Brian Holloway’s Home (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Former Patriots Lineman Brian Holloway’s House Gets Trashed by 300 Teenagers, Leads to Threats, Charity Effort (nesn.com)
- 300 unknown teens party at, trash home of ex-NFL player (kdvr.com)
- #Trash Tweeting (garyconklinglifenotes.wordpress.com)
- Kelly Lynch: An Open Letter To The Parents Of The Stephentown 300 (huffingtonpost.com)
- 300: Teen Rager At Ex-NFL Lineman’s House While He’s Away, And the Aftermath That Will Surprise You (sportsgrid.com)
- Volunteers help clean Stephentown property (cbs6albany.com)
- Raising Children to be Animals (leeduigon.com)