With schools ending soon, it’s time for house parties. Graduation parties are planned and end-of-the-school-year parties are set to go. It can be a great time for young people to blow off steam after a busy year.
Of course, it can also lead to trouble for them and neighborhoods. It wasn’t that long ago that four teens were shot outside of a house party on Orchid Street.
I’m sure it happens but it’s hard to imagine a house party going on without underage drinking. As Fairfield Police Capt. Joe Allio said at the community meeting in April, some parents even supply kids with alcohol, thinking they’re doing the right thing by having kids drink at home.
Sometimes friends of friends hear about a party through social media and a small house party turns into a mob. This problem of party-goers spilling out of a house, getting rowdy and fighting has become such a problem in Fairfield that years ago the City Council passed a measure to hold homeowners or party hosts responsible financially for police response if their party gets out of hand.
What do we do?
Parents could just prohibit their teens from attending parties. That may work for some households. But we were all teenagers once and I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I sometimes went places and did things my parents knew nothing about. So if you have teens, in light of recent events, you might want to reiterate some safety tips.
If they’re at a party and a fight breaks out inside or outside of a house, they have to leave. They must avoid that inclination to stay and see what happens. It will be hard to avoid that desire to rubberneck, to cheer on a fighter or film the fight with a cellphone. That’s what young people do today. YouTube and sites like Worldstarhiphop.com are full of videos of people fighting. But when a mob of people are brawling, it only takes seconds to get caught up in the fight personally or for bullets to fly.
If a party swells to so many people that they can’t all fit in the house and there are many people you don’t know, it may be time to check out of the party.
Years ago, my brother Orvis and I were at a friend’s house party. We’d been to some great house parties and this was yet another. That is, until the doorbell rang and a stream of guys looking like thugs from Central Casting poured into the house. We didn’t know any of these guys. I later found out that they were friends of a friend’s cousin from Oakland or something like that.
We made an excuse and left the party. You have to pay attention to that little voice in your head that says, “Something is wrong here.” I later learned that a fight did break out at the party. No one was seriously injured, but it could’ve ended differently.
I’m all for partying. But parents have to talk to their kids about this. Of course, if you are a parent thinking about supplying kids with alcohol, I’d think twice. Someone has to be the responsible one.
Celebrate. Party. Dance. Meet girls and guys. Have a crazy good time. But just don’t let us read about your party in the paper the next day. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]