The Legal Happenings

What's Happening in the Legal Area?

Teens and Alcohol: Can Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Help?

Society recently has become worse and worse about alcohol, don't you agree? Adolescents have had the ability to purchase alcohol under-aged, and have irresponsibility behind the wheel. Yes, the age to legally drink is twenty-one, but does any teenager follow this law? Some do, yes. Others? Not at all. As parents in this current-day society, it is extremely important to make sure your child is safe and far away from any sorts of harm. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or M.A.D.D, is a non-profit organization that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and overall push for stricter alcohol policy.

M.A.D.D favors: Education, advocacy and victim assistance, strict policy in variety of areas such as illegal blood alcohol control of .08% or lower and using stronger sanctions for DUI offenders, helping victims of drunk driving, maintaining the minimum legal drinking age at 21 years, and mandating alcohol breath-testing ignition interlock devices for everyone convicted of driving while impaired.

Candice Lightner is the organizer and was the founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. On May 3, 1980, Lightner's 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver at Sunset and New York Avenues in Fair oaks, California. The 46-year-old driver, who had recently been arrested for another DUI hit-and-run, left her body at the scene. In contribution to Mrs. Lightner's daughter's death, a 1983 movie was released, and resulted in publicity for the group that grew rapidly.

Throughout the span of late 1980's to early 2000's, a very large amount of parents joined the MADD, as well as MADD Canada joined this organization. In 2002, MADD announced an "Eight-Point Plan". This comprised:

1. Resuscitate the nation's efforts to prevent impaired driving

2. Increase driving while intoxicated enforcement

3. Enact primary enforcement seat belt laws in all states

4. Create tougher sanctions geared towards higher-risk drivers

5. Develop a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund

6. Reduce underage drinking

7. Increase beer excise taxis to the same level as those for spirits

8. Reinvigorate court monitoring programs

Currently, MADD all throughout the country and in Canada is focusing on the idea of reducing underage drinking. They have been successful in some cases, but have still yet to put into effect for other cases.


    Everyone is guilty of it some time or another. Texting has become an addictive "hobby" considering the development of cell phones is increasing. Little does anyone know how much of an impact texting has when it comes to driving behind the wheel. Facts show that five seconds off the road going 55mph is like covering the length of a football field. In that five seconds, is it worth risking your life to respond to one-worded text messages? Not many people realize how much of an impact texting has to themselves, as well as people around them, until a fatal incident arises.

    When watching television, do you happen to come across an AT&T advertisement, or any other type of advertisement with famous artists, that discusses an incident of texting and driving? I am sure anyone who has seen or heard of these advertisements know that texting and driving is not just a "new cause of fatalities". Texting and driving has been around for a while, but has not made a huge impact on society as much as today. Instead of becoming a victim, prevent it.

    CYBER BULLYING: Can we ever prevent it?

    What is Cyber Bullying? Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. High school deals with vast amounts of cyber bullying, whether it's on Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, or even Facebook.

    Nowadays, many adolescents and, surprisingly, adults, have used cyber bullying to make them feel as if they are higher authority. Cyber bullying has caused many suicidal incidents to many adolescents, especially teenagers. It's becoming more common around teenagers, because it seems as though teenagers can only communicate through harsh comments and violence through one another.

    In Bowling Green, cyber bullying, and bullying in general is considered illegal, but unfortunately, it's still in use. Many children every day go through bullying at school. Surprisingly, many teachers don't see or hear them. The most common way of bullying and cyber bullying is rumors over social media, and throughout the school. I have personally experienced friends of mine who have been verbally bullied or electronically bulled, and some administrators have done nothing to stop it. The world has become a cruel place, and no one speaks up for those as victims. Cyber bullying can result in harmful effects in someone, such as avoiding certain activities, or even avoiding friends.

    The suicide of Megan Meier has been the most recent cyber bully case, and a fatal one. She hung herself with a belt in her bedroom after being cyber bullied by a few classmates, calling her a "crappy person", "someone who is not nice to her friends", and much more. She did not deserve to become suicidal, and high school was hard for her to mentally shut down, and give up. High school shouldn't have this effect on students, and peers should not encourage any type of bullying, especially cyber bullying.

    Did we vote on your marriage?

    Legalizing gay marriage has been the most recent issue for the United States as a whole. Gay marriages consist of a man vs. man, or a women vs. women, in a relationship, just as if a man and a women would marry. There has been many controversies, as well as pro/con arguments about gay marriages.

    Sixteen states, so far, have legalized gay marriage. These states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

    Thirty-three states still have gay marriage bans as either an amendment, or a law.

    Arguements for same-sex marriage, many people have agreed that:

    1. Same sex couples should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment in the same way heterosexual couples.
    2. Same sex couples should have access to the same benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples
    3. The concept of "traditional marriage" being defined as one man and one woman is historically inaccurate.
    4. Marriage is redefined as society's attitude evolve, and the majority of Americans now support gay marriage.
    5. Gay marriage is protected by the Constitution's commitments to liberty and equality.
    6. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry stigmatizes gay and lesbian families as inferior and sends the message that it is acceptable to discriminate against them.
    7. Legalizing gay marriage will NOT harm heterosexual marriages or "family values," and society will continue to function successfully.

    There are many other fascinating points to how we can be FOR gay marriage and legalizing it in our state. However, the opposing argument follows:

    1. The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as between a man and a woman.
    2. Gay marriage could potentially lead down a "slippery slope" giving people in polygamous, incestuous, bestial, and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry.
    3. People should not have their tax dollars used to support something they believe is wrong.
    4. Gay marriage may lead to more children being raised in same-sex households, which are not an optimum environment because children need both a mother and father.
    5. Gay marriage will accelerate the assimilation of gays into mainstream heterosexual culture to the detriment of the homosexual community.
    6. Marriage is a privilege, not a right.
    7. Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue, and conflating the issue with interracial marriage is misleading.

    The arguments are still continuing to this day, and are still being considered in some states. Hopefully, in the future, this opinionated statement made by homosexuals will not lead to a war between the states. Considering many people are friends with homosexuals, I personally consider same-sex marriage a certain privilege that should be allowed to practice, just as if marriage between a man and a woman is allowed. Which one are you for? Pro gay marriage, or con gay marriage?

    What Do You Think?

    Mallory O'Neil, a senior from Greenwood High School, submitted an opinionated comment about Video Games. Growing up in a household with an older brother, she's learned that teenage boys, such has her brother, enjoy playing video games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, etc.

    She says and quotes, "I find it really annoying how video games consume one's time away from reality. Video games have no positive effect on anyone in their life unless it's their 'stress reliever'. However, somehow in this world, GTA and/or Call of Duty has unfortunately damaged one's mental stability with reality, and that's become a serious problem. I personally don't favor video games, or care about them. I honestly think they're a waste of time and a waste of creativity of an invention. Instead of creating more video games with violence, why not make more video games with education? Certain crimes locally have dealt with men and women handling guns, acting as if they're in the video game themselves, when they're actually in reality. It's morally wrong".


    Political Cartoon

    Don't text and drive, folks. You'll be in that lane before you know it!