11/21/2004

Good Samaritan

Recently there have been many issues of alcohol poisoning. College students drinking too much, passing out on the floor, and others just staring blindly at them. These college students were killed because no one called 911. Others hestitated, making it too late for help. Their friends were underage and did not want to get in trouble.

Is this right? Should a person risk getting a ticket for "minor in possession" for their friends death? Is it right to ticket a person for underage drinking when they are helping save a life? Or does it teach them a lesson as well?

University of Missouri-Columbia has now proposed a "Good Samaritan" policy to help solve this issue. This would excuse any student who reports an alcohol emergency from harsh penalties. Instead this student may be required to take part in alcohol classes.

Is this what should be done for students? Will this increase the number of incidents or will it help save more lives?

9 comments:

Callie said...

Wow, I'm not sure people just stare blindly at others passing out at parties. Have you ever been to one? It's pretty common to see someone passed out one night, and then in class the next morning, not up to par, of course, but there and alive all the same. You should remember that if someone is that drunk, then the other people around that person are probably a little faded themselves. It's hard to say when someone is in need of a hospital visit, when their decision making skills are already in jeapordy.

I think the "Good Samaritan" policy is a good idea. More people might be willing to call the ambulance for these people, even if their need is questionable, if they know their punishments might not be too harsh. I don't think it will increase the incidents of alcohol poisoning. Everybody knows that people are going to consume large amounts of alcohol despite any kind of laws or policies.

Taber Wolrab said...

I don't think the college students or friends should just stand around and watch their fellow students pass out and die. I don't think that penalties should be less severe because you help or don't help someone. Sure it is right to ticket a person for underage drinking when they are helping save a life. Just because they are doing something good doesn't mean they should get off the hook. They should be punished for their actions. I don't think the "Good Samaritan" will help save lives.

Biancca said...

Obviously the drinking age laws aren't stopping anyone from drinking. I think more attention on responsible drinking is the key. In Europe children grow up around alcohol and they learn how to deal with it. I think keeping alcohol forbidden makes it more attractive to underage drinkers, and having to keep drinking a secret actually increases irresponsible behavior. For example an underage drinker mught drive home drunk to avoid having to explain to his parents why he had to leave his car somewhere.

Maudi said...

The Good Samaritan law could be a great help to those who are in danger of losing their lives. This rule goes against all guilty by association laws; however, I believe it will give people who would normally walk away to avoid the ticket courage enough to save their friends. We are all given our free agency and people will choose to do dum things and I feel this law will cut down on the number of deaths.

Jake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jake said...

I completely agree with Biannca in that no matter what rules lawmakers try to employ with regards to drinking, under age drinkers will just find it more attractive and will always find a way to get it. People that drink didn't wait until their 21st birthday, they probably attended a couple of parties and got drunk with the rest of their under age friends. The "Good Samaritan" policy should be implemented across the country. They should be protected from certain laws by trying to help a friend who was just trying to have a little fun.

Kristin said...

I think that the "Good Samaritan" policy sounds like a good idea, but may not be a solution for the right problem. The realy problem is that kids think drinking is cool. Why is it cool to go completely out of control and act like a total fool! Parents need to take a more active role in supervising and teaching their children (by example) responsible behaviors. Teens in our society alreay have too few boundaries in place, the "Good Samaritan" policy will just eliminate another consequence to a serious action. If someone is stupid enough to drink until it kills them, then maybe they are better off! No one forced it down their throat! It was because of their own actions that they caused harm upon themselves. Teens need to have some backbone. Don't drink because you're pressured to. I endured a lot of criticism growing up because I choice to direct my life a certain way. Parents need to teach their children from a young age the consequences of drinking, the risks involved, and supervise their children's activities. Parents should trust their children, but not be oblivious to what's going on. I believe that some of the responsibility of death is related to irresponsible parents and irresponsible teens.

pramahaphil said...

While underaged drinking is a problem on college campuses around the country, students shuold not be afraid to do the right thing out of fear for punishment.The problem is American youth grow up with partying as their main concern when they reach college age, and when they finally taste freedom they overdose on it.

Colleges need to end the focus for fun, and put the focus on learning. If this happened such binge drinking would definitely come to an end.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 for spelling mistakes in Callie's and Kristin's comments.

I think good samaritan laws are a no brainer. There are a lot of issues here about how people rank the possibilities, but the government shouldn't be making that harder.

Biancca has a very good point - similar to the idea that seatbelts cause pedestrian fatalities.

BTW: anyone remember that this is (broadly) what the final episode of Seinfeld was about?

P.S. I was actually in this position in college, and I got a dormmate help without thinking about whether there was a penalty or not. I wonder about the judgement of someone who would even think twice about the existence of a good samaritan law, or lack thereof.