Yes, in a perfect world, a kid should be able to go to a party, get drunk and have no ill effects other than a headache in the morning. Perhaps that is all that happens some of the time at teen drinking parties.
But — here’s that “but” again — these are very high-risk events. Such parties are illegal for a reason. Teens are notorious for lacking good judgment and self control. Adding a drug like alcohol makes it much worse. So when something like rape happens, it is a terrible tragedy, but it should not be a shock to anyone.
That is really all Serena Williams was trying to say. Sending a couple of boys to prison for criminal acts brings a measure of justice, but it cannot undo the damage they inflicted on a teen girl, and on their own futures. The only way to do that would have been to avoid it in the first place.
Politicians are fond of saying, “If it saves only one life, it’s worth it,” when they want to take a lot more of your money in a quest to make the world safer.
It doesn’t cost anything to say what Serena Williams said. And if we want to protect those we love — especially those who are not mature enough to make wise decisions on their own — it needs to be said.
Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.