April 19, 2002

toothless goat

Any time the topic of drinking (or under-age drinking, or partying, or just the off-hand comment on college students) crops up, the city (or Duluth News Tribune, or Chancellor, or Administration) always makes reference to Ken Christensen, who sadly drowned in Chester Creek last April walking back from a party. This incident is their ace-in-the-hole, and they play the card whenever students try to argue for a change in city policy towards partying. It’s an extreme example of the evils that can result from the favorite college passtime, and a beautiful one at that. Who could possibly speak in favor of killing freshman? Who could speak in favor of the vile acts that lead to such cruel results?

Hi. Ken Christensen was not a victim. Ken Christensen was an idiot that made some really bad decisions. As humans we have this little thing called “free-will” that allows us to make our own choices. Sometimes these choices are compelled by outside forces (say, a surly group of rugby kids encouraging me to do a keg stand) but ultimately none of my actions can occur without my consent. The reason we don’t have students drowning in the creek every day is because most of us exercise good judgement. No mention is ever made of the hundreds of parties that occur each year without drownings.

But we need to blame someone, and the carousing UMD student is as toothless as scapegoats come.