Who knows? Perhaps the unauthorized use and trashing of former pro football player Brian Holloway’s house in Stephentown by hundreds of area teens would not have generated quite the “media circus” that one of the teens’ parents characterized it as, had the homeowner been John Q. Public instead of a minor celebrity. But it hardly matters.
This parent’s reaction, recorded in a story in Friday’s Times Union, pretty well exemplifies the issue Holloway cited when, several weeks after the party, he finally decided to press charges against the perpetrators. In truth, he ought to have sooner, because the overwhelming majority of kids who took part in the “festivities” has proven to be unrepentant and must be held accountable.
Frankly, it’s hard to believe this wouldn’t have been some kind of regional story had the property owner been the anonymous type. Before, during and after the party, there was no defending what these kids did. When they responded to an irresponsible call over social media websites to show up for a house party, they had some obligation to know the circumstances — that the property owner was out of town and hadn’t authorized the party. And even if they didn’t know beforehand, they should have figured it out pretty quickly when they arrived: No sane homeowner would have permitted a gathering of booze- and drug-taking teens so large (300-400) or so ill-behaved (Holloway reported finding 10 broken windows, 20 holes punched in walls and enough empty beer cans and liquor bottles to fill 10 55-gallon plastic bags).
And when all was said and done, the kids should have responded to Holloway’s appeal to own up to their behavior and help him clean up. Sadly, only a handful did; and when Holloway reposted numerous kids’ pictures on his website in an effort to shame them, some parents threatened to sue. (Never mind that the pictures had already been posted elsewhere on the web by the kids themselves, to proudly show off their presence at the party.)
While a case of this magnitude threatens to tax the resources of Rensselaer County authorities, including the tiny Stephentown court, it’s worth pursuing because not just these kids and their parents, but kids and parents everywhere, need to know that a “party” of this sort is just plain wrong.