"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." - Ephesians 4:29-32
While emotion and morality dominated the discussion of the alleged rape of a teenage female by two teenage males for the past several months, the only thing that matters now in juvenile court is the evidence.
Emotion and morality were front and center with this case since August, while the evidence was pushed aside by too many.
Hence, Judge Thomas Lipps will render a decision regarding the evidence of the case.
And, regardless of what Lipps' decision will be, many will not be happy.
This case is not about football, an alleged coverup, which, by the way, questions the ethical duty of too many to count, or towns divided.
This case is about our society.
This case, as I have said before, is how our society does not value life.
Our society has become too politically correct on one side of the street, and, on staring at the PC world on the other side, is a case like this which is so un-PC.
Why is that?
Our society does not want to take a look in the mirror because it really will not like what it sees.
There is enough blame in this case to go around, and it's not just about those in the court room.
People have guessed and "what if" and "I heard that" and "someone told me" and injected their opinions into a case that has drawn national attention.
And, in a few days when this whole thing this is over, the national media will leave and we will remain trying to figure out a way to make our society in our little towns better. Life will go on.
And, a new normal will be in effect for everyone associated with this case.
"But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." - Luke 12:48
Yet, some hard answers must be found in making sure something like this never happens again.
Yet, unfortunately, it will happen again in some other small town in this nation, and people will say "just like what happened in Steubenville."
What is at the core of this case?
It's an epidemic.
It's not like this case is going away after the Judge Lipps' ruling.
In fact, in some ways, it will be just beginning again.
More and more people have asked "how in the world did these teens get the alcohol?"
Obviously, those people forgot about the days when they were teenagers.
I took my first drink in the eighth grade.
My father was an alcoholic before he died in 1983. There was always beer in the house.
So, having one here and there was never a big deal for me.
And, it was never a big deal for me throughout high school.
Alcohol and teenagers do not mix.
Prevalence in eighth-graders:
51.7 percent have tried alcohol.
43.1 percent have had an alcoholic drink in the past year.
25.1 percent have been drunk.
15.2 percent have had one or more binge drinking episodes.
Prevalence in 10th-graders:
70.6 percent have tried alcohol.
63.7 percent have had an alcoholic drink in the past year.
48.9 percent have been drunk.
25.6 percent have had one or more binge drinking episodes.
1.9 percent have been daily drinking for at least one month at some point in their lives.
Prevalence in 12th-graders:
80 percent have tried alcohol.
73.8 percent have had an alcoholic drink in the past year.
62.3 percent have been drunk.
30.8 percent binge drank in the past two weeks.
3.6 percent use alcohol daily.
What are some of the consequences of teen alcohol abuse?
Teen alcohol problems create many negative consequences. One of the deadliest outcomes of teenage alcohol abuse is drinking and driving. Car accidents are the leading killer of the 15-to-20-year-old age group.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
In 2004, 13.6 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were young drivers age 15 to 20.
For the same year and age group, 29 percent of the drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking.
In better news, the same study showed that "In 2004, an estimated 906 lives were saved by minimum-drinking-age laws."
Teen alcohol abuse also plays a role in other types of injuries as well as contributing to higher incidences of unwanted or unplanned sex.
Number one cause of injury death, the leading cause of death in people under 21. This includes car accidents (drinking and driving), physical fights, homicides, suicides, falls and toxic poisoning to name a few.
Alcohol abuse increases the rate of teen dating violence. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "Among college students under age 21 alone, 50,000 experience alcohol-related date rape, and 430,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking."
Education and prevention of alcohol abuse begins at home and plays such an important role in keeping your teen out of trouble. By keeping an open, honest relationship with your teen, many of these statistics can and should be lowered.
Teen Alcohol Abuse Statistics Sources:
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." - Like 6:31
People can talk all they want about this case, but it goes much deeper than the actions of too many on that night.
Boys forgot that they have grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins and nieces in their families.
Girls forgot that they have grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and nephews in their families.
Both sides forgot that they have a responsibility to be good friends.
Both sides forgot that under no certain circumstances were they raised to act like that.
Both sides forgot that if they looked into the faces of those in attendance and saw any member of their families, they would have acted differently.
Why did they forget all of this?
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12
My parents divorced during my freshman year in high school.
I continued to drink.
When my mother left for a night for whatever reason, she always looked at me and said, "There will not be a party in this house."
There never was.
But, I attended parties thrown by my friends when their parents were out of town, or gone for the night.
I didn't see the difference back then.
I do now.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" - Romans 12:10
I sincerely hope everyone has talked to their appropriate-aged children about this case and been open and thorough with the discussion.
This case is not about mistakes made on that night.
This case is about choices made on that night.
Life is about the choices we make and the choices we make can affect others on a daily basis.
This case is about peer pressure and how hard it is to be a teen under certain circumstances.
Years ago former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel spoke at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce dinner at the former St. John Arena, and he famously said to the hundreds of high school football players in attendance, "Nothing good happens after 10 p.m."
We need to have heavy conversations with our children about the choices they make, and we need to do so frequently.
"What would you do if" should be a mantra in households.
That conversation happens on athletic venues all the time.
Coaches ask players, "What would you do if" and then they give a scenario.
We need to outline certain scenarios with our children and equip them to make the correct decision.
Of course, that decision is infinitely harder to come by when alcohol is in the system.
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
"Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
"Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it." - 1 Peter 3:8-11
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)