Like many, Etiquetteer has watched with appalled dismay the unfolding story from Stephentown, New York, of the untenanted house of former NFL player Brian Holloway trashed by a party of hundreds of teenagers. Unfortunately no one comes out of this story blameless. The Marauding Teens, of course, come in for a hefty share of blame. At a bare minimum they're guilty of trespassing, and who knows what else. The petting party in Peyton Place looks so innocent by comparison!
Mr. Holloway Himself, though Etiquetteer does not question his motives, should not have posted names and photos on the Internet. Anytime you get involved with something like that involving a minor, it gets ugly. Etiquetteer rather wishes Mr. Holloway had spoken to his lawyer first.
But the parents of these marauding teenagers certainly come out the worst! Etiquetteer does not really think it matters that the house was untenanted and in foreclosure. One of the central tenets of Perfect Propriety is that, if something doesn't belong to one, one doesn't use it without permission. And no one is pretending that anyone but Holloway owns the house! Etiquetteer's ears are deaf to their Outraged Whining about the alleged actual condition of the house and its furnishings, and even about their concerns for Mr. Holloway republishing the names and images of their children (using information already posted by the Marauding Teens). What their children did was indefensible, plain and simple! Instead of threatening Mr. Holloway with lawsuits, they should absolutely be leading their children - dragging them by the hand in necessary - to apologize for trespassing on his property and leaving it in a worse condition than that in which they found it. Why they are not doing this is a mystery to Etiquetteer. And their apparent acquiescence in the behavior of their children sure does send a message that it's Perfectly Proper to destroy someone's home for a party, whether someone lives there or not. And since there seems to be doubt in the matter, let Etiquetteer assure you that it is NOT!
Think for a moment: would your parents have let you get away with something like this? One looks with pride on the Australian father who sold his daughter's concert tickets after he discovered she was on a sleepover at the home of an older man (though Etiquetteer's hair curled at his candor.)
When people gas on about "family values," they forget that the most basic is raising children to be good citizens. One should not have to ask if this kind of behavior is good citizenship. One should not!
Etiquetteer rather hopes these parents do pursue their lawsuit against Mr. Holloway, so that the judge can school them on what really is Perfectly Proper. In the meantime, you may be sure that Etiquetteer will be staying far away from Stephentown, where one's rights are not respected.