Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alcohol laws, Drinking and Death - James Webster

James Webster has been all over the news lately in a way that only violent murderers and white middle class people are.

He was a goody good, went to Kings, had hardly drank alcohol before one particular party where he drank himself to death.

There are numerous things that jump out at me about this:

1) he had a low alcohol tolerance, because he had no experience of alcohol, because he wasn't allowed to drink.
2) he felt that on the very odd occasion that he did drink, he had to drink a lot to compensate for how he usually didn't drink, because he wasn't allowed to drink.
3) he had no idea of what his limit for alcohol was, because he never drank in moderation, because he wasn't allowed to drink.
4) he saw drinking as an attractive activity, because it was something he usually wasn't allowed to do.
5) he was drinking unsupervised, because he was not allowed to drink while supervised.
6) had he been allowed to drink under supervision, he would have had a higher alcohol tolerance, he would have had a more mature attitude towards alcohol, he would have known what his limit was, he would not have seen drinking to excess as an attractive activity.
7) Had none of this made a difference, people with more experience with drinking would have been around and identified the situation much earlier, preventing the damage going to the extreme that it did.

James Websters death was tragic and avoidable, but the lesson to learn is not that no one should drink ever, but that it is important that we think about what people know about alcohol, and that it is important that we don't exclude youth from our society, drinking included.


  1. Anonymous26/5/10 17:34

    this whole post has elements of a tautology about it don't you think?

  2. About as much as this quote has: "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools"