The Dare That Changed His Life

Out in Arizona there is a high-school football player who has been arrested for indecent exposure, 69 counts of indecent exposure, one for every member in the football team picture with him.  You can read about it here.  Basically this kid was dared to expose his private parts during the team photo.  He’s in the second row and the two players in front of him conveniently separated a bit more than any other two players on the front row. This picture was featured in programs all season long.  It made it into the yearbook.  The yearbook was distributed.  Someone finally complained.  After confirming that yes, indeed, he had fulfilled the dare, he was arrested.  Oh, and he was 18 when he did it.

In the world of social media and sex offender status, this choice will have far-reaching consequences.

Kids do stupid stuff every day.  Every day.  I thank God above there was no social media when I was in high school and college.  I can’t imagine what would be out there FOREVER with my name attached to it.

But that isn’t what prompted me to write this.  His arrest and subsequent media coverage has unleashed the typical commenters on the various websites where this story is appearing.  I get it.  People are appalled that a senior prank is going to ruin this kid’s life.

There are two asinine lines of thought running through the comment threads.  One is that this isn’t really his fault.  The blame lies with the school or the editors of the yearbook.  Certainly someone should have caught this.  Trust me; It would have taken someone with a magnifying glass to catch this.  The second thread is that the blame lies with the kids who dared him.

Regardless, there are scores of commenters out there who feel this kid owes little responsibility for his choice.

What is wrong with our society?  Should this young man have his life ruined? No.  Absolutely not.  69 counts against him?  Ridiculous.  But pretending that he isn’t responsible?  Come on.

No doubt, several kids are complicit in this.  The kids who cooked it up and dared him?  They’re a lot more dangerous than this kid. Those two kids in the front row who moved aside?  Yep, they were in on it.  Will any punishment land on them?  Will they jump out to future employers searching social media for job applicants?  Probably not.

Another thought came to mind.  There were 70 kids in that picture.  They knew which one to dare.  They knew which one would do it.  Probably not his first rodeo riding the stupid prank bull.  Don’t be that kid if you don’t want to end up being THAT kid. He deserves punishment.  He’s responsible for his choice.

Parents, talk to your kids.  Kids please understand that social media ups the ante on senior pranks and spur-of-the-moment decisions.  Be smart.  Surround yourself with good friends.

And for those out there passing judgement who were blessed enough to get through college before the Internet, STOP.  Just STOP.  Which one of your dumb moves are you happiest wasn’t preserved for posterity?