When newly professional 15-year-old golfer Michelle Wie signed an erroneous tournament scorecard recently, she was disqualified.
When two 17-year-old Greenbrier High football players had a little party with three girls, they went to jail.
Wie's mistake at the Samsung World Championship cost her fourth place and what would have been her first professional payday. If found guilty of rape and aggravated child molestation, it will be many years before Reggie Rice and Shad Harris ever see any payday.
What a shame. What a damnable, preventable shame.
Yes, we know; it's a stretch to draw a parallel, even a loose one, between a golf-rule violation and violent crime. But there is an overwhelming factor in both cases: Youth.
A little more than a week ago, Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Danny Craig stood to parents at Lakeside High School to explain the legal dangers teens face from not just weapons and drugs, but from Georgia's criminalization of sexual misbehavior.
Greebrier High, which has had more than its share of traffic deaths from its student population in recent years, has done a good job of promoting driver-safety education. But the school has also had problems with sexual misbehavior, and Craig is just a phone call away to help educate parents and teens on the dangers in the back seat of the car, too.
It's past time for Greenbrier " and other Columbia County schools " to make that call.
Sadly, it's too late for such a seminar to help Rice and Harris, whose encounter with three younger girls has landed them behind bars on very serious charges; their best hope is a good defense attorney.
Meanwhile, the three girls and a 16-year-old boy in whose playhouse the encounters occurred have also been charged as juveniles for their mostly willing participation, so there's plenty of blame being spread around.
This case is similar to one from last year, when three Evans High boys were charged after an oral-sex party with four girls. The district attorney later transferred those charges to juvenile court " then charged the girls, too.
In that case, the younger girls were the aggressors. In the more recent incident, according to the indictment and to police reports, the young girls were plied with alcohol and were apparently drunk " one had even passed out " before having sex with the young men.
Paying attention, moms and dads?
If you think that because you live in Columbia County, Georgia, that you can put parenting on automatic pilot, then you are wrong. Then you are your child's worst enemy, Craig says. They've just got to get the message somehow.
The sports world expects Wie to recover from her rookie error to aspire to greatness as a professional golfer. It will be much tougher for Rice and Harris to recover their school and sports careers " and their freedom.
For other teens, it's not too late to learn that their bodies and birth-dates, if turned loose by an immature brain and inattentive parents, can get them in lots of trouble.
Craig is right: They'd better get the message.
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