Letters From the Issue of Thursday, September 27, 2007

Page 2 of 3

I am from Germany, where drinking is legal at age 16. And most people whom I know are aware of their drinking limits by age 17. They puked out their soul at one point in their lives, and now they know how much alcohol they can handle.

Now, if young adults never were able to get even close to alcohol, and all of a sudden, they can buy as much as they want, they're tempted to have as much fun as possible. Because they know that after they return to the United States, they won't be able to legally drink for three more years.

I don't think it's the job of the tour leader to stop the teenagers from drinking. I think that, at age 18, the teenagers should think rationally enough to drink with responsibility. It's the job of the parents to explain that one glass of wine won't kill you, but if you overdo it, you will become more aggressive, less aware of what you're doing, and you'll lose inhibitions.

On this trip, the students had new freedoms, and they weren't able to handle them. That's really sad. Now, I don't believe that 18-year-old Europeans are more mature than Americans, but I just don't see them puking as much in European capitals. I guess alcohol is not that exciting here because it's nothing special.

I hope the article doesn't scare the students away from participating in student-travel programs. In my opinion, it's good to have itchy feet and want to explore the world. Horrifying newspaper articles shouldn't stop globetrotters from fulfilling their dreams.
Drinking, drugs, and sex: Thank you so much for bringing this information into the public eye. I went on Ms. DiMaggio's Europe trip in 2002 (when I was 16), and it was a horrible experience. Yes, I got to see some great sights, but we spent nowhere near 15 hours a day in museums and learning facts. It was more like two hours and then off to do whatever you want, which usually included drinking, doing drugs, and engaging in sexual activity.

My parents definitely wouldn't have let me go if they'd had any idea what would go on. When I told them about the trip (mind you, only what I wasn't too embarrassed to share), they were astounded.
Name withheld by request

We’d hide our name, too, if we thought like you: Hindsight is 20/20. I'm sure that, looking back, Ms. D would have added more chaperones had she had any reason to believe she needed more. She has been taking our kids over to Europe for many years without any incidents.

I always felt she had our kids' best interest at heart and went over many safety concerns before their departure. I went to several of the meetings before the trip and wasn't under any impression that our kids wouldn't be going out at night, or that they wouldn't be going to some nightclubs. I believe Ms. D specifically mentioned the club in Italy.

Evan Bailey didn't deserve the senseless, brutal attack that night in Italy. He was merely standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank God he is alive and will hopefully make a full recovery soon. My son could have met that same fate. We live in a scary world these days. There are bad people in every country. Did the young Italian boy think nothing bad would happen if he went after someone with a golf club? By all accounts, it was premeditated, and hopefully he will pay for the heartache he has caused Evan and all who love him.

Passports tours didn't give the group all they thought they paid for. Passports should have bent over backward to help the Bailey family get critical information and transportation to Italy. The trip had its conflicts. Evan's attack was gut-wrenching. But despite these things, I feel that many of the kids on the trip felt they'd had the trip of a lifetime.
Name withheld by request

And, finally, a voice of reason: I just finished reading your "Eurotrashed" story and felt compelled to respond. I've read New Times for years, and I've often been awed, amazed, appalled, moved to tears, and even disgusted by some of your articles. This is why I continue to read it, the gut-level reporting and the diverse topics that never appear in the mainstream media, which I personally feel is nothing more than the feeding tube by which the public receives its daily dose of bullshit.

That said, this is the first time in 10-plus years I've ever been moved to the point of responding in any way.

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