Our choices are our own

Others shouldn’t be blamed for unfortunate, drinking-related deaths.

Life as a young adult certainly holds a lot of new choices and experiences. Some of these are influenced by our families or peers, but ultimately it is the individual adult who is responsible for the consequences of their own actions and choices. Unfortunately some choices, as in the recent death of Amanda Jax, can cause harm to ourselves and hurt to those who care about us.

Jax died after drinking with friends in Mankato, celebrating her 21st birthday in October. Amanda’s parents are now suing the bar that Amanda went to on the night of her death and the friends who accompanied her – a case that will surely set a new standard in who can be held legally liable for another’s actions.

While it may be impossible to prove that Jax’s friends weren’t forcing her to drink to such a harmful extent that night, we believe it is only Jax herself who can be held accountable.

The Jax case is similar to others that have popped up recently. Last week in a Carver County court, Joshua W. Julien, 23, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for providing alcohol to a party where minors were present. One minor at the party, Sean P. Humphrey, 19, died tragically after he left the party, hitting his head on a curb and succumbing to hypothermia. The couple who held the party is no longer being charged and another of-age supplier was given a lesser sentence.

While providing alcohol to minors is a felony, it is the minors themselves who are making the choice to drink and likely asking the of-age person to supply the alcohol.

When one is over the age of 18, their choices become their own – even if the consequences of these choices are tragic and permanent. Instead of placing blame on establishments or friends, we should seek to better educate young adults on how to make better choices. The norm for our generation of young adults seems to be to drink to get drunk, but it is still a personal decision to do so.