Vail Daily letter: Scary bust in the woods
On Sunday evening, I as well as many of this valley’s young adults experienced something that I found deeply concerning.
As I’m sure many are aware, summer camping parties are very common among local high school and college-aged kids.
I understand that this has the potential to be very dangerous, especially with underage drinking involved, but the situation that arose from the camping party Sunday turned far more worrisome after the authorities became involved.
When an underage party was called in, several authorities arrived at a campsite in Wolcott to shut the party down. First of all, the situation suspiciously resembled entrapment. When I arrived at the dirt road that leads to the campsite, two cops were parked at the bottom watching as cars turned off onto the road.
If they were already concerned about what was going take place, the obvious solution would have been to prevent the party in the first place and force everyone to turn around, not watch as 85 cars made their way to the scene of the party.
The worst part about the situation, however, was that the authorities’ decision to come up to the campsite was extremely irrational.
Kids immediately took off into the woods, many intoxicated, where they could easily have fallen off the cliffs within 50 yards of the campsite or faced several other possibilities for serious injury.
Yes, running away from the police is a serious offense, but in reality what else are we to expect?
Authorities told the crowd that if they did not run and were compliant they would not get in trouble. It appears that this was a blatant lie, as several of those who stayed at the site ended up with a minor in possession offense. The police are encouraging eluding the law by telling minors that compliance will help them and then punishing them regardless.
Also, when an authority approached me, the first thing he said to me was, “Are you sober enough to drive?”
This implied that he wanted everyone to leave even if they weren’t entirely sober. Safety hardly seemed like the No. 1 priority.
I am not writing to defend my or anyone else’s actions, but I feel that the situation was handled poorly and I am concerned for the safety of future camping parties that will undoubtedly still take place. I sincerely hope no one was injured and that next time the police don’t show up unless there is an emergency to attend to, not just tickets to hand out.