Monday, December 10, 2007

From Virginia Tech

I am in Blacksburg, Virginia this morning in my capacity as co-chair of NU Directions for the past decade. I came to Virginia Tech to facilitate a discussion today with a group about our efforts in Lincoln and at UNL to reduce high risk drinking. This is the same presentation I made back in April at LSU in Baton Rouge. I'm hoping that our counterparts may either pick up a good idea or have one reinforced that they're already engaged in. Sometimes learning that you're not the only one with that thought is enough to encourage you to continue.

I was originally scheduled to be here on Monday, May 7. That was just three weeks after the horrific Virginia Tech massacre, and the seminar was understandably rescheduled due to the more pressing issues confronting the campus community. It is ironic that my trip here follows the mass killing at Westroads Mall, in our own back yard. I had a chance to take a leisurely walk around campus Sunday afternoon. Standing on the drill field, it's hard to imagine the chaos and terror of last April occurring in this beautiful campus setting.

Last night, I had dinner with the Virginia Tech's campus police chief, Wendell Flinchum and Capt. Vince Houston. They've had quite a year. We compared notes on the youthful drinking scene in Blacksburg and Lincoln. Chief Flinchum's description of bar break here in Blacksburg sounds just like Lincoln. We might have discussed a little football, too. Virginia Tech visits Lincoln next September 27th, so I'm hopeful I can return the favor of dinner at the Outback Steakhouse with my treat at a place featuring a more local flavor, like Misty's.

Kim Crannis, the Blacksburg chief of police, was going to join us for dinner, but circumstances prevented that. She had an alcohol-related homicide yesterday at a nightclub directly across the street from the Inn at Virginia Tech, where I am staying. Not surprisingly, It happened right at bar break. She was undoubtedly called out of bed shortly after 2:00 a.m., and consumed with that case all day.

The relationship between high-risk drinking and violent crime is a key point it my presentation on strategies that have helped us in Lincoln. Though tragic, the timing of yesterday's stabbing makes the case better than anything I can say.

At the beginning of this year, we implemented a new police incident report that includes a data field on the relationship of drugs, gangs, or alcohol to each incident. I'll give you a snapshot of this new data later this week.

1 comment:

Tom Casady said...

BTW, if you want to see a powerful message that explains why I've been interested in this issue, check out this trailer for the upcoming movie Haze