A Lot of Smart Teens Can Be Pretty Dumb

OK I like teenagers. The years I spent teaching teens at BG are some of the best in my life. And I met a lot of really smart teens there. But even the smartest of them can be pretty dumb some times. I found this interesting example of some students from Northeastern. They are freshmen so I assume they are teens still. Actually they were freshmen and they were students at Northeastern. They don’t go there anymore.

Long story short – a student hangs out his dorm room window yelling to a passerby that his roommate has weed for sale. A passing police officer overhears this and checks it out. Police find drugs, alchohol, money and drug related objects. Students go off to jail and the university decides that there are other students out there who can fill that dorm room and related classrooms.

What I have noticed is that a lot of high school and college students seem to think they are invisible. By that I mean they think they can do what ever they want and no one in position to punish them for wrong doing will see them. If they are caught they often blame the authority figures for violating their privacy. Apparently in their eyes adults are supposed to turn a blind eye to their activities.

Why is this I wonder? Is it just a matter of students being poor judges of risk or do schools somehow inadvertantly teach this attitude? Do schools let too much slide in high school? Or is it the kids fault? Hard to say but it makes interesting viewing as an outside observer.

2 Responses to “A Lot of Smart Teens Can Be Pretty Dumb”

  1. n1zyy says:

    I think part of it is a sort of utopian view of how things work. “The police have no right to come in my room. They can’t prove that the pot plants are mine. I don’t know where they came from! The police must have planted them there!”

    I think the problem is that younger people actually think those things would work. Maybe it’s from ‘pop culture’ inaccurately portraying what the police can’t do? (BTW, at least here, Campus Police are real cops, the judicial system is based on “preponderance of evidence” (e.g., if your room wreaks of pot but you don’t open the door, you’re guilty of smoking pot, even though the police never saw you doing it), and the police can’t just barge into your room, but they can come in with Res Life which has different rules to follow.)

    But there’s also definitely a “That wouldn’t happen to me” mentality. Look at how many people download stuff illegally, figuring they’ll never get caught. I’m not really sure where it comes from.

  2. n1zyy says:

    And I don’t have the facts to back it up, but I’ve always thought that those who commit crimes, on average, are dumber than those who don’t. Look at how many cases you get where the person is convicted because they left their license behind, or because (in an example from Forensics class today) they kept their bloody, broken knife and the police found it when they came knocking a week later. (Hmm, might want to dispose of the murder weapon next time… Especially when it’s broken in an unusual way and your half fits the half that was lodged in the victim…)

    People like us who aren’t selling marijuana would probably be smart enough to know that screaming, “I’m selling weed!” out a window in a crowded city isn’t a good idea.

    (Amusing aside: one of the police log entries I wrote here involved a non-student who was stopped by the police twice in one night here. While talking to him the second time, the officers noticed that he kept reaching into his pockets and they got kind of uncomfortable with this, so they asked him if he had any weapons or anything in his pockets. He replied, “No, just some marijuana for my personal consumption.” The quote was incredibly bizarre and I wouldn’t have believed it except that the person reading me the report said he was there at the time and that’s definitely what was said.)

Leave a Reply