Gansler is not responsible for other people’s kids.


Maryland Attorney General, and candidate for governor, Doug Gansler walks out of an office building to meet with reporters to explain his actions during a summertime visit to a teenage house party. (Cliff Owen/AP)
October 28, 2013

It is the It Takes a Village trope, as interpreted by the Attorney General of Maryland.

“My responsibility is only to my child,” Doug Gansler told the Baltimore Sun, in its story last week about his showing up to a party last June that was clearly host to underage drinkers, and choosing not to intervene.

In photos that ran with the stories, Gansler was nonchalantly holding a cell phone up near three scantily clad teenagers dancing on a table, while surrounded by a roomful of kids carrying red plastic cups. Could be lemonade. More likely, it was what every kid that age usually carries in a red plastic cup.

According to published reports, these kids were given a week at nice beach house in Bethany. Apparently with the blessing of Maryland’s Attorney General.

All parents struggle with the, “Do I stop that kid on the playground from throwing sand?” stuff. And think about who their kids are friends with or how their kids they treat other children. They watch out for little ones riding bikes, even if they belong to other parents. They stop texting tweens from running into the street. Right? (They really do, right?)

It took me a while to realize the underage drinking itself wasn’t what upset me about the Gansler story. Such is Beach Week and the land of graduating high schoolers. The head scratching part is how an Attorney General so numbly could walk into the drunken chaos, at which partiers appeared to be trashing someone else’s beach house, and then say he’s not responsible for any children except his own. (And, oh my goodness, he kept going. “It also has to do with whether you have a boy or a girl,” the Sun reported Gansler saying on Monday.)

He elaborated on his inverted It-Takes-a-Village theory.

“How is that relevant to me? . . . The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state?” he said in his interview with the Sun. “I say no.”

Really? How is this relevant to you? You’re an adult among children. Supposedly.

Amy Joyce is the editor and a writer for On Parenting.
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