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The Responsibility of Krueger's Parents

I heartily concur with the subtitle of the column by Michael J. Ring '01 on Oct. 27. ["Justice is Not Served: Someone Should be Held Responsible for Krueger's Death"] Ring blamed the members of Phi Gamma Delta, the national Fiji organization, and finally, most harshly, the District Attorney's office. Disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, Ring missed two key suspects: Scott S. Krueger '01 himself, and Krueger's parents.

Are the members of Fiji culpable? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Should they be prosecuted individually? A trickier question, but I'd have to say yes. Ah, but here's the whispered question, so very rarely asked and even more rarely answered: Was Krueger complicitous in his own death?

Absolutely. "Animal House Night" or not, Krueger made the decision to consume irresponsibly large amounts of alcohol. Where, in sitcom style, were the miniatures of his mother and father sitting atop each shoulder, shouting, "Scott! We raised you better than this! Stop it before I rip your head off!" I know I hear those voices each time I am offered the opportunity to get involved in a drinking exercise at MIT, and each time I have declined the invitation. Yes, by the way, I do have a life and I do know how to have fun, but I don't need alcohol to do it. Trite? Perhaps. Responsible? I certainly think so. At the very least it keeps my head firmly anchored to my shoulders.

As angered as they are at Fiji and MIT, I wonder if the elder Kruegers ever lie awake at night wondering, "What did we do wrong? Did we, perhaps, not teach our son properly and thoroughly the dangers and temptations of the outside world?"

Those are harsh thoughts. I am certain that Scott's parents would much prefer to imagine the big bad upperclassmen holding their son's mouth open and pouring liquor down his throat. The truth of the matter, however, is that that did not occur. Plain and simple, Krueger swallowed his own poison, willingly and joyfully, and seemingly oblivious to the warnings and messages his parents should have been pounding into his head over the years. Because of my parents, I will never smoke, do drugs, or drink alcohol in a setting in which alcohol consumption is the raison d'tre of the event. Poor Krueger. I truly feel for him, and for all the Scott Kruegers. I wish he'd been raised in my home.

William A. Friedman '02