Aug 282011

Although I’m known for closing my columns with non-sequiturs, Collegian editors have “proactively warned me,” if I close another column with a non-sequitur they’ll be forced to further reprimand me, and my spam folder is full. So I’m forced to see their emails before deleting them now.

Thus, this week I’ve decided to open with a non-sequitur as you’ll see by the end of the column; you just read it.

The student population deserves some well-rounded guidance and a reminder on how to avoid situations such as last year’s Old Town riot and this past weekend’s “Idiocy In Action” awareness event at Rams Pointe.

Rule number one in life is set for its utmost importance and applicability: “don’t do anything stupid.” If you take the time to seriously reflect on the wisdom contained within, rule number one will truly encompass virtually all of life’s other rules and prevent a multitude of heartache and pain.

For instance, “don’t do anything stupid” definitely prevents one from rioting the first weekend of school. Likewise, you wouldn’t have unprotected sex with that Tijuana stripper — how do you think hoof-and-mouth disease jumped species?

Weekend activities of the CU faculty notwithstanding, rule number one was invariably and vigorously molested this past weekend at Ram’s Pointe.  I admittedly do not know all of the details of the inherent stupidity on display, but as an adult, former enforcer of the law and observer of human behavior, I have no fears of having my statement proven wrong.

A word of advice if you want to avoid these situations:  alcohol large college crowd sun water = inevitable bad news. Spring break only occasionally manages to avoid complete shut down by officers of the law, aka the “fun police,” but plenty of violations of rule number one take place off their radar notwithstanding — ah herpes, the gift that keeps on giving.

However, putting yourself in a situation where a significant percent of Fort Collins’ entire population is in one place for a party — at which the oldest attendee is wearing American flag swim trunks whilst standing atop a table thrown into the pool — chances are you should at least plan a hasty exit.

Life in the modern U.S. is not exactly a demonstration in personal liberty, even in Las Vegas — where it is legal to hire a prostitute, drink on the street and virtually anything else consensual — it is somehow still illegal to smoke a joint.

But, despite my reputation for questioning authority at every opportunity, when police show up to a party attended by 4,000 of your closest friends, just leave. You do not need to look cool for your friends and mess with the cop telling you to leave; just do what they tell you.

I promise that the best way to avoid getting pepper-sprayed, tased, beaten, bitten or shot is to comply with police in those high-stress situations.

I have not seen the numbers of how many officers showed up on-scene, but imagine how much adrenaline you would have coursing through your veins if you showed up to a party where you’re outnumbered 40-to-1 by a younger, fitter, inebriated crowd of obnoxiousness?
Chances are you would not be amused.

Although, there once was a day when us vs. them included a mutual respect, but this was prior to the days of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter ruining the lives of many officers of both police and fire departments posing with various strippers, hookers and cheerleaders.

This is no longer the case. The economic depression shows no signs of letting up and police departments will use any excuse to save money on payroll by cutting seasoned officers. Unfortunately, this means the leeway to look the other way in a college town — officers rarely exercised it in the past — is hardly ever going to see use today.

What does this mean for you as a student and future member of society? First, educate yourself on your rights dealing with law enforcement. Rule number one definitely includes keeping your mouth shut and lawyering up as soon as possible.

Regardless of whether you’ve done nothing wrong, more criminal charges exist than either of us could comprehend. Keeping your mouth shut — this is different from “don’t snitch” – does not violate any of them. Whereas opening your mouth may prove to remove any lingering doubt you are a fool; a fool potentially charged with a crime.

Learn you have the right, when an officer asks permission to search your vehicle, to say “no.” Beyond these basic subsections of rule number one are a litany of other methods to avoid getting in trouble.

Yes, I am glad to see college students still act like college students and have a good time, but several of you violated rule number one this weekend and that has once again served to put CSU back in the headlines in the region for public acts of stupidity and violence.

If you really feel the urge to violate rule number one, do it in Boulder, wearing black and gold, and don’t get caught. Wait, that doesn’t violate rule number one, so good luck.

Seth J. Stern lives in constant violation of his own advice. His hypocrisy appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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