Responding to the noise problem in my neighborhood, a reader pointed out a need that I very much support: places for people younger than 21 to regularly go to play music, dance, meet with their friends, and do other positive, normal activities.
Plenty of places exist in the community that could sponsor free or low-cost activities for teen-agers. Maybe parents and other interested adults just need to ask more leaders to do so.
Teen-agers' recreational needs have been around for too many years in too many communities. We didn't have a lot of places to go when I was a teen-ager, either, and I remember what that felt like. These kids feel abandoned by adults.
My grandmother kept me busy with dance lessons and volunteering for various charities, knowing that a kid who's busy doing good things has no time for negative behaviors.
Our home also was a welcome place for my friends, who asked to come to my house despite my grandmother's strict rules. We all learned a valuable life lesson – one can have great fun without being thoughtless toward others or rude and destructive.
Most teen-agers are good folks; are respectful to their families (the first place we learn how to treat others), neighbors and communities; and are a delight to be around.
Teen-agers often can be a good example to older people, such as those – all at least 21 and old enough to know better – who have been so disrespectful to our entire neighborhood.
As I said previously, I had asked politely numerous times for two weekends for the noise to be turned down. I subsequently learned that various neighbors have repeatedly asked nicely to turn the volume down, then were forced to call the police in exasperation, after being repeatedly ignored and disrespected.
Generally, most people will be respectful back. But there are a few people who are so self-centered that others totally don't matter to them, and those people need a strong message that their bad behavior is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.
The noise I wrote about wasn't just on the holiday weekend and it wasn't just normal party noise. I could even enjoy a few strains of music wafting on the breeze and the soft buzz of normal party conversation.
But I shouldn't be assaulted by a reverberating bass that literally shakes my apartment and drowns out any hope of hearing my own stereo or television in my own home, much less any relaxation or rest.
This loud-enough-to-wake-the-dead stuff (too loud to hear the music part) could be heard a block away and made my dog shake in fear in her own home. We literally were driven out for the entire weekend, costing us money we didn't have budgeted.
This invasive, rude noise wasn't for just a few hours in the evening, like a normal party, but went on at all hours throughout the night and into the next morning. Round the clock, ALL weekend long, every weekend, with no real break. That kind of behavior usually is associated with drug use or drug sales.
Responding to a number of neighbors' complaints, apartment management reportedly is pursuing legal avenues and police are keeping a watchful eye. This past weekend was actually fairly decent and livable in our neighborhood, and many neighbors hope it stays that way.
As I said before, someone's right to party and make invasive noise ends on my side of the wall or at my property line. We who live in multi-family housing know certain behaviors are unacceptable – that may be more acceptable in a house – because of our neighbors' close proximity.
In my own home as a teen-ager, if my stereo could be heard outside my room, I could either turn it down or put on my headphones – or it would have to be turned off. I'm proud that each of my grand nieces and grand nephews have been taught the same basic respect for others at home and elsewhere.
I salute and support good teen-agers – they likely will be the good, decent citizens in our communities tomorrow. Adults don't have to be parents to help support the good kids through the schools and community activities. Young people need the time, concern and examples from all the community's adults – not just our money.
Guinda Reeves is a staff reporter for The Verde Independent/Camp Verde Bugle.