Drifter's rights go deeper than his 17 years

Mar 25, 2013


Excerpt: Last week Port Clinton police picked up a 17-year-old drifter. When the teen explained he was traveling cross country on his own with parental consent, the police called his parents in Wisconsin. His mother explained her son's traveling was a learning experience, part of a non-traditional education. Now police and children's services in his home state are investigating the incident.

The typical reaction to the story is "What kind of parent would allow a 17-year-old travel the country unsupervised?" It's a big cruel world out there and many unscrupulous people prey upon vulnerable children. Thousands of runaways face life-changing — or life-ending — experiences when they leave home.

We're not faulting the PC police for taking control of the situation. Their job is to protect and serve and that's what they were doing. 

But this young man is not a runaway, he's a walkabout. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, "Not all who wander are lost." His parents chose life experiences as educational tools and embarking on this, and a previous multi-state journey, is attending a class on life.  He has parental consent.


Darwin's choice

Turn him loose..


and then he killed a family of four

2cents's picture

I checked all my data books and do not find where maturity is somehow turned on at age 18. Some have it at 14 others never get it!

When I was 16 I drove across the US to pick my parents up after a trip. Of course at that age I had a tool box and could fix anything that may have failed on the car. You did not need a credit card to hold a room at a hotel either.

Maybe his parents want him to live life, it is getting harder to do these days with the federal government making so many decisions for people!

Just saying!


How many kids left home at a young age in prior generations? Went out and made their own way in the world? Or joined the navy or the circus? No one called social services then. 17 is practically an adult.

thinkagain's picture

The summer after graduating, I hitchhiked over 10K miles, seeing this country’s sights and gaining a lifetime of memories. Never lived in fear and never will.

That being said, I would think most mother’s, as mine was, would be against such adventuring.

Truth or Dare

Being a non-traditionalist or non-conformist, well that makes other folks nervous! He commit a crime? Had he committed a crime here they wouldn't hesitate to try him as an adult!

2cents's picture

Very good point, thanks!!

BW1's picture

What an affront to every principle upon which this nation was founded.

Did the police have any CREDIBLE probable cause to believe he had committed a crime? If not, they had no business so much as asking him for the time of day.

Many people graduate high school and travel alone to college before turning 18. It's not the role of the police or any other government agency to enforce conformance to anyone's idea of "normal."

Good 2 B Me

Let the guy go! This guy gets to do it his way, don't hate on him because of it! Good luck young man!


The editorial is a little incomplete. What actually happened with the 17 year old after police contacted his parents, and why? Was he detained further or released? Also how did the police become aware of him in the first place?

Sandusky Register Reader's picture
Sandusky Regist...

SR seems to leave you hanging on quite a few articles......Is it their way of keeping you interested i.e. reading and/or buying the paper with the follow up story???.....


Or you can come to there web site and find out what happened and read the follow up


and also , If he would have been my son , he wouldnt be traveling alone and on foot , not in the crazy messed up world ,
That Boy has no idea what can happen to him . Its a shame that parents just let these kids run at will and not care about there well being .

BW1's picture

Much of what happens to people in the crazy messed up world is at the hand of 17 year olds. The kid isn't going to learn how to deal with the world without experiencing it. Life is what happens while fearful people like you are cowering and hiding.


1. How did the cops even know he was 17? 2. If he was 18 no one would care. Parents basically don't get to raise their kids anymore and it's all up to child services. Then people wonder why parents don't discipline their kids. If this woman thought her child could do it, then so be it. I doubt she forced him. The only difference between 17 and 18 is that he'll be able to buy his own smokes.


It won't be a "class in life" unless something happens to him.


It won't be a "class in life" unless something happens to him.