Be smart New Year’s Eve

By Walt Braun

As has been the custom for the last eight years, thousands of Manhattan residents will find their way to Aggieville on New Year’s Eve.

For many, the attractions will include entertainment in the form of a DJ and the band Catch Amy, a laser light show and, of course, the countdown to the Little Apple ball drop at midnight.

For some, alcohol will be part of the celebration. Alcohol also is certain to be part of the fun at clubs and living rooms all over town as friends gather for parties, some low-key, others big and brassy, as folks bid farewell to 2011 and ring in 2012.

Unfortunately, if history is much of a guide, alcohol also will be involved in less celebratory moments this weekend: arguments, fights, DUIs and perhaps traffic accidents, even some causing deaths or injuries. All that, too, is part of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s morning in America.

The police will be watching. Good for them. We hope they don’t spoil your evening, just as we hope your misbehavior doesn’t force their hand.

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not urging anyone who’s of age and isn’t an alcoholic not to drink. Rather, we’re simply urging residents who plan to drink alcohol to make responsible decisions. Those include making absolutely certain you don’t drive drunk, don’t get into a car with a drunk driver and don’t allow friends who are intoxicated to get behind the wheel.

Most folks know about designated drivers; find one or volunteer to be one this time around. If you’re hosting a party, have nonalcoholic beverage options (including coffee), and have a couch ready for someone who shouldn’t drive home.

It isn’t our intent to put a damper on the evening. Like most residents, we look forward to the coming year, and we don’t want stories of New Year’s tragedies to occupy the front page in the coming days.

We don’t want to wonder what someone’s life might have been like if he or she hadn’t gotten behind the wheel, or if he or she wasn’t in a car that was struck by a vehicle driven by someone who tempted fate.

We wish you a happy, prosperous New Year and we’d like you to be around to enjoy many happy returns.

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