300: teenage wasteland

Anderson Cooper mocked, “First of all, how lame is it that someone tweeted the 518?”

If you live around the Albany area, you probably know the story, but for the rest of you: former National Football League player Brian Holloway’s home in Stephentown, rural Rensselaer County, was broken into by about 300 kids and used as a party house on August 31, 2013. Holloway was in Florida at the time and these kids trashed the place, with graffiti on the walls and the like.

Holloway started some organization and website called Help Me Save 300, where he explained what happened, and most notably, posted the tweets and photos that the teens themselves posted AT THE TIME of their activity. He said he wanted to reach out to the young people and show them “there are better ways to spend their time than drinking, drugs, and vandalism.”

This has led some of the parents of the kids who left “urine-stained carpets, broken windows, damaged walls” to threaten to sue Holloway because he posted their pictures on his website, which, of course, has received appropriate local pushback.

What exactly is Holloway raising money for? (There’s no corporation in the state of New York called Help Me Save 300; I checked.)

It is an icky story. And I can’t help wonder if 30 black and/or Hispanic kids had broken into someone’s house if there would be as much “kids will be kids” reaction among some.

Naturally, there’s usually a silly side to these tales: CNN’s Anderson Cooper mocked, “First of all, how lame is it that someone tweeted the 518?” 518 is the local area code. First I recall someone touting their area code in that fashion was Ruben Studdard on the second season of American Idol, giving a shoutout to the 205. So Anderson is gratuitously making fun of upstate New York; guess one must find the levity where one can.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

10 thoughts on “300: teenage wasteland”

  1. Look, I’m sorry that Holloway has lingering concussion problems from playing football. Damn shame, but that was his choice. But excuse me, this is ONE of his mansions, usually unoccupied. Sustained $20,000 worth of damage? I’ll bet he spends that much on Saturday night. I couldn’t give a rat’s crap about one of his mansions getting trashed, and my sympathies lie with the kids who will now be crucified because they dared to damage the property of some clown with too much money. I’m not surprised to hear that he’s collecting money for a “charity” that probably doesn’t exist.

  2. I’m more troubled by the jerky behavior, that would not have happened in a vacuum, but is a function of people feeling a sense of entitlement. Dan, if it had been your property, I doubt you’d be that cavalier.

  3. Dan…

    1) i think you are grossly exaggerating the wealth of this player. if he really does have that much money ($20k to spend on a Saturday night) it would be because of investments and business deals outside of the NFL. the NFL has no guaranteed contracts and, like in real life, only the elite 1% of the league makes actual money over an extended period of time. players’ medical coverage is cut off after 5 years too so those expenses can potentially grow exponentially, especially with what we know about CTE.

    2) the tyranny of “they knew what they were getting into” has to stop. the NFL obfuscated any data and knowledge about concussions for years. add to that, television broadcasts reduced serious potentially career-ending hits to the head as “getting their bell rung” or “whoa! he doesn’t know where he’s at!” it is so thoroughly disingenuous to write off actual workplace risks that the league hid under the misguided notion that the players are rich. an overwhelming majority of them are not rich and never were. like the rest of America, they over-rely on credit (about 80% of all NFL players will be divorced and/or bankrupt by the team they are 40). if you chose to work in a field that would realistically see you retire from it by the time you were 26 and your body was decimated by 50 because of it i think you’d be singing a different tune. but who knows, maybe you have an Ayn Rand streak on this stuff. in which case i say good luck with that. i would love to live in an alternate universe where you are a coal miner and i could say “tough shit” about your lungs and the fact that your company has been hiding data and studies about how dangerous it really is to work there.

  4. MDS – First, let me repeat, this is one of this guy’s mansions, which he visited now and then. This is not someone who is poor or has to work for a living. Second, American football is a game where large male bodies repeatedly smash into each other as hard as they possibly can. You don’t need an advanced degree in physiology to see that such behavior on a daily basis is likely to be injurious and life-shortening. Third, most coal miners have few choices when it comes to careers. As for comparing the troubles of a retired major league football player to those of a lowly coal miner, well, I don’t want to sound like a troll so I’ll just leave that.

    Roger – You’re right, I wouldn’t be so cavalier if it was my property. However, I’m not a rich man but I do pay for lots of insurance, which I’m sure Halloway has plenty of. As The Wife pointed out, there are plenty of people without resources who need the support and assistance that he’s getting, such as support from those school kids who were volunteering to clean up his mansion.

    If I’m reading you correctly, you say you are troubled by the sense of entitlement by the kids who trashed the unoccupied mansion. Yes, I agree, selfish spoiled brats. But what bothers me is the attention this guy is getting, when every day plenty of people are victims of random property damage or worse, people for whom $20000 worth of damage is devastating but their story is not considered worthy as news. The kids who trashed the empty mansion are jerks, but really, the reasons we are hearing about this is because they wrecked the wrong kind of house, one owned by someone considered elite, and because apparently “social media” was involved, which the corporate media loves to denigrate as a social ill.

  5. Not just the kids’ sense of entitlement, but the parents’, who can try to protect their babies, whereas kids less well off – and/or with the wrong look – would just be written off as thugs.

  6. Okay, good point. If the kids (and parents) were black, this would be a “gang style” crime and the kids would be immediately incarcerated and given long sentences. If the kids were Muslim, they would be “terrorists” and get double life in solitary.

  7. Dan,
    yeah, collisions between football players was SOOOO inherently known to be dangerous that studies about it just… recently… happened. in related news: 9 out of 10 doctors recommend Marlboro. (but everyone *knew*–wink wink–that smoking was bad, except for all of the studies that said it was okay and all of the obfuscation of data at the time, right? i mean, one didn’t have to be doctor to know the risks–except that no one really knew the full extent of the risks. it’s funny how we all pretend to know everything about health-related stuff until groups of 3rd parties actually explain it to us.)

  8. I just got around to reading yesterday’s Sunday dead tree Hearst Times Union, the article by Chris Churchill, who was instrumental in initially publicizing the incident. It seems things are not quite as they’ve been advertised. For example, the damage was greatly exaggerated. The “wall of graffiti” that was shown all over the TV was actually on an outbuilding and predates the party. And according to several of the accused teens, Halloway’s 19 year old son was part of the party and the advertising:


    So it wasn’t quite the horrible home invasion that the corporate media has been trumpeting coast to coast. And it seems that all kinds of fools who obey the corporate media are using “social media” to threaten and bully the perpetrators. Now I really do have sympathy for the kids, many of whom apparently showed up because they heard about a party and for no other reason. How about that.

  9. I’m sorry, but on what planet is what these kids did to someone else’s property acceptable…regardless of the amount of damage? It should not matter one iota who Brian Holloway is or how many houses he has. The fact is these kids had blatant disregard for someone else’s possessions and property. The fact that they thought it was appropriate to tweet their partying speaks volumes about their attitudes. “Kids will be kids” is not an excuse for B&E, vandalism and overall indifference. I don’t excuse the ones who just showed up and supposedly “didn’t know who owned the house” because the events and actions going on inside were unacceptable on every level. It shouldn’t matter who owned the house…or the “color” of the kids.

  10. I don’t care how rich or not the guy whose house was broken in to was. I don’t care who these kids are. This kind of behavior is Not. Cool. Especially the parents saying their kids don’t “deserve” to pay consequences for their actions. (I’m a college prof and occasionally I see the end result of a kid who grew up not facing consequences. It can be very frustrating.)

    I don’t know. I was raised with the Golden Rule and remember being told to stop before I did something and think about how it might make the other person feel. I can’t think of ANYONE who would not feel violated by people breaking into their house, partying, messing the place up, ruining things….no matter how wealthy.

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