Time for community to examine attitudes about alcohol

QCS Guest Columnist: Misti Cohran

On May 18, 12-year-old Augie Montiel lost his life when he drowned in a canal. This was a tragedy true enough, but who should be punished for his death?

I was at a court hearing on July 5 and it was really sad, but also stupid as I heard stories about children drinking from the time they were 9 or 10 years old.

I sat there amazed and so confused, wondering where are the parents of these children. Are these kids being taught morals, the value of life, right from wrong?

And where are our police — or even good citizens — while this is going on? Kids are walking up and down the streets, all hours of the night, drinking and smoking. Nobody sees them?

In court it was said the drowning victim had been drinking since he was 10. An attorney asked one of Augie’s friends on the witness stand where they would drink. The child answered, “We would just walk around and drink.”

Does a tragedy have to happen before people start to care?
My little sister, Crystal Cochran, has been arrested in connection with this child’s death. Police said Augie was intoxicated when he drowned and they say Crystal allowed Augie and other children to drink while they were at her home the day he died.

Is Crystal really to blame for Tucumcari children drinking or is it just easy to put the blame on her and Fred Jaramillo III, the man who allegedly bought the alcohol for the boys?

Those who testified in court said Crystal basically didn’t want the boys to leave that day; that she made a meal for them.

So I’m wondering what’s the real reason Crystal is on trial? Is she someone to blame because this commuity doesn’t want to blame parents and others for failing to control or care for their children?

My sister is not a babysitter or a parent. She was just looking out for these kids when their parents wouldn’t.

I was in Tucumcari on July 4-5 and I noticed that every restaurant and store I went into sold alcohol. This amazed me because I am from a small town in Texas where our county is dry and we have to drive a good hour to get any kind of alcohol.

In Tucumcari, it’s easy for a kid to walk up to an adult and say, “Hey, can you go buy me some vodka when you go in there?”

I arrived in Tucumcari about 11 p.m. on July 4. Kids of all ages were running around and parents and teens were drinking, with beers on top of cars.

I think the people of Tucumcari need to look at their surroundings — at themselves — before pointing fingers at my sister.

Good parents don’t fault someone else for their mistakes. One 18-year-old girl is not responsible for Augie’s death or for a community’s attitude about alcohol.

Misti Cochran is a guest columnist. To contact her, write: 105 East Hallie, Floydada, Texas 79235