Opinion

Editor's column

"Even the Secret Service can't protect teensThe Bush Administration has already produced its first American hero, someone the parents of America can look up to and say, See, it's not as easy as you think.Our hero is Jenna Bush, the 19-year-old daughter of President and Mrs. Bush, who got herself in trouble with the law by quaffing some beer while being protected by the Secret Service. The S.S., as we shall call it, has always done a good job protecting presidents. Considering how many people want them dead, very few have actually been killed. Year after year the S.S. protects whatever president is in their charge, and very seldom does anything negative happen. But the S.S. couldn't protect a teenager for one night, so Jenna Bush ended up in court last week where she pleaded no contest to the charge of drinking alcohol as a minor. She and her friends had sidled into a Texas pub, telling the S.S. not to worry, that they were just there to listen to the music. So the gullible S.S. agents waited outside while a local police officer dutifully went inside and busted the president's beer-swilling daughter.The fact that Jenna Bush hornswoggled the Secret Service and got into trouble should put her face on the cover of every parenting magazine in America. Even the Secret Service couldn't stop her! the headline should shout. A typical teenager!All these years, regular American parents have dreamed that we could send a Secret Service detail out on the town with our sons and daughters, but now we realize that wouldn't work, either. The S.S. is no match for wily teenagers with their fresh, earnest looks and reckless disregard for the truth.Presumably, since the embarrassing Jenna Bush incident, the S.S. is retraining its agents to better protect teenage children of presidents. Those assigned to Jenna Bush will have to confess that they botched the job by violating the three cardinal rules of protecting teenagers: 1) Never underestimate their creativity; 2) Never believe a word they say; 3) Never turn your back on them.Teenagers simply aren't as easy to protect as a president, mainly because they don't want to be protected. They want to be free, run wild, and do what they want, and they'll stop at nothing to achieve this goal. The Secret Service is just another impediment to be overcome, like parents.The fact is, to protect Jenna Bush or any teenager you have to be by their side every second of every day. You have to go into those dance clubs, ride around with them, hang in their dorms, and get to know their friends. In short, you'd have to be crazy.The embarrassed Secret Service agents assigned to Jenna Bush are likely asking for an easier assignment, such as ferreting out Russian spies at the F.B.I. or serving as human shields for American diplomats in the war-torn Middle East.Protecting a teenager is just too difficult, and is an excellent way to ruin a Secret Service career. "

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