The Times West Virginian

February 2, 2014

Is it time to give up on Justin Bieber?

Times West Virginian

— That poor Justin Bieber. His life, though it has only been a short 19 years, seems to be spiraling out of control.

First hints of trouble started on Jan. 23, in Miami Beach, Fla., when the pop star was arrested for driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. He reportedly said some pretty choice words to officers after a drag-racing incident through a residential neighborhood. They clocked Bieber’s Lamborghini going 55 in a 30 mile-per-hour zone.

The teenager was found to have alcohol in his system, as well as prescription drugs and marijuana. He made bail the next day, and quite the media spectacle when he climbed to the roof of the SUV to wave to fans.

The next time Bieber pops up on anyone’s radar was just a few days later when he headed back to his home city of Toronto to face assault charges that stemmed from a December episode involving a limo driver.

But he hasn’t given up his partying ways. Late last week, the singer of such hits as “Boyfriend” and “Never Say Never” was detained at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport by US customs because they were suspicious that he and his entourage had been smoking marijuana on his private plane on the flight from Toronto. He was released with no charges pressed, but he didn’t head to church or some charity event. Instead, Bieber and his group of guys went to Maxim Magazine’s Super Bowl party.

Now U.S. President Barack Obama must decide whether or not to deport Justin Bieber. That’s not something that typically comes up when Canadians get in trouble in the United States. It’s just that the hashtag #deportjustinbieber became pretty popular and an online petition in support of that got 220,000 signatures.

I can’t imagine the majority of those who signed that petition actually want to see Justin Bieber deported to his home country. It’s just that once there are that many people who sign a petition, the president must make a ruling on it. Consider the fact that Obama had to make a decision last year as to whether or not to build the Death Star. So, whether you are a Belieber or have a few at home, you might want to sit down and have a long talk about substance abuse and what happens when someone is catapulted into fame at a very young age. Or not.

Maybe we ought to remember what Charles Barkley had to say: “I am not a role model.” But whether he wanted to admit it or not, he was a role model. Justin Bieber is a role model, too. He’s just not a very good one right now.

So have we given up on the Bieber?

We took the question to our online readers last week, who log on each week to to vote in our reader interactive poll question. Last week we asked, “Another star growing up in the spotlight is in trouble. Justin Bieber faces charges on drinking and drug use. How should parents handle this news with their kids?”

And here is what you had to say:

• Just ignore it. There will be new heartthrobs soon and it will soon be “Justin Who?” — 9.88 percent.

• Introduce and encourage real “stars” that should be role models for your kids — 11.11 percent.

• Add Bieber to the list of artists banned from the house. His actions are inexcusable — 35.8 percent.

• Use it as a way to bring up the dangers of substance abuse and under age consumption — 43.21 percent.

Regardless, we really hope the kid pulls it together. Not because we like his music, but because we’ve seen far too many kids die far too young because of drugs and alcohol.

This week, let’s talk about the thing that’s on everyone’s mind, the Marion County school calendar for next year. The board of education is asking teachers, parents and students to vote on their preferences for the way the calendar should look next year. What gets your vote?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor