By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – They are among the most dismaying and, unfortunately, commonly-recurring stories we report.

A young adult, most-often a young male, is reported missing. Family and friends say he was drinking at a local bar and left by himself. Sometime later, after desperate searching and appeals for information, the body is pulled from the river or the harbor.

charles river missing man search Keller @ Large: Drinking Shouldnt Lead To Drowning

State Police search the Charles River for Michael Kelleher April 5, 2017. (Photo courtesy Kristin MacDougall)

The Boston Globe reports that during a seven-year period, the bodies of 11 missing people, mostly young men, have been recovered from local waters.

And according to Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, officials often find themselves watching the same scene play out on surveillance video – the victim, staggering out of a bar and losing their footing at the water’s edge.

Evans told public radio the other day that “we have to do a better job of watching their safety…we’re trying to work with the clubs to make sure they’re not over-serving.” and the book should be thrown at any watering-hole that doesn’t take precautions.

But let’s be honest with ourselves – bartenders aren’t baby-sitters, and they shouldn’t be asked to be. The responsibility for making sure drinking doesn’t lead to drowning rests with the drinkers and their companions.

You know the old slogan: “friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” That needs to be expanded to include refusal to let drunken friends wander off alone. And maybe we need to re-evaluate what we are or aren’t doing to arm young people with the judgement they need to avoid ever getting into such a situation.

After all, there’s a reason why alcohol is considered the most dangerous drug in the world.

Talk back to me via email at, or you can reach out on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.


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