Letter: Don’t do the Fry Street crawl

Letter: Don’t do the Fry Street crawl

March 17
21:15 2016

Dexter Simpson

Rituals on the campuses of colleges and universities can be dangerous and deadly, as we saw with the tradition of bonfires on the campus of Texas A&M University years ago when students were killed participating in that tradition.

Today, there is a very dangerous tradition that is going on at the University of North Texas.

Ryan McMillan was killed on December 13, 2015, at the intersection of Oak and Fry streets by a UNT police officer. The family of Ryan McMillan has hired a team to investigate his death. The investigation has revealed a ritual where UNT students, on their 21st birthday, can go to the bars and taverns on Fry Street and receive free shots of alcohol. Many students have told me about the Fry Street crawl and say they learned about it from other students. Apparently this ritual has been handed down through the student culture for many years.

Geographically, UNT is unique because its student housing basically wraps around seven businesses that serve alcohol on Fry Street. So it is not unusual that Ryan McMillan became extremely intoxicated on his 21st birthday after visiting these bars, but what is odd is that he was killed by university police on Fry street. It appears that Ryan’s death was a symptom of a culture that has permeated the student body at UNT and we can find no evidence of warnings or training issued by the university to its students against the Fry Street crawl.

To the students of the University of North Texas:

Many of you are so young that your body has no tolerance for large amounts of straight alcohol which can lead to a total loss of control. The tradition of drinking alcohol until you are so drunk that you have to crawl out of the bars on Fry Street is one that should be stopped immediately and spoken against by the administration of UNT.

If the president of this university or the Board of Regents does not take control of this wrongdoing by the establishments that serve alcohol to UNT students, then they and the university are complicit in this wrongdoing.

When it comes to responsible alcohol management for our young adults, this ritual is wrong in every aspect. There are postings on the Internet advising students to eat greasy food in order to survive the Fry Street crawl. Students, that will not work. You will simply be extremely intoxicated with a stomach full of greasy food.

Do not participate in the Fry Street crawl because it is a dangerous ritual which can lead to extreme intoxication and even death. For example, if you participate in the Fry Street crawl and do it quickly — let’s say in one or two hours — by the time you finish seven shots of straight alcohol you are still extremely intoxicated, and your blood alcohol content will be spiked to a point to where loss of control is imminent.

Businesses that serve alcohol are there for responsible alcohol consumption, not a free for all with free shots of straight alcohol being served to young people. There appears to be a causal relationship to Ryan’s McMillan death and Fry Street.

To all students of UNT, do not expose your family to the pain that Ryan McMillan’s family is enduring, and please do not participate in the Fry Street crawl.

Dexter Simpson is a criminologist working with Renee Higginbotham-Brooks, an attorney representing the family of Ryan McMillan. Simpson is the former North Texas regional commander of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

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10 Comments

  1. Megs
    Megs March 20, 14:39

    Although I agree this tradition is dangerous, there is nothing that can be done by the university to step in and handle the business practices of these bars. These bars are off campus. They are privately owned. The public university has no rights or jurisdiction in trying to tamper with their business habits.

    Reply to this comment
  2. @SirDMartin
    @SirDMartin March 20, 16:59

    While the death of any young person is tragic and the importance of self-moderation cannot be understated, blaming the shooting of McMillan on something like the Fry St. Crawl is outright misleading. Businesses such as the ones on Fry St. are held by both national and state law to regulate who and what they sell, and not only shouldn’t, but cannot be held accountable for what individuals who buy their product go on to do.

    McMillan is shown in video to be a serial vandal and potentially threatening an officer with a deadly weapon. While he may or may not have been inebriated, that’s only a small part of the incident and a choice that he – and only he – could make. To blame the university, the police, the businesses of Fry, or anyone else for the actions of consenting adults is ridiculous. Scare tactics, falsifications, and ad hominem attacks are not the way to go in this matter.

    Reply to this comment
    • JP
      JP March 21, 18:18

      Couldn’t agree more; it is absurd to blame McMillan’s actions that night on the law abiding establishments on Fry, or the Crawl itself. Know when to pace yourself, go with trustworthy friends and definitely don’t take any additional substances. The problem was not the crawl, the alcohol, nor the bars on Fry street, but the actions taken by the individual. The officer was very clear in warning McMillan of the possibility of deadly force; he didn’t shoot until the student continued to advance towards him (with a full sized wood cutting axe). If the officer had not implemented the use of deadly force, his own life could have been taken by the unpredictable nature of the student. It infuriates me to no end when people fail to realize the magnitude of the situation. The student-who was already confirmed to have been taking aggressive action on vehicles-advanced towards a policeman with a deadly weapon. It’s common sense.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Khai ha
    Khai ha March 20, 19:20

    UNT is not unique in its proximity to bars. Many campuses have a plethora of bars around them, some even have school sponsored bar’s in the heart of campus.

    Reply to this comment
  4. J
    J March 20, 23:40

    He wasn’t killed because he was stupid drunk he was killed because he charged a police officer holding an axe. this is a terrible article.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Turd Ferguson
    Turd Ferguson March 21, 12:17

    “Don’t drink on Fry or you’ll smash cars with an axe and die! ” Is basically a summary of this article from a terribly naive writer

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jackie
    Jackie March 21, 13:01

    Blaming the Fry St. crawl for Mr. Mcmillan’s death is incredibly misleading. First, we’re pretending that these students are having their first drink, which many could tell you is simply not the case. Second, each student is required to complete 2 semesters of alcohol awareness training (once before your first and second semester), which details the dangers of alcohol consumption and lays out signs of alcohol abuse and poisoning. So UNT is doing what is within their power to educate their students. Thirdly, you’re assuming that Mr. Mcmillan was a “normal kid” up until that night. Many people hide symptoms of depression, making it near impossible for others to identify it and help. Ever heard of Suicide by Cop? Pretty much lines up with his actions that evening. From a paper that has claimed that its “editors must take accountability for being complete in their reporting.” (in the Sig Phi Ep story), this is outrageously disappointing and inaccurate.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Justin
    Justin March 21, 14:50

    This article could not be more misguided. This young man was under the influence of more than alcohol, and his “friends” let him down. While moderation should absolutely be an emphasis, to say that this tradition is dangerous is far from the truth. Many of us go with friends, and in my case and many others we were accompanied by many people, all of whom stay sober until the last stop of the Crawl. This is an element of the tradition that you either decided to ignore or were unaware of, in which case you need to do more thorough job of researching before spreading a false PSA. Your client was an isolated incident, which is evidenced by the lack of facts to support your claim. A death attributed to Alcohol Poisoning or Drunk Driving would cause public outcry amongst all of the students here, and yet no such incident has ever happened here. We are not children, and we are capable and willing to take care of our own. I’m sorry Ryan’s friends were not there for him, but as a student of the University of North Texas, I must condemn your attempt at scare tactics, and ask that you focus on your clients family rather than blame the businesses and patrons on Fry Street. They may have given him a free shot, but no one handed him a hatchet.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Alumni
    Alumni March 21, 19:57

    Let’s not over reach here. It is one persons own decision if they want to become belligerent drunk on their 21st. That concept is not unique to UNT, and shouldn’t be portrayed that our campus enables that culture. Each bar simply provides one free shot, the entire evening, to a person on their birthday, which is confirmed by their state issued ID/DL. This same act is done at many bars across Denton and the metroplex. Actually, all across the US. So it should not be anyone else’s fault that someone decides to drink an overwhelming amount. I believe the university does an excellent job of communicating drug and alcohol awareness. I’ve previously served on a university wide committee that addresses these issues. We have the amazing SARC program, along with countless other programs. I do agree that students can be better educated on the consequences of the fry street crawl. However, at the end of the day, this is a student made tradition and it is the student who is accountable for their actions.

    Reply to this comment
  9. M.J.
    M.J. April 20, 11:17

    Stupid. Kids have been getting drunk on Fry Street for decades. However, unlike Ryan McMillan, those past students have managed to simply get drunk, then go home, without:
    -vandalizing cars with an ax,
    -then approach responding law enforcement with the same ax,
    -and, finally, yell for the responding law enforcement to shoot him.

    So, can your excuses. You were hired by the attorney of this kid’s family to come up with an excuse for his stupidity. It’s an thin an excuse as has ever been proffered, and yet you push it out there anyway.

    Pathetic.

    Reply to this comment

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