Rumspringa and Dangerous Driving

The Amish people are known for their strict rules that define their lifestyle, clothing, length of hair, style of buggy, and avoidance of technology. During the adolescence of Amish males however, they enter a period known as Rumspringa.

Rumspringa has been portrayed as time of experimentation and decision.  While Amish youth will mull the decision to join the church at this time, an Amishman who has studied the subject extensively contends that this decision is typically already made in the mind of many youth.  The Rumspringa period serves other purposes besides deciding whether to join the church….  One of those purposes is to enter into a more formalized social world and peer interaction, which occurs when joining a youth group.

While the wildness that has been portrayed is extremely rare, it is during this time that the more not-traditionalist activities occur. Until they join the church, they are not bound by the same strict anti-technology rules as are the adults.

One of the buggies rolling down main street today was a bit different though–from far off, it looked like any other gray-topped Lancaster vehicle;  as it drew nearer, there was no missing the rock music pumping out of the on-board stereo, bass speakers kicking hard in the back.

For some young Amish, Sundays after church is cruising time, and the two lads inside were taking full advantage of their chance to ‘run around’ a bit.

As can be found in any society with such strict rules, there can be some humerous events. For example one youth recently ran afoul of the law with an unusual DUI.

A 17-year-old Amish youth faces a host of charges after Cattaraugus County sheriff’s deputies said they saw him driving a buggy while holding an open can of beer and then led police on a brief chase.

Deputies said they were patrolling Route 62 about 1 a.m. Monday when they saw the boy. They said they attempted to stop the buggy and the driver led them on short chase before pulling over.

Lewis D. Hostetler, 17, became belligerent, deputies said, refused their commands and resisted arrest.

Hostetler was charged with resisting arrest, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume by a person under age 21, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, insufficient tail lamps and littering on a highway.

This happened a year, almost to the day of a similar incident by a young Levi Detweiller.

a cop saw him roll through a stop sign. The officer, apparently lacking any real bad guys to pursue, decided to pull Levi over for this grave violation.

But Levi had been dipping into the sauce. And being an Amish kid, he probably doesn’t have a lot of practice holding his liquor. So instead of taking the pinch, he decided to outrun the officer in a high-speed buggy chase.

This is generally not a good idea even when you’re armed with a car. But we regret to inform you, Young Levi, that successful escapes by horse-drawn carriage have diminished quite starkly in the last 100 years or so.

The chase lasted an unimpressive 3/4 of a mile before Levi crashed the buggy trying to take a sharp turn into a driveway. He then bolted on foot, but was later caught hiding in the area.

In the immortal words of Weird Al.

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