Find alternative to "Fugitive" game

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board July 06, 2011 08:22 pm

We like that more local teenagers are willing to get outside and run around.

But we don’t want them hightailing it through somebody’s backyard.

That might be healthy in a cardiovascular sense.

Unfortunately it’s also trespassing.

Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner was wise to publicly condemn the game called “Fugitive.”

Here’s the way it works, according to a young man who told Lohner about the game:

A group of teens divides into two groups, “runners” and “drivers.”

Each group tries to beat the other to a predetermined spot. The groups start from the same place, with the runners given a head start.

The potential dangers of the game are obvious.

The runners, lacking the speed of a car, naturally look for shortcuts.

Except there aren’t many shortcuts, in a city setting, that don’t involve crossing private property.

Lohner’s fear, and it’s hardly a farfetched one, is that a Fugitive player will get into a potentially dangerous altercation with a homeowner or a dog.

Then too, we can’t condone any unofficial race that involves teen drivers. The correlation between fledgling drivers and fatal accidents is well-established.

We’re not so naive as to believe that Fugitive would remain popular were it to become an organized event, on par with Little League baseball or YMCA soccer.

Much of the game’s attraction, no doubt, lies in its clandestine, after-dark nature.

Still and all, we hope Fugitive’s fans will heed the police chief’s advice that they move their games to public property or to private land, outside the city, which they have permission to use.

Kids like their freedom, sure. But they don’t much like getting cited for trespassing, or getting stitched up when someone’s pet takes a chunk from their leg.

Better yet, have the drivers swap their cars for bicycles.

That makes for a more even race. Plus everybody gets some exercise.