Tuesday, September 29, 2009

He was making a reasonable argument, for a while.

Toben F. Nelson and Traci L. Toomey, along with their co-authors (listed at the end of the original article) start off making some good points with respect to how the drinking age impacts binge drinking and injury statistics in other countries.  Then they fall off the deep end as they wrap up the article and revert to scare tactics by making absolute statements such as;
“College student drinking is a serious problem. Each year more young people are injured, sexually assaulted and die as the result of drinking. These statistics would be even worse without the age-21 law.”
Where is the proof behind that hypothesis?  While I agree that it is certainly POSSIBLE they haven’t provided any indication of how PROBABLE it is.  They might as well say that lowering the drinking age will result in global warming and cause a decline in the Dow.  They go on to say;
“Lowering the drinking age will not save lives or make our campuses and communities better places to live. It will increase heavy drinking and the problems that accompany it in college communities and push the problem back into high schools.”
Again, certainly possible, but please provide a foundation before building the house.
I think everyone is overlooking the fact that we have some of the least restrictive laws in western society with respect to obtaining a driver license.  Furthermore, once you have your license – barring any egregious infractions – all you have to do is renew it periodically to keep it for the rest of your life.  No additional testing to speak of (NC requires vision and sign tests at renewal.)  Let’s take the lousy drivers off the road if we’re really concerned with automotive fatalities!  (While we’re at it I think an ignition interlock should be mandatory for anyone convicted of driving while impaired.)
Now that we’ve handled the drinking and driving aspect of the argument, how about some compromise?  In the cruise ship industry there was a policy that allowed guests between 18-21 to consume beer and wine with parental consent while in international waters.  Let’s take that model and allow young adults to consume beer and wine while under the direct supervision of their parents.  No loopholes, no exceptions, they must be with a parent.  This way we’re not sending young adults  the message “you’re old enough to vote, marry and be drafted, but don’t ask about drinking!” and society looks less like a bunch of hypocrites.

No comments:

Post a Comment