It's about the beer
Gina Miller and Bill Keeper
Welcome to 2012, Bill. One thing that usually comes up around now is the annual stir to try to
lower the drinking age. Yup, those loonies are at it again. How can they argue the fact that
more than 25,000 lives have been saved in the U.S. thanks to the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking
Age? This law continues to prevent tragedies—decreasing crashes by an estimated 16
percent and keeping young people safer from many risks.
Many activities have ages of initiation. A person must wait until age 16 to start driving, age 18
to marry without parental consent, age 35 to become president, and so on. The age limit for
alcohol is based on research which shows that young people react differently to alcohol.
Teens get drunk twice as fast as adults but have more trouble knowing when to stop. Teens
naturally overdo it and binge more often than adults. Enforcing the legal drinking age of 21
keeps young people safer overall. Also, because teens are simultaneously undergoing
physical changes, peer pressure, and new situations and urges, allowing them to consume
alcohol can make them more vulnerable to drug and substance abuse, unplanned and
unprotected sex, depression, violence, and other social ills
When states had lower legal drinking ages in the U.S., the underage drinking problem was
worse. For example, before the 21 minimum legal drinking age was implemented by all states,
underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal traffic crashes as today.
Now before you tell me Europeans have fewer underage drinking problems because their kids
drink from an earlier age let me tell you that’s a myth. European countries have worse
problems than America does, as far as binge drinking and drinking to intoxication. Studies
show that Europe has more underage drunkenness, injury, crime, and school problems due to
So I'm for keeping the age at 21 and in fact wouldn't mind if they raised it to 23! So there!
That's it from me, chug-a-lug, Bill.....see you next month.
I won't argue your questionable statistics even though they're, well, questionable. First off I'm
sure your realize that the Constitution (check the 21st Amendment Gina) allows for individual
states to set the drinking age. The only reason all states are at 21 years is that the federal
government had to threaten to withhold highway funds. Look, if it wasn't for Prohibition the
drinking age in America would probably have evolved as it did around the world. And speaking
of the world, do you know we are one of only five countries on the planet (along with Chile, Egypt,
Honduras, Russia, and Samoa) that use the 21 year threshold?
In our country around 70% of the population drinks moderately while only 7% seem to be the
cause of problems. Instead of learning to manage alcohol, young people are now doing it on the
sly without understanding it or getting proper supervision. And by the way, did you, like the
overwhelming number of 18 year olds wait to have that drink until you were 21?
Many ethnic groups in the US educate their young to respect and enjoy alcoholic beverages in
the home at an earlier age than 21. These people rarely are in trouble according to my statistics.
The government considers our young citizens old enough to vote, get married, start a family,
borrow money, and put themselves in harm's way through military service. How does that equate
to then not allowing them at 18 to have a glass of wine or beer at dinner with their family?
I know I promised not to mention your statistics but did you know that if a teetotaler was driving
someone who was drinking and got into an fender bender it would be classified as "alcohol
related" accident? Huh? And how about the fact that 41 states have set exceptions that allow
underage consumption of alcohol in certain circumstances. For example, underage drinking is
allowed in 29 states if done on private premises with parental consent, 30 states if for religious
purposes, and 13 states if for educational purposes.
No one condones excessive drinking or drinking and driving. No one recommends breaking the
law. All I'm saying is that it might be time to look at the question of allowing 18 year olds the right
to drink again. Open debate is what this great nation is all about.
Here's looking at you, kid! See you next month.