Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Your Turn

So, Scout Willis was busted for underage drinking. She is 20 and a college student and drinking a beer. What do you think the drinking age should be? I understand the argument that if you can join the military at 18 that you should also be able to drink. However, I think if you make 18 the legal age there will be a lot more 14 and 15 year old kids getting drunk. Why? There are lots of 18 year old kids in high school. Do you think only 18 year old kids go to parties alone? Nope. These are generally for every grade in that particular high school. Maybe this is a high school that has 9th graders. Most of them are 14. Think they will abstain?

When it is 21, there is that separation. You have 21 year old people buying it at college parties but generally the youngest person there is 18. That is a whole lot different than a 14 year old.

58 comments:

IDoTheRobot said...

18. If you can buy cigarettes, vote and die for this country you should be able to buy your own booze too.

shopgirl said...

When I was 18, that was the legal age and most of us had graduated high school right around our 18th b'day so it wasn't a big deal. But... it was easier for teenagers of all ages to get the booze and I think my first drink was when I was 13 so there you go.

I just wish our culture would look to alcohol (and just about everything else) with moderation. Have a more French/Italian attitude about it and not go crazy and drink just to get drunk.

Tru Leigh said...

I agree with you Enty. Make it legal at 18, and nearly 18's think it's okay.

Cigarettes don't leave you impared when you drive. Going off to potentiall die in a war is voluntary (at this point).

canadachick said...

I agree with Robot. Here in Canada its 19 except in quebec which i think is 18?

hunter said...

No opinion on the law, I think it's fine. She's 20 and in New York - her mistake was drinking in public (it did not say she was in a bar, but rather on the street).

Seachica said...

18 for active military; 21 for all others. As a bonus, enlistment rates will go up.

ut I also think we make too big a deal of drinking being a special, forbidden activity in the US. There are plenty of cultures where kids are allowed to have sips of alcohol, and it ends up being no big deal.

Btw, 14 and 15 year olds already drink. They get it from their parents liquor cabinets, or parents who want to be cool and buy kegs for their kids' parties, or from der siblings with fake IDs. I doubt lowering the drinking age would impact that much.

Comma Chaser said...

It should be 18. Pretty much I...Robot summed up what I would have said anyhow.

Caraface said...

@CanadaChick - you're in the Great White North and you're a Bruins fan? This NH-girl approves.

I don't have an issue with the drinking age, but I don't necessarily disagree with having it be 18, either. Bottom line - if a 14 year old wants booze, they'll find a way to get it.

Can we talk about raising the age you get a driver's license and/or increasing the threshold on the required amount of driver training? I feel like that's more of a threat to teenage lives than alcohol.

Carolyn said...

I guess I'm with the 18 camp, too, although I sort of understand your argument. When they raised the speed limit on interstates in my state from 55 to 65, I was like, "People will just drive that much faster. Those going 65 now will go 75 and those going 75 will go 85."

I don't know, though. As someone who works with high school students, I think they are already drinking at 14. Personally, I was already drinking at 15.

When I was 14, the schools were split grades 7-9 as junior high school and grades 10-12 as high school, and I started drinking as soon as I was in high school.

Now grades 6-8 are middle school and 9-12 are high school and if I had been in high school as a 9th grader, I am SURE I would have been drinking at 14.

I think alcohol abuse is rampant even among young teens, but I don't think the drinking age has anything to do with that.

nunaurbiz said...

Well, when I was in college, the drinking age in our state was 19. Didn't stop me from going to bars (I looked old enough at 16 to get into bars without being carded.) When I was 20, the drinking age was changed to 21, but we were grandfathered in. I rarely was carded anyway til I turned 30!

I'm conflicted about this. I'm not convinced that setting the age limit below 21 will increase drunk driving and alcohol abuse. There are studies on both sides of this.

But I will say this: Now that I'm well past the minimum age, let's NOT lower it because it's annoying enough when the college students are in the bar. I don't want MORE of them there!

I recently went to my favorite dive bar, which is usually busy for Happy Hour, but on this occasion, it was packed. When I walked in, there were college kids screaming at the top of their lungs instead of having normal conversations. Turns out their college prof decided to throw them a graduation party at my bar and the kids had been drinking for awhile so they were shouting (you know how people start getting louder the drunker they get). It was incredibly annoying and almost (I said almost) made me down my vodka tonic quickly and seek quieter digs. The bartender assured me I had arrived as the party was winding down, so I endured until the brats had left.

Maybe we should set the minimum age at 25 or 30! :-D

Bottoms up, Enty!!!!!!!

Agent**It said...

She was using a fake ID, that was the real problem.

surfer said...

When I was growing up, the legal age was 18. Most of us turned out okay, and those that didn't, well, it wasn't because of alcohol.

A 20-year-old drinking a beer is a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

anita_mark said...

It's 19 here in Ontario and I'm right on the border with Quebec which is 18. There were a lot of Lebanese guys in my high school who had beards in grade nine. They'd take our orders, go over to Hull at lunch and buy everything and bring it to the party that night.

I think 21 is ridiculously old to have to wait. 19 is a good number. But I do agree with Nunaurbiz, I hate going to a bar filled with very young people who have no idea how to behave publicly (I so love listening to young girls and their drama).

Nellie said...

12

crila16 said...

The drinking age used to be 18. Then when it went to 21, all the 18 - 20 year olds were grandfather claused in. Changing the drinking age really didn't matter. I have to admit, I drank before I was 21...so did every teenager I knew. I was even getting into bars before 21. I dated a cop who gave me a fake I.D.

crila16 said...

The drinking age used to be 18. Then when it went to 21, all the 18 - 20 year olds were grandfather claused in. Changing the drinking age really didn't matter. I have to admit, I drank before I was 21...so did every teenager I knew. I was even getting into bars before 21. I dated a cop who gave me a fake I.D.

billybob said...

In the UK the legal age for drinking is 18. At 14 I had the bodd of a smoking hot 20 year old and always managed to get served in the pub. We were brought up to enjoy a sip of wine with our evening meals(on weekends) and not one of us six children have had alcohol problems. We’ve got a ton of other issues though!

Rickatoo said...

second @surfer. 18 was the age when I grew up, I had fake ID at 16, but learned how to make my own apricot sours at 13 from my lifelong bartender grandfather. I'm a responsible adult with some interesting stories to tell from my youth...

Scout did several things wrong tho, 1. underage 2. public 3. fake ID and 4. celebrity parents. Too many variables for it to not go wrong

nolachickee said...

Like many have said, if a kid wants to drink, they will find a way to drink. I started at 14. We would find random adults outside of stores to buy it for us. We didn't even go for our parents' supplies.

What's way more scary today is kids getting high off of other shit, like computer cleaner spray cans and other things not meant to be used as drugs.

Beth said...

If that's the argument -- separation -- then make it 19.

However, 18 seems more logical, but it will never happen. The insurance companies would have a shit fit. That said, I think if it's available to people at a younger age, it becomes less enticing and naughty. (My parents allowed us to drink under supervision, so it wasn't particularly interesting to either of us.)

Char said...

19, like Canada. Ensures that most people are out of high school before they can legally drink.

Pookie said...

i'm ok w/ 21. the human brain doesn't finish developing until a person is in their mid-20s, so to be able to legally eff it up by 18 is a damn shame. (which is another reason i'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana). npr has a great article on it...oldie but a goodie: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141164708

that said, ita w/ Carolyn's last paragraph, 'I think alcohol abuse is rampant even among young teens, but I don't think the drinking age has anything to do with that.'

Anonymous said...

i concur with enty. and maybe change the age you can get your junk shot off to 21 as well.

MnGddess said...

Twenty-one is fine with me. I think parents really have to impress into their children that you don't need to get drunk or high to have a good time. You can't protect yourself if you're out of control of your basic functions. And be there for them id they screw up.

Then again, I also think the minimum age for military service should be 21.

And if you take up smoking these days you're a idiot, plain and simple.

MadLyb said...

If you can join the military and go to war at 18, you should be able to buy a beer then as well. I think it's ridiculous she was busted at 20 years. 16, I can understand, but really? There had to be worse crimes happening in NYC at the time.

MadLyb said...

..or where ever she was - can't remember...

auntliddy said...

Weirdly, when you are of age, you usually arent interested anymore!! I dont know what the answer is. Having some hardcore alkies in my family, I wish no one wld drink!

Hammer_Girl said...

I was one of the kids whose parent bought the alcohol. I was in the 8th grade (13-14?) and my mom would let my best friend and I drink wine coolers. As I got older(high school) I had friends who were older and they could always find someone to buy for us. I never let it get out of hand but some of my friends did. When I was a junior in high school my boyfriend was drunk and drove. He didn't stop at a stop sign and drove into a tree going 60-70mph according to the police. There were no signs of him even trying to stop. For some of us it was an eye opener and realized we were gambling with our life. Others said they would never drink again too, but did. I guess I'm trying to say there will always be someone willing to buy, it's up to the individual to know what is right or wrong and to be responsible at any age cause death does not discriminate if you are 14,18, or 21.

redronnie said...

Hey there..it's 18 in the majority of Canadian provinces..if you can sign up for duty in the military and vote..why not hoist a few for flag and country?

joymama said...

It was 19 when I was in school and it didn't stop any of us from drinking.

kids can sell beer at their jobs---cashiers at grocery stores and neighborhood markets. That's how we got most of ours.

Carding was not so hardcore back then and friends that worked in bars only cards kids they didn't like or were potential problems.

My daughter graduated HS last year and went to Europe. One of her rites of passage was going to the clubs and pubs legally. She learned a whole bunch---how much is too much, it sucks to take care of friends who are drunk, it's expensive as hell to have good time at a bar and it totally sucks to think you lost your passport/id on the train back home and freak out when it really was safely tucked away in her bag.

Now! said...

Drank at 18 and made some stupid mistakes then. Now have a kid and try to model responsible drinking for her - a glass of wine or beer or a gin tonic before/with dinner, sometimes 2 on special occasions, pretty much never more than that. She's also allowed to taste wine when they have tastings in the supermarket (in Europe.) The idea is to make drinking seem boring and mom-like so it's a lot less glamorous to get drunk.

I think the mix of teenage drinking and driving is the real problem. Where I live, the driving age is 18 and it's very expensive and difficult to get a license - I know several successful adults who don't have one. If teenagers are drinking but not driving, the amount of trouble they can get into is a lot more limited.

Agree that active service members should be able to drink whenever they want. Jesus, these people are getting shot at, supposedly for us. Buy them a beer, for crying out loud.

gin said...

In Manitoba, Canada, the drinking age is 18. I can assure you that many underage teens are drinking - If they want alcohol, they will get their hands on it. However, based on extensive research that I have done on the topic as a grad student, I can assure you that the rate of underage drinking is no higher in Canada than in the US. The bottom line is that young people will indulge and it makes little sense to criminalize this behavior in America, as so many 18-20 year olds do drink, regardless of the law. Wouldn't it make more sense to legalize drinking for ages 18+ and reap the benefits in terms of taxes on alcohol.

As a 19/20 year old, I would travel to the States and I found it bizarre that suddenly, when I crossed an invisible line, I was no longer "mature enough" to have a glass of wine with dinner. Conversely, living in a large city close to the US border, there are tons of young Americans who come up every weekend to drink at our bars as they are suddenly legal to do so. So in a way, this arbitrary American law has really helped the Canadian tourism and hospitality industries!

Come up to Canada and have a beer!

El Roy 13 said...

I had my prom in Italy and we had carton's of wine on the tables. No one got wasted.

American's created this whole abuse thing by keeping things "off the table," if you will. Which will always add mystery to whatever that thing is. Especially for kids entering the teenage years.

My vote, let's let everyone go balls to the wall with whatever, and let the fittest survive. There are far too many of us here anyway.

El Roy 13 said...

p.s. I was 16 yrs old when I graduated (@the prom). And most of the kids were 16 and 17.

O'Really said...

This is where I wish we were more like Europe and let the parents decide. When my daughter got her first period at 13, she also had her first glass of red wine. She did not become a raging alcoholic. She had one drink on her 21st birthday. I'm so disgustingly proud of her...my 2012 magna cum laude graduate.

old ;ady said...

Because of the VN War the drinking age was changed to 18. I had a fake ID as I was a senior in HS and 16 when I graduated. There were bars that were for younger people. I got carded once in a bar that was mainly older people. My ID was that good that it passed. Since, shortly after the drinking law changing I went to College of course the drinking was almost constant. For me it was something I did because I was able to get away with it and all my peers were doing it. By, the time I was about 28 it was not such a big deal. Being the grandmother (step) of a Army Medic killed in Iraq at age 20, I believe the age should be changed to 18.

Susan said...

18 for drinking.

I do think the driving age should be 18 as well throughout the entire U.S. And you should have to have A LOT of practice and testing requirements to get your license. Teen drivers are THE WORST. And I'm saying this as a reformed awful teen driver. Now that texting is around. Good lord, I can just imagine....

Anonymous said...

Leave it at 21. But add some law or something that if you get caught at 18, it doesn't really affect you. I don't know. haha

fordellcastle said...

I think they should raise the age to join the military rather than lower the drinking age. No 18 year old is mature enough to realize what joining up to go to war really entails. Recruiters should be banned from high schools.

0_0 said...

Legal age is legal age. If/ when underagers get alcohol, go after the seller, the host, the underaged person. Everyone 18-21 shouldn't be penalized.

Maybe an active duty ID would qualify, but I cringe at the thought of problems joining to get access to alcohol.

auntliddy said...

Btw, is anyone surprised at this? First of all, its normal teenage behavoir. But jeesh, with thexkind of parents she has, i m surprised it isnt worse!! And she always had that look of trouble on her face even as a kid. Someone to watch, for sure.

Bit dams said...

25. Too easy to be an addict before that. And I think cigs should be illegal, but am okay w/ marijuana at 18. Also think driving age should be 18. The roads are too crowded and young people are too distracted.

figgy said...

Shoot, I started buying beer for my friends at 14 because I had big tatas and apparently that made me look 18. Which was the age at the time.

But. I think kids who want to drink will find a way to drink. If you can serve in the military, you should be able to drink.

So, 18.

Char said...

It is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec. Every other province and territory in Canada is 19.

ardleighstreet said...

I know people who drank at 12 when the drinking age was 21.
I believe it should be 18. If you have to pay taes at 18 then you should be able to drink.

ardleighstreet said...

^^^^SORRY! That should read taxes not taes.

lazyday603 said...

In Great Britain it used to be 16. That seems about right if you don't want to teach disrespect for the laws. 16 is about where many start drinking. Why make it a crime? You can't social engineer away growing up. It's going to happen anyway.

poovey-tunt said...

It was 18 when I was growing up, but 21 is fine with me. Alcoholism all up and down both sides of my family tree; yep, I'm juuust fine with it being 21.

Texshan said...

18. If you are old enough to fight and die for your country, vote, buy cigs and get married, you are old enough to drink a beer.

And I don't know what kind of school Enty attended, but if a freshman or sophomore had showed up at an upperclassmen party when I was in high school they would have gotten their butts kicked out.

Another Josh said...

I don't think it matters. If someone wants to drink, they'll find a way.

slab99 said...

Whatever the age, it needs to be consistent throughout the country. When the minimum age was 18, some states had higher ones. Young people is those states would drive to the closest state where it was lower, get drunk, and then drive home.

Nicola said...

I'm Scottish, and therefore am a raging alcoholic.

I kid.

My mum would dilute wine for us on special occasions (Christmas, weddings etc) and it got a little stronger as we grew up. I think that killed a lot of the mystery of it for me, as I know drink to enjoy the taste, not to get absolutely hammered. Although that has happened - I'm not perfect!

From the ages of14-16 my friends and I would go out to "the unders" where the nightclub would open for the under 18s, and all except me would get smashed out their faces on booze, and I was the responsible ones making sure they got home. I've got a few embarrassing stories I blackmail them with ;)

But yeah, mostly enjoy the flavour of well made alcohol, drunk too much at times but I don't make a habit of it. I'm 27 :)

WUWT? said...

The "if you can serve in the military" statement is one of those arbitrary correlations that does not make a good logical argument. You could just as easily say, "If you're old enough to get pregnant/father children, you're old enough to get married." "If you're old enough to drive, you're old enough to see R rated movies." At some point, someone sets an age and it's different than another age that's been set, but that doesn't make one of those ages incorrectly set. The activities are unrelated.

Anyway, that said, and I don't know how it is now, when my husband was in the military (24-20 years ago), he said alcohol was there. No one focussed on "underage" drinking, the alcohol was there and they drank. So perhaps if you are old enough to join the military AND DO, you're old enough to drink AND CAN. Not that THAT comforts me....

(Non-drinker.)
(Also, I was in court yesterday to watch the guy who nearly killed my husband while driving without insurance (his third of 18 other offenses) get off with a $300 fine he'll never pay, and let me tell you, in watching the other cases of the day, the overuse of alcohol ruins a lot of people's lives. It's one thing to "know" that, another to watch it play out in case after case for hours....)

mooshki said...

Make it that you have to be a high school graduate. That would get the dropout rates down!

HudsonJoe said...

First I am going to say is don't listen to MADD. They have been accused of having a covert agenda to reimpose Prohibition.

The debates in 18 vs 21 year old drinking age settles on one question do we loose more people to drunken 18 to 21 year olds causing motor vehicle accidents or do we loose more to aftermath of binge drinking. The minor question is what is the societal and medical costs of binge drinking in adulthood.

hotchacha said...

I love the idea of having to be a high school graduate to drink.

I also think 18 is too young to die for a country. Maybe that should be 20 or 21.

misspoppypants said...

21 and 21 for smoking also and this spoiled brat here needs to be 35 before she is let out of the house without a chaperone. Did you read her lawyer's statement? Yawn, yawn Ms Willis, poor little girl getting caught up in consequences.

Lelaina Pierce said...

Not proud of this but, most of the kids at my school started drinking at 13/14. It wasn't a huge issue getting alcohol. And we didn't have to go to upperclassmen's houses to get it. I think parents should just do a better job w/ the topic of drinking responsibility and drilling into their heads to not drink/drive.

I just saw an article that said the majority of teen deaths are from car accidents and that 1 in 3 High Schoolers admitted to texting while driving, so maybe it makes more sense to have the age raised on that?

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