14 December 2012
Dear Rosalyn Carson-Dewitt,
While researching the legal drinking age, I stumbled upon your argument against lowering it. We are both aware that the debate over the drinking age, in the United States, has gone on since the end of prohibition in 1933. You clearly have spent a good deal of time researching and developing your argument that is rather convincing. I am especially impressed by the negative correlation between alcohol related car-crashes and the drinking age, which seems to be the center of your argument. Additionally, you also are well researched in alcohol related suicides and disturbing events of that nature. I agree with your idea that peoples’ lives are valuable and safety should be our greatest concern when it comes to law making, but despite our common interest, I cannot help but disagree with you. Your argument is backed by plenty of statistics, but I always was told that that correlation does not mean causation. This means that just because the number of alcohol related car accidents decreased while states were increasing their legal drinking, the decrease in accidents is not necessarily due to the rising drinking age. For instance, it may have been that in 1978 a safe car’s stopping distance was decreased, or it could have been that in 1980 the cars became more high tech in general, or even that in 1987 electronic stability control (ESP) was invented. There are many potential reasons for the decrease in car accidents over this time so the rising drinking ages cannot get all the credit. And regarding the suicides, tapes, boom boxes, and portable music all came out in the 1980’s, which may have increased happiness and reduced suicides. Therefore, I suggest something different regarding drinking age: parents should be allowed to serve alcohol to their kids as long as they are over 16 and closely supervised. Also, Children become adults at 18 years of age and, along with other adult rights, they should have the right to purchase and drink alcohol. I agree that it is important for us to reduce the amount of binge drinking and the accidents and injuries that occur under alcohol’s influence. However, alcohol is not the problem. The problem is a failure to educate the younger generations on good decision-making involving alcohol. Drinking itself is not bad, however abusing alcohol and binge drinking leads drunk driving, vandalism, unsafe sex, etc. The high drinking age also increases the danger and excitement by making it a more rebellious act. In order to resolve these problems, we need to focus on teaching kids to drink responsibly. This is why, in addition to lowering the drinking age to 18, parents or guardians should be allowed to serve alcohol to their 16-year-old supervised children. If parents can legally serve their kids alcohol, parents could educate their kids on safer drinking habits for the two years before they go off to college. This would lead to a reduction in binge drinking amongst teenagers because drinking would become less exciting by losing its novel rebelliousness. Additionally, alcohol related issues would decrease as binge drinking does. I can speak from my friend’s experience on this particular matter. He was a freshman who had generally avoided alcohol in high school. When he arrived at college he began to party and drink. At college parties, the guys struggle to get alcohol so he would drink all he could get his hands on. This style of partying did not teach him self-control or safe drinking. This was never a problem until he went to a tailgate with a surplus of alcohol. He drank way too much and completely blacked out. Luckily, his family had come up for the weekend so they kept him safe and took care of him. He managed to avoid any life ruining repercussions, however not everyone is as fortunate as he was. His story is significant because it shows “’nobody wakes up on a particular birthday and is automatically capable of exercising mature judgment...
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