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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:35 PM
Original message
Alaska Law Seeks To Lower Drinking Age For Troops
Source: npr

Alaska is the latest state to weigh in on a long-running argument: If you're old enough to fight and die for your country, you should be old enough to drink a beer.

An Alaska lawmaker who served in Vietnam is pushing a bill that would allow active-duty service members under 21 to drink alcohol as long as they could produce an armed forces identification card. Those under 19 Alaska's smoking age would be allowed to buy tobacco products.

If you get shot at, you can have a shot. - Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage)

"It's not fair that one guy in a fox hole can go home and have a beer while another guy in the fox hole can't," said Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage). "It's not about drinking, it's not about smoking, it's about equality. If you get shot at, you can have a shot."



Read more: http://www.npr.org/2011/04/06/135188110/alaska-law-seek...
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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hope they do it. n/t
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d_r Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I do too
They should do it for everyone. If you are old enough to sign up for selective service, vote, get married, buy a house, etc. you should be old enough to buy a beer.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Yup.
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FreakinDJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. Old enough to Die - old enough to Buy
thats what I used to tell them
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. I hope not. We have enough young soldiers shooting at each other
and if you wander off drunk you can freeze to death in minutes. Lots do. Poor idea.
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forty6 Donating Member (849 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. 40-50 years ago several states allowed 18 yr olds to drink..NY was one of...
them. Deaths due to auto accidents were almost 1/3 higher than in neighboring states with 21 year old drinking ages.

True, people in Mass and CT drank under age, but fewer of them than in NY. Fewer of them died in auto accidents, too.

I'm sure more people 18-21 drink illegally today, (heck lots of high school kids drink now!)

I am not in favor of increasing public health risks in any state. But a logical argument can be made that all citizens of any legal adult age should enjoy the same rights and powers in a free society. This is a hard one for me to defend on any other grounds than the public health interest, namely that we are preventing death and injury by restricting the rights and powers of a certain class of adults, those that engage in reckless behavior with alcohol more frequently than older adults. I have to say, I know what I wish for, (the status quo on 21 or above legal drinking), but it's hard to defend it in terms of equal treatment under the law.
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MiniMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. It was in the 70's, I fell into that group that was able to drink at 18
But the fed gov't refused to fund highways for states that kept it at 18. But those who could already drink were grandfathered in. By the time they changed it, I was over 21.
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d_r Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
25. I understand
I understand what you are saying 100%. I understand the public health risks. And I understand the need to weigh the rights to public safety of everyone else with the rights of the 18-21 year olds. But this is one where I fall on the side of fairness of personal liberty. It isn't an easy question for me, it really isn't. There is a lot to weigh. I guess my thinking is optimism that we could have education and other programs that would reduce that risk, and that's probably pollyannaish. And I agree with you that "minors" drink illegally now. Pollyanna tells me that education programs to reduce drunk driving would actually help since kids are already drinking illegally. Also, it bothers me to use "correlational" type data to restrict the rights of a whole class - some who are 18-21 would drive drunk, so we have to eliminate that right for EVERYONE under 21, whether they would do it or not. Just doesn't seem fair to me.

This is an example of us as a society struggling over the definition of what "an adult" is - you can drive at 16, go to an R movie at 17, vote at 18, drink at 21. Etc. We want to protect our young people because we know they are immature and can make bad decisions. I wish we could figure out a way to be consistent about it.
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forty6 Donating Member (849 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #25
30. Very well stated. I think the USA generally has a problem with
alcohol. Compared to other nations, for instance, where beer and wine drinking is more common, even for young adults and teens.
True, there are auto wrecks in other nations, but fewer than here, per capita. But the reasons why there are fewer may have more to do with the price of both gasoline and hard liquor. In Europe, it is less common for a teen to own and drive a car, and many families have only ONE car for the entire family. Compared to the USA, where many teens have cars by the time they are 18.

The relatively lower cost of gasoline and higher wages of unskilled teens, (after taxes), in the USA may contribute to our higher teen mortality rates from drunk driving. In European nations, for example, an unskilled worker at McDonalds would take home less pay for similar work hours...after taxes... therefore they would be LESS able to afford a car, insurance, gas, etc.

But there's the other part, in France, Germany, Italy and many other European nations, wine or beer is served at meal time customarily. But often that's the only drinking of alcohol many people do. That's NOT how it is in the USA, where only special meals involve wine or beer, and drinking just to drink is done more commonly. So 18 year olds drinking is not a big issue in those nations. I could go on and on...but I'm sure most get the point.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #30
49. I think the real problem is our puritanical nature.
Drinking is forbidden absolutely until you turn 21, then it's party, party, party. There is no moderation. It is cool to do what is forbidden, whereas it is not cool to have a glass of wine with grandma when you are 16. I think that people in nations like Italy or France grow up with it and, by and large, are less prone to binge drinking.

Several college presidents have signed on to the effort to reduce the drinking age because they believe it will reduce binge drinking and deaths from binge drinking on campuses. But I think the national nannies (groups like MADD, etc) will fight tooth and nail against it.
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24601 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. But you are not really an adult until 35 - when you meet the last
age requirement articulated in the constitution.

If it were up to me, the drinking age would be tied to the age when you can be tried in court as an adult.

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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #25
35. Education, as well as stronger sanctions against driving drunk, have both reduced the risk
according to NHTSA. So has improvements in vehicle safety. What's unclear is how much or how little of an effect can be attributed to raising the drinking age. The added risk associated with inexperienced drivers who've been drinking has been addressed in many states already, where a BAC levels for those under 21 are much more restrictive (a BAC of .01 is a violation, for example.) There's no reason to discard those laws even if the legal drinking age is lower.

We have ample evidence that prohibition doesn't work, both from the failed early 20th century laws here and abroad and more recently, in the behavioral change noted on college campuses.There is strong evidence that binge drinking on college campuses grew once the legal age was raised again in the mid-1980s. Our military members are drinking when they're stationed overseas too. As someone who came of age when the drinking age was 18 in my state, I remember that most of us weren't binge drinkers -there was just no incentive. If anything, we had a strong incentive to show that we were mature enough to have the privilege. Sure, there were some heavy drinkers -- probably alcoholics who would still have become heavy drinkers regardless of the legal age.
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Umm, 14th amendment, equal protection clause violation.
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 06:02 PM by abqmufc
A state has the right to provide equal protection under any law. You can't say one group of 19 & 20 year olds can get drunk and another group of the same age cannot. That by basic definition is a violation of the 14th amendment. I swear any politician elected should have to take at least 3 college courses in political science, this is basic poli sci 101.

This is no different from when the EPA tried to enforce Clean Air Act regulations in urban areas but not in rural areas (under W. for revised standards to particulate matter). This action by the EPA was stopped due to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you can't protect half the population for a pollutant and not protect the other half.

It is either the state of AK says anyone over 19 can drink or the law is void.
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #4
32. That assumes that 18-20 year olds are a 'protected class'
Also, your comparison with the Clean Air Act is imprecise because federal acts are typically analyzed with a stricter scrutiny than state laws. Otherwise, why couldn't 18 year olds in Alaska sue under the equal protection clause for their right to buy tobacco products, when 18 year olds in most other states can? To prove an equal protection violation under this proposed law, you'd have to find that 18-20 year olds were a protected class, and that the state has no rational basis for allowing some 18-20 year olds to drink and denying others.

I think the nationwide drinking age should be 19, so I fundamentally agree with you, but I don't think any court would look to anything as weighty as the 14th Amendment for a state law regulating drinking age.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. I always thought that was reasonable. Blows away the old argument
"if I'm old enough to fight and die for my country, then I should be old enough to drink". Except for the fact that those who say that are not the least bit interested in fighting and dying for their country--they want to drink.

I've thought for years that if you have a military ID, then you should be able to drink even if you are not 21.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
26. That's a nice way to think but what about those
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 08:23 AM by MattBaggins
who are not in the military? Do we throw away the Constitution?
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. I guess I missed the part in the Constitution that gave us the right to drink.
Just where might that be? :shrug:
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. You're missing the point
This is about equal protection, not the "right to drink".
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Lance_Boyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #27
38. The Constitution does not confer rights upon individuals.
You would never find what you are looking for in it.

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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #27
40. You think that your ONLY rights are those listed in the Constitution?
Essentially you have a right to anything -- except where we agree by law to

LIMIT that right -- and those laws can be changed.

Wow!

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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
50. It probably would be a good way to attract kids into the military
Not the best way, of course. But more cannon fodder for the war effort I guess.
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bluedigger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. I have always supported this in principle.
As noted above, though, the equal protection clause makes it impracticable. I think the best solution might be to raise the age of eligibility in the armed forces to 21. It might help on a number of levels.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. This used to make me so mad when I was an 18 year old in the Army.
I can do all this shit but can't drink, it doesn't make any sense.
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BrightKnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. College students drink. It would bring in tax revenue. - n/t
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Politicalboi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
10. Why not make enlistment to war
21 years or older. Enlist them go to college from the ages of 18-21, and they are able to go to war when they are 21 years of age. They would get 3 years training, and 3 years of college, but no live action.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
41. Agree -- these young kids are simply fodder for the military -- 21 gives them a chance!!
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
11. Violates AK State Constitution...end of story.
I quote.....



DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

Section 1.1 - Inherent Rights.

This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.

http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folioproxy.asp?url=h... */doc/{t1}?


EQUAL PROTECTION.......and really shouldn't an elected legislature know their own constitutional limits?


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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
12. If you're old enough to die for this country you should be old enough to drink.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Should be true for those who decide not to die for the country, too. nt
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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
14. I enlisted at 17 for 3 years, including a 13-month tour overseas
in the field artillery. Honorably discharged after completing my enlistment. I was 20 years old.

Still was too young to legally drink a beer in my home state, California...
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cstanleytech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
15. They just need to lower it to 18 for everyone and not pass
laws that favor on exclusive part of the population, that way is down the path to creating a royal class or a country where if you dont serve in the service you are denied certain rights.
Now that aside if they do lower the age imo they need to have firmer laws in place to make sure people who happen to drive while intoxicated truly regret doing so.
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SoapBox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. Life isn't always fair...
I say, let these TEENAGERS mature for a couple of years.

And boo-hoo that they can't get drunk off their butts before they turn 21.

Shouldn't we as a society be encouraging people of all ages to just NOT drink? Why would
we be pushing and encouraging people (and even younger than 21) to drink?

...this world is screwed up.

p.s...no, I do not drink any alcohol of any kind...I simply don't "need" it like so many others.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. why should "we as a society be encouraging people of all ages to just NOT drink"?
I certainly think people who have a problem with alcohol should be able to get help, but I've no interest in telling other people not to, say, enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with dinner now and then.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #16
29. Well the key to getting teenagers to stop doing something
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 09:19 AM by WatsonT
is to discourage it and drive it underground with warning labels and scary PSAs.

It worked with sex and drugs and rap music. Surely it will work booze.
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
37. Your objection to alcohol is noted.
Enjoy your pointless moral crusade.

And no, I don't drink either. I just don't feel it makes me better than other people.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
39. why do you suggest people who drink alcohol "need" it?
:wtf:
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #16
46. get off your soap box?
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. why just for troops?
I agree that it's silly that someone can get put their lives on the line for their country but can't legally buy a drink--but I don't see why only active duty 18-21-year-olds should be legally allowed to drink.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
21. Why not go back to the pre-1940 rule, you Could NOT enlist unless over 21.
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 11:07 PM by happyslug
Under the Revised Statures of 1878, a person could only enlist if over 21, with permission of his parents, or if he was an emancipated minor. This practice was continued in the Selective Service Act of 1917, only people over age 21 could be drafted since that was also the age their could enlist. Do to a shortage of draftees, the age was dropped to 18 in August 1918, but given the training time, no draftee between the age of 18 and 21 drafted into the US Army, reached France before The armistice of November 11, 1918. Later that same month the Draft was abolished.

More on the 1917 Selective Service Act:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Service_Act_of_1...

During WWII, in September 1940, FDR signed into law the first Peacetime draft, it only applied to men over age 21 and below age 35. After the US entered WWII, the ages were changed to 18 and 45 (And you could NOT enlist, you had to be drafted after the changes done to the Selective Service Act after Pearl Harbor).

For more on the Selective Service Act of 1940:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Training_and_Ser...

So why do we NOT go back to the pre-1942 rule, you can NOT enlist or be drafted till you are 21, the same age you can buy a beer.
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #21
48. What you have linked to talks about the minimum
age for a man to be drafted, not to choose to enlist - solders younger than 18 have fought in most American wars. And, as you noted, the draft age also dropped quickly.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. Prior to WWII most people started to work at age 14
I do not mean work after school but full time employment with the teenager in the regular work force. Thus it was possible for a 16 year old male to enlist provided he had either his parents permission or was an emancipated minor.

In an 1890 case this came up someone enlisted at age 16 then deserted waited till he turned 21 and turned himself in charged with desertion his defense was he was an un-emancipated minor when he enlisted. The trooper's mother was alive but made no objection to her son's enlistment. While the court decision did not make the following statement, but the underlying law was known at that time and is the law in many states, an emancipated minor is any minor that is no longer under the care, control and supervision of his or her parents do to the act of the PARENT. Thus the court finding that the trooper's mother did NOTHING at the time of the trooper's enlistment, meant that the trooper was an emancipated minor. AS an emancipated minor he could enlist at age 16 in the 1880s. This was the law as late as WWI.

On the other hand, during both WWI and WWII, it was almost impossible to enlist (except for the first few months of WWI) thus the draft was how we raised troops in both cases (And when the draft was active when you could enlist, the draft was used as a hammer to encourage enlistments, i.e. enlist to be a cook, mechanic etc, or be drafted into the Infantry.

Notice the key was until you were 21 years of age you could NOT enlist until you were 21 UNLESS you had permission of your parents OR you were an emancipated minor (More common before WWII then today).

Please note the Federal Government statistics for unemployment changed in 1947 prior to 1947 it was age 14 and up, after 1947 it was changed to age 17 and up. Most soldiers in WWI did not Graduate High School, most soldiers in WWII were High School Graduates. Both of these facts show the movement to more education and less full time teenage employment that continued till to day. Just a comment on enlistment age over time.
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NYC Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
23. Why just the military?
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 10:54 PM by NYC Liberal
Lower it for everyone. I support that wholeheartedly.
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
24. Amazing..Alaska used to have the drinking age at eighteen
It was Bush 1 and the Republicans that DEMANDED that Alaska change it's laws to make the age 21...
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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
31. Why did they raise the drinking age to 21 in the first place?
I've always thought it was ridiculous that you could make personal choices at 18 like getting married, voting, and dying for your country, but you have to wait three years before legally buying beer. It's silly.
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #31
44. Ronald Reagan threatened to divert funds away from states that allowed drinking under 21.

Florida actually conducted a study to see whether they would lose more money from the feds, or more from the drinking. They concluded it wouldn't cost them much since people under the age of 21 would mostly ignore the law and continue spending their money anyway.


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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. Thanks for the info, ieoeja :) n/t
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
33. Makes sense
I've never really understood why its not 18 in the US same as here in the UK.
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
36. Republicans have the most fucked up definition of equality ever.
Well, in the name of equality, what we're gonna do is make a special class of people that have rights that others don't. We're gonna keep aggressively prosecuting the ones that aren't in that special class, though. You know, for equality.

If you're old enough to sign a mortgage you're old enough to drink as far as I'm concerned. If you're old enough to make a decision that could easily wreck you for the next 20 years, you should be able to go get shitty enough afterward that it seems like it was a good idea.
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
42. It's a bad law
We don't need laws that grant privilege to certain classes of individuals.

We have enough of that with laws that don't apply to law enforcement officers, or high-ranking politicians, or judges.

As I remember basic training, there was nothing in there that trained us to hold our liquor better than a civilian.

It's not fair that a guy in uniform can go home and have a beer while another guy in civilian clothes can't.

I don't care what age they make it, just make it the same for all. Is that so hard?

:hi:
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
43. What has also struck me as being mind-blowingly stupid is that you can get married at 18...
...get nekkid and have all sorts of wonderful nookie, but you can't watch other adults doing it on DVD until you are 21...

:wtf:

Just stupid as hell...
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
47. I don't think soldiers should get to drink when college students can't.
Being in the military should not be an excuse to treat some people differently than others. There is an argument to be made to lower it to 18 nationwide but the prohibitionist types won't go for it.
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