A loopy drinking debate
Howard is a retired health care professional. He lives in Salem.
Several days ago, I was ranting to my wife about the two sweepingly superficial and patently false arguments that proponents of lowering the legal age of drinking trot out.
Right on cue, I can always count on hearing: "If they're old enough to fight for their country, they oughta be old enough to drink." Followed by: "If they're old enough to handle the responsibility of voting, they oughta be old enough to drink."
Dr. John McCardell may have a Ph.D., but he must have flunked botany because he does not know apples from oranges ("Q&A with John McCardell," June 28 news story). Let me hop onto his tortuous train of mixed-fruit logic and ride it a little further to see where the next stop could be.
He wants us to believe that since we have decided 18-year-olds are competent to fight for their country (that's the apples) and to vote (more apples), then, by his loopy extension, these same 18-year-olds should be entrusted with the legal right to purchase and drink any amount of alcohol (that's the oranges) they darn well want.
That's a great big leap of weak logic there, but for the sake of discussion, let's let this train careen on down the tracks.
In Virginia, no one under the age of 21 can legally purchase a handgun or obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun. So couldn't McCardell's same logic be applied to the right to purchase and carry concealed handguns?
You know, it would be the "they're old enough to fight for their country and old enough to vote, so why aren't they old enough to legally purchase and carry a concealed handgun?" argument. Makes sense to me as long as I ride that crazy train.
But we have made the very wise legal decision that 18year-olds are not competent to own and carry concealed handguns, and I think we have appropriately applied the same yardstick to measuring the competency of 18-year-olds for purchasing and drinking alcohol. It should be noted that when abused, one is as deadly as the other.
I haven't heard of anyone calling out for the laws to be changed to allow people under 21 years old to own and carry concealed handguns, but if there are such persons, they should hop a little ride on McCardell's lower-the-drinking-age train of logic.