Alaska considers lowering drinking and smoking age for troops

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by hockeymom, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. hockeymom

    hockeymom New Member

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  3. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Amen! I could not agree more!

    I think it's outrageous that anyone can be allowed to risk his or her life for this country, but isn't considered an adult (or a citizen, but that's another subject and another thread).

    (On a personal note: hockeymom, I know that when you and I disagree we really go around. But have you ever noticed that we agree far more often than not? I think that's interesting (and proof of your brilliance, of course)! :woohoo: )
     
  4. hockeymom

    hockeymom New Member

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    Of course Nova,brilliant people always find common ground!!

    On another note if all the states lowered the drinking age,think of all the money the feds would save on the highway funding they give the states. Could help lower the deficit.( maybe I should run for Congress?)
     
  5. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    I was in the precisely the age group that saw the age of majority suddenly lowered by Congress in the early 1970s. One minute I was legally a child; the next I was an adult. The only "rite of passage" was hearing some guy cheering about it on the campus where I went to college. (I was 19.) So I remember how silly it was to be 19 and self-supporting, but needing my mother's signature to transact business, rent an apartment, buy a car, etc.

    I've had mixed feelings about it over the years as the drinking age has been raised in state after state. On the one hand, I'm glad lives have been saved (and trust me, we did really stupid things with alcohol and motor vehicles back in the day); on the other, I find it odd that a young person is trusted to serve in the military and vote, but not drink.
     
  6. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    I just want to interject a thought -

    I partied at the Navy Base from the late 80's to the early 90's - going out drinkin' and dancin' pretty much every night of the week. (Side note: sure wish I had all THAT money back now...lol)

    The one problem that I saw over and over back then was the 18 and 19 year old sailors that drank themselves into oblivion. I knew several of them that I did consider alcoholics and several more that had at least one (if not more) DUI's before they were 21.

    I know the military has tried to encourage more responsible drinking on base and my experience was years ago - but thought I would throw out my personal experience with "underage" drinking.

    I totally agree with those of you that say "if you're old enough to defend our country you should be old enough to drink" - but there has to be programs in place to help those that can't handle it....
     
  7. kline

    kline New Member

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    Absolutely.If you are old enough to serve your country your old enough to decide if you want a beer or ciggarette.
    I think anyone who has served or is serving honorably should have that right in all 50 states.I think its the least we could do.
     
  8. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Good points. Of course, the Armed Forces have their own "laws," so they can limit on-base drinking, for example, if it proves necessary. (Frankly, since the services are more sensitive to sexual harassment issues, I'll be surprised if they don't already.) During WWII, the Navy was officially "dry," particularly on ships at sea. That's not to say rules were never bent, but that's partly why shore leave was such a big deal: it was the only time sailors got to blow off steam.
     
  9. Marthatex

    Marthatex New Member

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    I agree that with this responsibility (of being in the service) and with acts of maturity, should come "privileges". If handled responsibly, that too could be having some drinks. If you can vote, does that not imply that you can act responsibly? (well, theoretically anyway :) )

    However, having a grown son, I do know that boys seem to mature even later than women do. That's just my own observation of my friends' sons as well. Sadly, I don't think a lot of 18-year-olds are ready for the service, either. I have always thought we should send the OLDER men to war, darnit!!! Get them away from that football game on the weekend - they need to lose that paunch anyway!!!

    I digress - alcohol is in an eighteen, nineteen-year-olds life whether we like it or not. I say it's better to drink it at the frat house than sneak off somewhere, drive recklessly home, etc. The PROBLEM, as I see it is the irresponsible "overuse" "overdosing", binge drinking, because there is not enough education of our kids as to the harm they're doing to their brains and their livers.

    We need honest education from high school teachers, parents, college classses & professors to prevent the terrible tragedies of overdose that occur daily in this country. In Europe, alcohol is less "taboo" for younger ages, and I don't think they have as much abuse. (that's what I've been told by my sister-in-law, anyway, who is from Germany.)

    So yes, I think they should be able to drink at 18, probably, whether they are in military or not. They're going to drink anyway IMO. Just more education; more honesty about what can happen. The military will have to set their own rules regarding imbibing.

    So, I'm AGAINST the service for our young 'uns, and FOR moderate of drinking of wine, lol. Yes, we just need women running our country.
     
  10. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Frankly, Martha, I've always thought we send the young to war precisely because they are the ones who are reckless enough to go. I don't mean to take anything away from the courage and sacrifice of those who volunteer, but I think we'd have far fewer wars if men and women in their 30s were drafted first.
     
  11. Kitty Kat

    Kitty Kat Member

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    I too agree that if at 18 you can go and put your life on the line for our country then you should be able to drink. Now that I'm well past 21, drinking age is a non issue personally, but I remember how much it used to piss me off that I moved out at 18, paid rent, bills, taxes and had a full time job. I was considered an adult in every other aspect yet I couldnt come home after work and legally have a beer in my own home that I pay for.
     
  12. Marthatex

    Marthatex New Member

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    I don't know if I'd say "reckless", but they are more idealistic, think they will never die, and truly want to serve the country. For many though, the military is a chance to get started on a real career.

    Back when my father and others his age went into WWII; there was really no alternative. EVERYONE Had to go, they knew they must do it, and they knew they might die.

    Well I hate war, you know that, but the service doesn't have to always be like Vietnam and Iraq. I certainly want to go back to the kind of war, like in Bosnia and hopefully, Lybia, where casualties will be kept to a minimum.

    But this is off the subject.
     
  13. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    You're right, Martha, "reckless" is the wrong word. I discarded "foolish" and "foolhardy" before I got to reckless. Obviously, I never found the right word.

    What I was trying to say is that the very young tend to be less concerned with their personal safety, but I wanted to say it in a way that didn't make them sound like idiots or take away from their very obvious courage. (Particularly since my niece's boyfriend just shipped back to Afghanistan this week.)
     
  14. oh_gal

    oh_gal New Member

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    Oh...I'd agree with reckless.

    -- O.G., Mother of a reckless 22 year old airman
     
  15. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    I guess you're right: heroism is composed of recklessness, foolishness, courage, concern for others, and a strong sense of duty and honor.

    Thank you to you and your son for your service. (I'm well aware that the families of servicemen and women make sacrifices, too.)
     
  16. hockeymom

    hockeymom New Member

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    I'm a mother of 3 sons,22,20 and 15. (My 22 year old in many ways is the least mature,so in some ways,age does not matter) Here is a given, teenagers are drinking and are drinking heavy. I don't think the raising or lowering of the drinking age has changed any of that.I started drinking in high school when the drinking age was 18,my friends, the same age as me who lived states that had the 21 rule,started drinking in high school. The difference is where they drink. From my own experience when I was drinking illegally and from what I have observed from my sons and friends, you congregate in woods,empty houses,someones house who's parents aren't home,etc..You buy a large quanity as it is cheaper than in a bar and feel the need to drink it all,as to not leave evidence. You can play drinking games because you are not in a public place.Heck why do you think pot is so much more prevelant. You can't light up in a bar,but you can in a house. You get my drift. Once I turned legal,and my now 22 year old says the same,parties aren't such a big deal. You go to a bar or a club,where you can't afford to over drink,or you have some supervision with bouncers or bar staff.
    I think we have done a great job education this generation on DWI,but not so the bingeing. I'd like to see more on that being ingrained,but the notion that the age limit curbs underage drinking is just being naive.
     
  17. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Great post, hm. Here's a 60 Minutes article that discusses the same issues:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009...13571_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody



    I was under the impression that raising the drinking age (BTW the U.S. has the highest drinking age in the world) has saved lives. MADD says alcohol-related deaths by young adults have declined by 13% since the age limit was raised.

    But other officials, including LE and health experts, make the points hm makes in her post: that drinking among older teens has simply gone underground. The deaths have gone underground, too, and alcohol poisoning deaths have replaced highway deaths to a large extent.
     
  18. Velouria

    Velouria Don't Drink the Pinellas Punch!

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    I couldn't agree more. HOWEVER -

    I'd much prefer to see them raise the minimum ENLISTMENT age to 21 rather than lower the drinking age to 18.
     
  19. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/04/04...-old-enough-to-drink-they-might-be-in-alaska/

    I liked this article and Dr. Gates thoughts echo many of the posters here. He's concerned it would encourage dangerous behavior (I agree with the use of the word reckless because in my mind I equate the use of that word with impetuous and/or not thinking past the action to the consequences=dangerous which ever word you want to use).

    If you read the article there are monetary consequences if AK votes to lower their drinking age. (I wonder if anything else is attached to that bill? You know they like do addon's to bills to try to get things passed LOL just curious)

    snip
    That's a lot of money. I will be surprised if it passes. I don't object to lowering the age though, proud wife of soldier and proud Mom of an underage soldier :) JMHO
     
  20. hockeymom

    hockeymom New Member

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    From my understanding,the only way the Feds could get the States to all lower their drinking ages was essentially "bribing" them with Federal money. So yes,Alaska would lose alot of money and I would venture to guess thats why more states have not addressed this issue.
    As for engaging in dangerous behavior,thats almost laughable. That is going on the assumption that underage servicemen don't drink. (if anyone believes that,I have a bridge to sell you). The dangerous behavior is they are drinking underground,and are particiapating in illegal behavior.
    As someone else said if 21 is the age you can legally drink because you are deemed an adult,then 21 should be the legal age you can be drafted or allowed to serve.
     
  21. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    I think that alcohol lowers inhibitions (for most people I know it does me) and my thoughts about dangerous behaviors were that because the inhibitions are lowered it might lead to using less judgment about things---like driving after drinking---punching your roomie in the nose because he left his carp on your side of the barracks room (if you have an old room lol), and on and on.

    At least that is how I took Dr. Gates comments. So I have to disagree that the only dangerous thing that happens when they drink is that they are participating in illegal behavior (if that was what you meant, I might have read you wrong if I did I'm sorry).

    Dr Gates also made another point I found interesting and that I have witnessed myself (purely anecdotal but I have lived on military instillations for the past 20 yrs and only on post never in the civilian sector) is that the multiple deployments do tend to increase what could be considered dangerous behaviors (risk taking) within that age demographic.(18-21 yr old service members, in my case soldiers). I've never seen it addressed as to exactly why though, that would be interesting if they had a study about that. jmho.

    But I have to be honest in that when I read his comments the subcontext I took away with it is that he was just basically stating what was PC and that he probably doesn't object. (he's one of my fav sec of defense we've ever had so I'm biased, I follow what he says usually pretty closely in other matters and trust his judgements).

    I, personally, don't think it's a problem but I'm not a resident of the state of AK. I had hoped we would go there but it doesn't look like we will have that opportunity.

    IIRC (and it's been a long time and my memory isn't what it used to be and I'm under the weather today with allergies and a sinus infection) but MADD played a huge part in getting that legislation passed that raised the federal drinking age to 21. (did I remember that correctly?).

    I'm curious to see what happens. I know if they lower it my Son will probably request orders for AK, HAHA JK but not all the way! :)
     

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