Same expectations should mean same rights

Give the same rights to 18-year-olds as afforded to 21-year-olds.

The underage drinking law is unjust. This is not because other people also are unsafe with alcohol or because it is unfair to judge people only by their age. These two reasons presented by Tom Alciere are true, but fortunately we have enough privacy laws that liquor distributors cannot access a person’s permanent record to view how responsible they have been. Therefore, an age limit must be set.

Eighteen-year-olds are responsible enough to handle drinking, but one underage man’s opinion is not reason enough to call the law unjust. What is unjust is that the government is telling us we cannot accept the responsibility of imbibing alcohol at an age at which we are deemed responsible in every other aspect of our lives. The government views us at the age of 18 as individuals who must be held responsible for our lives and actions. It is no longer required to accept the responsibility of our care. We cannot be wards of the state any longer. We also cannot be tried for crimes with a way of shirking our responsibility because of our age, and can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This removes a comfort of escaping some of the consequences of the world that every child should be free from. They also think we can take our lives into our own hands with military service, that we are conscious and responsible enough to buy firearms, enter into contracts and decide our future. We are responsible enough to have intercourse with, live on our own, provide for ourselves and buy drugs that are incredibly addicting. We must deal with the consequences of all of these on our own. The government does not ask us to accept these responsibilities; it merely states them as facts that are inescapable. They are bombarding us with military recruitment at the age of 18, trying us as responsible individuals and feel no need to ensure we can be free from things which might inhibit our emotional growth. I can agree with these things, but I can never agree with an entity which thrusts and forces this responsibility on me or others without awarding the rights they afford every other person who takes on these responsibilities.

Winston Elliott is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]