With all due respect, the way to decrease the statistics of a crime is not to make it legal.
By lowering the drinking age, you’re not changing a teenager’s mindset that “drinking is cool”. Most teenagers do not drink to show defiance to the law. The incentive for drinking is, for teenagers and adults alike, the effects alcohol was produced to incite in people: the pleasure itself.
That’s why alcohol commercials commonly go for a rowdy (beer) or sophisticated (wine) feel, instead of using the slogan “Jailmates Do It”. People aren’t going to go out of their way to do something if there’s no pleasure or benefit in it.
Picture this hypothetical situation in which the drinking age is lowered: Teenagers all around the state, or wherever else the law touches, will suddenly be granted the permission to drink their night (or day, as it would be no problem to do so in broad daylight anymore) away.
If this does not spark a national over-night emergence of blatant alcohol consumption, I honestly don’t know what will. There will probably even be a future holiday commemorating this significant day in which alcohol companies will have to create a Sake Santa or a Beer-Stir Bunny myth to boost their sales.
But why stop there? In fact, to abolish alcohol once and for all, why not just make it 100% accessible, so that toddlers will be able to get pre-maturely wasted? And after that, why not, just as in George Orwell’s 1984, completely eradicate the term “pre-mature” from the dictionary and just make everything legal to everyone of all ages to abolish all crimes of all kinds?
If we continue to follow in the philosophy that making something accessible will decrease desire for it, critical problems can arise. I don’t see murder becoming a legal issue anytime soon, but the above stated doctrine would justify it.
Saying that “teenagers will drink no matter what the law states” is having no faith in our future, and those who wield it. There is a solution to premature drinking, and making it legal is not one of them. All we have to do is hold hope and continue searching.
This opinion was written by Sophia Chang. The views of the author do not represent the views of the staff or the Temple City Voice. It was published on September 10, 2008.