Sunday, March 12, 2006

20-year-olds are adults, too

With word that University of Oklahoma starting quarterback Rhett Bomar was cited for underage drinking at a New Orleans Hornets game in Oklahoma City on Friday night, it continues to amaze me just how many things 20-year-olds such as Bomar are allowed to do except drink alcohol.

For instance, 20-year-olds are allowed to:

  • Join the armed forces and die for their country...or Iraq
  • Vote
  • Drive a car
  • Smoke a cigarette
  • Have sex with another consenting adult
  • Get married
  • Become a parent
  • Own a home
  • Use a credit card
  • Pay taxes
  • Play college football so that universities, coaches and sponsors (including beer companies) can make millions of dollars and gamblers can accept millions in bets on games
Yes, a 20-year-old can do all of these things, yet he or she cannot legally drink a beer at a basketball game...or anywhere else, for that matter. We can entrust our nation's security to an 18-year-old with an M-16 but we can't entrust him or her to consume alcohol. Okay.

Meanwhile, reports of binge drinking among young adults continue to increase long after the legal drinking age was raised in most states from 18 to 21. Does it take a rocket scientist to understand that the illegality of alcohol consumption by young adults simply augments the high they get from drinking?

Let's start treating adults like adults, regardless of the activity in question. It's amazing how young people can begin to act like adults as soon as we stop treating them like children.


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