We were out biking today and came across a sign that featured a smiling child with the words "She had her first drink at 14."
This was, I guess, supposed to be shocking. It isn't.
It isn't for two reasons. In the first place, it is not at all difficult to believe in the current day and age that 14 year olds are drinking alcohol. If that's all they are doing, it's a good day for the Republic. I will sleep much better at night if that is the best the scare-mongers can muster.
Moreover, I'm of the opinion that kids should be having their first drink while still teenager. How else are they going to learn how to do it? We offer learners permits for driving at 15 for goodness' sake. In Michigan at least, there is a graduated procedure to allows young drivers to gradually get more responsibility behind the wheel as they grow and mature. That is how it should be.
Yet with alcohol, we expect that they won't touch Demon Liquor until they turn 21 and that they will immediately have a solid grasp of their limits and its effect on them. Pure hogwash.
We blog a lot about guns here at the Posse, but I find that as the Junior Posse Members grow up, alcohol is a far thornier issue. How are we to teach our children to drink responsibly, to understand what hangovers are, what is acceptable and what is not if not during their teenage years?
We'd suggest a graduated drinking law - one can imbibe and posses in parental presence at 16, and purchase beer and liquor at 18. The fact that we have combat veterans who cannot legally purchase alcohol is utterly insane.