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Bill would allow those in the military to drink even if under 21.

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  • Bill would allow those in the military to drink even if under 21.

    Wanted to get your opinion on this. I'm on the fence about it, I'm not military myself so I am not sure if Alcohol is really a big problem among servicemembers. There is a proposed bill in the our State senate that would lower drinking/smoking age to 18 for those enlisted in the military.

    JUNEAU -- Alaska is the latest state to weigh in on a long-running argument: If you're old enough to fight and die for your country, you should be old enough to drink a beer.

    A state representative who served in Vietnam is pushing a bill that would allow active-duty service members under 21 to drink alcohol as long as they could produce an armed forces identification card. Those under 19 -- Alaska's smoking age -- would be allowed to buy tobacco products.

    "It's not fair that one guy in a foxhole can go home and have a beer while another guy in the foxhole can't," said Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage. "It's not about drinking, it's not about smoking, it's about equality. If you get shot at, you can have a shot."

    But Lynn's bill has received a cool reception from the state's armed forces commanders, who worry it would encourage unhealthy behavior in a military that wants to reduce smoking and curb drinking.

    And if the bill passes, the state stands to lose at least $17 million in federal highway funding, state transportation officials say, because Alaska would be in violation of the national minimum drinking age statute. In a state where alcohol abuse is blamed for many social and financial ills, a lower drinking age is a distinction few want.

    "It sends a mixed message. For some it's OK, for others it's not," said Royal Bidwell, business manager of the Forget Me Not Foundation, an anti-drunken-driving group based in Wasilla.

    The law could set a precedent, said Rep. Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, where any young person whose profession puts them at risk of losing their life, such as police or firefighters, could be allowed to drink.

    Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin have all considered similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but nothing has ever come into law. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Georgia, proposed a similar measure last year that ultimately died in committee.

    About 2,000 soldiers under age 21 serve in the Army in Alaska, said Maj. Bill Coppernoll, public affairs officer for U.S. Army Alaska. Federal law prohibits them from drinking on base.


    Alcohol is involved in a third of misconduct incidents on Alaska's military installations, three generals said in a letter to Rep. Dan Saddler, co-chairman of the House Special Committee on Military & Veterans' Affairs.

    Lowering the drinking age could further increase drunken driving arrests of young soldiers who would drive back from off-base bars, they said.

    "While consumption of alcohol is often regarded as a 'privilege of adulthood,' when our Service men and women deploy, they understand even those of drinking age may not be allowed to consume alcohol while deployed," said the letter from Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, commander of the Alaska Command, and Maj. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo, commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska. "It is just part of the sacrifice military members make."

    The legislation may linger before lawmakers decide anything. It's being considered by a committee that doesn't meet again this year.

    Maria Wylie, a 20-year-old Army ROTC cadet at University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the measure sounded fair, as long as soldiers of all ages ensure they don't drink and drive.

    Cody Short, a cadet in the Army ROTC at the University of Alaska Anchorage, said he was unsure why a special law should be created just for young soldiers.

    "We follow the laws applied to the U.S," said Short, 20. "I can wait till I'm 21."

  • #2
    If you can die in a country where you were not born, you should be able to have a drink.. I have no problem with these men and woman being allowed to drink at the age of 18. My wife and I can remember when the drinking age was 18 in NY. She was able to drink out and I missed it lol (she is older than me)

    IMHO there are so many countries in Europe that do this and there isn't as much as a problem as you would think. Tell you what; it would eliminate all that first year college & 21 year old BS that goes on once "freedom" (ability to drink) TABOO etc for these kids. If implemented (18) I think you may see a decrease of DWI's etc for 21 years old and who knows maybe less issues as young adults.
    Last edited by jcioccke; 04-07-2011, 10:35 AM.
    MDRDEP:

    There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

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    • #3
      Raising the age to 21 was directly tied to federal highway funding, so if a state didn't raise their drinking age they would lose out on the money.

      I'm old enough to remember when they raised the drinking age to 21, and the same argument was used then...a pretty big deal too, since we were fighting in Viet Nam, and the draft was still active. At the time, I agreed.

      Nowadays I don't know that I feel the same. People seem to drink stupid these days, and take pride in getting passed-out drunk. That's something that wouldn't fly in the past, we made fun of people who couldn't hold their liquor. I also live in a military town, and we scrape way too many sailors and marines off our freeways.
      Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

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      • #4
        I'm a young guy and I've been around a lot of people drinking. However much I appreciate and admire people who serve this country, I don't see why an exception should be made.

        How about creating programs or incentives that help our younger soldiers deal with issues when they get home? Allowing them to drink isn't the answer.

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        • #5
          All the arguments for raising the drinking age to 21 are valid for raising it to 65 :-). I'm not in favor of special rights for anybody, either all 18 years olds can drink, or they cannot. IMHO the age should be 18.

          I slipped under the wire here in Ohio for beer after they raised it to 19, then to 21, helped me get my drinking all done and over with by 25. My dad let me have beer before I was 18 however, when out (racing sprint cars) with a bunch including him.
          Just pay your dues, and be quiet :-)

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          • #6
            Why not 16? 15? 14?
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              Why not 16? 15? 14?
              And then allow those at that age to purchase handguns as well and drink while shooting...since they won't be "drinking and driving"...yeah I am not for this bill.
              "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by irishlad2nv View Post
                And then allow those at that age to purchase handguns as well and drink while shooting...since they won't be "drinking and driving"...yeah I am not for this bill.
                Well, of course! The Second Amendment does not say anything about a minimum age!
                Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  I just think that we should get rid of the graduated "adulthood" anyway. 18 or 21 work...but just pick one. Either let 18 year olds drink and buy handguns, or make everyone wait 'til 21 to enlist/vote/smoke. It's ridiculous to say "Okay, you're enough of an adult to be trusted with these things...but not with these ones."

                  Pick an age at which someone's legally an adult, and apply it across the board for everything.
                  Lt. Col. Grace - "Lt. Murphey, why are you all dressed up to mack on the ladies?"
                  Me - "Sir, you just answered your own question."

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                  • #10
                    Old enough to vote.
                    Old enough to sign contracts.
                    Old enough to pay taxes, get married, get divorced, have kids, abort a child, adopt a child, join the military, die in a forign land, in some states work LE...

                    Then let them be an adult and make the choice to drink.
                    Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

                    nom de plume

                    This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.

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                    • #11
                      I vaguely remember the drinking age in Ca. being 18. I was far to young to drink but I remember being on a family trip to SF area and my parents talking about it. When I was in the navy at 32nd st naval station in San Diego you could drink (on base) at 18. I believe they changed it to 21 at some point in the past?

                      I imagine that changing the drinking age like that impacted revenue for whatever programs run the base clubs. It probably wasn't done lightly and there was probably a pretty good reason for it.

                      I understand the rational that someone who's willing to catch a bullet should be able to have a drink, but it's a slippery slope. How about someone willing to protect the public from an enraged motorist (like police) at 18 or 19 years old? How about someone willing to enter a burning building to pull people out of it at 16 years old? If the litmus test is risking life and limb military personnel aren't the only people who should be considered.
                      He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
                      shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
                      - Psalm 91:1

                      On Ignore - A few folks.

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                      • #12
                        Old enough to vote.
                        Old enough to sign contracts.
                        Old enough to pay taxes, get married, get divorced, have kids, abort a child, adopt a child, join the military, die in a forign land, in some states work LE...

                        Then let them be an adult and make the choice to drink.
                        Well said +1000000
                        MDRDEP:

                        There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am all for it. Like a few others have said... If these people are expected to give their lives for our country, there is no way in Hell that anyone can think of a good reason to not let them have a drink. It's not like most of them don't anyways (from my experience) - it's quite easy to find a 21+ buddy to go buy you a 12 pack wherever you live. Just as well make it legal for these heroes instead of make them go through the hassle. It would generate more money for everyone, too, so I don't see a problem - isn't that what the states and government care about? I agree that these shouldn't be the only exceptions - LEO's, firefighters and many others should be considered if this is passed. There are so many 21 and under's who drink anymore that I have personally never witnessed anyone 18+ but under 21 get arrested for being intoxicated in public/at a bar (as long as they aren't being turds), and i've been around many officers and college kids in the same places. Getting off topic though, sorry.
                          Pursuing the dream.


                          Awaiting the start of Academy... April 28th.

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                          • #14
                            I still think the real problem is with having a "drinking age" at all. Rather, alcohol should be phased in, not an all-at-once thing.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jjbledsoe View Post
                              I am all for it. Like a few others have said... If these people are expected to give their lives for our country, there is no way in Hell that anyone can think of a good reason to not let them have a drink.
                              Really? Perhaps so that they don't take the lives of the people they are supposed to be protecting.
                              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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