Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Doesn't This Seem Hypocritical?

I was reading a news story today about a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman being arrested because the man was driving a van after a few too many drinks. Nothing odd about that except both of them were naked as jaybirds. The woman is charged with underage consumption.
That set me to thinking, something I do now and then.
A young fellow or a young woman can't legally drink until they're twenty-one, but a young fellow or a young woman can go to Iraq or Afghanistan and get their butt shot off when they're eighteen.
Am I the only one that senses a little hypocrisy in this? I know the do-gooders will say anyone under twenty-one doesn't have the judgment needed to consume alcoholic beverages. So hold it right there a minute. Are you saying, Mister and Missus Do-Gooder, that these same young people lacking judgment about drinking do possess the judgment to carry a gun in a combat zone?
Now this is an area in which I have some personal experience. I was eighteen when they handed me a rifle and sent me into some of the biggest battles in history. A great many of those with me were the same age and a great many others were nineteen or twenty. Some of the latter were infantry squad leaders, even platoon sergeants.
So I can tell you without fear of contradiction that people that age in combat damn well better have good judgment. Their life depends on it. The lives of those with them depends on it.
With that in mind could you say, "You're too young to have a drink," to a young soldier back from Iraq or Afghanistan?
Could you say, "I support you all the way, soldier. I appreciate the fact that you served faithfully and killed our enemies and did your job well enough to protect your buddies. But you'd like a beer? Oh, no, you're too young. Your judgment isn't good enough."
If you could say that, then you should be out on the streets carrying banners protesting the laws of the nation that allow those under the legal age for drinking to serve in the military. Believing anything else is pure, utter hypocrisy.
Eliminating those too young to legally drink would completely cripple the armed forces, of course.
If someone had told me I couldn't have a beer or something even stronger when I returned from World War II while still only twenty I would have started another war right on the spot. No one ever questioned it, but the legal age for drinking at that time was eighteen.
It should be no different today. If you are old enough for the country to send you to fight and possibly die in a war, then you are old enough to drink in that country.
Don't waste your time trying to convince me otherwise. In my book anyone who feels that way is a hypocrite of the worst sort. It you are one of them, it isn't that young person who lacks judgment, it's you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah it does seem like hypocrisy, or at least a contradiction except that studies show that when you lower the drinking age, more people die. Even your example of underage drinking is one where they were drinking and driving. I'm all for allowing stupid people to kill themselves, but the problem is that drunk drivers have a tendency to take out innocent people who weren't drinking and were obeying traffic laws. If it weren't for the chance that someone I cared about might be next to be slaughtered on the highway, I'd be tempted to agree with you.

I suppose one might argue in that case that the military shouldn't take such young people. I don't know. They seem to know what they're doing and I'll defer to their judgment.

I don't have your years or experience, but one thing I have learned is that life is often counter-intuitive. I just guess I don't see what the fuss is.

12:36 AM  
Blogger STAG said...

In Canada, they issue driver's licences at 16, and there is a probationary period of a year in which they don't allow them to drive after dark or on freeways, nor to have register ANYTHING on the breathalyzer. The drinking age here in Ontario is 19. It used to be 18, but too many kids were dying while pissed up. The military join up age is 18 so there is a year in which soldiers cannot drink in the mess.
I think it is deplorable, however, having lost 4 of my friends to DUI while I was 18, I grudgingly conceed that more lives are saved by raising the driving age.
I did have a pilot friend who due to a combination of circumstances was allowed to fly an f-18 fighter jet, but could not participate in his "passing out" parade when he got his wings. Go figure.

10:05 AM  

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