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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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MADD Mothers take note - I'm steamed again

A topic guaranteed to make my blood boil is back in the news again. Should the legal age for drinking be lowered to eighteen? You'd better believe it should.
If someone eighteen, nineteen or twenty isn't old enough to walk into a bar and order a drink, why should they be considered old enough to walk down a street with a rifle in hand while wearing an Army uniform?
You can't have it both ways. If they are mature enough to do one, they are mature enough to do the other. Those who contend they are old enough to be sent off to fight a war but not old enough to drink are the worst sort of hypocrites badly in need of a reality check.
This is very personal to me. At eighteen I was handed a rifle and told to take part in the invasion of Normandy. I had fought in two campaigns as an infantryman before my nineteenth birthday. After that had someone told me I couldn't relax with a beer, that rifle would have been turned in their direction. Seriously, I mean it.
In the cemetery a few blocks away I sometimes stop beside the grave of an old friend. He was a rifle squad leader when he died on a battlefield in Germany at the age of nineteen. Would these MADD mothers or anyone else have stood in front of a tavern door to prevent him from entering?
In any event, someone under the age of twenty-one who wants to drink is going to drink. No law is going to stop them. Telling them they can't will merely make them determined to show you they can. Remember Prohibition? Men and women who had never taken a drink suddenly found visiting a speakeasy exciting because the government said doing so was forbidden.
The current law has resulted in young people binge drinking on a scale never before seen in this country. Allow them to walk into a tavern and much of the appeal of drinking to excess will be removed.
But that really isn't the point. The point is this: if you are old enough to die in a war you are old enough to drink. Ask yourself these questions: 1. Is someone under twenty-one old and mature enough to fight America's wars? 2. Is someone under twenty-one old and mature enough to drink?
If you answered yes to both you are a realist. If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second you will see a hypocrite every time you look in a mirror.
If you are a MADD mother or share their beliefs but aren't spending as much time campaigning against "under age" men and women fighting in wars as you do against their drinking you have gone beyond mere hypocrisy. You can't believe in one and not believe in the other unless you are delusional. That's just the way it is, always has been and always will be.


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