Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In other’s view: Common sense says abide by the law

The Lawrence Journal-World recently said in an editorial:

May 23, 2007

Do you think it's better or safer to have young people under 21 drinking alcohol in a supervised setting rather than to risk them drinking alcohol in their cars or elsewhere?

If so, a new law says think again.

The bill signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius amends the law that makes it illegal to host a party where minors are consuming alcohol. The law previously applied only to minors under 18; now it applies to anyone under age 21.

According to the new law and Attorney General Paul Morrison, "You allow property that you own or control to be used for a party like that -- criminally you are on the hook."

Unfortunately, the question of older adults -- sometimes parents -- sanctioning alcohol consumption by minors -- often their own children -- arises all too frequently around graduation time. In our culture, alcoholic drinks are so closely associated with celebrations, that many people can't separate the two. High school or college graduation is worthy of celebration, they think, and that means alcohol.

There are many ways to rationalize drinking. People can say if young people are old enough to vote and serve in the military, they are old enough to have a drink. That sounds good on the surface, but people that age sometimes lack the self-control to drink responsibly -- plus, it's against the law.

Morrison also had a pretty good answer for parents who rationalize having parties with alcohol by saying they'd rather have young people drinking at home than driving around or partying elsewhere.

"I've heard that argument ad nauseam. ... A good analogy is: You're going to let your kids go over to somebody's house to have sex just because their parents are there? I doubt it."

You'd almost think Morrison has had to make this argument to his own teenagers.

It may be difficult to say no to your children, but both the law and common sense dictate that you must. It's up to parents and other adults to set a good example for young adults. A great start is to send the message that alcohol and drunkenness aren't the only way -- or even the best way -- to celebrate a life milestone.

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