O'Reilly Backs Into the Truth  

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, with whom I usually enjoy a good degree of agreement generally, wound up backing into the truth in his column this week. I was getting more and more ticked as I read things like this ...

While Chaminade taught "values" and a Christian philosophy on life, off campus many students were wild men. Back then, the drinking age was 18 and most seniors could legally buy all the booze they wanted. And many did, leading to the usual chaos. (my emphasis)
The usual chaos? Bill seems to be implying here that eighteen year olds drinking is somehow more chaotic than, say, thirty-eight year olds doing the same. Get real. Any chaos brought about by younger people drinking is no more nor less significant than that brought about by older people. This pity party people get into when they see younger people doing less than positive things is nothing less than deplorable. Its real purpose is to give the Left more opportunity to insert itself into the lives of Americans and dictate how they should live.
Now, the drinking age in America is 21, if the state wants federal highway funds. But, according to my high school teacher friends, student drinking is worse than it ever was.

I'd question the constitutionality of making federal road funds contingent upon which laws states pass or do not pass, per Article I, section 8.

And exactly when did it become any teacher's business what someone who is not under their supervision does on his or her own time? Our schools have gotten too much into trying to micromanage the lives of their students; trying to figure their home life (or lack thereof) into the method of teaching, which has been unsuccessful at best. Students who put forth the effort and do the work are still the ones who succeed, regardless of what life is like at home, including the ones engaging in self-destructive behavior.

Am I saying that teenagers drinking is a good thing? Of course not. But to imply it's any worse than adults doing the same thing is a joke. I'd even venture, that it's better for a young person to know what intoxication feels like BEFORE taking the wheel of a car, so that he will know how he is affected by it and act accordingly. Here's more BS (in support of the idea that problems caused by drunk teens are worse than those caused by drunk adults) ...
Most guidance counselors will tell you that many pregnancies occur when teenagers are drunk. STD's are also easily passed along when teens are too out of it to use protection. Fights break out, destructive traffic accidents are common, and so is destruction of property.
Fair enough. But to say that many pregnancies occur when teenagers are drunk is also to say that many occur when they aren't. It's also to say that many pregnancies occur when older people are drunk as well, and that many occur when they aren't. While these statements may be true, they hardly support any point.

As for STD's, the same position can be taken, especially when the worst STD of them all, HIV, easily bypasses any form of "protection" teens (or older people) might use. Fights, traffic accidents, and destruction of property may be more common in teens who have been drinking, but quite frankly, the pot is calling the kettle black once again.
If a teenager is drunk and unsupervised—look out.
Same is true for a 30-year old. Get over it.

Am I saying that we should ban alcohol use altogether? Absolutely not. What I AM saying is that people need to get back into the practice of taking responsibility for their own lives instead of depending on the government to do it for them.
The principal at Chaminade, Father James Williams, places much of the blame on parents. And remember, these parents aren't struggling in the inner city to put food on the table—these are affluent parents who believe kids will be kids, so why not let them get wasted once in a while?
Any "blame" for these kids' destructive behaviors SHOULD rest on the parents, though I disagree with the "kids will be kids" copout that so many people use. Kids should be allowed to drink at whatever age their parents decide, and the government should get out of the picture altogether. The reason? They need to know the pros and cons first hand, and they need the stigma taken away so that alcohol's "forbidden fruit" allure isn't part of their decision. The laws that exist today actually ENCOURAGE kids to go behind their parents' backs and do these things on their own and without supervision, not to mention the fact that they interfere with the sovereignty of the citizen in his home.

At this point, I'm sure I've got some of you worked into a tissy and thinking things like, "Well sure, Rocker. You say this now, but wait until someone close to you is killed by a drunk driver." It's already happened. Twice that I know of. Once when I myself was a teen, and once more recently as an adult. Both victims were age 21 or younger.

I just don't see the point of demanding the government regulate people's lives just because someone might die. Death has been around since before the dawn of humanity. If we're not used to it by now, there's a problem. It's the one thing that EVERYONE can expect to have happen at one point or another. I will die someday. You will die someday. So will my kids and your kids. Untimely death has been around as long as its more "acceptable" counterpart. Get over it.

As to the potential for these people to kill someone, let the punishment fit the crime, and don't pussy out when sentencing time rolls around. That has always been shown to be the best prevention technique of all.

Of course, after all of this dancing around and tossing around irrelevant facts, Bill does come around to the truth:
So the best plan is to lay out the pros and cons of getting loaded. Discuss the good things about it with your kids, and the bad things about it. Use some visuals to make points. Baby pictures, hospital rooms, wrecked cars, that kind of thing.

Then keep track of your kid. As long as he or she is getting laundry done in the house, you have a right to do that.

In short, do everything you can to discourage the intoxication deal. In that way, if you fail, at least you know you tried.
I'd even say that if your kid is generally a reasonable person, let him or her try it out once so they can experience it first-hand and under your supervision. My own kids haven't gotten past the nasty smell - yet.