Underage drinking not a problem for legislators

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Does anybody else remember when they were in high school and going to parties where the parents of the “party-thrower” were home, and beer and loads of other kinds of alcoholic beverages were made available for tons of no-worries indulgence? At these parties, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I wish my parents were this cool.”

A stunning statistic shows that between 10 and 20 percent of all the alcohol consumed in this country is consumed by underage kids. This is an epidemic that leaves parents facing agonizing choices. Should they prohibit their children from drinking just to have them do it anyway, or should they think outside the box and perhaps let their children drink in the safety of their own home. These are decisions old parents and new parents alike have been facing for years.

But parents from Kansas who choose to let their children drink at home have a new obstacle in their ability to make decisions for their children.

A woman in Kansas worked with the District Attorney there to get a law passed that prohibits parents from allowing their children to drink in private residences. She pushed for this law after her son died in a drunk driving incident after he was allowed to drink at a party where the host’s parents were home.

The passing of this law is another clear sign of how the government is trying to control what people do in their own homes.

Let’s face it: High school and college students drink. No matter what the legal drinking age is, kids younger than that are going to booze it up. It is up to individuals to decide if they are going to do the responsible thing by not driving when they are under the influence. This person’s decision will have nothing to do with a law that says parents cannot let underage people drink when they are home.

I will agree that parents who allow children to drink while they themselves are home are not exactly making a perfect decision with what they’re doing. Parents who allow their children to have a party where alcohol is being consumed are essentially saying it is OK because there is supervision. But we all know parents are not able to keep an eye on everyone at the party, as it doesn’t take very long to do a shot or a beer bong. And in a lot of cases, the parents involved are really only concerned about the safety of their own child, and are not hosting the party as some wonderful act of altruism. These parents must still make sure that if kids drink in their home, those kids must spend the night there. This is oftentimes the case.

Even still, putting a law into effect that tells parents how to raise their own children is ludicrous. A poorly supervised night of drinking is still supervised.

In most cases, parents do not go out and buy the booze for their kids, and aren’t really doing anything that illegal.

Underage drinking is a problem, but it is up to the parent, not legislators, to find out how to handle it. I understand how terrible it must be to lose someone to a drunk driving incident, but this does not give anyone the right to tell others how to raise their children.

Underage people are going to drink, and no law is going to change that. It is up to parents to raise their children, and to tell them that if they are going to drink, do so responsibly. Telling a young person to not drink will most likely just lead to that individual drinking anyway, and probably recklessly. If we as a society continue to educate young people about the dangers of reckless drinking, and maybe put repeat “offenders” in prison, the drinking problem may start to be realistically fought.

Justin Satzman is a sophomore broadcast journalism major.