Rep. Fletcher Smith is sponsoring a bill that restores some sanity to the drinking laws in South Carolina. I have long wondered why if one can buy a house, caste a vote, incur debt, and go to war at 18 that one has to be 21 to drink a beer. The most dangerous thing anyone does in life, according to the numbers, is driving a car, In South Carolina you can do that at 15.
Rep. Fletcher Smith's bill proposes letting armed services members between 18 and 21 be able to buy alcoholic beverages in South Carolina. It seems like good common sense. If you are willing to get shot at for your country, you ought be able to buy a beer.
But, do not count on that happening. First, there will be the lobbying effort of activist groups such as MADD. Their paid staff with trot out statistics that scare people. Don't misunderstand me. I am for tough DUI laws. However, taking the position that service members between 18-21 will be more likely to drive drunk then the ne'er do well 43 year old down the street who polishes off a quart of bourbon a day is illogical and insulting to the young men and women who serve in the military. No one stops the 43 year old from buying his stuff. They shouldn't : its legal. All I am asking is why some young man or woman who fought in a war can not get a cold one?
Also do not look for the federal government to offer support on this. It will threaten to take some highway funds if such a bill became law. It seems the federal government has no trouble trusting an 18 year old with a tank, a world class personal weapon, and the like. But, trusting them with a cold beer? The federal government will not do that.
Indeed, what does it say to the young man or woman the federal government has no problem entrusting the business end of our foreign policy with that it does not trust them with alcohol?
There is one more group that would derail Fletcher Smith's bill if it became law. That is the litigation community. There is little doubt that if such a bill became law, someone would bring a lawsuit saying it discriminated against young people not in the military. Who knows how that would turn out. However, the potential for litigation must be considered.
The situation is just asinine when you think about. A 19 year old can get married, buy a house, join the military, and go and fight for his country. But, when he is home on leave, he had better not have a cold beer. Meanwhile, the ne'er do well 43 year old loads up on his quart a day and can find a way to slip out facing the music if he is caught for DUI if he has a good lawyer. Such is what happens when the laws are written defacto by lobbyists instead of by leaders with common sense.