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More kids will drink if law changes

I disagree totally with the idea of lowering the legal drinking age to 18 (Is 18 too young to drink?, Sept. 4). Seniors in high school almost always turn 18 before or during their senior year in high school.

Lowering the drinking age would simply make alcohol much more accessible to the 16-year-olds, which would make it easier for 14-year-olds and probably do the same for the 12-year-olds.

As it is now, some 21-year-olds will buy for their younger friends, and it shows a lack of wisdom on their parts. I would suggest that many more 18-year-olds have even less maturity to understand what good and bad judgment is. If 18 will help instead of 21, then why not eliminate all age restrictions?

Barry Adams

Southwest Portland

Drinking age reveals a double standard

It is really quite simple: If our society considers a citizen adult enough to decide who our elected officials are at 18 and considers a citizen mature enough to die for our country at 18, then they should be considered responsible enough to drink at 18. You can't have it both ways.

Katherine Lloyd-Knox

Northeast Portland

Flop laws so drunk kids aren't driving

I applaud the Portland Tribune for discussing the emotionally charged topic of underage drinking (Is 18 too young to drink?, Sept. 4). However, I believe that there is an alternative solution that has yet to be addressed. As a recent college graduate I have observed the arguments of both sides of this debate firsthand.

Yes, college kids tend to binge drink, especially those who first experiment with alcohol their freshman year.

Yes, young people often are reckless behind the wheel (I was one of them). Anyone intoxicated behind the wheel is dangerous, but even more so with an inexperienced driver as well as an inexperienced drinker.

If one of the major concerns of lowering the drinking age is fear of more intoxicated teens driving drunk, then why not simultaneously lower the drinking age to 18 and raise the driving age to 21?

Surely getting behind the wheel of a car takes far more judgment and carries with it a greater responsibility than consuming alcohol. Additionally, this would alleviate some traffic and parking issues and make use of our high-quality public transportation.

Parker Sammons

Southwest Portland

Drinking law article misquoted source

This letter is in regard to Ed Johnson and Jim Redden's story 'Is 18 too young to drink?' (Sept. 4). In the article I was referred to as a 'scofflaw' and I was grossly misquoted.

At no point during our interview did I advocate underage drinking - rather, I pointed at its inevitability. I admitted that I had drunk while underage, but that it was a poor decision with dangerous consequences. I work with children and find underage drinking, especially among younger teens, to be tragic and totally unacceptable.

A 'scofflaw' is a person who habitually breaks the law. For Johnson and Redden to refer to me as such is utter defamation. Not only am I not a habitual law breaker, but I never uttered the words: 'When you're 17, 18, 19 years old you should bend the rules a little and have a little fun.'

This quote was completely fabricated for Johnson's and Redden's agenda, which I'm guessing was merely for the chance to use the word 'scofflaw.' I am disappointed in the Portland Tribune's reporting.

If Johnson and Redden wanted to interview a college president on binge drinking they should have found one with experience in the matter, unlike Mt. Hood Community College's President John Sygielski.

And if they wanted the opinion of a 'scofflaw,' perhaps they should have interviewed someone with a criminal record, instead of misquoting and defaming a law-abiding child care worker.

Kristin McLaughlin

Northeast Portland

Editor's note: The Tribune stands by the accuracy of McLaughlin's reported quote.

Discussing drinking age makes sense

I agree with the college professors (Is 18 too young to drink?, Sept. 4). If we can't trust 18-year-olds as a group with not driving drunk, then we should not give anyone under 21 a driver's license - not limit the drinking age.

If the 19- to 21-year-olds are that irresponsible, why do we let them vote? If they can't have a beer, why can they get married and have children?

They can join the military under 21 and learn how to kill at the risk of being killed, but can't go into a bar and have a drink the day before getting sent to Iraq. How ridiculous.

Paul Fellner

Southwest Portland