Saturday, April 04, 2009

Curtis Fry and Neo-Prohibition

The overkill quote of the week goes to Rabbi Jeff Portman who, as he awaited the verdict in the Curtis Fry murder trial, told the Daily Iowan: “If I had my way, I would outlaw all the bars or get rid of the drink specials.”

Obviously the events of that night are a tragedy, most of all for those who were close to Pat McEwen but also for Fry and those close to him. And Rabbi Portman was clearly upset as he awaited the verdict.

But he let one slip. Make no mistake. The real agenda of the people who pushed things like the 21 bar ordinance is prohibition. Look how well that worked in the 1920s.

It's not insignificant that the events of that night came about in large part because it was Curtis Fry's 21st birthday. Making drinking the big legal symbol of coming of age, and making the drinking age itself such a big deal, is a huge factor in the extreme excess "celebrations" like Fry's tragic binge. Keeping the age artificially high just makes it a bigger deal.

If we take that age down to 18, in keeping with all our other legal measures of maturity like the 26th Amendment, more people will come of age Back Home with a measure more of parental supervision, and without three years of pent-up college town culture. And once we take age off the table, we can address alcohol abuse as its own issue.

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