The minimum legal drinking age is back on the table. College and university presidents, including the two for whom I currently teach, have signed a national petition to take a fresh look at the law.

Their concerns are genuine. Kids are drinking illegally. Binge drinking takes lives. Colleges can be held responsible when they are — of course — unable to consistently and completely enforce a law that keeps kids from demon rum.

Here Is A Quick History and
Assessment of the Challenge

Today’s Columbus Dispatch offers "Lowering The Drinking Age Is Simply Raising The Risks," an opinion column by Dr. Rob Crane.

It will take only three minutes to read. Then you will be ready to enter the debate. Here it is. Cheers.

(Long-time readers of Net Cotton Content might remember Rob’s comment to me: "You aren’t human until you’ve read Mountains Beyond Mountains.")

The Old Question Is Back
I’ve already heard this from a favorite 15-year-old: "Why at 18 years of age am I old enough to die for my country, but not old enough to buy a beer?"

I agree. It’s not fair.

We face a difficult philosophical question of fairness.

So here’s my answer.

Keep the minimum legal drinking age at 21 years.

But offer an exception for anyone with a military ID — active, on leave, reserve or veteran. If you are, or have ever been, in the United States military, you can buy alcohol.

And, should the military draft be reinstated, all who are registered for the draft should be able to buy beer. But only if the draft is reinstated. (Hey, that’s one draft for another.)

I agree that anyone who serves our country should be able to buy legal beverages.

I don’t, however, think that the courage and service of some has won all 18 year olds the right to party — and to die in higher numbers on our nation’s roads.