PROMPT ON DRINKING AGE

Question: Should the MLDA be decreased to 18?

I feel that the MLDA should be decreased to 18 because it would allow for teens to drink more responsibly and learn responsibility at a younger age. I understand the argument that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until about age 21, but even so teens begin drinking around the start of high school and lowering the age would maybe decrease the “glamour” of it. Along with this, many countries in Europe and around the world have younger ages like 16 as their minimum drinking age. Many exchange students that I’ve met over the years describe how drinking in Europe is not the same in America. It is much more glamorized in America and binge drinking is a lot more apparent. There are commercials that make binge drinking attractive and like it’s the cool thing to do, whereas in Europe, people learn from an early age how to drink responsibly and how to make it a factor of life rather than letting it overtake the culture.

Another argument for the MLDA to be decreased to 18 is the fact that you can be drafted at 18, but you cannot legally take a sip of wine with your parents at dinner. You can be shipped off and die for your country, but you cannot have a beer or a glass of wine. I feel that is the wrong signal to be sending to American youth. I understand that teens can be rowdy and irresponsible, but allowing a level of trust gives teens an incentive to be responsible and to do what’s right.

Lastly, in the article, it described how having the MLDA set at 21 decreases the amount of DUI’s. If the MLDA was set at 18 instead, people would learn how to drink responsibly and to not drive at an even earlier age, especially when they may be seniors in high school and things like this tend to happen then. Sometimes DUI’s happen because high schoolers are scared to tell their parents their drinking and get behind the wheel instead. Lowering the age to 18 would de-stigmatize drinking and allow for young adults to learn further responsibility while still in high school while keeping them a bit more safer.

PROMPT ON PUNISHMENT FOR DRUG CHARGES

Question: Is prison the most adequate solution for criminals with drug charges?

I feel that incarceration is not an adequate solution for criminals with drug charges. People that are addicted to drugs or alcohol may have a very deep rooted problem that needs to be solved in the long term. Treatment is a much better solution in comparison to incarceration because it provides a healthy environment to begin the process of becoming an ex-addict. Society may be concerned with the idea of these criminals going unpunished, but in many aspects, treatment/rehab isolates prisoners from their friends and family in the short run which can be seen as punishment. Locking someone up in a cell does nothing but detain them and detainment should be reserved for people that are actually extremely dangerous to society.

Many jails end up filling up because people are locked up for petty drug crimes. This overpopulation of prisons could be solved if there was a better solution such as treatment and rehabilitation. Treatment would also negate the statistics that clearly state that inmates released from jail typically return to jail in the next three years or so. The Center for Disease Control estimated that about 1.9 million people in jail or prison used illicit substances. There’s a reason this is so high. People do not receive the help they need and sometimes they are not aware of the problem. Receiving treatment is more important than being punished because it will better society and give people a second chance at life. Some may argue that treatment is too expensive, but in the long run it will save society more money than continuing to build prisons, especially as incarceration rates rise. Costs of running prisons are already high and most of the time inmates do not receive much betterment from their time locked up. Treatment is a far more efficient and beneficial alternative to incarceration of criminals with drug related charges.

PROMPT ON HOMESCHOOLING

Is homeschooling the right choice? Do you think the positive effects outweigh the negative effects (if you think there are any negative effects)?

In my opinion, the positive effects of homeschooling do not outweigh the negative, rather, it is vice versa. I feel that various attributes of homeschooling can hinder a child’s development and educational experience. First off, a homeschooled student will have limited instructors, and this means a homeschooled child may have a limited perspective on what they learn. In the public school system there are typically specific teachers for specific subjects because they specialize in that area. This benefits the students because they are learning the material from someone with corresponding expertise in the subject. Unlike public education, homeschooling typically only has one teacher (usually the parent) and although this teacher may be well versed in various subjects, the student still doesn’t get the extensive perspective from someone who specializes in a specific area. Secondly, homeschooled students may have less social interaction, in comparison to those in public school who are constantly interacting with their peers. The article argues that along with lessened social interaction between friends, this isolation can also hinder a person’s future dating life and social networking. I feel that the article did a good job of describing how high school tends to be the time when people begin “courting” one another and learning through the process. It’s also a time when students begin networking and making connections, even if they are not that significant. Homeschooled students, although they may be involved in extracurricular activities around their community, still miss out on constant interaction with their peers. Lastly, I feel that public school allows for a student to grow without the influence of their parents, allowing them to be more open minded and develop their own opinions. Although high school can be an impressionable time in a child’s life, it’s the preceding step to college. This means that students are forming opinions, figuring out what they want to do with their life, etc. Compared to a homeschooled student, they may not have the constant attention of a parent and that’s important in growing up. A person must begin developing their own identity based on who they are and what they want. Although there may be many upsides to homeschooling, I feel that the public school system allows a student to become a little more open minded and independent which is essential to a person’s development.

 

Prompt on Homelessness

Homelessness: Do you think homelessness should be illegal? Do you think assisting people who are homeless should be illegal (i.e. offering food to homeless people) because it may cause more homelessness?

I completely disagree with the assertion that homelessness should be illegal. First of all, homelessness has many causes such as not being able to afford proper healthcare, losing a steady income, gentrification of low income neighborhoods, etc. Much of the time people cannot control external forces that push them out of stable homes and onto the streets. The question at hand is, if you have no where to go, where do you go? The fact of the matter is that many people have very limited options once they no longer have a home. Criminalization of homelessness is a serious human rights violation. People cannot control certain circumstances and if they have don’t hold a steady income how can they be expected  to get back on their feet alone? By making homelessness illegal, the state is stripping the mere right to exist from people.

Secondly, assisting people that are homeless should never be illegal. When someone is in a vulnerable state, they need a helping hand and that is where the community comes in. If there isn’t enough room in shelters, where are the homeless going to get a meal from? The meals that different organizations, churches, or simply passerby’s offer to homeless on a day to day basis, may in fact be that person’s only meal of the day. Offering assistance to homeless people is also important in a way that goes beyond providing a meal. For example, 7% of the Richmond population is homeless. An organization called HomeAgain provides a support system in order to get that homeless person off the streets. The first thing they do is try to find temporary shelter for them, then they look for permanent low income housing for that person. Along with this, they try to help homeless people begin to be financially stable by helping them find a long term job and providing necessary materials such as food, clothing, toiletries, and furniture (through donations). By making these kinds of things illegal, the law is only worsening the problem of homelessness. Assisting people who are homeless won’t cause more homelessness. It will inspire and give hope to people through simple acts of kindness.