Americans seem to do everything backwards. We ban everything we don't like then close our eyes when it goes on. The problem is that familys don't have parents that educate their kids about lifes responsibilities. They want to tell their kids that these things don't exist. That leads to a real problem when they have to face these things in their life when they get older.
Drinking is not satan's curse on us get over it. Kid's need to drink responsibly and they can only learn that by being exposed to it at a young age, so that it is not an issue when the grow up. The United States tells everyone that drinking is bad, so what do the kids want to do, drink. They drink when they get the opportunity and that is not under safe circumstances. Since they have to hide the fact that they drink from everyone, they hide and sneak and that becomes part of the culture.
I started drinking at 12 and I did not drive drunk and now I rarely drink. I don't recommend that kids start drinking at 12, but they will start at some point and it is better to teach people that they don't have to drink until they are unconscious to have a good time. I don't know anyone who didn't start drinking before the legal age. People who don't are the exception not the rule. Throwing people in jail will not stop people from drinking. It has to be a choice and making that choice involves having some type of education about it's affect and the respsibilities that go with it.
How do kids celebrate their 21st birthday. They go to a bar and drink and drink and drink. Why, because we have made the drinking age a rght of passage in their lives. Drinking should not be a right of passage, but it is because we in this country want to hide from our responsibilities.
I hear it all the time. The national excuse, "well he/she is 21 now, so I'm not responsible any more." There is a national disease in this country and it is avoiding responsibility. Kids turn a certain age and suddenly they are on their own. Kids turn a certain age and they are automatically responsible. It is a totaally unrealitic viewpoint. Resposibility implies that you have an idea of what society deems as acceptable. That means that they have to be educated by someone about things. The reality in this country is that kids learn from their peers, because adults have lied to them or haven't even mentioned things. How can they be aware of their responsibilities when every kids has different peers with different ideas of what is acceptable and how to be responsible.
Kids should be taught about drinking in a non-judgemental way and their parents should discuss what resposible drinking is. You can't guarantee that they will not make a mistake, but you can make it less likely.
The other problem in this society is that almost everyone with a car drinks and drives. It's a fact. Do they all get caught, no. Kids know their parents drink and drive. I doubt that there is at least one time that you have been to a family party and had a beer and driven. To you that doesn't count, because you can rationalize it, but to the child it's cut anad dry you drank then you drove. This country needs to stop pretending that alcohol is not available in this country to their kids. Get your heads out of your asses stop trying to look the cleavers (Leave it to Beaver) and deal with it. Laws haven't stopped anything in this country. Having a law keeps the people who would not do something anyway from doing it. I happen to drive the speed limit, but you all know that you don't. Now you are rationalizing it by making an excuse i'll bet. Have I ever sped yes. We have all looked down and said I didn't know I was going that fast and a lot of us just don't care. The law doesn't stop it from happening. A law is only as good as the people.
It's time to leave fantasy land now kid's are going to drink. You did. Your parents did and you need to stop denying the elephant in the room. I guarantee you that the majority of kids are drinking before 18, law or no law. Now I am hearing the next cliche line that shows total denial, "I know my kid and he/she wouldn't do that or You don't know my kid". It's time people dealt with reality in this country. I know it's not pleasant, but there is only so far out into the middle of nowhere you can move to preserve your delusions.