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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

    A week or so ago there was an article in the local newspaper about a car accident that occured on a nearby parkway.  Fortunately there were no serious injuries or fatalities.  As it turns out the accident was caused by a 19 year old driver and he had been drinking alcohol.  So he was given the usual array of charges which as I recall numbered about five.  That's the way it goes these days.  No one is ever charged with let's say shoplifting.  Instead the charges will be shoplifting, possession of stolen property, petit larceny in the second degree, possession of an unstamped letter to be mailed and therefore postal fraud, and wearing white after Labor Day in the third degree.  It's as if police and prosecutors have come to realize that if they throw enough shit on the wall at least some of it will stick.

    Anyway, upon further investigation the police found that the 19 year old driver had been drinking at an apartment rented by a 22 year old friend.  And so the 22 year old was also charged with a variety of crimes including endangering the welfare of a child.  I found it interesting to learn that the law considers a 19 year old man to be a child.  Several years ago a couple of 17 year olds that I know were busted for purchasing a case of beer with phony ID.  When they appeared in juvenile court, and among other things, the judged warned them that they had better be careful because next year they would be 18 and therefore treated in court as adults.  When I heard this I really wanted to write or call someone but I didn't know who to contact.  How can it be that an 18 year old can be treated as an adult for doing something they are not supposed to do because they are considered a minor?

    So let's put the first story together with the second.  Apparently we have some weird sort of Darwinism going on in our legal system.  At 17 you are considered to be a child.  Then at 18 you become an adult but at 19 you revert back to being a child.  Huh?  It's kind of like a butterfly crawling back into its cocoon and having to wait there awhile before it can get to be a butterfly again.  Does any of this make any sense?

    A couple of years ago there was a soldier in a nearby town who tragically was killed in Iraq.  He was 20 years old and left behind a wife and a young daughter.  I really don't want to make light of this but how is it that a 20 year old can die in a war, leave behind a wife and child, and never have lived long enough to legally drink a Budweiser?  Are we stupid or what?  I have been told, and I'm not going to bother verifying this, that soldiers under the age of 21 can drink a beer or two on their military base.  Great.  If you have a wife and child or two and you're 20 years old you can't have a drink.  But if you've been trained to kill and carry a rifle you can.

    I'd like some help with my readers on this.  How can we ever hope to solve our national debt, win the war in Afghanistan, solve global warming (if there is such a thing), etc. when we can't even figure out what a 19 or 20 year old is.  Come on folks.  You've all been there.  Who should I call?

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