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War but No Beer?

For the last two decades, the legal age to consume alcohol in the United States has been 21 and still is. Millions of adults in the United States under the age of 21 have to abide by this law, but through evidence and theory I will show how this law is ineffective. Therefore, I am taking a stand against the current law forbidding any citizen of the United States to consume alcohol under the age of 21. Recently, about 100 presidents of Americas universities have created the Amethyst Initiative. This initiative was created to push for a discussion to reconsider Americas policy on the consumption of alcohol. With this stated, instantly some may argue that per the economic turmoil America is facing now, this issue is not worthy of discussion at this moment. I disagree, of course we have to prioritize our problems and the economy may seem to render a more important one, to some, but tending to laws that might seem unjust in anyway to a group of elite individuals, since they are paving the way for Americas future leaders, like the Amethyst Initiative might just bear the question. Is the law we have now, the bottom-line? One subject both parties touch on is the amount of peoples lives that are affected by alcohol negatively. The parties that favor the law that is in practice now strongly believe that science is the key to their justifications. Although, they do have some truth like this statistic, Since the 21 law was widely enacted, the number of young people killed annually in crashes involving drunk drivers under 21 has been cut in half, from more than 5,000 individuals in the early 1980s to around 2,000 in 2005. By the end of 2005, the 21 drinking age had saved nearly 25,000 American livesapproximately 1,000 lives a year, (Dean-Mooney). To almost everyone, saving lives is the most moral thing one can do in this context, but these numbers have been pretty much consistent from 1992 to 2004 according to NIAAA. This only tells us that the laws initial purpose has now faded and the number of deaths have basically hit a plateau. The law is not creating the drastic changes as it once did before, but yet the deaths are still occurring because lawmakers have become too satisfied. Supporters of the 21 law are blind to their own faulty satisfaction. They keep stating how the fatal crash rate due to alcohol consumption has been brought down dramatically, but they completely ignore the fact that deaths due to alcohol, but that are in no way involved with driving are still happening off the roads. The reformers of the law back in 1984 are looking at their evidence, the improvement of deaths on the highway due to alcohol, as means and their means as ends in themselves and that is it. The ultimate end is still unknown because the end involves the smallest number of deaths possible, including zero deaths, but deaths are still occurring and this debate is still on the table, for this paper would be irrelevant if the issue did not exist, therefore their end is not justifiable. Actually nowhere near justifiable, but something much less, for if it were just, a large mass of negative consequences would not still be occurring. Parties that are pro 21 support my reasoning with their clouded visions, for when they use the former evidence; they use that evidence wrongly. They state that just because lives are being saved, regardless of the circumstances that are happening off the highways, they are right and it is the only way. Here is a statement from the U.S News and World Report that proves my point,

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 11:30 AM Comment [1]: Going off of your introductory paragraph, it seems like your essay can go in two different directions. Will you be explaining your stand on the law? Will you be persuading others through evidence? Either of these stances could be an effective thesis, just make sure you stay consistent with what you are writing about.

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 12:15 PM Comment [2]: The Amethyst Initiative is one of your strongest pieces of supporting evidence for your claim that the current law is ineffective. Do you think your essay would be stronger with a more in-depth analysis of its perspective on the 21 law?

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 11:41 AM Comment [3]: I feel like this point of argument is a bit muddled. Is it the lawmakers who are causing the deaths? Do we have statistics and numbers that show the connection between drinking age and vehicular death rates? I am unsure either way, so it would help to provide more evidence or reasoning on this point. Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 12:12 PM Comment [4]: This point seems more confusing that it needs to be. Inclusion of the evidence you reference in this paragraph could make a stronger argument for you if you show the reader what you mean by means as ends in themselves. Do you have a way to display this point empirically?

The simple fact is that the 21law saves lives and is, therefore, nonnegotiable, (Dean-Mooney). The lives of people should never be taken for granted, I agree, but when the total amount of traffic related deaths are staying consistent after the major drop that occurred when it first was implemented, something is wrong. Some at this point may ignore me completely because they are probably stating this, well the goal was to lower the fatal crash rate not eliminate it. This a wonderful accomplishment, but I am not stating that it was not ineffective, I am stating that the families losing those 1000 lives a year would never settle for anything but less than zero or zero deaths. We should not either. While traffic deaths stay consistent after their major breakthrough, other areas alcohol is involved with started to increase . Earlier I stated statistics about overall American deaths due to alcohol but, here is an example of how alcohol relates to college students lives specifically. According to a 2005 study published in the Annual Review of Public Health, nearly 600,000 college students are injured each year in alcohol-related incidents, and 1,700 die annually, (Kannenberg). Also, there is another organization that provides similar numbers, According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,700 college students die each year in alcohol-related deaths, (Donaldson James). These numbers are the result of a six percent increase amongst college students since 1998 according to NIAAA. As one can see, these numbers are much higher in college students alone compared to the statistics of overall American deaths due to consumption of alcohol while driving, 1000 as stated earlier. The numbers of fatal car crashes due to alcohol have steadied, but deaths off the highway have actually increased in college life alone due to alcohol. This is one simple fact supporters of the current law are failing to notice. Another point I would like to state is the consideration of becoming an adult by the United States. One is able to vote, serve the American military, drive a car, smoke and drop out of school at the age of eighteen. Does anyone else see something wrong with this? Is it just to say that America gives the right to an eighteen year old person to take an M16 and shoot the enemy in the head, but they cannot pick up a glass of wine and drink it? They can take another human beings life, because of the justification of Americas consideration of an enemy which is another issue that will not be discussed, but they cannot drink. On a social consensus, we can agree on that it takes much more mental responsibility to go to war with a compatriot than to drink responsibly. I am just putting to light circumstances as I see them, for I am not wrong because this is what is happening. My opponent should realize these circumstances and not hide it amongst their rhetoric and be a true citizen by agreeing to discuss about this issue. As shown in the recent election of President Obama, the younger population, younger than 21, were able to make a responsible choice in helping elect President Obama, but they cannot drink. Which one seems more responsible like, the participation in one of Americas most historic elections ever or the ability to drink alcohol? It is ridiculous that an eighteen year old can take on all the responsibilities a 21 year old can, but the drinking of alcohol.

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 12:20 PM Comment [5]: The emotional tone you are using in these statements is not altogether helpful. Emphasis on the empathy one should feel for fellow human beings doesnt need to be overstated too much. Supporting evidence needs more attention to the readers unfamiliar with this topic at the same level you as a writer are. Is there a way to introduce this idea without an emotional tone? If there isnt it may be a good idea to cut it down and keep the focus on facts that support your points.

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 12:09 PM Comment [6]: I can see where you are going with this argument, but it seems sort of assumptive. Your stronger points are those that you have backed with evidence. Can you focus this point into a more seamless argument? Try and see if there is another way to mention adulthood and responsibility in regards to prior claims.

Daniel Clarkson 9/30/13 11:58 AM Comment [7]: Using questions in your essay can be helpful, but make sure not to overuse them or you will begin to sound unsure. Assume a direct stance and state its importance to your main argument.

In conclusion, self satisfaction and accomplishment should never be a priority over anyones life. Also, it seems hypocritical on Americas part to give more serious responsibilities to eighteen year olds than drinking alcohol. In the end though, if politicians and the populace do nothing about this certain problem, then they would be disrespecting one of Americas founding principals, which is the ambiguous pursuit of happiness.

Hey Chris, my name is Daniel C, and I am your UCWbL Writing Fellow for this assignment. This paper displays your voice well, which you should definitely preserve in your revision process. The trick will be keeping your main ideas connected through your topic sentences and supporting evidence. While reading your essay, I felt a little confused in some paragraphs that I commented on, which can really hinder the effectiveness of strong points of argument. Clarity of purpose in writing your paper is just as important as maintaining clarity of voice. Keep an eye out for run-on sentences to maintain a flow from paragraph to paragraph. Read your paper out loud if you are unsure of how a specific section sounds. It can really help to hear your own words spoken aloud. To make your points of argument more effective, utilize specific evidence from outside sources rather than making broad claims. It wouldnt hurt to include a variety of citations from other sources on the subject, such as academic papers or news reports. Check with the DePaul Library online in the Research Guides link if you need any assistance in finding relevant material. I recommend you search through JSTOR if you need a helpful database of information. Dont forget a works cited page at the end of the essay! If you have any questions regarding specific sections of your paper, feel free to email me before our face-to-face appointment. Otherwise, I will look forward to meeting with you at the time you scheduled in class to discuss your paper in person.