Botched ABC Sting Fuels Calls for Lower Drinking Age

A Charlottesville political blogger is calling on the commonwealth to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.

AP Photo

July 15, 2013

A Charlottesville political blogger is calling on the commonwealth to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.

Rick Sincere says April's botched sting involving an underage girl, ABC agents and a case of sparkling water mistaken for beer should "stir the debate."

"I think this whole ABC incident in April would have been avoided because the tactics and the strategy would be different if the age for legal drinking would be lower, at 18 where it belongs," said Sincere. "We've used 18 for the measure of adulthood for everything else. This exception makes the government babysitters of people who are college aged or paying a mortgage. It's ridiculous. Treat adults as adults. We're grown ups. We're grown ups at 18, we're not grown up at 21."

Kelly Crispens is 21 years old. Though she can legally purchase alcohol now, she thinks that right should have come three years sooner.

"There are so many other privileges that come along with being 18 -- you can smoke, you're a legal adult, you can join the military," she said. "So, why wouldn't you have the right to drink?"

Mike Dean is the father of a student getting ready to begin his college career at the University of Virginia. Dean says, when it comes to his son and his friends, it's more about practical parenting than a particular age.

"If they're going to have a couple of beers and hang around, they stay over. They don't go home. They don't drive. And we talk about that quite a bit. To us, that's the biggest thing -- don't drink and drive," said Dean.

Sincere says the drinking age has been a concern of his for a long time. He wrote his first article on the topic in 1988, but says it seemed to be the right time to rejuvenate the push.

"This just seemed to be a teachable moment. This incident has people talking about the ABC situation not just in Charlottesville but across Virginia and across the country," he said.

Now, he says he hopes to use that buzz to start a conversation, involving legislators, city council and law enforcement officials.

To view Sincere's column on the topic in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click HERE.

Sincere says he has not heard opposition to lowering the drinking age, but the Newsplex spoke with a state representative for Mothers Against Drunk Driving who says the organization stands by the current standard.

"MADD strongly supports the 21 drinking age laws in each state," said Christopher Konschak.

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