View Poll Results: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

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  • Yes, this particular young man is a perfect example

    13 17.33%
  • No, never.

    39 52.00%
  • The justice system needs another alternative for extremely young, potentially dangerous offenders

    18 24.00%
  • Other, please explain

    5 6.67%
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Thread: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

  1. #501
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by jallman View Post
    False analogy. Entry into college is not based on age; it's based on academic performance. Further, entry into college is not a legal issue.
    How is that false? Entry into college is based off of a set of standards. Culpablity can be based off of standards for the same reason. It's much better than the comparisons you made. Deteriming what court to try someone in has nothing to do with public safety, as drinking, driving, etc do. But both college admissions and the type of court have to do with a set of standards to determine if someone has the maturity and experience necessary.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    I thought the driving example would show that I meant capable of doing it safely. Obviously a kid can drink, smoke and drive just as well as an elderly person suffering from dementia. That doesn't mean they are capable of doing it safely or responsibly.
    The driving example actually disproves your argument because we actually test for driving ability prior to allowing people to drive. This happens in all cases. We arbitrarily restrict the ability to undergo this test based on age alone, not actual competency.

    But safety doesn't really factor in when you're considering how responsible they are for their actions does it? That's the problem with analogies, they only go so far.
    If the analogies "only go so far", that is because you are unwilling to take them to their full conclusion. This is because actually letting them to go far enough will damage your own argument.

    To wit: Smoking is a perfect analogy for this situation, because there is no way to determine if someone is "capable" of smoking safely or responsibly (it's simply impossible to smoke safely or responsibly). The only thing that needs to be determined is a person's ability to competently make such a decision that may have such long-term ramifications, including life or death ramifications.

    This arbitrarily applied age-restriction is entirely about a person's competency to take full responsibility for their own actions. And in this case, we've determined they are not capable of taking full responsibility until a certain arbitrary requirement (age) is reached. Thus, we enforce limitations on their ability to make such decisions legally. We remove their ability to take responsibility for their own actions.

    Therefore, we must be making the assumption that children cannot be considered fully accountable and responsible for their own actions in order to have a legal smoking age. Otherwise, such age-based restrictions could not exist, because we would be considering them fully responsible for their own actions just like we do with legal adults.

    If we choose to do this with smoking, it should be equally applied to anything and everything that relates to full accountability and responsibility. Conversely, if we choose to hold children fully accountable for their actions in one regard (murder, for example), we must therefore do it in all regards (smoking for example). OR the alternative is to make the decision based on non-arbitrary means, cush as the person's competency to make such decisions, eliminating all age-based restrictions entirely and potentially limiting what are now considered legal adults from taking full responsibility for their own actions.

    The analogies go exactly far enough, but only if they are allowed to.

    Some kids are deemed capable of entering college at the age of 12. Why? Because there's a set of standards that are applied universally, regardless of age.
    I'm totally OK with a child going to college at 12, but I'm against anyone who is less intelligent than that child (which would be most of us) arbitrarily deciding that this same child should be restricted from making the decision to smoke, drink or ****.

    If they meet the requirements necessary to go to college, they must, by necessity, meet the requirements necessary to make an informed decision about smoking, drinking, and ****ing.

    They are, plain and simple, far far more intelligent than anyone who would try to impose such restrictions upon them. Their ability to make intelligent decisions should be construed as superior compared to the ability to make decisions of the people with inferior intellects (which would be most of us, regardless of age).

    I would also support such a child being tried as an adult if they committed any crime (not just murder), but only if the age-based restriction placed upon this child were removed.

    My position, as stated earlier in the thread, is that when drinking age, smoking age, voting age, etc are treated on a case by case basis, I will support trying a child as an adult on a case by case basis. But if those are iron-clad laws, I feel that the same should be true regarding trying children as adults.

    P.S. Since admission into university is not a legal matter, this example was a red herring by nature. But as you can see, even if it wasn't a red herring, and admission to university was a legal matter, my position would be identical to what it is in regards to drinking and smoking. If the age-based restriction is exempted in one instance, it should be exempted in all instances.

    Thus, I would say that any child who is tried as an adult and is found "not guilty" should immediately be allowed to drink legally, smoke legally, take the test to see if they can drive legally, vote legally, etc regardless of their age. We've waived the right to treat them like children once we decided they were as competent as adults.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    How is that false? Entry into college is based off of a set of standards. Culpablity can be based off of standards for the same reason. It's much better than the comparisons you made. Deteriming what court to try someone in has nothing to do with public safety, as drinking, driving, etc do.
    Driving age is not based on public safety. We have to test for ability before someone gets a license. Anyone of any age can be restricted base don a lack of ability. Tests could easily be administered at any age.


    Also, drinking is not, in and of itself, a public safety concern. Me drinking in my basement cannot harm anyone but myself. It's crimes that may be committed while under the influence of alcohol that are a public safety concern. This directly relates to accountability for one's actions.

    In fact, no age-based restriction is based on public safety. They are all based on presumptions of one's maturity and experience necessary to engage in a behavior responsibly.

    That is an undeniable fact.
    Last edited by Tucker Case; 04-13-10 at 02:22 PM.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Driving age is not based on public safety. We have to test for ability before someone gets a license. Anyone of any age can be restricted base don a lack of ability. Tests could easily be administered at any age.


    Also, drinking is not, in and of itself, a public safety concern. Me drinking in my basement cannot harm anyone but myself. It's crimes that may be committed while under the influence of alcohol that are a public safety concern. This directly relates to accountability for one's actions.

    In fact, no age-based restriction is based on public safety. They are all based on presumptions of one's maturity and experience necessary to engage in a behavior responsibly.

    That is an undeniable fact.
    Someone, somewhere decided the 8 year olds could not safely operate a 2000 lbs vehicle. To say that driving is not based off of public safety is slightly bizarre.

    Someone, somewhere decided that the damage to an 8 year olds mind/body merits a restriction on alcohol/tobacco usage. To further demonstrate these restrictions are based on safety, even if a responsible parents decides their 8 year-old can safely drink, it is still illegal. It has nothing to do with if they have the experience necessary to properly make a decision. Which, incidently, standards for college admission and culpability in a trial are designed to measure.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    Someone, somewhere decided the 8 year olds could not safely operate a 2000 lbs vehicle. To say that driving is not based off of public safety is slightly bizarre.
    False. Someone, somewhere decided that 8 year olds couldn't take the test to determine if they can operate a vehicle safely under the assumption that since most of them probably couldn't, none of them should, even those who may be able to do so safely.

    There's a big difference there. It's about having to test less often, not about public safety. It wouldn't matter if they are 8 or 80, if they can't do it safely, they won't get their license initially. They have to pass the tests regardless of their age. The test is what determines whether or not they can operate the vehicle safely, not their age.

    Someone, somewhere decided that the damage to an 8 year olds mind/body merits a restriction on alcohol/tobacco usage.
    False, someone, somewhere decided that 8 year olds are not mentally competent to make those decisions for themselves.

    To further demonstrate these restrictions are based on safety, even if a responsible parents decides their 8 year-old can safely drink, it is still illegal.
    Depends on the state laws

    Let's look at Massachusetts for example:

    M.G.L. - Chapter 138, Section 34

    For the purpose of this section the word “furnish” shall mean to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age except for the children and grandchildren of the person being charged to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.
    Note the exception. In about 30 states, it is legal to give your child alcohol under supervision. The presumption is that you, as an adult, will assume responsibility.

    It has nothing to do with if they have the experience necessary to properly make a decision. Which, incidently, standards for college admission and culpability in a trial are designed to measure.
    Actually it has everything to do with the assumption that they do not have the maturity and experience necessary to make teh necessary decisions in a competent fashion.

    There are absolutely no arguments that can be made about public safety for either of these restrictions. This is because there is absolutely no public danger present in allowing children to make said decisions when they are deemed to be mature enough and responsible enough to make such decisions competently.

    These laws only exist because of the assumption that such competency is not present. If the assumption was that they are present, then competency would be the only determinant.

    The only way safety can possibly be an issue is if those making the decisions are incompetent to do so.
    Last edited by Tucker Case; 04-13-10 at 02:54 PM.
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  6. #506
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    False. Someone, somewhere decided that 8 year olds couldn't take the test to determine if they can operate a vehicle safely under the assumption that since most of them probably couldn't, none of them should, even those who may be able to do so safely.

    There's a big difference there. It's about having to test less often, not about public safety. It wouldn't matter if they are 8 or 80, if they can't do it safely, they won't get their license initially. They have to pass the tests regardless of their age. The test is what determines whether or not they can operate the vehicle safely, not their age.

    False, someone, somewhere decided that 8 year olds are not mentally competent to make those decisions for themselves.
    In 2002 there were about 250 murders committed by a juvenile.

    http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/...s/chapter3.pdf

    The number of juveniles in the US at that time was about 73,000,000

    http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/...s/chapter1.pdf

    That gives us .0003% of the juvenile population that commits murders. Now, if only .0003% of the population wanted to drive, do you really think we'd have an age limit? At the very least, it would be just as practical to determine who possess the ability to drive on a case by case basis.

    Depends on the state laws

    Let's look at Massachusetts for example:

    M.G.L. - Chapter 138, Section 34

    Note the exception. In about 30 states, it is legal to give your child alcohol under supervision. The presumption is that you, as an adult, will assume responsibility.
    How interesting. So the law treats kids that are independently determined to be of proper maturity to consume alcohol differently. Strange, that. Gosh it sounds like a good idea. We should set up our court system like that!

    Actually it has everything to do with the assumption that they do not have the maturity and experience necessary to make teh necessary decisions in a competent fashion.

    There are absolutely no arguments that can be made about public safety for either of these restrictions. This is because there is absolutely no public danger present in allowing children to make said decisions when they are deemed to be mature enough and responsible enough to make such decisions competently.

    These laws only exist because of the assumption that such competency is not present. If the assumption was that they are present, then competency would be the only determinant.

    The only way safety can possibly be an issue is if those making the decisions are incompetent to do so.

    I see. So if competency were present, presumably you would have no problem with a child being tried as an adult?
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    In 2002 there were about 250 murders committed by a juvenile.

    http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/...s/chapter3.pdf

    The number of juveniles in the US at that time was about 73,000,000

    http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/...s/chapter1.pdf

    That gives us .0003% of the juvenile population that commits murders. Now, if only .0003% of the population wanted to drive, do you really think we'd have an age limit? At the very least, it would be just as practical to determine who possess the ability to drive on a case by case basis.
    Since we already give a test to determine ability, I don't see the point of giving the stats of murders committed by juveniles. Right now 100% of people who get their licenses are tested before they receive their license. 100% > .0003%.

    What is the value of the age limit for taking that test, when a test is already in place to determine ability? What prima facie assumption must be in place for such an age-based restriction to be in place? Because it is patently obvious that the restriction is not based on their individual ability to drive (which can be tested, and is tested in each and every case prior to getting a drivers license), only assumptions we make about the abilities of the group as a whole.

    Opening up the ability to take the test to lower age groups only makes it so that those who do have the ability, but fail to meet the current age requirements, can still receive their licenses based on ability.



    How interesting. So the law treats kids that are independently determined to be of proper maturity to consume alcohol differently. Strange, that. Gosh it sounds like a good idea. We should set up our court system like that!
    No, the law assumes that parents are making the decision, and thus the decision is competently made. The responsibility is entirely on the parents, not the child. The exceptions are not based on the "proper maturity" of the child, but the decisions of the parents.

    The parents are assumed to be mature enough and responsible enough to make those decisions. The child, however, is not. That's why the parent has the right to furnish the alcohol to their child, but the child does not have a right to procure the alcohol.

    This assumption is based only on age.

    Ironically, the law also states that a spouse who is of age can make that decision, but it does not provide an exception to underage people who are married to make the decision for themselves.

    i.e. a 20 year old who is married and has kids is still deemed by law to not have the maturity and responsibility to make that determination for themselves. Only their of age spouse and/or parents can make that decision for them.


    I see. So if competency were present, presumably you would have no problem with a child being tried as an adult?
    I support legal consistency in both directions. If exceptions are made in one direction, they must be made in the other. I said as much in my first post (granted, that was a long way back in the thread).

    So, if someone is determined to be legally competent to drink/drive/smoke/etc, they should always be tried as an adult in any criminal case.

    If we make exceptions, they should be possible in both directions. If we refuse to make an exception in one direction (let's say drinking age), then we must consistently refuse to make exceptions in the other direction (criminal trials).

    So, if competency is determined to be present, I would support all of the following:

    1. Legal ability to sleep with whomever the child chooses. If the kid is 11 and they are deemed competent, they can **** a 35 year old if they choose without the 35-year-old facing legal ramifications.

    2. Legal ability to procure and consume alcohol without supervision. If the kid is 11 and they are deemed competent, they can booze it up whenever and wherever they choose.

    3. Legal ability to vote. They are deemed competent, and thus they deserve full government representation.

    4. Legal ability to take the drivers test and, should they pass said test, receive a license. If this means 8-year-old drivers, so be it.

    5. Legally being tried as an adult should they commit a crime.

    6. Legal ability to perform/attempt any other age-based restriction such as entering into a contract, get married, join the military, get a job in a coal mine, whatever.

    The thing is, all of these things could only be done if the determination was made prior to the act in question. If a person is caught drinking underage, and has not had the determination of competency in place prior to that alcohol consumption, they should be treated as underage drinkers, even if later the determination of competency is made.

    Conversely, if they kill someone before the determination is made, they should not be tried as an adult if a later determination is made. Just as the determination being made after-the-fact would not alleviate the punishment for the crime for underage drinking, such a determination could not be made after-the-fact for the express purposes of exacerbating the punishment for other crimes.

    My stance is such a determination must be made prior to the actions engaged in by the individual in order to accurately judge said actions as those of an adult. This prevents abuses from both directions.

    But whenever such determinations are made prior to the action the individual engages in, I would absolutely oppose trying such a person as anything but an adult, regardless of their age. In such cases, the determination of competency trumps any desire to protect the child from his or herself.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    I certainly mean no disrepespect by this, but your posts are taxing my interest in this subject to the limit. Which is not to say that you aren't giving intelligent remarks, as you are. They're just rather...lengthy. In the interest of continuing the debate, is there any chance of you being more concise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Since we already give a test to determine ability, I don't see the point of giving the stats of murders committed by juveniles. Right now 100% of people who get their licenses are tested before they receive their license. 100% > .0003%.

    What is the value of the age limit for taking that test, when a test is already in place to determine ability? What prima facie assumption must be in place for such an age-based restriction to be in place? Because it is patently obvious that the restriction is not based on their individual ability to drive (which can be tested, and is tested in each and every case prior to getting a drivers license), only assumptions we make about the abilities of the group as a whole.

    Opening up the ability to take the test to lower age groups only makes it so that those who do have the ability, but fail to meet the current age requirements, can still receive their licenses based on ability.
    The age limit is in place because the amount of people who want to drive is closer to 100% than it is to .0003%. As such, we've decided a cutoff that will allow the DMV to avoid failing all the children who are too young to drive responsibly, because god knows the lines are long enough already. I agree that most of the children under the age of 16 cannot handle the responsibility of driving, which is why there is an age limit. However, perhaps I didn't make my point clear enough when bringing up the percentages. If such a small amount of people wanted to drive (.0003%), we wouldn't need an age limit on the ability to take the test. We could evaluate everyone and then determine if they possess the ability.

    No, the law assumes that parents are making the decision, and thus the decision is competently made. The responsibility is entirely on the parents, not the child. The exceptions are not based on the "proper maturity" of the child, but the decisions of the parents.

    The parents are assumed to be mature enough and responsible enough to make those decisions. The child, however, is not. That's why the parent has the right to furnish the alcohol to their child, but the child does not have a right to procure the alcohol.

    This assumption is based only on age.

    Ironically, the law also states that a spouse who is of age can make that decision, but it does not provide an exception to underage people who are married to make the decision for themselves.

    i.e. a 20 year old who is married and has kids is still deemed by law to not have the maturity and responsibility to make that determination for themselves. Only their of age spouse and/or parents can make that decision for them.
    The parents are an independent party to the child, correct? So an independent party evaluates whether the child is mature enough to handle the consequences for their action. I'm assuming this law wouldn't allow a parent to force their child to drink, only allow them the ability to. That's what I'm proposing.


    I support legal consistency in both directions. If exceptions are made in one direction, they must be made in the other. I said as much in my first post (granted, that was a long way back in the thread).

    So, if someone is determined to be legally competent to drink/drive/smoke/etc, they should always be tried as an adult in any criminal case.

    If we make exceptions, they should be possible in both directions. If we refuse to make an exception in one direction (let's say drinking age), then we must consistently refuse to make exceptions in the other direction (criminal trials).

    So, if competency is determined to be present, I would support all of the following:

    1. Legal ability to sleep with whomever the child chooses. If the kid is 11 and they are deemed competent, they can **** a 35 year old if they choose without the 35-year-old facing legal ramifications.

    2. Legal ability to procure and consume alcohol without supervision. If the kid is 11 and they are deemed competent, they can booze it up whenever and wherever they choose.

    3. Legal ability to vote. They are deemed competent, and thus they deserve full government representation.

    4. Legal ability to take the drivers test and, should they pass said test, receive a license. If this means 8-year-old drivers, so be it.

    5. Legally being tried as an adult should they commit a crime.

    6. Legal ability to perform/attempt any other age-based restriction such as entering into a contract, get married, join the military, get a job in a coal mine, whatever.

    The thing is, all of these things could only be done if the determination was made prior to the act in question. If a person is caught drinking underage, and has not had the determination of competency in place prior to that alcohol consumption, they should be treated as underage drinkers, even if later the determination of competency is made.

    Conversely, if they kill someone before the determination is made, they should not be tried as an adult if a later determination is made. Just as the determination being made after-the-fact would not alleviate the punishment for the crime for underage drinking, such a determination could not be made after-the-fact for the express purposes of exacerbating the punishment for other crimes.

    My stance is such a determination must be made prior to the actions engaged in by the individual in order to accurately judge said actions as those of an adult. This prevents abuses from both directions.

    But whenever such determinations are made prior to the action the individual engages in, I would absolutely oppose trying such a person as anything but an adult, regardless of their age. In such cases, the determination of competency trumps any desire to protect the child from his or herself.

    To be fair, that would be the case. However, life and law aren't fair. As previously mentioned, there were 250 murders by juveniles in 2002. It would hardly be taxing to our legal system to decide if these juveniles had the same competency as an adult. What would be taxing way beyond the point of being realistic is what you propose.
    Last edited by Kelzie; 04-13-10 at 04:11 PM.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    I certainly mean no disrepespect by this, but your posts are taxing my interest in this subject to the limit. Which is not to say that you aren't giving intelligent remarks, as you are. They're just rather...lengthy. In the interest of continuing the debate, is there any chance of you being more concise?
    Wait, aren't you married to MSgt? j/k

    Typically, I am fairly concise, but logical arguments (and this one is really just that) often require precise explanations to get at the nuances of the logical problems present in the arguments. I'll try to keep them limited in this response though.



    As such, we've decided a cutoff that will allow the DMV to avoid failing all the children who are too young to drive responsibly, because god knows the lines are long enough already.
    The part in bold, when examined fully, kind of contradicts your position that an 11 year old can be tried as an adult. Specifically, look at the underlined portions. They are "too young" to drive responsibly. Not unable to drive responsibly, but "too young".

    This implies responsibility is absolutely age dependent, as opposed to just correlated with age.

    The parents are an independent party to the child, correct?
    Incorrect. They are called dependents for a reason, and it ain't because they are legally considered independent.




    To be fair, that would be the case. However, life and law aren't fair. As previously mentioned, there were 250 murders by juveniles in 2002. It would hardly be taxing to our legal system to decide if these juveniles had the same competency as an adult. What would be taxing way beyond the point of being realistic is what you propose.
    It wouldn't really be that taxing to do what I propose.

    In fact, it would be very easy to set up what I'm talking about if we just set standards for competency. For example: Being married means you can purchase alcohol even if you are under 21. The assumption is that you are responsible enough to make a permanent life decision such as marriage, you are responsible enough to have a beer.

    Entering college at 12 means you are smart enough to make informed decisions, and thus should be allowed to vote and smoke if you so choose.

    Etc. Etc.

    While everyone may want certain things, only a select few would have actually achieved the standards required to receive full competency. Probably somewhere less than 1%.

    If exceptions existed at all for the other side of the equation, even if it was only 250 exceptions, then Id' support making the exceptions the other direction. But they don't exist on that side of the equation.

    Until then, I ardently oppose exceptions in criminal cases.
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    Re: Should an 11 year old ever be tried as an adult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Wait, aren't you married to MSgt? j/k

    Typically, I am fairly concise, but logical arguments (and this one is really just that) often require precise explanations to get at the nuances of the logical problems present in the arguments. I'll try to keep them limited in this response though.
    It's no joke! At home, my eyes start to glaze as soon as the word "Muslim" is mentioned. At the hour point, a try to come up with an excuse to leave.

    I appreciate your effort. I didn't want you to think I was accusing you of rambling, because your posts make perfect sense. It's just my first reponse is to move on to another thread when I see a response that's half a page long and I'm enjoying this debate.

    The part in bold, when examined fully, kind of contradicts your position that an 11 year old can be tried as an adult. Specifically, look at the underlined portions. They are "too young" to drive responsibly. Not unable to drive responsibly, but "too young".

    This implies responsibility is absolutely age dependent, as opposed to just correlated with age.
    That was just sloppy word choice on my part. I apologize. I fully believe that there are a large number of children under the age of 16 who can drive responsibly. As I've previously mentioned, I have a 13 year-old brother who I adore to no end. He won't accept anything other than straight As, has sent away for a chemistry set so he can finish high school early and has already started brushing up his "resume" so he can attend MIT. I would trust him behind the wheel of a car more than many of the 16 year-old yahoos out there.

    However, I do believe the number of kids under 16 that are capable of driving is so small that it wouldn't be worth the price of opening the driving test to all ages.

    Incorrect. They are called dependents for a reason, and it ain't because they are legally considered independent.
    The parents are indpendent in the sense that they are an outside party passing a judgement on the maturity of the child and assigning them responsibility based off of the child's perceived ability to cope with the consequences of their actions.


    It wouldn't really be that taxing to do what I propose.

    In fact, it would be very easy to set up what I'm talking about if we just set standards for competency. For example: Being married means you can purchase alcohol even if you are under 21. The assumption is that you are responsible enough to make a permanent life decision such as marriage, you are responsible enough to have a beer.

    Entering college at 12 means you are smart enough to make informed decisions, and thus should be allowed to vote and smoke if you so choose.

    Etc. Etc.

    While everyone may want certain things, only a select few would have actually achieved the standards required to receive full competency. Probably somewhere less than 1%.

    If exceptions existed at all for the other side of the equation, even if it was only 250 exceptions, then Id' support making the exceptions the other direction. But they don't exist on that side of the equation.

    Until then, I ardently oppose exceptions in criminal cases.
    I'm not inherently opposed to what you suggest. I certainly agree that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 and not just if you are married. I do disagree with you that it would be feasible to establish such a system, but at that point it's just nitpicking.
    be humble for you are made of earth; be noble for you are made of stars

    Serbian proverb

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