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Is legal drinking at 18 good – maybe, maybe not

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Posted: Monday, September 15, 2008 12:00 am

As college presidents push the idea of dropping the legal drinking age to 18, two thoughts have come my way.

The first came last spring from Kai Heinius, a Lodi High exchange student who became a good friend of our youngest son Mike.

Kai really grew up during his time living in this "foreign land" and I loved exploring his unique world view. One evening, while I sipped a glass of wine and 18-year-old Kai sipped a Coke, he told me he was aghast at the amount of drinking some of friends were doing back in Germany.

The legal drinking age there is 16. Enforcement is lax.

Some of his friends were binging like crazy — endangering their health. Kai thought they were being stupid.

America's strict drinking laws are a good thing, said Kai. He saw nothing wrong with waiting until 21 to take the reins off.

Then there's a thought I had.

Why not allow 18-year-olds to drink, if they have a high school diploma? It might create a tremendous incentive to graduate.

Just a thought.