Thursday, November 1, 2012

And In Other News, Water Is Wet!

Heh. NO ONE saw this coming...

14 UMass Students Face Charges For Operating An Illegal Bar
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Amherst police have uncovered kegs of beer, alcohol dispensing devices, cups, hundreds of dollars in cash and even a tip jar from what they suspect is an illegal bar in a home rented by University of Massachusetts students.
Police say 14 male students living at the home near campus face charges, although who faces what charges are stilling being determined. They are likely to include unlicensed distribution of alcoholic beverages and keeping a disorderly house.
1. They found CUPS at this house? THE HORROR!!!

2. 14 male students in a disorderly house? QUELLE SURPRISE!

I dunno. I have a really hard time working up any giveadamn over this. Wow. College students want to drink. Sky is blue. Water is wet. It's been over 15 years since I was on a college campus, and I'll wager it hasn't changed much at all (well, you can't smoke on campus any more). Go back even further to when my uncle Tony (yes, I have an uncle Tony; I believe every Italian male is issued one at birth...) was in college (at U. Mass Amherst, no less!) and - shock of shocks - the college kids were drinking then, too!

Why on earth do we have laws that seem so counter to human nature for victimless crimes? Why is the drinking age 21 when one is considered a legal adult three years prior? I know perhaps a handful of people - literally enough to count on one hand - that did not drink a drop of alcohol before their 21st birthday. Can't we stop pretending that the drinking age being 21 actually stops *anyone* from drinking before they turn 21?

The funny part here is that if these kids had been quieter and more respectful of their neighbors this might never have come to light...

That is all.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth I probably drank less than a dozen beers before I was 21. Between the ages of 21 and 26 I became a raging alcoholic ruining a career, relationships, degree program, etc. After 10 years of sobriety I'm still repairing the damage I caused.

Apparently waiting until I was 21 (and legal) didn't protect me from myself.

lelnet said...

Gee. College students drinking would be as old as drinking, except it had to wait for the invention of college.

21 is not magic. It's a completely and utterly arbitrary line on the calendar that is respected by approximately nobody. And to the extent that the activities in that house were _not_ genuinely victimless (I can see the neighbors having many valid grounds for complaint), they were only encouraged in this by the asinine laws.

doubletrouble said...

Back in '72 (I think), MA did lower the age to 18. Didn't work out so well, IIRC.
While I'm not surprised at this event, I don't think "they're going to do it anyway" is a valid rationale for anything; e.g. same argument for condom distribution?

Old NFO said...

Well, in 1969 when "I" was in college, it was LEGAL! Drinking age was 18... Hell, LSU used to serve BEER in the student union!!!

JD Rush said...

Heh, for what it us worth I drank more beer before 21 than I have the 16 years since I turned 21.....

Brad_in_MA said...


Back in Reagan's time, he strong-armed (blackmailed) the states into raising their drinking age to 21 in order for said states to receive federal highway funds. Not sure if that rule is still in place. So much for the Re-thug-licans for being the party of freedom and liberty. Los Bastardos.

- Brad

threecollie said...

The longer our son is out of college, the freer he feels about telling me what went on. I get the impression that he was oftentimes exposed to cups and all that other stuff. lol

Andie said...

As a UMASS-Amherst grad, I remember my Mom being all excited that the campus was known for being "dry." I'll never forget the look on her face when my roommate brought in two cases of beer for her party the weekend I was going home. Between that and the Camel's (unfiltered TYVM) on my bed, Mom was convinced I was really partying hearty, and was less-than-impressed.

I drank far more alcohol in college than out (Jay, remember The Hatch?), and now am such a lightweight, it isn't worth it unless it's a really good beer. *sigh* Let's hear it for the bad old days...

Jay G said...


I understand where you're coming from, and for the most part I agree. In this case, though, we draw an arbitrary distinction between alcohol and, oh, everything else that you get to do as a legal adult.

Drinking alcohol is one of the few things you can't do once you turn 18 (concealed carry of a handgun in many places that allow it is another). You can join the army and go kill people and break stuff. You can enter into a legal contract. You can purchase firearms. But you can't have a beer?

We've drawn a completely arbitrary line for alcohol, and for what reason?

Now, yes, the thing to do is to work to make the drinking age 18 again. I agree. Breaking the law because the law is an ass is still breaking the law; I'm not saying that they shouldn't be punished, far from it.

It's just that pretending that people under the age of 21 don't drink is silly...

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, back in the Day, when I was a Young Lad in the Navy, it depeneded on where one was. Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Beer only. Get down to Florida, it's "Whatever you can afford."

Now friends of mine used to buy Pitchers of Beer at the Student Union at Kent Sate and Akron U, and I had a BEER Machine in the Lobby of the Barracks right next to the Soda Machine at my Military School in Virginia. Guess which one ALWAYS needed Refilling.

But then we went overseas, and..... ; )

Daniel in Brookline said...

I was at UMass Amherst too (class of '00). And yes, it was known as a party school, and for good reason.

Seems to me we have two separate issues here -- the stupidity of 21 as a drinking age (I agree that, if you're old enough to die for your country, you're old enough to drink, fer Gossakes), and the question of "how ya gonna keep 'em from going nuts when they leave home?"

Bottom line -- there's nothing the government can do about it, other than (perhaps) to impose stronger penalties for alcohol-related crimes.

Ultimately, it's a parenting issue. If you're afraid that your child will leave home and forget everything you taught her, then maybe you didn't teach her well enough. And for alcohol, well, demystification at a young age always sounded like a good policy to me. (It's not foolproof, but then nothing is foolproof.)

Saying that eighteen-year-olds mustn't drink, because some small percentage of them will get drunk and do something stupid... well, that sounds a lot like the gun-banning arguments, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

The drinking age moved from 18 to 21 in MA when I was in college.

One downside was that it pushed a lort of drinking out of sight. When the age was 18, the college pub was jammed. Folks went to be social, to hang out with friends, and if someone started getting out of control there were people there to help deal with it. After the drinking age was raised, a lot of drinking happened off-campus or in much smaller groups with fewer social controls. I'm not sure it was an improvement.

Cormac said...

I always had access to alcohol as a kid...but I wasn't much of a drinker (talk about demystified: my dad swears I was weaned from the tit to the pint).
Joined the Navy...I was too freaked out about getting in trouble for underage drinking, so I figured I'd wait until I turned 21 (wasn't much of a drinker anyway...)
Then I slept through my 21st birthday.

Now I drink more, but only when I've got something worth drinking (Thank you, JayG, for recommending Basil Hayden on VC back in...well, whenever).

I don't know what my point was in all this, but I would love a glass of bourbon, neat.