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Mike Brake’s “Needed: A License to Drink” has many claims, but the thesis is anything but qualified. In my opinion, this is a story that explains the desperation of a man who had family members close to him pass away due to alcoholism. The author believes everyone must take a course and a final test to see whether they should be allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages or not, with a certain alcohol license issued when they pass the course. Even if this so-called drinking license were to become a law, the truth still remains that people will always find ways to get alcohol. Do you honestly believe such a ludicrous idea would work in today’s society? When I read this article, I was astonished to find out somebody would even think of such an outrageous idea like making people take tests to get an alcohol license. “Addiction to alcohol is one of the primary public-health problems in the United States. It causes more than 19,000 auto fatalities each year and it is responsible for more than a third of deaths from drowning and fire” (135). Any one of those people could have simply been at a wedding or casual get together in which they had alcohol. I know that does not mean they have an alcohol addiction problem and should be required to have a drinking license.
Even though nobody close to me has ever died due to alcoholism, like the author’s past experiences, I simply cannot see anything this strict going into effect, especially here in America. This is still America where people come to live for our freedom. This plan would definitely fail due to people’s constitutional rights. This country’s backbone was built on people’s freedoms, and this idea of having a license to drink would definitely try to restrict far too many people that should not be restricted. What says every single person of the 19,000 had an alcohol addiction problem?
In addition, even back when prohibition was taking place, people got around that obstacle by making their own alcohol behind the walls of their houses. If people were to do that today, it could become very dangerous. People could mix the wrong amount of ingredients together and come up with a deadly concoction, or neighbors could fight for their alcohol when people become desperate and try to steal each other’s alcohol.
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"Americans Will Never Accept a License to Drink Law." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jul 2019
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“Drivers are licensed by every state. There are licenses for fishing and for hunting-hunters are often required to attend gun-safety classes before they venture afield” (135). This is a completely different concept of being required to own a license. “Congress and the states should cooperate by instigating national drinking licenses, encouraging treatment for those afflicted and imposing firm penalties on violators” (136). I can understand that a person should take a hunters safety course because I know the fatality rate due to firearms is much higher than the 19,000 auto fatalities each year from alcohol addiction. According to the gun violence website I visited, from 1981 to 2000, firearms were involved in 354,540 suicides, 281,904 homicides, and 27, 470 unintentional shooting deaths. When added up that equals 663,914 deaths, which to me seems out of hand, this issue should have a bigger focus on it than this foolish drinking license idea.
The author says, “Some of the potential alcoholics would not bother to apply for a drinking license, licensing would act as a screen-preventing a small percentage of the misery up-front” (136). I do agree not everyone will bother to apply for a drinking license, but what I do not agree with is how this would act as a screen. For instance, whenever there is a new license required for anything, there will always be people that can get fake identifications. If the requirement for alcohol licenses were to become the law, this would just be another fun challenge for people to make fake ID cards. When I looked up fake drivers licenses on the internet, I found about fifteen different sites that dealt with the distribution of fake licenses. This just shows how common the production of fake identification is in today’s society.
The authors concern is admirable, but I believe he should stop trying to make something happen that would not necessarily work in today’s world. In my opinion, we need crack down on fake IDs and underage drinking more than we do now.
Johnston, Larry. "Alcohol Alert." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. April 2003. 17 April 2004. Available: http://wwwmoaa.nih.gov/ publications/ alalerts.htm.
"Gun Violence." Join Together Online. 16 September 2002.18 April 2004. Available: http://www.jointogether.org/gv/resources/facts/reader/0,2055,267424,00.html.
Brake, Mike. “Needed: A License to Drink.” The Genre of Argument Ed. Irene L. Clark Boston, MA: Christopher P. Klein, 1998.