Healthy Debate in Boulder, CO

The last few weeks have seen a considerable amount of discussion about the drinking age in Boulder, CO. Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner spoke out on his views about Legal Age 21.  In a memo to the Boulder City Coucil, Beckner argued “I believe we should consider returning the legal drinking age to 18, and then spend our resources on programs to reduce abuse of alcohol and the effects it has on behavior.”  Beckner’s memo was prompted by an interview he gave to 60 Minutes, which will be included in the upcoming drinking age segment featuring Choose Responsibility Director John McCardell. Two Colorado papers, the Boulder Daily Camera and the Colorado Springs Gazette, have taken editorial positions in favor of Beckner’s stance.

We applaud Beckner’s courage in taking a stance against Legal Age 21 and have been please by the follow-up discussion that has taken place in Boulder since. From columns and letters in the local paper, to a community discussion on underage drinking which took place last night, what is going on in Boulder exemplifies what could be going on in every community in the US.  Perhaps this is best put by Boulder City Manager Frank Bruno, who says:

“In my view, the part of Chief Beckner’s message that is most important is that when we do have a community-wide conversation, we need to have the courage to consider new approaches. The debate should consider all facts and research and should not be solely about lowering the legal drinking age. Instead, young people, community members, experts and political leaders must work together to explore solutions to the primary issues of binge drinking, over-consumption, driving while under the influence, and the violence and damage that typically accompanies such behavior.”

Proponents of a lower drinking age need to be bold enough to speak out, ruffle feathers, and prompt discussion.  [CR] will continue to do that on as many levels as we can, but we need each of you to bring this debate to your communities, just as Mark Beckner has in Boulder, CO.   Cheers to Chief Beckner!

If you’re looking for ideas on how to speak out and get more involved, check out our new Volunteer Center!

2 Responses to “Healthy Debate in Boulder, CO”

  1. Marcus Burke Says:

    Well done Mark Beckner! You’ve got some nerve and I hope you don’t eat too much cr*p for it with the Department. I’m an ex-cop from London where you can drink at 18 — and like the rest of the civilized world including your neighbors in Canada the drinking age is 18. And guess what — they sky hasn’t fallen in. In fact, we’re a much more socially sophisticated society in my view. But I now live in Florida where everyone can own a gun and they still have the death penalty. And they’re worried about 20 yr olds drinking?? As they say over here “Go figure.” Take it from the rest of the world America — you’ve got your priorities all wrong! And while I’m on the subject, I can’t think of a worse insult than being told I can go get my brains blown out on some Iraqi sand dune for Uncle Sam at 18, but I can’t beer with the bastard when I get back – assuming I ever make it back. Oh boy. Only in America…

  2. Pete Blackwood Says:

    I agree with Mark, I am 44, Minnesota resident for 44 years and when I was 19 I could legally drink and being twenty miles from Wisconsin I could legally drink there at 18. I always have been against the 21 drinking age. It makes young adults become criminals when they get caught drinking, I have seen no drop in under age drinking yet.
    I have a 19 year old that is in the Army Reserve program and he is a very responsible young adult that yes does drink with his friends, I have never supplied him or his friends with alcohol and yes he still gets alcohol. My wife and me have been very stern when it comes to drinking and driving and my son does not drink and drive, if he has friends over, they know the first thing they give up is there keys and my sons other friends parents do the same. I think if we are open with our children, they will be more responsible and will not have to lie to there parents when it comes to alcohol.
    Thanks and yes I will be fighting for a drop in the drinking age.