Objects in Mirror

Objects in Mirror: August 20, 2008 Archive

Join the discussion about safe haven laws

Posted at 7:25 AM on August 20, 2008 by Julia Schrenkler

Turns out, in Nebraska, parents can leave their teens according to the new safe haven law:

"Last month, the state of Nebraska enacted a safe haven law. Typically these laws apply to newborn infants; parents can leave their babies at a designated safe place without fear of prosecution for child abandonment. But the Nebraska law actually applies to any child up to 19. Alex Cohen speaks with Sen. Pete Pirsch (R-Omaha) about the new law."

According to the report, Nebraska is the last state to enact a safe haven law. It just seems theirs allows people to drop off their children up to the age of 19. Considering most states have an age limit of a year or under, this is unusual. For open discussion or debate: Is the age limit too high? Why? Should other states observe Nebraska's experiences over the next few years?

Here's what some people are saying in our online discussion:

"That's basically saying, that at any time, you can say I'm tired of being a parent & just get rid of your child" - Priscilla

"Wow - it sounds like a good idea. Some people shouldn't have kids, others can't control them but are still responsible for them. Some kids would be better off out of the house - I can see all kinds of reasons for this law. I don't see how having the State as their guardian will help the kids, but not having the State as their guardian could possibly hurt them. The economy might be a factor, too. Some families may not be able to afford the children that they once thought they could. Why should the kids suffer?" - Richard Frisbie

"I feel all children should have a safe haven available to them, but can also see some possible complications." - Katrina Hall

Would Minnesota benefit by amending our safe haven law? What is your opinion?

* Hear Day to Day on Minnesota Public Radio News at 2 p.m., weekdays (full schedule)

Checking opinions on lowering the drinking age

Posted at 10:30 AM on August 20, 2008 by Julia Schrenkler

pollresults0808201009.jpgYesterday 75% of our online opinion poll-takers said they believed lowering the drinking age would reduce binge drinking in Minnesota. Today? More votes resulted in a percentage drop down to 58% saying they think it would make a difference.

This change had me double-checking the comments. Tylor pointed out a potential result:

"I think it might decrease binge drinking on college campuses, but only increase it among high schoolers, where it becomes even more dangerous." - Posted by Tylor | August 19, 2008 10:07 AM

SB turns the focus to why binge drinking happens in the first place, and notes we can't license according to maturity level:

"I doubt that lowering the drinking age would change the binge drinking behavior occurring on many college campuses. I think we need to seriously examine why many college and high school aged kids feel this is a necessary activity in which to participate. Perhaps it has to do with glorification of alcohol on the countless reality shows students watch, or 'peer-pressure;' whatever the case, it's a big problem.

I agree with some of the previous posters and don't think it has so much to do with age as with maturity. When I was in college, all of two years ago, I chose a dry campus and didn't start drinking until about a year after graduation. Now, I enjoy one or two drinks every so often and always in moderation. On the other hand I also know several people, my age and older, who still participate in binge drinking weekly. We can't license people to buy alcohol when they reach a certain maturity level, so maybe these colleges should begin by addressing the 'why' of binge drinking rather than changing the drinking age." - Posted by SB | August 19, 2008 1:27 PM

Meanwhile Al considered the broken parallel between responsibilities and rights:

"I find binge drinking to be absolutely moronic. I drink a glass or two of wine occasionally. I really wish that parents help their parents learn about responsible drinking.

That said, I really wonder about the logic of the age 21 law. We allow 18 year olds to go to war and decide whether or not they should kill someone. We allow them to die in battle. They come home and can't be trusted with a bottle of beer.

An 18 year old can buy house. An 18 year is old enough to decide to take our tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Many Americans under the age of 21 get marred and at their wedding, can not legally drink a toast to their new marraige. They can be under 21 and have children.

I'm not arguing that it is a good idea for someone under 21 to make any or all of these decisions. I am saying that this seems a rather silly place to draw the line on maturity." -Posted by Al | August 19, 2008 8:31 PM

Where do you stand on lowering the drinking age? Would it reduce binge drinking? Would it increase drunk driving accidents? Post your the comments now. Bob Collins will be liveblogging tomorrow's Midmorning show on this topic and may reference your perspective.

* MPR News Collection: Death by Drinking
* MPR Audio: Tune in to Midmorning Thursday August 21, 2008 or catch the podcast
* NPR: College Presidents Call For Lower Drinking Age

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