Age of Consent

Posted by admin | Uncategorized | Friday 15 May 2009 11:57 pm

ageofconcentRecently while sitting over large plates of Sushi with the boys, we talked about how things have changed. Twenty years ago, it was all about booze and broads. It was the reckless abandon of the late teens and early twenties, and being legal in the eyes of the world. Now, however, we talk about our wives, kids, and watch how much we drink. No one could pinpoint when the transition occurred from classic screw up to responsible middle-aged fart. The sushi was delicious and the booze still flowed.

While no one could say how it all happens, I have a few guesses on how it worked with me. Maybe it was the theoretical reality that no one could tell me how to live my life anymore, so I went bananas. Maybe it And as I have heard a number of times before that the human brain is still developing until around the age of 26, when most folks start settling down some and getting on the path of their mundane lives sans the drama of early adolescence. Maybe the insanity of youth becomes tiresome and at some point acting without any awareness begins to lose its rosy glow. Happiness instead of excitement becomes more satisfying. However, no one really needs an exact turning point or scientific understanding to prove this. It just happens and it is something we all intuitively understand — and it is universal.

Actually, I haven’t met anyone who felt, or heard someone say, “When I was eighteen I was a genius, now at forty, I am a moron.” Okay, while the exact statement is a long shot, the sentiment isn’t. Of course, I would not have changed a single, stupid young adult moment for the world. I was passionate, strong and enthusiastic. I was idealistic, loyal, and thought I knew it all. At eighteen, I thought I was a genius. I only discovered the truth when I grew older. However, I was lucky.

Most of the decisions I made back then had little consequence outside of an occasional broken heart or blowing a week’s worth of salary in Vegas on a single hand of blackjack or in a strip joint. Not everyone is so lucky. Iraq is filled with young, strong, idealistic, and passionate kids out to save the world. I thank them, but I wonder do most have any idea why they signed on the dotted line and shaved their heads, and marched for miles. As the average age of a US soldier in Iraq lists between 19-25 (depending on the source one believes), which places all them in the category of new adult — someone who only has a few years at being a grown up, under the best conditions. In the worst of interpretations, these are still children with their brains not yet developed. Is that who I would want defending our country? Should they have the rights to make these choices? Should our government co-sign the loans on their lives? Sounds like a bad idea to me.

I am not trying dog the military. I am glad there are people willing to defend the curious principles of one of the best countries in the world. But the truth is that children should not be making the potentially life altering decision to join the armed forces. They don’t have enough life experience to even know whether the government they are blindly backing is making choices in their best interests or whether there are other political considerations at hand. Maybe 18 is too young to risk your life.

Of course, if we were to make it illegal to allow eighteen-year-olds to join the military then what? That’s an easy one. Anyone over forty who thinks the military is a good idea should join. Those people would have a number of years tucked away at being an adult. They are probably good at being an adult. They are more likely to make more sensible decision in battle, and with today’s technology would likely never have to fight in hand-to-hand combat — so being in peak physical condition might not be as important.

Having said that would there be an army if it was left to the forty-something crowd to fill it, or would the forty-something demand just causes or alternative solutions? Maybe a solution including good conversation about family, our commonalities, over sushi might be a good start and exactly what the military might need instead of 19-year-old kids.

Questions, comments, and hate mail are always encouraged. Without dialog we are lost.

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