Here’s what we know: Many teens crave alcohol, not because they love the taste but because drinking it makes them feel “grown-up.” We also know that, without the maturity of age and the guidance of parents and friends, many, if not most, can’t handle it. Teen drinking, then, is a pathway to getting in trouble.
With this realization, society has built in some safeguards, in the form of laws, to protect those who would be under-age drinkers. But, as we saw in Wednesday’s Herald, those safeguards are only as good as the men and women charged with enforcing the rules.
On Wednesday, Herald reporter Lisa Backus told us that about one third (!) of New Britain’s liquor stores sold alcohol to under-age customers. Those young people were working with local police in a sting operation to test compliance; three bars, including a popular hangout for Central Connecticut State University students, were also cited.
“We had many other responsible business owners who carded and turned away our underage buyers, said Police Capt. Thomas Steck.
And, this, too, is an important aspect of the operation. By enforcing the law, police protect law-biding businesses from those who hope to make an extra buck or two on these teens.
But the consequences can be more expensive than a fine. Teens driving drunk, young people losing control at a frat party or drunken sex, when no one is any condition to give consent, are typically the result of underage drinking.
As for carding, it only takes a moment - and can give Grandma a laugh when she’s asked for her ID - but it fulfills the law.