First off, I’d like to say that I do respect our law enforcement. I’m fully aware that laws are necessary for our society to function and it falls on someone to enforce them. I think that, for the most part, the police do a great job of stopping crime here. That said, I would like to offer a solution to the problem of under-age drinking in Isla Vista. If the drinking age were lowered to 18, citations for minors in possession or minors attempting to purchase alcohol would plummet.

People are going to drink if they want to, it just makes it harder to get alcohol and thus even more sought after. Even if alcohol were outlawed entirely – like marijuana – people would find a way to get it and cause more crime in the process. In fact, they actually did – look what good Prohibition did, other than inspiring a whole genre of films about the American gangster.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many places and have yet to find another country with a drinking age as high as 21. Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, France, Germany, Russia, Finland, Italy and Switzerland all have minimum drinking ages of 18 or even younger, and I didn’t see anywhere near Isla Vista’s level of widespread drunken tomfoolery in those countries.

This is college, and students are going to party no matter what the law says. I’ve heard lots of excuses for not drinking like “I have a test tomorrow,” or “It’s against my religion,” but never “No it’s illegal.” Underage drinking won’t be eradicated no matter how many more I.V. Foot Patrol officers are patrolling the streets or how many $100,000 grants of taxpayer money they spend.

I think a little common sense could go a long way here, and in our state’s current financial situation, I don’t think spending money on eradicating underage drinking in Isla Vista should be a priority. Why not pay our award-winning faculty a little more? I think they deserve it more than an officer standing around checking I.D.s outside S.O.S.

Now, I realize that our minimum drinking age is staying where it is for a long time with no change in sight, but my point is that I think our state has better things to spend money on than registering kegs and checking I.D.s. Why do the police spend so much money on a “problem” that’s not going away by putting more officers outside of liquor stores? I appreciate that the police are looking out for our safety, but sitting outside of a liquor store double-checking I.D.s just sounds pointless.

We were all smart enough to get into UCSB, so I assume we’re all smart enough to score some beer no matter what the politicians and police do. This school has a long tradition of having a good time, dating back to when our parents were in college. I think I can speak for most of the students in saying that we are going to continue that tradition.

Alex Messina is a freshman film studies major.