Archive for February 13th, 2006

Mark and More About Age Requirements

Mark says, strating with a quote from me:

“By the way, before I was a professor I worked in a prison and noted how many men were inmates because of statutory rape.

I got into college when I was sixteen, so the students I was teaching were my age or older. So I decided to show my Wisdom by telling them to be careful about the age of the girl they were with.”

Bob, if this were true you would have been under age 14 while working in a prison and I have a hard time believing — even during your prime when you rubbed shoulders with the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock — they did not allow 14 year olds to stand guard in a prison. I mean, puh-lease!!!

I was explaining why I was older than many of the students.

I began teaching as a grad assistant at age ninteen, and at that time, since Political Science was a sophomore course, the students who began college at eighteen had to be at least my age to take it.

I got my first amateur radio license at age twelve.

I went to Cuba with a friend of the family when I was about that age.

My brother had been a prison doctor for two years back inthe 1950s. He was allowed to do research in prisons, and I worked with him.

I became a regular college professor in my early twenties. The college where I taught STILL had a lot of students older than I was, and by that time I was used to the idea, so when I came to give them advice about real life and they made me look a bit silly doing it, I had enough sense of humor to laugh at myself.

I forget which class it was I told about the number of prisoners in for statutory rape.

So I was not teaching a class when I was sixteen.

BUT what is of interest here is that I have just been writing about age limits.

This fits in beautifully.

When I was in high school — and I went to college at sixteen — went into an operating room with a med student. I was standing there in surgical mask and outift, and the operating sugeon said, “Doctor, would you get me the something or other.”

It scared me half to death, but I was afraid to say anything that would get my buddy into trouble. So I asked where it was and got the container and poured it into the thing he was holding, spilling some.

There is no way on earth that could happen today. With all the malpractice suits, everybody in the operating room knows exactly who everybody else is.

By the time I entered c0llege I had been drinking in bars a lot. I bought huge amounts of liquor in the liquor stores.

Derek brought up the age at which one can buy drinks.

The first and only time anybody every asked me for ID I was buying been in Virginia and I was a college professor and was old enough to buy the stuff.

One more comment about age.

There was a huge movement to raise the driving age in all states from fourteen to sixteen. I was the ONLY witness against it in hearings in South Carolina, while the usual line of backward-collar mainline clergy and the other activists were all for it.

I was the ONLY person in the whole room who knew some statistics:

Drivers between fourtten and sixteen were VERY safe drivers. MOST of the fatal accidents were caused by males between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. I said MOST. That small percentage of drivers caused more fatal accidents than all of hte other age and sex groups COMBINED.

So the logical thing to do, if we were going to concentrate on age, would have been to allow kids from 14 to 16 to drive and then lifting all to drive and then take away all males’ licenses from 16 to 25. But at that time 21-year-olds VOTED, and NOBOY was about to take away their licenses.

But, as in the case of circumcision, you could always pick on the kids.

So when they had to “do something” the actvists, as always, picked on the convenient target.

They did manage to raise the driving age from 14 to 15. This means that when a young man reaches the dangerous ago of 16 he has one less year of driving experience.

In Europe at that time the age to get a driver’s license was 21 and the test was very, very hard. The fatalities per mile in Europe were consistently THREE TIMES as high as in the United States. America was the safest driving country on earth and I do not believe that any state, even New York, had a minimum driving age above 16.

So the popular solutions, tougher licensing rules and higher driving ages, did not work. But all the activists pushed them.

And let me repeat what I have said before:

Under the rules anywhere but at the University of South Carolina in the 1950s, I would have been a high school dropout. That University now has the same rules.

Whitaker began learning Whitakerism at a VERY early age.