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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

It’s all in your roots

<ir="ltr">You’re a 20-year-old student at a party. Alcohol is quite readily accessible, as there is mini fridge stocked with beers, some vodka and even a classy bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. You want to drink and have a fun night. Do you think twice about the fact that you’re still technically underage? Nope.

In a separate scenario, you’re driving through town. You get to that one intersection where the light always seems to remain on red for an eternity. You are just sitting in your car, desperate to get back, as you promised a friend you would call five minutes from now. There is always the possibility that you can just go ahead into the road, despite the illegality of such an action. Do you remain with your foot on the brake until the light finally changes to the beloved shade of green? Yup.

With these two examples in mind, the question remains of where we as individuals draw the line in determining which laws to break. I could get into a whole philosophical argument about law and logic. Instead, I thought I would break it down into the one word that I believe encompasses our personal decisions in this subject matter.


I use circumstances to mean circumstances of your being, which help form your viewpoints on the world. This word also relates to how different actions affect you. Your life circumstances help determine the ways in which you perceive different laws.

For instance, in the driving example above, many people feel more individually affected when others drivers do not follow the rules. I, coming from the Greater New York City area– also known as the land of the most selfish and obnoxious drivers– have way too much personal experience with this (if only I could put this experience on my resume).

My point is that because of my past dealing with maniac drivers, I do not want to contribute to the hell on the roads. Thus, I do my very best to follow any driving laws.

On the other hand, a lot of students feel that underage drinking laws are unnecessary and that there is no real difference between a 20- and a 21-year-old drinking. If they have more personal experience with drinking problems, such as witnessing alcoholism in a friend, they may feel differently. However, in general, many college students feel lax about drinking simply due to limited exposure to serious alcohol-related problems.

These examples I stated at the beginning of this piece are by no means intended to force people, specifically Carleton students, to hold certain beliefs on laws. I am sure there are students who don’t give a damn about driving laws while still strictly wait until turning 21 to take a drink. Everyone’s opinions on these matters are just as unique as our overall identities as humans.

However, the constant variable here is that our personal circumstances contribute to our perspectives on different laws. Now I am just wondering how people’s life circumstances affect their viewpoints on weird laws, like that rule in Hawaii that you can’t put coins in somebody’s ears.

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