What does it mean to be a grown up? Is someone who is 18 years of age really considered a grown up in today’s society? Being a grown up today means something a lot different than just a few years ago in 1972, let’s simply compare.


In 1972 a person of 18 years of age could drive a car, buy a gun, have a rifle or shotgun in their truck (remember window gun racks?) in their school parking lot during hunting season, go to war, drink a beer, buy a pack of cigarettes, sign a legal contract and vote (thanks to the 26th Amendment ratified in July 1971). In 1972 a concerned parent could speak to a doctor or school official on the person’s behalf without written permission. A new car cost an average of $3,879 and most people started out with a used car that averaged $400. 25% of a paycheck was all that was needed to pay rent and most people were able to create a savings account to save for important things like furniture, a better car, school expenses, starting a family. Summer jobs were common to learn a trade as an apprentice. Saturday night was date night. The average price of a single family home was $27,600. Cell phones and at home video game systems did not exist. Minimum wage was $1.60 (the equivalent to $9.80 today).


In 2020 a person of 18 years of age can drive a car, buy a long gun (in most states), go to war, sign a legal contract and vote. Thanks to HIPAA and other regulations, a parent can no longer speak to health providers or teachers (high school or college) without written consent. A new car costs $23,978 and most people start out with a used car averaging $2,200. About 65% of a paycheck is needed to pay rent while 90% of all 18-year-olds don’t have a savings account. Teens no longer seek summer jobs that may lead to a trade career. Thanks to social media, teens rarely have date nights due to constant interaction. Cell phones cost up to $900 or more and gaming systems and games can cost a person $300-600 a year on average. Minimum wage is $7.25.


If we keep taking away responsibilities and advantages of being a grown up at 18, why don’t we just go ahead and make being a grown up 21?


Let’s calm down about the term “2nd Amendment Sanctuary Counties”. First, the word sanctuary may not be the best word but the meaning is simple. The counties that approve this measure are stating that no county funds will be provided to enforce gun laws passed down by the state or federal government, that abuse the rights of law abiding gun owners within their counties. This does not protect criminals, as in the “sanctuary” term used to protect illegal immigrants from being deported. Though it is evident we need a different term, what is being addressed is clear: Don’t tread on the rights of Americans.


Remember knowledge is power, the constitution was written to protect the people from an over reaching government and most 18-year-olds don’t know how to change a tire or properly greet someone. I guess we have some work to do.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.