I knew a guy who did the college thing, got married, and was drafted at 28 before he managed to have a child. Since he was considered “old” he was put in charge of the 18 year olds. It was a scary time. The draft was horrible and very scary, but even before the war a young man had to serve in the military for 2 years.
Quite a few young men signed up voluntarily for the Navy or if they qualified for the Air Force to avoid the draft into the Army. Most of those young men “grew up” under the tutelage of the Army, Navy, or Air Force during that time. They learned to follow orders, obey the rules, be respectful and many other things. I will note, however, that many of them died (over 55,000 during the war years) or came back from the war with severe problems.
I wonder if the young “thugs” of all races who are looking to belong to a gang would not benefit in the military or some other legal organized faction. They would belong to something and learn how an adult should behave in a civilized society.
Years ago, during peace time, I met a woman whose daughter signed up for the Army; this young woman’s plan was that she would go up as far she could, get all the education that the Army offered, and later if she decided to leave, use the veteran benefits to go to college. Her mother was a single parent and could not afford to send her daughter to college. The wonderful news, the last time I heard about her, was that she had rapidly moved up in the ranks.
I realize that this story would not happen to all, but the structure developed in young people’s lives under some sort of disciplined environment would help them become mature at an earlier age and perhaps benefit them in their future. We are losing too many of our young people to drugs, despair, crime, lethargy, etc.
I do not think bringing the draft back is a good idea, but our country needs to come up with something to help our young people. College used to be the answer, but now college campuses are just as dangerous as city streets.
I wish there were a way to help them get beyond those youthful years where they make so many mistakes that can ruin their lives. I wish we, as their elders, could figure out what to do.