Voters in Dawsonville and a lot of other communities in Georgia voted to approve Sunday alcohol sales last week.
Now that you can buy a drink any day of the week, I wonder if well see an increase in DUIs and other alcohol-related crimes, or see a significant rise in local sales taxes?
I suspect neither will be the case.
I believe those who drink have long ago adapted their habits to fit the local laws and customs. If one is used to laying in a supply of Budweiser for Sundays football games on Saturday afternoon, I wouldnt think youd suddenly have the urge to buy an extra case on Sunday just because you now can.
Those opposed to strong drink have tried for hundreds of years to address the very real problems caused by alcohol abuse with laws and regulations regarding its sale and usage.
This has not resulted in a noticeable dent in the alcohol problem, but it has produced some pretty strange laws.
For example, in some states, its illegal to sell package beer and whiskey in the same establishment. Citizens wanting the makings for a shot and a beer go to one side of a building, buy their Bud, pay for it and put it in the car, then go grab a bottle of booze right next door.
Why? What possible deterrent effect could that have? Did whoever wrote that law think they could confuse booze hounds by separating the hard stuff from the Coors Light? (Gee honey, I was going to go on a drinking binge, but I got so frustrated when I tried to buy beer in the liquor place that Ive decided to never drink again.)
On the other hand, some states have taken the rights of alcohol drinkers very seriously.
Up until a few years ago, South Carolina required that bartenders use minibottles of liquor when mixing up drinks. Nobody had to worry about getting less than the legal 1.7 ounces of their favorite firewater in their Bloody Marys.
Where I grew up in Kentucky, it was completely illegal to sell any alcohol, but one could drive just a short distance over the border into Tennessee and pick up all the booze they cared to carry back home.
This prompted once store to put this message on their billboard: You can by near-beer here, or beer near here.
In several states, strong drink can only be purchased for off-premises consumption at state-controlled Alcohol Beverage Control, or ABC, stores. The red dots that are familiar to every drinking person who lives in affected areas are also known as Aunt Bettys Cupboard to some.
Of course, the biggest legal challenge to the sale and consumption of alcohol in the history of the United States was the effort to enact nationwide Prohibition in the 1920s. Its said that the actual consumption of alcohol didnt drop dramatically even when it was totally outlawed, but a lot of fortunes were made and organized crime grew stronger through trafficking in the illegal spirits.
Alcoholism is a very serious problem that destroys lives and families.
But trying the legislate the problem away has never worked, and probably never will.
Last weeks vote to allow Sunday alcohol sales was less an endorsement of the opportunity to indulge in strong drink all seven days of each week and more about bringing some rationality to laws that govern such things.
Most folks would be better off in church and out of the package store on Sundays, in my opinion. But having the option to decide for yourself how or where to spend your time should be your business, and not the governments.
Wayne Knuckles is the acting-Publishers of the Dawson News & Advertiser. He can be reached at 706-265-2345 or firstname.lastname@example.org