Recently we went to the polls to once again vote on whether or not to come out from under the dry law in Union County. And once again the liquor referendum was defeated, this time by a larger margin than in 2008. I know there are many pastors and church members who feel as do, but I want to personally say how proud I am to live in a place where folks realize the negative effects of liquor far outweigh any economic benefit.
Liquor has never been known to keep our streets safer. According to the National Safety Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, alcohol is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes today. Based on victim reports, alcohol use by the offender was a factor in 37 percent of rapes and sexual assaults, 15 percent of robberies, 27 percent of aggravated assaults, and 25 percent of simple assaults.
Liquor has never been known to make our homes a happier place for the family. Seventy percent of alcohol-related incidents of violence occur in the homes with the greatest frequency at 11 p.m. Twenty percent of these incidents involve use of a weapon other than hands, fists or feet. Men and women suffer. Children suffer. Families suffer. Loved ones suffer. People get killed. Alcohol and crime go hand in hand. It’s simply a fact.
Liquor has never been known to benefit our children or teenagers. The number one drug of choice among individuals 21 and younger is alcohol. Binge drinking among our young men and women, especially on college campuses, is spiraling out of control. On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers. In 2008, there were approximately 190,000 emergency room visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.
Much more could and probably should be said concerning fetal alcohol syndrome and the devastating effects on babies, plus the risk to both men’s and women’s health when alcohol is abused. But, if need be, that will have to wait for another day.
Thank you Union County! Your vote against liquor was not an anti-business vote, but rather a vote FOR a safe and better community for moms and dads who wish to raise their children in an atmosphere without the ravages of legalized booze.
The Rev. Rick Blythe
Pastor, First Baptist Church