Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't drink and sit on a stool

Texas has been sending undercover officers into bars and arresting people for... being drunk. That's right, being in a bar doesn't exempt Texans from getting busted under the law that bans public intoxication.

Here's the justification for the practice, offered by a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission:

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."


Jonathan Perri said...

So very patriotic! In Texas of all places! So lets say I go to a bar in Texas with my good fried Designated Dave. Dave dosen't drink but will intead safley drive me home. I order a few stouts and porters, pay the bill, tip the bartender, and as I get up to leave I am handcuffed and arressted for being drunk! Who is this possibly going to help? This can't last long.

kaptinemo said...

JP, this kind of thing happened in my home county of Fairfax, Virginia in 2003, and it very quickly was stopped when the lawyers got involved. A few well aimed lawsuits might be enough of an incentive to cause this practice to meet the same end as happened here.

I mean, really,, did they think that this was going to go unchallenged? What were they thinking?

But this should be a lesson to anyone who naively believe they can give the kind of power vested in police and not see that power abused. And that abuse starts when those in whom that power was vested forget they are but vessels of power, not the power itself. This kind of thinking leads to unwarranted overweening and paternalistic behavior towards their paymasters. It is also a dangerous attitude to allow to be fosterd among those who carry easily dispensed death on their hips, and show an increased willingness to apply it whether it is actually warranted or not. The results of their doing so can be found here

And it is exactly this kind of attitude that is the underpinning of the DrugWar: That grown adults need the 'shepherding' of their 'betters' who incorrectly believe that a badge and a sidearm confer infallibility as well as moral superiority. Such should look down and see that they still have feet of clay inside their shoes, as do we all...

rachelrachel said...

Public intoxication is a frequent cause for arrest, and I've never heard that being in a public bar being used as a defense. In most states, serving a patron who is visibly drunk can get you in trouble with the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Generally, it's not applied to the moderately tipsy or even those who are too impaired to legally operate a motor vehicle, but to those who are loud, disruptive, or evidently out of control. I don't know what the policy is in Texas, or what they did in Fairfax County.

According to The FBI Uniform Crime Report, arrests for drunkenness have decreased in recent years; in 1970 there were 1.8 million arrested and in 2004 there were only about 550,000. So it seems that the nationwide trend has been toward more lax enforcement.

kaptinemo said...

Rachel, here is the Washington Post article on the incidents.

There's more than that availabe on the 'Net, of course, but the main point is that the police were not summoned by the proprietors; the cops set up this sting themselves, not out of any calls to end unruliness on the part of bar patrons. As one cop on another Website referred to this latest incident, it was like 'hunting in a baited field'.

Meanwhile, unsolved murders, rapes, child molestations, etc. that need police attention...are relagated to the back bench.

Kinda makes you wonder what police department priorities really are; someone who is concerned about proper allocation of public funds (you have to wonder how much this latest insanity has cost the taxpayers) has every right to be more than little disturbed at these antics.