The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

October 7, 2012

Letters to the Editor 10/7/12

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to adam@athensnews-courier.com.

Say no to privatized alcohol sales

Dear Editor:

I sent the following letter to Senator Orr after seeing him on Channel 19 News regarding SB7, which would privatize alcohol sales in Alabama. I would like to share it with your readers.

Dear Senator Orr,

GK Chesterton, an English novelist and essayist, cautioned against taking down fences without first knowing the reason they were put up. State control of alcohol sales was just such a fence put in place after prohibition was repealed in 1933. Please don’t vote for privatization of alcohol sales, which encourages over-consumption, especially for problem drinkers.

The short-term fiscal benefits are overshadowed by long-term costs to families and society at large including auto fatalities, health costs, domestic violence, crime, and job productivity/loss that lowers the tax base and increases the welfare load.

As an adult child of an alcoholic, this issue touches me deeply. There is no amount of money that can compensate my family for the loss of my father to alcoholism. If Tennessee had had privatization, things could have been different. I was lucky to have had a good mother who coped the best she could and a father who was willing to work hard for as long as he could, despite his addiction.

I studied hard in school and got as far away as I could for college —2,000 miles — and have had a good life. But 62 years later, a loving husband, five children, and nine grandchildren cannot erase the scars of growing up in the hell of alcoholism.

Other children are not as lucky and end up in prisons, mental institutions, and on welfare rolls with wasted lives. How can temporarily increased revenues counter those costs to our society? Why not instead increase the costs and taxes on liquor from the state?

If it is privatized, businesses will compete for customers through competitive pricing, increase ease of access and availability, and problem drinkers will get worse. I’ve read many studies that bear this out. Let’s learn from other states and countries. Alabama need not be a cautionary tale on the historical data heap! We need to keep this protective fence around Alabama’s families. Please put our children’s welfare above short-term profits and vote against this destructive legislation.

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