EDITORIAL: Sunday Sales
How can something so simple be so complicated? Oh, yeah, the government’s involved.
Laurens County Council passed an ordinance putting Sunday sales of alcohol on the ballot - for everybody in the county. The SC Elections Commission said it must say “for everybody except the cities (unincorporated areas).” Makes sense - the counties don’t run the cities. It passes, so the cities think because of that “unincorporated areas” language they have to pass their own Sunday sales of alcohol referendum. Well, no, says the SC Department of Revenue. Pass it once at the county level and that applies to everybody. So the county says, “Isn’t that what we said in the first place?”
Clinton’s city fathers and mothers WERE going to pass an ordinance that would have given us the option of voting up, or voting down, buying an alcoholic drink in our city on Sunday.
Clinton’s ordinance says, “..... certain businesses located in the City of Clinton, South Carolina (the “City of Clinton”) desire to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays so as to maintain competitiveness with other businesses in unincorporated portions of Laurens County, and in municipalities in adjoining counties and municipalities that allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays; ...”
Makes sense. A place that sells/serves beer, wine and liquor doesn’t want to be out-done by a place three feet down the road, or just across the lake. We doubt, however, that there was such a clamor for the right to sell booze on Sunday. We bet some of our booze-selling places don’t really want to do it. But, you know, money talks, and human nature is involved.
People don’t like to be told “no”.
It is a hallmark of our current, anything-goes society.
In most - but a dwindling number - of cities in our state, if a person in a restaurant orders a beer with a meal at Sunday lunch, the answer is “no”. The waitress has to deliver the news. The customer insists on seeing the manager. That person explains, “It’s the law.”
The customer explains, “Look, I just want to enjoy this meal with one beer, then I’m in my car and headed on to the beach. Is that so difficult for you to understand?”
“Not difficult at all,” the manager negotiates. “The answer is no.” That doesn’t sit well, so what’s the remedy? Change the law.
That’s what the Clinton City Council agreed to do last Monday night. No more “no” - problem solved. Only their lawyer explained to them why they did not need to take a vote. Matter settled.
A resolution that the Clinton City Council chose not to take up last Monday night says this, “Every year motor vehicle crashes kill over 42,000 people and 18,000 of those crashes are alcohol or drug related; and injure over three million people; ... every day in the United States 36 people lose their lives and 700 are injured in car crashes involving an impaired driver; ...”
We’ve said it before, greater easy access to booze will produce more drunk drivers. You can count on it. And, even though booze is taxed, selling more of it and reaping more tax revenue from it will not produce more money going to substance abuse clinics and counseling programs. Already we’re being over-run by opioids - these drugs and suicide are lowering the life expectancy of Americans to historically low levels - now we have easy-purchase alcohol 7 days a week, too? Is there no end to our desire to escape reality?
Factor in driving and it really gets scary. So far in 2018, 31 people have died on the roadways of Laurens County, and we haven’t even gotten to New Year’s Eve. Some of them were crashed into by allegedly drunk drivers. Valuable lives cut short by someone else’s stupid choice.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if during December, which is Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a Laurens County business sold the first beer ever on Sunday in the county’s history. Ironic, yes ... and a little sad.