Guest Editorial by James Mangine
Instead of providing better policing for areas where there is a potential for violence (and, might I add, an area of commerce and employment for the city), the police just take the easy way out and convince everyone by simply shutting down bars at 2 a.m. all their problems will be solved. I donâ€™t think the 2 a.m. closings will solve the violence issue at all.
England had a problem with binge drinking and related violence. They thought it might be caused in part because bars closed too early. So bar closings in England were pushed back to prevent crime. Guess what? It didnâ€™t work because drinking is so ingrained in their cultural memory that it would take generations to change their habits.
Here are my two guestimates as to what will happen if they set an end to drinking at 2 a.m.in Columbia:
One, people will booze just as much, they will just go out earlier. As it stands, people typically go out to bars rather late in Columbia as opposed to cities in the U.S. that have 2 a.m. last calls. If this happens, the result will be that shootings will just occur a few hours earlier. I am not sure who that is good for, but apparently itâ€™s good for the police. The other option is that there will be an explosion in â€œCrappy Hourâ€ parties around the city. As it is, these house parties which only start at 2 a.m. are a common Saturday night phenomenon. If Columbia bar patrons continue the tradition of going out late, then these parties will mean that potential sources of violence will be dispersed from a centralized area that is easy to patrol to residential areas all over the city, which will ultimately require more police to manage. (To say nothing of all the disturbance of the peace calls police will have to field from angry neighbors.)
Here is a novel idea, if the Columbia police know there is an area prone to violence during a particular time period, they just need to do their jobs and not sit in their police cars eating doughnuts. Having foot patrols in 5 Points and a couple of bike cops solves this problem. Itâ€™s called doing the job my taxes are paying you to do!
Who are the city and County Council looking to for advice on this issue? Sheriff Leon Lott, the same asshat who thought an armored personnel carrier with a .50-cal machine gun mounted on it was a sensible purchase for the Sheriffâ€™s department and would save lives? (Has the â€œpeacemakerâ€ been used yet? Does anyone have video of it in action? Where in Columbia is the area that approaches Baghdad, Gaza or Ciudad de Juarez in violence?)
P.S. I want my minibottles back, too! That was a complete scam... weaker drinks for the same f%!#ing price!