Shooting Fish in a Barrel

If you know your way around a barstool, this might come as shocking news: In Texas, cops are now going into bars and arresting people in the bar for being drunk. I repeat: Cops are arresting you for being drunk... in a bar.

This is no isolated incident either.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Control is doing sweeps of bars and pubs, including hotel bars, where an over-refreshed guest only has to take the elevator to get home. In these bars they are arresting people for having one or two or three too many.

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Control agency captain named David Alexander, who was interviewed about these raids, said the following: "Going to a bar is not an opportunity to go get drunk. It's to have a good time, but not to get drunk."

I really do wonder what Captain Alexander thinks goes on in bars. Bars exist to sell alcohol — that's why they're licensed. And when the bartender sells alcohol there is a fairly reasonable expectation someone might get drunk.

I will make this shocking personal revelation. This has actually happened to me once or twice in my life. Really — even me.

Now, if the booze cops were going in a bar to pop someone who won't stop drinking when they're falling down drunk, I guess that might be a reasonable explanation.

But to say we're going to go into dozens of bars on sweeps looking for drunks? Officer, excuse me, but this is shooting fish in a barrel.

Where would be the No. 1 place to find drunks? Churches? No. Schools? I hope not. TV newsrooms? Maybe. Bars? Yes! Bingo! Way to go, Sherlock.

I have even heard that some police officers hang around outside bars looking for drunks who come out and get in their car and start to drive. OK, fair enough. The drunk should know he can't drive and call a cab.

What I think may be going on is that the Texas Alcohol Beverage Control Board may have become populated with teetotalers who are against drinking and want to stamp it out everywhere. If so, they're in the wrong line of work. They should become legislators and try to get that law passed — again. They might also look over the history of the Volstead Act. Prohibition didn't work out so well.

Oh, one more place you might find people drinking: any football game, baseball game, oh and NASCAR races. I hear drinking is big there too.

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