Alcohol not needed in Ole Brook

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, June 2, 2013

     For the majority of my life, I have lived, worked and played in Brookhaven. Brookhaven is known for its family-friendly culture, community pride, and safe environment to raise children and teenagers. With great passion and pride, we claim to be THE Home-Seekers Paradise! Our community is home to national companies like Home-Depot and Walmart, as well as national restaurants such as Cracker Barrel, whose dining atmosphere beckons to yesteryear. We also have great locally-owned family restaurants and retail shops, which include a patron base from larger cities within a 75-100 mile radius who want to dine and shop away from the bigger cities. Our community has also established itself as a leading medical community by attracting gifted medical professionals who could practice in any city of their choosing, but choose to practice and raise their families in a place like Brookhaven.

     Proponents for legalizing liquor sales often cite economic “progress” as the primary basis for their argument which is centered most often in comparisons to neighboring cities such as McComb and Natchez. However, if one really examines the facts, he would see the facts make a strong case in favor of Brookhaven as it exists today WITHOUT liquor. Our unemployment rate is lower than these neighboring cities. The 2010 census revealed that Brookhaven grew in population over the past 10 years while those cities declined. Our income per capita is higher on a comparative basis. Of utmost importance to quality of life, Brookhaven’s crime rate is drastically lower than those cities as well.  Obviously, the facts are clear that liquor sales do not make for stronger communities in our region. 

     Another known fact is that alcohol is America’s number one drug problem, especially as it relates to traffic safety. In fact, according to the 2012 MS Highway Safety Plan, for the period from 2005-2010, “DUI arrests were up a staggering 47.2%” and “MS underage drivers accounted for 9.3% of the total MS drivers arrested for DUI in 2010. The most alarming fact is that these young drivers are committing two serious offenses:  first, they are drinking alcohol illegally and second, they are driving under the influence.” As most parents would agree, the thought of our teenage drivers, or anyone else for that matter, driving in a community that makes liquor more readily available is terribly worrisome at best. As stated by medical leaders, alcoholism is a problem when beverages with low-alcohol content are made more available. We do not need to make liquor, which contains high-alcohol content, more available. Doing so will only increase the problems and damage that this drug inflicts on families and communities, not to mention the burden on law enforcement. It is clear that the known disadvantages of legalizing liquor greatly outweigh any possible, but unproven benefits.

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     I am proud to call Brookhaven home! Let’s all work together to protect the integrity of Ole Brook as a family-friendly “Home-Seeker’s Paradise” by voting AGAINST liquor on Tuesday, June 4.