Friday, March 24, 2006

Texas-Style Minority Report

*** Scroll down for updates ***

It's Friday in Texas, you finished work and went with your friends to have some drinks at a nice bar. The last thing you want in such a happy moment is to have a cop arresting you while inside the bar just because you might harm someone after you leave the bar. Well it's happening in Texas and most people aren't happy with it. The Dallas Morning News reports:

All Burton Byers wanted was a burger and a beer – or six – at his Irving hotel.

In return, he traded his seat at the bar for a spot in jail – and unemployment.

Mr. Byers and others are still fuming two weeks after being accused of public intoxication by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, part of stepped-up enforcement efforts statewide in establishments that serve liquor. The campaign, which also involves local police, brought agents to Irving on the weekend of March 10-12.

"I could not believe [it]," Mr. Byers said, recounting that nobody in the bar was fighting or causing problems. "I've been in a lot of states, and you go in a bar to do one thing, and that's to drink alcohol."

Read DMN readers reaction...

What's next? Arrest people for thinking of having some drinks with friends in a bar or a restaurant. Should we start watching our back when we order our beer or margarita in case an undercover cop is watching us?

How about improving the streets of Irving, which flood everytime there's heavy rain? Even better, how about improving the Irving ISD? I can list many things people need more than this silly rule, but I wanted to point out the obvious when it comes to priorities.

What a way to waste taxpayers money.

UPDATE Mar. 25, 2006
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is in shock over people's reaction to the arrests. The Dallas Morning News reported today:

AUSTIN - Public intoxication busts of bar patrons by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission elicited a blast of indignant -– even vicious - e-mails and calls from citizens Friday - to the agency, to journalists, and to elected officials who pledged to look into the arrests.

"I'm getting all those same e-mails, the Nazi, Taliban, Gestapo e-mails," said commission spokeswoman Carolyn Beck. "I don't really understand the hateful outrage. I don't understand, 'Die in a fire.' "

That e-mail traffic came after news reports about a stepped-up liquor-law enforcement program that has included arrests this month of patrons sitting drinking at establishments in Irving. Among those arrested was an Arkansas man who drank several beers at a hotel restaurant before he retired for the night to his room in the same hotel.


This rule reminded me of when Saddam closed all bars and prohibited clubs and restaurants from serving alchohol to customers. It also reminded me of what Al-Sadr militia does to the liquor store owners in Iraq. So, I would add Sadrists to the list of name calling.

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