To the Editor:
With all due respect, I believe that Dr. Joe Walker’s arguments against the beer petition that the Herald printed last week should be examined closely.
Let’s start with the faulty premise of equating the legalized possession of beer (the petition issue) with alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse—like drug abuse—is a problem in our society. But does Dr. Walker ever prescribe drugs for his patients? Probably so. Does he want to make prescription drugs illegal because some folks choose to abuse them? I surely hope not.
Use and abuse are two very different issues.
We have many existing laws to deal with abuse, whether it’s of whiskey, beer, drugs, guns, or automobiles. By Dr. Walker’s reasoning, we should ban anything that is subject to abuse.
The beer legalization referendum is about adults being allowed to make their own choices. Apparently some people believe that the citizens of our county can not be trusted to make responsible choices.
Their argument is very much like that of the anti-gun crowd. Make something illegal, and then you stop the problems associated with it. Kind of makes you wonder, though. If you can’t trust the people of Yalobusha County to possess a can of Budweiser, how can you trust them to own a gun?
Supporters of the beer petition are not asking anyone to drink beer. Folks should be allowed to do whatever they choose to do to unwind, as long as it is permitted under state and federal law. This includes smoking cigarettes (which kill four times as many people as alcohol), eating junk food (bad diet kills three times as many people as alcohol), or drinking sweet tea.
Dr. Walker draws the parallel of Yalobushians crossing into neighboring counties to buy beer with “. . . a two year old and rat poison. Would it be better to put the poison in his crib or keep it in a cabinet? He can get it either way if he tries, but which is less likely to cause problems?”
First, the petition is not about rat poison. It’s about a legal product that is enjoyed by more than 85 million people throughout this country, and which contributes $582.58 million annually to Mississippi’s economy. Second, we’re not talking about two-year-olds. We are talking about adult American citizens who, among their other rights, are entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.”
If you haven’t yet signed the beer petition, please do so. Put it on the ballot and let the voters decide.