Bar arrests infringe on individual freedom rights

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    So it’s Friday night, you spend an hour getting ready, text 30 friends with one click of a button and work your way to the closest bar. Why? Not to see how dizzy you can get on the bar stools. Not to taste the latest concoction of diet cherry lime vanilla banana Coca-Cola. And not to catch up on your Sudoku skills. Why do hoards of hard-working citizens (and plenty of college kids) head to the bars each weekend after a stressful week? To drink numerous alcoholic beverages, push aside stresses of the week, celebrate and let loose with friends. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has other plans.

    They have decided to crack down on alcohol-related accidents by enforcing laws that prevent getting drunk in bars. I know, I know. The absurdity is surreal. What else do you do at a bar?

    Now there is something to be said for social responsibility. I see no need for Drunk Dan to drink 40 Natural Lights, stand on chairs and punch walls and/or faces. More important, I find it quite intolerable to drive home after those 40 beers. If a bar patron is causing a major disturbance or chooses to drink and drive, he or she has given up the privilege to enjoy the rest of his or her evening and should face the consequences. But do I really need Big Brother yelling at me, scolding me, writing me a ticket or arresting me when I have done nothing more than the prerequisites of an awful morning after?

    As cited in Tuesday’s edition of the Skiff, Carolyn Beck, a public information officer with the TABC said officers have been trained to spot signs of intoxication such as “stumbling, being inappropriately loud, crying and not being able to stand without leaning on something.” I’m not sure about you, but I have definitely had a few nights of pure stress, anger and exhaustion that could bring me to tears. More than that, I have a few friends who feel the need to passionately yell every word they speak. So for any of you who may be clumsy, loud spoken, tired or just a girl with some boy issues crying your troubles away, you better watch out the next time you’re in a bar.

    What ever happened to the good ol’ days of “Animal House?” I thought that was half the experience of our four, five or six years of college – to have those once-in-a-lifetime stories to pass on to our own children. College house parties are out of the question because, more than likely, they are infiltrated with underage drinkers and will be busted immediately. Rather then being stricter with IDs or cutting back on the number of alcoholic beverages someone is served, the police have us concerned about going to bars for fear of us appearing too drunk.

    So here’s my point. Is it legal to bust people in bars? Sure. During an interview with msnbc.msn.com, Beck said, “It’s illegal to be drunk in a bar to the extent that you may be a danger to yourselves or others. And so I guess that’s the explanation of why it’s illegal, is because it’s dangerous.”

    Last time I checked it was dangerous to drive a car, walk down the street or use an elevator, too, but no one prevents millions of people from doing this every day. Is it ethical to arrest people before they have committed a crime? No. Arresting people in a bar for being too drunk leads to limitations on the number of drinks served and as far as I can see is in infringement on my freedom – my freedom, which also allows me to get as drunk as I damn well please – as long as I am not hurting anyone else.

    To hear more from Carolyn Beck visit www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11995505/.

    Ashley Chapman is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Plano.