The urge to lift the ban on Sunday liquor sales in Utah is unfounded, a joke and an insult.
What's more disappointing is the governor's office response to the Deseret News after it was questioned about lifting the ban as urged by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (Doesn't that sound official?). Lisa Roskelley from Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s office was quoted as saying: " ... but we're always open to concerns that people have about alcohol policy in Utah."
That's sounds like the governor's office isn't firmly opposed to increases in the sales and distribution of dangerous, life-threatening and lethal alcoholic beverages. I hope the office is equally concerned about the hundred deaths or so each year from liquor consumed by drivers.
There may very well be another hundred deaths in Utah due to crimes committed while the perpetrator was intoxicated. If one hundred kids had been killed by fireworks in Utah in one year, there would be an outright ban.
Funny how we can ban things that aren't a threat, but we can't ban those that are a constant and insidious threat to life and limb. Unlike tobacco, which mainly kills the user, alcohol use has a unique danger: It kills more people who don't use it than those who do. I am talking about victims of drunken drivers, women married to drunks and children fathered by drunks. Most of our homicides involve perpetrators who are drunk or who abuse drugs whether they be prescription or illicit drugs.
Let's get one thing straight: Low-alcohol beer purchased in the quantities you see purchased today at gas stations and grocery stores is just as intoxicating. One can of beer is equal to a shot of whiskey. I see hundreds of people leaving gas stops every summer with 24 and 48 packs of beer. They are going to get just as drunk as those who prefer "gentlemen's liquor." Beer is available in Utah 24-7. We don't need to make more forms of it available on Sundays when people do most of their long-distance driving. The lobby urging the lifting of this ban talks of the inconvenience the ban places on drinkers and it suggests that the ban is unfriendly to tourists. Well, drunken drivers aren't just inconvenient, they are hell. So why not consider that first. Whenever states choose to increase the sale and distribution of liquor in those states, the deaths and injuries from drunken drivers increase. It's that simple.
To suggest that tourists are behind this move to lift the blue laws (Sunday closing laws) is a joke and not founded on any reliable data. Tourists come in greater numbers to Utah because of its tight laws more than they come for its loose laws on liquor. They can go to Las Vegas if liberal drinking laws are important to them. But there is no documentation that tourists can't live with or deal with our Sunday ban on liquor sales.My research on this has proven to me that the group that continues to push for liberal laws are the tavern and establishment owners who serve alcoholics (addicts). The hospitality and distilled spirits lobby has for years berated Utahns into thinking they are inhospitable hosts and must get with the mainstream. The tourists simply don't care what our drinking laws are. And they certainly don't change their plans about coming here if they don't like the laws. There is no need to liberalize the sale and distribution of liquor in Utah in any form.
Kelly Jarvis lives in Heber City.