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LETTER: Children and alcohol

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By The Staff

I was shocked a week ago when I was entering and exiting a store in Taylorsville to see children and teenagers loitering and loudly shouting profanity in public to a driver that stopped his car to speak with them in the shopping center.  This situation was unusual for our county.  Those types of incidents could escalate.  One adds alcohol or illegal drugs on top of that encounter and the end result would not be pleasant. 

The first thing I thought of when I learned of the wet/dry petition was the polite teenagers and children I have met in Spencer County.  If something happened to them due to an alcohol related incident – whether it was a car accident or being an innocent bystander while an alcohol related crime was occurring their families would be devastated. 

Moving from a crime ridden, drug infested and alcohol abused city to Taylorsville, I noticed that the children in Spencer County had better manners and more respect for others.  I have heard from more than one parent in our county say they moved here because they were teaching their children manners and to respect adults.  There were too many poor examples in their past counties.  What a compliment to Spencer County!  

I knew a teenager who illegally drank alcohol at a high school graduation party and tried to drive home.  The teenager got to the end of the driveway of the party location, stopped the car, returned to the party and asked to be driven home by someone else because the person noticed that their driving reaction time was slower due to drinking.  Although it was the wrong decision to drink underage, it was the right decision to ask to be driven home by someone else.  I attended a doctorate graduation party once where the guest of honor decided to serve alcohol.  The guests appointed “designated drivers” to not drink alcohol so they could drive them home.  Not everyone will be as responsible as they were when consuming alcohol.

I have seen and heard horrible things when working for an inner city church for ten years where the phone rang constantly and the people daily knocked at the door wanting money because many had used up their entire welfare or pay check on alcohol, drugs, or two weeks in a cheap hotel.  Some lived in Section 8 housing and taught their children to duck when walking past their apartment windows because crime related gun fire was common in their neighborhood.  Many lost full custody of their children due to their addictions, prostitution and their prison records.  Many of the same people ate our free weekly lunch, because their lives had not improved, since they did not want to get help even though they knew all the government and non-profit agencies that would assist them.  Some stole from the church and the pastor.  Some showed up at the church with weapons.  Some of these pictures could happen in Spencer County if we introduced the greater availability of alcohol. 

I am involved in prison ministry.  Some of the inmates I see are locked up because of a third DUI or the use of illegal drugs.  In addition to themselves, they have hurt someone else or have killed someone else due to their cognitive abilities being impaired while under the influence.  Many of the inmates have children, spouses and high IQs, but they are sick with addiction.  It took prison to sober them up and hopefully they will succeed when they exit the institution.

To obtain alcohol, for many Spencer County residents, it is about a fifteen minute drive.   In the scheme of life, it is a small amount of time in order to have a safety net around our local children, to be a positive influence and an uplifting attraction to others.  No, it will not protect them always, but it will slow down the process of their exposure to harm.

Susan Costanzo

Taylorsville