Last Friday I read George Pouliotte’s letter to the editor titled “RE: High Business Turnover in Madison,” and thought, “Man, that guy needs a place to drink.” Like Mr. Pouliotte, I’m new to Madison, but unlike him, Madison being a dry county was one of the things that drew me and my wife here.
I am not against drinking, but I have seen its evil side. My father and mother owned a bar in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I grew up. When I returned from Vietnam, my dad wanted me to come to work for him and eventually take over ownership. I only lasted a few weeks. I just couldn’t keep selling a drug – alcohol – to all the addicts (alcoholics) who came in every day.
Yes, there are millions of Americans who drink responsibly, but the truth is there are also about 15 million who are addicted to drinking, and if you check world-wide statistics, about 5% of the world’s population have that same problem.
So, I got on the computer and was going to find all these evil things about wet verses dry counties, but in all honesty, there are pros and cons either way a county goes. Yes, Bars and liquor stores do bring added business to a town or city, and yes I believe Mr. Pouliotte, being the astute business man he is, could help bring new business to Madison County if we had liquor sales.
However, by his own words, Mr. Pouliotte would be bringing start-up companies here that were owned or run by people who needed to drink. Let’s face it, if they will not look at Madison County as a potential site for their business because we don’t have liquor, these people must need liquor in order to function.
Anyway, back to the research. Dry counties have more DUI arrests and drunk driving accidents, because people have to drive to find a place to buy or drink alcohol. I guess that fact would be on the side of those who wanted Madison to have liquor, and yes, liquor does bring more commerce, and that would be a plus for those wanting liquor also.
There was one thing that really jumped out at me though, and that is the fact that the “domestic violence rates in wet counties are nearly double the rates in dry counties.” So, I guess if you want safer streets to drive on, but you don’t mind having local women and children being batted around and scared for their lives in their homes, then push for liquor here if you want.
Also here is a surprise I found when looking on the computer.
More people are moving into dry counties in Arkansas than the wet ones. Dry counties have grown at an average rate of 22% while wet counties have grown at an average rate of 7.4% (US Census 2000).
Let me ask this question. Has Madison County ever used the fact that it is a dry county in order to attract business? In my research, I found that the vast majority of dry counties are in the South, in the traditional Bible Belt. That is no surprise, and it was also no surprise that the higher a county’s Christian population was, the better chance that that county would be dry.
There are millions and millions of Christians in America, and to many of those Christians, a dry county would appear to be a good place to raise their family, and to some, a good place to move their business,
Just maybe, using the asset of Madison County being dry to attract business would be a good idea. Right now Madison is dry, and maybe we should wear that on our sleeve with a bit of pride and see what happens. Perhaps, the high population of Christians in this county is also something many people would find attractive, and an asset that could also be used to entice new business to Madison County.