Commissioners are considering revoking the alcohol licenses for five area businesses due to violence that occurs at these places. The idea is that by revoking the licenses, people won’t congregate at these locations and the violence will decrease. I understand the intention. It’s also very, very wrong.
You see, the problems have nothing to do with the alcohol. They stem from a culture that embraces violence as a way to solve problems, rather than something that should be about defending yourself.
The truth of the matter is that regardless of the efforts of the commission, the violence won’t stop. Instead, it will simply find new places to occur. The reason is that if you revoke a liquor license from one place, the people who are likely to commit the violence won’t just go home. They’ll find somewhere else to go. That’s why our crime rates have remained, despite previous licenses revocations.
There is a desire on the part of elected officials to “do something”. In the case of the city commission, revoking a license is about all they have available to try. Unfortunately, it won’t work.
Efforts to curb violence have to begin at a lower level. The people of Albany need to start rejecting the culture of violence. They need to reject the gangs and, by extension, the gangbangers. They need to start to make meaningful change in their communities. Individuals know if they are surrounded by a culture that glorifies violence. They need to start looking at their family members and make it clear that violence will not be tolerated.
None of this is to say that the law abiding shouldn’t be permitted to defend themselves. That is something we probably need to see more of in this nation. It’s a lot harder to be big and bad if you’re scared that the other guy will shoot back and send you to the hospital…or worse.
Unfortunately, there are remarkably few calls along those lines. Instead, the commission seeks to ruin five local businesses. There is no evidence that I’ve seen that the owners of these businesses welcome this kind of thing. There is no evidence that I’ve seen that they’re even really responsible for this kind of thing. But they will be ruined none the less.
That’s fine though, so long as elected officials can be seen to be “doing something”.
That desire to “do something” rarely works out as it’s intended though, and this time will be no different.