Alcohol definitely not needed in Picayune

Published 3:51 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Picayune does not need alcohol. Let’s face it — alcohol breeds crime, and our city is better than this!

In a 2001 article, researcher Kwaben Gyimah-Brempong found that “alcohol availability is positively and significantly related to total, property and violent crime rates and homicides” (Southern Economic Journal, July 2001). Crimes such as “domestic violence, assault, burglary and grand theft” are “linked to the availability of alcohol in a community” (Institute for Public Strategies, Ventura County Limits, June 2005).

Are we really interested in bringing additional crime to Picayune? In an April 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, research indicates that “high alcohol outlet density is a reliable predictor of violent and other crimes. In an examination of alcohol availability and homicide in New Orleans, a 10 percent higher off-sale outlet density was predicted to result in a 2.4 percent higher homicide rate.” That was three years ago. Has anything changed? The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime also found that “alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S.” (November 2003).

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You must ask yourselves what are you really willing to sacrifice about our community for a few restaurants? You have the right to disagree with what our local government officials are pursuing. You have the right to decide in what kind of city you want to raise your children and live your life.

This alcohol referendum is not about bringing in new business. It’s about making sin legal so people will feel better about themselves. I know it’s not politically correct to talk about “sin,” but, too bad. I’m not a politically correct person. I’m just one who is standing up for what is right. It’s time to take a stand, Picayune. It’s time to stop holding back. It’s time to stop being afraid. Be bold, Christians! I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t need to. There is more to life than satisfying the carnal nature.

Picayune will not fall apart if we don’t sell alcohol. We have existed since 1904, through the Great Depression and two World Wars. We will live on! I urge you to find the good that remains in our community and fight for it!

Call me a hoity-toity or a goody-goody. I don’t care. My reputation speaks for itself. “[God] alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Melinda Dukes