By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
November 11, 2021
Only days before the 2021 election, the Graham Star reported on an alcohol-related incident in which a woman seriously injured herself with a knife. According to the report, the local medical examiner said a male friend took a bottle of alcohol away from the woman and threw it across the room. Afterward, she was swinging a knife, allegedly playing with it, and stabbed her own upper-right thigh, which severed her femoral artery, seriously threatening her life. Graham County deputies and EMS were called to the scene.
During transport, the woman went into cardiac arrest, and first responders were unable to revive her. She passed away at 1:31 a.m., reported the newspaper.
An Associated Press news story reported North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement arrested nearly 300 people during operations at alcoholic beverage licensed businesses and other locations during Halloween.
“This is the heritage of alcohol use and abuse,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“We live now in what can be such a loveless society that we are used to such happenings and dismiss them easily. We chase the dollar, making its interests paramount while also making high-sounding but hollow arguments about personal freedoms at the expense of health and safety. But it’s a fact: the fewer alcohol outlets there are, the fewer people will be maimed or killed, the fewer families will suffer, the lesser the crime, etc. These are well-established and irrefutable truths that come from decades of study. Yet, we continue to ignore them by making alcohol more accessible across our state – diminishing the warnings as some remnant of the Prohibition era that is uninformed and backward. It’s what makes the vote in Robbinsville so tragic,” added Rev. Creech.
Rev. Creech was referencing what the Graham Star said “might go down as the most monumental ballot in the history of Graham County.”
Last Tuesday’s municipal election in the Town of Robbinsville included a referendum on alcohol sales that presented the electorate with seven questions on alcohol sales. Graham County, the last county in North Carolina with no alcohol sales, approved all seven.
According to the Graham Star, the vote broke down in this manner:
* Town of Robbinsville Malt Beverage Election, On and Off-Premises: 114 for, 98 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Malt Beverage Election, On-Premises Only: 111 for, 97 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Malt Beverage Election, Off-Premises Only: 106 for, 101 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Malt Beverage Election, Hotels, Etc.: 114 for, 92 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Unfortified Wine Election, On and Off-Premises: 115 for, 96 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Unfortified Wine Election, On-Premises Only: 109 for, 99 against;
* Town of Robbinsville Unfortified Wine Election, Off-Premises Only: 105 for, 103 against.
By less than a handful of votes in each category, Graham County ended its no alcohol sales policy of more than seventy years.
Proponents of the alcohol referendum in Robbinsville argued that the town was passing up growth opportunities, with revenues going to other areas nearby.
Jenniela Parks told ABC 13 News, “I’m so tired of driving down that hill to either Bryson City or Murphy. I do believe that a lot of the revenue that could be generated here is being lost.”
But according to ABC 13, others like D.L. Orr and Lavetta Roper opposed the initiative. Orr, who voted against it in early voting, said the area already had too much of a drug problem. Roper said that she had read the Word of God, and she knew what it said. “I just don’t feel like it’s going to bring anything good to this county,” said Roper.
VeryWellMind.com warns that “Alcohol misuse and dependence claim an estimated 95,000 lives each year in the United States, but the cost to society doesn’t stop there. Heavy drinking takes its toll on society as a whole, costing industry, the government, and the U.S. taxpayer an estimated $249 billion each year, according to a report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The societal costs of alcohol misuse averages to around $807 per citizen or roughly $2.05 per drink.”
“Don’t talk to me about personal freedoms to sell it or drink it when others like me who choose not to imbibe have to share in those sky-rocketing social costs,” said Rev. Creech. “Such statistics show that greater access to alcohol is never a boon to any economy. It’s a myth, and I have to admit more and more people are embracing it. It’s fool’s gold. The only people who prosper are the one’s selling it. Many folks in Graham County, more specifically, Robbinsville, are sure to discover over time that their monumental vote to wet their community will turn out to be a monumental disappointment.”