by Michael Lowrey
In the wake of the fatal shooting of Rashad Porter, the Charlotte Observer has a lengthy article out highlighting the danger to public safety that local official thinking liquor houses pose. Sample quotes:
The parties at the liquor house on Major Street started about 1:30 a.m, around the same time that clubs and bars across Charlotte prepared to shut down for the night. Bouncers at the front steps patted down people on their way inside, collected cash and gave patrons wristbands. Inside, people swayed to rap and hip-hop music.
“When the club lets out, you go to the after-hours spot,” said Kiesha Johnson, who had been at the uptown club Label earlier on Saturday, then went with friends to Major Street. “…We were having a good time. It was like a club inside.”
“You can have liquor houses that never have problems, but what we see is the volatile nature of these places leads to violent crimes,” said Lt. Dave Robinson, who leads Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Alcohol Beverage Control Unit.
“You can go out and buy a bunch of liquor and beer and open a liquor house tonight,” Robinson said. “It’s kind of like whack-a-mole. You shut one down and another one can open just like that.”
There certainly is a problem here, but it’s not the one that police and alcohol enforcement types would have you believe. There are plenty of people, mainly in their 20s and 30s, that don’t want to call it a night at the arbitrary time that state law sets for last call. Liquor house operators are simply the entrepreneurs that are catering to that clientele. Thus the solution to the issued posed by liquor houses is to stop playing that game of whack-a-mole that cops ultimately can’t win and instead simply allow bars and clubs to stay open later.