Remnants of Prohibition, and Other Laws That Don't Work As Advertised


In my utopia, today's Cracked contributors will dominate the nation's leading opinion page while Thomas Friedman labors for a disreputable Mad knockoff. In this world, by contrast, you have to go to cracked.com to read Robert Evans' excellent listicle (*) "The 6 Most Popular Crime Fighting Tactics (That Don't Work)." An excerpt:

In the USA, Prohibition ended at the federal level in 1933, but there is nothing stopping individual counties from passing anti-alcohol ordinances. For the people who aren't really down with the whole liquor scene, these alcohol-free dry counties are a little slice of heaven. That is, if they can make it across the street without getting mowed down by rampant drunks.

Take Texas. The state currently has 22 dry counties, which you'd expect to have some of the lowest rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths in the state, what with there being no alcohol available.

Instead, data indicates that these counties have more than three times the rate of fatalities as counties where booze is readily available.

The explanation is simple, when you really think about it. Dry county or not, there are always people who just can't answer no to the question: "Would you like to get wasted?" And if they can't get the sweet stuff from their home county, they'll damn well get it from the neighboring one. People in dry counties don't drink less per se—they just drive farther to get drunk. And then they drive back home, completely sauced, muttering under their breath about stupid laws and stupid sober people upholding stupid dry counties. In that state of mind, it's easy to forget the concept of braking and, for that matter, steering.

(* Yes, "excellent listicle." Don't sneer. Many listicles are excellent. I'll take the average listicle over the average op-ed any day.)