Friday, March 9, 2012

Drunk driving vs. rural livelihoods?

student recently called to my attention this false choice suggested by Montana state representative Alan Hale, a Republican from Basin. In a debate last year regarding whether the state should extend the "look-back" period associated with its DUI law and thereby enhance the ability to crack down on repeat offenders, Hale asserted that "pubs are important gathering places in his rural Montana district--important gathering places that are only accessible by car." Hale just so happens to run such a pub in Basin. Read the AOL story here. Some quotes from Hale's comments on the floor of the Montana legislature follow:
These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them. They are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years. ... These taverns and bars in these smaller communities connect people together. ... They are the center of the communities. I'll guarantee you there's only two ways to get there: Either you hitchhike, or you drive, and I promise you they're not going to hitchhike.
Funny, I always thought churches and other civil society institutions were at the center of rural communities.

Basin is a Census Designated Place in Jefferson County. Photo above is of a tavern in Darby, Montana, population 710, in Ravalli County.

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