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LETTER: Don’t allow easy access to alcohol

Dear Editor,

I do not feel that it is to our advantage to have easy access of alcohol, much of which will affect underage young people. Alcohol access to the underage population is a national problem and should be a priority issue for parents, schools, law enforcement, government officials, the safety community, and “yes” even the alcohol industry. Yet of all these committed groups, one stands alone as having the best chance of making a difference in the lives of children: Parents.

Research consistently shows kids really do listen to their parents more than it may appear. The question is, are you talking? If so, what are you saying? “Thank goodness they were ‘only’ drinking.” As a pastor, I hear that frequently from parents. While alcohol could be voted legal for adults, Teens will be affected by it also. It is important to remember that teens lack the maturity, judgment and coping skills to handle alcohol.

What can you do?

Lead by example! Whether you are aware of it or not, your child learns more by your actions than by your words alone. Vote “no” to alcohol on Nov. 6 in Hartselle. Disapprove of underage drinking – don’t condone it or enable it or ignore it! It is a vote that really and truly affects everyone.

Some people say the supermarkets and restaurants will not come to Hartselle if they cannot sell alcohol. Which would you rather have, supermarkets or your young people? We hear the words “progress”, “revenue”, and creation of jobs, but, the one remaining fact left is that voting for alcohol sales in Hartselle means a little more convenience at a very high cost. Unfortunately, that convenience would extend to precisely those who shouldn’t have easy access to alcohol: our youth.

It’s time to make a statement! There are many reasons to step up as adults and protect the youth of this fine city. Please consider just a few of them below.

1. Do you want to be partly responsible for the death of a child or some other innocent person? Have you ever come upon the scene of an accident, smelled alcohol, and then seen the body of a child whose life was snuffed out because of alcohol? What if that was your child?

2. Have you ever seen a battered wife or child who was savagely beaten because of a drunken dad?

3. Have you spent hours and hours worried over a brother, sister or child who is an alcoholic and wonder if they are even alive?

4. Some families have a predisposition toward alcoholism. Once an individual gets started drinking, he or she may have a very difficult (or impossible) time getting stopped.

As a pastor, I am around all of it. I witness the heartbreak, pain, and guilt that come with alcohol. The lost look in a parents eyes when they lay their teenage child to rest from alcohol poisoning. I see the fear in children watching their father taken away in handcuffs because he did not remember hitting them. I have sat in the hospital with the wife and mother fighting for her life because she thought one more drink would not hurt anything.

In closing, alcohol kills “real” people. It is my firm opinion that if the alcohol sales measure is passed on Nov. 6, it won’t be because the “liquor crowd” voted it in; it will be because the “church crowd” became apathetic and failed to keep it out! Ask yourself this one question, if alcohol sales are voted in for Hartselle, will your conscience be clear if you voted yes or worse, did not vote at all? The responsibility is on all our shoulders. Don’t let a thing like convenience cloud your judgments for the future of the youth of Hartselle. It is not about business or revenue, it’s about people.

I ask you all to consider I Corinthians 8:9, “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” (NLT) In a world where morals are scoffed at and sorely missed, the time has come to show your worth as a people of God. Take some time, pray about it, and then cast your vote.

Mike Holland, Hartselle