Last July, the city of Murray voted to go wet, the first successful vote on making sales of packaged alcohol legal within city limits after a series of unsuccessful attempts in the years prior.
And boy, has it ever changed Murray.
At the end of last year’s fall semester, you could count on one hand the number of establishments that sold packaged alcohol. Today, you might have trouble keeping up with the new liquor stores and bars that are opening all over town.
Those who campaigned for Murray to go wet promised us economic growth – now we have it.
More liquor sales means more money for public safety and law enforcement in Murray, which means all of us will benefit from the expanded sales by way of an expanded and well-equipped police force.
So it’s all been a win-win situation, right?
No problems to speak of? Yes, and no. The explosion of driving under the influence arrests and public intoxication arrests that dry campaigners predicted have failed to materialize.
We have yet to see a wave of alcohol-related crime, but at the same time we have seen alcohol-related incidents grow on campus since the fall semester began. In the past two weeks, our Police Beat has featured five such incidents.
We are not saying that the increased incidence of alcohol-related issues on campus is a result of the city voting wet – far from it.
An increase in alcohol-related incidents on campus does not necessarily mean that Murray should have voted to stay dry last year – after all, no campus is stranger to alcohol floating around and getting people in trouble, whether it’s located in a wet city or a dry county.
If you don’t believe us, comb through our Police Beat in editions of The News before Murray went wet, and you’ll see alcohol-related incidents on campus.
So if being able to walk out of Kroger with a 24-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t causing the recent spike in alcohol-related incidents on campus, what is? Bad judgment.
How much booze do you have to put in your system to think it’s a good idea to bring an open container into one of the residential colleges?
The fact that many of the incidents we have included in the Police Beat have happened in Franklin Residential College is rather unsettling in that it gives partial credibility to the folks who were campaigning to keep packaged alcohol sales illegal in Murray last year.
If you’re not grown up enough not to realize that bringing booze back into the room with you is a bad idea, you’re not grown up enough to drink. End of story.
The fact that such poor judgment is being used by a number of students here at Murray State doesn’t only reflect badly upon the individual students, but it reflects badly on all of us.
This is an institution that is supposed to turn high schoolers into responsible, productive, fully functioning members of society.
If people who are old enough to legally drink are not old enough to exercise the good judgment not to drink in the residential colleges, clearly the campus community has some work to do.
We have spent quite a bit of time this semester ripping into the administration and the city, but this is an issue where the administration and the city have clean hands – this one is up to the students.
We’re the only ones who can address this problem because we’re the ones causing it. It has to stop – no ifs, ands or buts about it. Irresponsible drinking and bad judgment can lead to people getting hurt in ways that we would rather not have to report on.
Trust us, no one here at The News wants to see you on the front page because he or she got into trouble (or worse) because they mixed bad judgment and booze.
Do us all a favor and drink responsibly.