Thirsty Thursday Investigates makes plans to explore sting operations

Gerald Rich

Thirsty Thursday Investigates wrapped up the second part of its three-part series on underage drinking last week.

To recap, the first week introduced the repercussions for not following the laws and some key players: minors, alcohol vendors (i.e., a bar or store owner) and law enforcement. These aren’t all the players, but it’s a start as we analyze Texas’ treatment of what is a legalized drug.

Last week’s article touched on the political game of legislators and constituents over alcohol’s trade. In the future, we plan to continue this by looking at the role of Texas alcohol lobbyists.

Despite the wildly hyperbolic stereotype that all alcohol laws are contemporary versions of prohibitionist sentiments, the picture here is of a complex web of political power less related to any particular judgement.

Then there was Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s legislation opting for random blood alcohol content screenings at various streets and roads in Texas. Ideally, police would crunch the numbers and have a set plan of action to screen every third or fifth car. The counter argument, though, questions whether this violates civil liberties or tempts racial profiling from law enforcement.

In other words, it’s not about if people think beer is bad, but more about who has the political leverage.

Continuing into next week’s article, we’re going to actually see the repercussion and enforcement of these laws on bar owners and retailers by looking into how sting operations are conducted.

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, like any agency, has its limitations, such as the number of field officers, and relies upon the support of business owners to comply with regulations. However, there are loopholes that minors exploit that would make the bar or store more liable than them if there was a sting, and brings into question the validity of a sting operation.

We’ll leave things at that until next week, but we’ll announce our next series shortly after we finish underage drinking, and please feel free to drop us a line at [email protected]