Thursday, March 23, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Cops go to hotel bars to arrest drunk guests

You know it's a slow news day when WorldNetDaily posts a story like this, and then makes it their poll question of the day.

At issue: cops going directly into public establishments that serve intoxicating liquor, and hauling people down to the drunk tank after they've had a few too many. Unhappily, the story manages to confuse the issue with their treatment of hotel bars. If a hotel runs a bar, then that bar might have two kinds of patrons:

  1. Someone from the outside, who therefore would have to leave and might try to drive home.
  2. A registered guest of the hotel, who therefore would have a room to go back to, to sleep it off.
A few observations:
  1. Ideally, a hotel shouldn't run a bar. A truly family-friendly place wouldn't serve intoxicating liquor--ever. Why any hotelier wants to bother with the hassle of obtaining and maintaining a liquor license is beyond my comprehension. Is intoxicating liquor really that much of an attraction? (For the record, whenever I travel, which isn't often anymore, I try to find budget hotels that don't even run their own restaurants, much less bars.)
  2. Whatever happened to that old movie standby, the "house dick"? In other words: Where is hotel security, that they would even allow a guest to have a few too many? Don't they realize that they are placing themselves at serious legal risk? In New Jersey, for example, if you serve intoxicating liquor to a guest on your property (and yes, it applies even to someone throwing a party in his own home), and that guest drives away and has a smash-up, you may be involved in a lawsuit. That is a driver's-license written test question. (I know: I took the test.)
  3. Now about those cops hauling people down to the drunk tank: If they're not registered guests of the hotel, the cops have to act. A drunk is a positive menace to himself and everyone else on the road. We all know that. The only difference is whether that person is a registered guest. If he is, then if hotel security were worthy of its name, the cops could then "release" the guest "into the custody" of the hotel security force, which would then escort the guest to his room and confine him there under guard all night--and then perhaps give him several servings of tomato juice in the morning, compliments of the management. But hotel security is not worthy of its name. So what's a cop to do? As long as the law says that you can't get drunk in public, the cops have to enforce it. Period.
"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities." Romans 13:1 and following.

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