March 24, 2006

Life Imitates Minority Report, Again

The great Ron White, when describing his arrest for being "Drunk. In. PUB-lick.", said:

I wasn't drunk in Public. I was drunk in a bar. They THREW me into Public.

Turns out that's a distinction without a difference in Texas now. From Reuters via Bob & Tom:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said on Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission's Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkenness, Beck said.
Due to the way the laws in Texas are written, a bar is actually considered a public place for the purposes of determining public intoxication, so it appears Beck has the law on her side, not that that makes it just or anything.

The 'Department of Precrime' part comes in because they're arresting people for something they might do:

The goal, she said, was to detain drunks before they leave a bar and go do something dangerous like drive a car.

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."
So they want to arrest drunks, in bars, before they actually do anything wrong (note that I didn't say 'illegal,' I said 'wrong').

The logical extension of this position is that the only thing stopping the excise police from reaching into your home and dragging your drunken ass to the county lockup is that pesky Fourth Amendment.

Update: Swanky Conservative came up with the Minority Report reference before I did, but I swear I thought of the same connection on my own. Given the brouhaha over The M Zone's hilarious Wonderlic Test parody appearing without attribution on Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show, I thought it important to point that out.

Update: The policy is now under review. All hail the blogosphere!

Posted by Chris at March 24, 2006 11:59 AM

Category: Life Imitates...
Comments

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem ..."

Does Texas still not have an open container law? Maybe that would be a good first step.


"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."

Being a Darwin Awards fan, I see these activities as being a service to mankind. Especially if performed before the people involved have bred.

Posted by: Jim of St. Grimblefig's Monastery at March 24, 2006 01:21 PM

I agree - I think we should ENCOURAGE the dangerously drunk to go diving from hotel balconies towards pools (notice I didn't say 'into).

Hell, at least it'll keep them off the roads.

Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at March 24, 2006 02:12 PM

Chris,

Just wanted to say thanks for the mention. We really appreciate it.

Continued success with your site,

Yost and the M Zone Gang

Posted by: Yost at March 25, 2006 01:08 AM