Please feel free to leave relevant links with your comments or posts. If you are interested in joining this blog as an author or need to contact me for any other reason you may do so here: Contact David Scott

Monday, October 22, 2012


David Settino Scott
The Cowgirl BBQ in Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently was ordered not to sell alcohol for four days because two of its patrons left the bar intoxicated and subsequently were involved in an automobile accident in which one of them died. In addition to complying with the courts order, the restaurant is voluntarily donating 50% of its food sales for those four days to Mothers Against Drunk Driving ("MADD").

I heard the details of what happened that night from the Cowgirl's doorman, a close friend of mine who has since passed away. He was extremely upset after he heard of the deaths and wanted to blame himself for what had happened. From what he told me, other than physically restraining the patrons from leaving there was nothing he could have done to prevent them from driving. He offered to get them a cab and told them he would call the police if they left in their vehicle. I believe that my friend and The Cowgirl BBQ were innocent of any wrongdoing.

In my opinion, it is unfair to place liability upon servers and the establishments that serve alcohol for the behavior of their patrons. First, servers are trying to make a living and generally live day-to-day, on the tips they earn. They are usually so busy when they are working that to ask them to monitor the level of intoxication of their customers us completely unrealistic and counter to their general interest of maximizing sales to please their employers and make good tips. Second, bars and restaurants also have a general interest in maximizing their sales and client satisfaction. To ask them to monitor their customers’ level of intoxication and make judgments related to their ability to drive is not only against their primary purpose, it is unrealistic. For one thing, they have no way of knowing whether their patrons may be under the influence of other drugs; how much they have had to eat; or what their personal resistance to alcohol might be. I am sure there are other factors which influence a person’s safety while drinking, such as their emotional health, etc.

While I applaud The Cowgirl BBQ for reaching out to MADD's constituency. I do not support MADD. In my opinion, the campaign against DUI has been used as a weapon against civil rights in general. To prosecute people for DUI before any actual destruction of person or property is unconstitutional and counter to the ideals that should be emulated by a free society. Ok, ok, the Declaration of Independence then, and why shouldn't it be binding? What wasn't clear about "...the freedom of the pursuit of happiness."? When balancing public safety against personal freedom, we must be very careful. The creation of a police-state and the erosion of civil liberties happens gradually.

I quote Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would sacrifice freedom for security, deserve neither."

I think people should start to take more responsibility for their own actions. When we drink in public we are always taking a chance. Bars can be dangerous places: you can be assaulted by a drunk; trip and crack your head open; contract a virulent STD; lose your wallet; get arrested; there is no end to the list of all the terrible things that may happen. But, isn’t that life? How much fun would it be to go out to a bar if it was completely safe? Not nearly as much, I think.

1 comment:

Thank you for your comments!