Personal Essay: I Propose To Change the Status of Craighead County, AR From A Dry
To A Wet County


I propose to change the current status of Craighead County, Arkansas
from a dry county to a wet county. Although there are strong arguments that the
benefits of being a dry county are greater than the drawbacks, it is important
to reassess those ideas. There are two very important drawbacks to a dry county.
One is the loss of businesses and revenues from businesses that sell or serve
alcoholic beverages. The second is the safety of those who consume alcohol.
First, we must consider the annual amount of money that leaves the
pockets of Craighead County citizens and goes into the neighboring counties. As
most know you are unable to purchase alcohol under the current laws. Yet,
people do not refrain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Logically we
can conclude that people purchase the alcohol elsewhere. Money that could
recycle itself into the economy of Craighead County contributes to others.
There are numerous small businesses along the county line that sell only alcohol.
Craighead is a college county. College students spend approximately $4.2
billion annually to purchase 430 million gallons of alcoholic beverages. These
businesses could be run here, in Jonesboro, instead of places like Harrisburg
and Truman. The fact is that people are going to drink. Why not sell to
Craighead citizens in Craighead? It makes far greater sense to put back where
you take out. Meaning if you earn a living in Craighead one should purchase
from those there as well. If the citizens could legally buy alcohol her they
would not be helping out their neighbors. Not only by bringing in those stores
that specialize in alcohol, but those businesses who serve it as well, Craighead
could increase it\'s income for small business men and for the county. Tax money
from liquor sales goes 20% to counties on basis of unincorporated population,
and 80% to cities on basis of incorporated population. In turn that would
increase employment by creating jobs. Certain restaurant chains refuse to
expand into the area partially because they can not serve alcoholic beverages to
those of legal age. Business creates jobs, that is a fact, but if business will
not build in the area naturally there will be less work. By making Craighead
County a "wet" county not only would it increase the per capita income of those
there but increase the job availability as well.
More important than the economic aspects of turning Craighead into a wet
county is the safety of the citizens. Drinking and driving is a deadly act. If
Craighead county was a wet county it would decrease driving time to purchase it
and decrease the chances of deaths due to drinking and driving. It is that
simple. Jonesboro houses a vast number of college students. Despite the fact
that approximately half are under age they do drink; Not only those that are
under age but those that have had their 21st birthday. No amount of lecturing
and preaching is going to change the fact that college students drink and often
in access. A matter of fact in a survey done in 1990, 80% of all college
students drink alcohol on a fairly regular basis. Of the 80%, 2/3rds of them
had been intoxicated within the last two weeks prior to the survey. We can not
only look at the students of Arkansas State University, we must also take into
consideration adults as well.
Accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. By having to drive the
added distance, outside county lines, we add miles to the possibility of an
accident. Not only are there added miles, but because they are going to
purchase alcohol, the chances for an accident are greater. I do not wish to
condone the actions of those who chose to break the law in that way, but it is
not only their lives at risk. When there is a drunk driver on the road they
create a very deadly weapon. Those innocent passers by are also at risk. If
Craighead was a wet county the people who decide to drink have less distance to
cover to obtain alcohol and less of a chance to drink it before they reach their
destination. It does not make right the actions of those under age. However,
we must consider the value of human life. If even some of the contributing
factors could be eliminated, even decreased, the lives of the innocent as well
as the guilty might be saved in the event that someone drinks and drives.
With the