Warm Southern Breeze

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Topsy Turvy America

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 26, 2021

In America, you can get arrested for drinking a beer in public.

In Germany, one can legally walk around in public while drinking a beer. To do so is neither illegal, immoral, or unethical.

Of course, illegality, immorality, and unethical behavior are three entirely separate, and unique things. Suffice to say, they’re not the same.

In America, one cannot walk around in public while drinking a beer, or any other alcohol-containing beverage. In many, if not most, places, it’s illegal to do so – save, perhaps, for a few specially-designated areas, or upon certain occasions in those areas.

For example, it’s not uncommon to see pictures, or read news stories of college-aged students who can otherwise legally consume alcoholic beverages (being aged 21, or older), and even adults, who while enjoying almost any public beach in America, are accosted by local law enforcement authorities who either confiscate, or demand that the beer owner(s) destroy those ice-cold beverages by pouring them out, and sometimes, even arrest them, haul them off to jail, where they’re fingerprinted, photographed, and incarcerated, however briefly, as if they’re genuine threats to society, or had committed some grievously atrocious felony.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, that if anyone, anywhere in America was walking around in their local Wal-Mart, shopping while drinking a beer, the police would be called to the scene, and doubtlessly, the shopper/drinker would be arrested, and the story of it published on the worldwide web of the Internet for all the world to see.

Typically, in most all such instances, those individuals would be violating so-called “open container” laws, which forbid the public consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Yet interestingly enough, morbidly obese people can walk around in public eating hot dogs, doughnuts, and junk foods of seemingly innumerable variety and type, wash it all down with gallons of soda pop, and it’s not illegal to watch them commit their slow suicide in public, and no one dares think about calling the cops on them.

While it might seem that open container laws would date back to the Prohibition era, when the possession, sale, consumption, and manufacture, of spirituous beverages was illegal in America, that’s not the case.

The matter of public consumption of beer  is apparently of such significance and magnitude that it’s addressed by the National Conference of State Legislatures on the page “Open Container and Consumption Statutes” in the various states, which in part states that, “…open container or consumption of alcohol within motor vehicles, open containers or consumption of alcohol in public, patrons removing partially consumed containers or bottles from restaurants and curbside and carryout sales by the drink.”

And at least as it pertains to motor vehicle laws, the FindLaw website states this about the subject:

“In 1998, Congress passed federal legislation establishing a program designed to encourage states to adopt laws that ban the presence of open containers of any kind of alcoholic beverage in the entire passenger area of a motor vehicle. Known as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), it provides states with a financial incentive if they follow the federal standard banning all open alcohol containers anywhere in the vehicle.”

During Prohibition, which lasted from 1920-1933, there were only less than a handful of distilleries which legally remained open in order to manufacture ethanol (beverage alcohol) for medicinal purposes. Otherwise, all alcohol-containing beverages were 100% illegal.

Imagine… all that work and effort for such a minor thing – enjoying an adult beverage while in public. Based upon the proliferation of such laws, one would imagine that such behavior was at one time highly problematic.

Of course, at one time DUI was a significant problem in America, and laws changed to reflect the concern given to the problem by states’ legislatures, and by Congress. And, that was a proper response to have done so.

But to criminalize someone who’s walking around in public with a beer?

That’s absurdly preposterous, and bordering on the detached-from-reality. It’s also quite costly and burdensome for taxpayers who support the law enforcement and the justice systems.

But again, do you know what else makes America different from Germany?

In Germany, you can’t openly wear a firearm like you’re in some wild-wild west Hollywood fantasy.

In fact, you can’t carry a firearm in a concealed manner like the fictitious James Bond character, either.

And, you sure can’t own machine guns, or assault rifles, either.

The Library of Congress writes this in summary about German firearms laws:

“The German system of gun control is among the most stringent in Europe. It restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need for a weapon. It bans fully automatic weapons and severely restricts the acquisition of other types of weapons. Compulsory liability insurance is required for anyone who is licensed to carry firearms.

“In recent years, German gun-control law underwent several reforms that made it even more stringent. A new Weapons Act became effective in 2003 after a school shooting in the city of Erfurt in which a student killed sixteen persons. The new Act restricted the use of large caliber weapons by young people and strengthened requirements for the safe storage of firearms.

“Another reform was enacted in 2009 in response to the massacre at Winnenden, in which an eighteen-year-old killed fifteen people in the course of a school shooting. This latest reform led to the creation of a federal gun register and to intense governmental monitoring of gun owners’ compliance with requirements for the safe storage of firearms. Pursuant to the reformed legislation, the authorities may at any time request access to the premises of any registered gun owner to monitor whether proper safe-storage procedures are being observed.”

Suffice it to say, in Germany, one cannot walk around in public wearing a sidearm (pistol), either openly, or concealed.

But in America, you can.

In fact, in many states, one needn’t purchase a special permit to carry a concealed pistol, nor need they demonstrate competent knowledge of firearms laws, nor even of operation of the firearm itself – carrying pistols (and often long guns, i.e., rifles) in those states is unrestricted.

And in America, you can get arrested for drinking a beer in public.

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