Closing Time

This isn’t precisely fresh, but the topic came up last night and I was reminded of the illogic behind Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bob Bennet’s opposition to the temporary extension of last call to 5 am during the few days of inauguration weekend.

With projections as high as 4 million people planning to visit the city during this time period, we are deeply concerned that the plan approved by the City Council could seriously strain law enforcement resources that need to be focused on the large crowds and security requirements of the Inaugural and its impact on the City.

I mean, the number of people expected in the city is the problem, not the specific hour at which bars will stop serving drinks. The argument I’ve heard on the teevee follows something like, “all those people out drinking will need to get home and may turn to their cars,” but it’s unclear to me why that calculus would be any different if the decision were made at 2 am. That is, I have a hard time believing a greater percentage of people will be wont to drive intoxicated at 4 or 5 am than those willing to earlier in the night. Indeed, you might expect that given the extreme hour and perception of heightened police presence, people would be even more cautious.

In any event, it appears the DC council will take up some revisied legislation to push last call back to 4 am, consider putting the ammended rules on hiatus on Sunday, and create a nominal fee for participating establishments so that police would know which areas to monitor. These seem like fairly benign changes, and the registration might even be a good way to allocate resources, but as the “Sunday provision” underscores, this seems like a mostly reactive effort meant to allay the concerns of social conservatives like Bob Bennett of Utah. I call party-pooperism.

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