Demon Rum, no, make that Demon Wine is again being threatened with tar and feathers along with the appropriate rail on which to run it out of town.

Now, don’t misunderstand anything here, folks. I’m not making fun of anyone. I respect every individual’s right to make up his own mind, to drink or not to drink, to do as he chooses and to raise his family as he wishes.

If the community wants to vote on alcohol once a year for the next century, that’s fine with me. Give me a contract, and I’ll print up the ballots for the next 50 years at cut-rate prices. After all, someone might as well make some money off all this hullabaloo.

Sarcasm aside, I perfectly understand the commercial viewpoint of a growing town and its efforts to lure new and profitable businesses to settle within its city limits. Build the tax base, and citizens benefit through more efficient city services, better schools, and dependable infrastructures.

And I understand perfectly the opposing viewpoint, keep alcohol out of our community. Keep the drunks off our streets, muggers from our parks, and burglars from our homes.

To sell, or not to sell. That is the question plaguing the charming little city of Lumberton.

You know, I remember Lumberton 40 years ago. Take Highway 69 at the Y, blink once, and you were deep in the Southeast Texas forest. Take 96, and a handful of businesses flashed dim lights in an effort to slow down cars whizzing past.

Back in the late ‘70s, I lived north of Kountze and commuted to Port Neches. It was not quite an hour’s drive either way. Traffic? Minimal! But no more.

Today, it reminds me of Houston. And along with increased traffic are other problems. The good people of Lumberton are facing one of them now. Let me make an observation, which you can take any which way you wish.

Here in Port Neches, beer and wine are available wherever they may legally be sold. The same is true with distilled spirits, whiskey, rum, etc.

I’ll tell you something, folks. I’ll put this religious and civic-minded community up against any in this magnificent country of ours in regard to quality of life and raising families. Our civic leaders and our citizens are wise enough to realize that you can’t prevent someone from over-indulging by simply not having the means available. The sale of alcohol has not kept our community from being home to many fine churches and schools and families.

In fact, I can say the same about our neighbors, Groves and Nederland.

I will tell you this, there are many out there who hope Lumberton forbids the sale of all alcohol, and these folks are not just members of your community. Oh, no, they’re the ones who own businesses just beyond the limits of your jurisdiction, knowing that if you turn down the sale of the beverage, their cash flow and profits will increase exponentially. I don’t blame them.

The sale of alcohol is allowed in only a few of the counties throughout Southeast and East Texas, but you can take this to the bank. Chances are, those who are going to drink their beer or wine despite your efforts otherwise can probably name you every county line store between here and Tyler.

Whether you believe me or not, the old garbage that the sale of alcohol will turn the community into a viper’s nest of sin and iniquity, not to mention drunks, is just that, garbage.

And don’t believe the old argument that simply by making alcohol easier to acquire will create more alcoholism. If someone wants it, they’ll get it.

You want to pare down the cases of alcoholism? Then be brutally honest and start with the parents who either permit their children to drink or pay so little attention they have no idea what the kid’s doing.

Either way, good luck.