This weekend we were once again confronted with deadly violence. This time in Auburn, yes Auburn. It appears that violence will follow crowds no matter where they go in the Greater Seattle Area. The Count: Three Dead, One Seriously Wounded.
For years, I’ve been advocating for policy-makers in this city, county and state to address this issue head-on and not just applying band-aids to the situation. It’s time for a comprehensive plan. A plan that includes addressing the so-called “Let-out”, and not selectively doing it as our “good” mayor tried to do a few years ago. If you look at the problems associated with clubs that cater to young adults, most incidents occur during the time that is known as the “Let-Out” – where the club shuts down and pushes party-goers, in mass, out onto the streets sometime between 1:40 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.
The problem with the “Let-Out” is two-fold. One, club patrons – many of whom just finished off their last drink less than 15 minutes before being pushed outside of the club and are still looking for something to do – loiter as they continue to socialize, and in some cases act unruly, outside the club. Two, the club now becomes a destination point during the “Let-Out” for people who weren’t at the club during its normal business hours, as the “Let-Out” is known as an after-hours social scene. This many times attracts the wrong type of elements that the clubs have no control over because these people are out on the “public street.”
If we look at the incident that occurred last weekend, it occurred during the “Let-Out.” Would the incident have occurred if club patrons weren’t around for the Let-Out? That we’ll never know, but I believe that the chances may have been reduced.
In my opinion, the key to eliminating a lot of problems associated with nightclubs will be to enact policies that will help eliminate the lure of the “Let-Out.” First of all, it has always seemed odd to me that clubs will have “last call” for alcohol about 1:30 a.m. or so, then tell people to “drink-up” and whisk them out of the door of the club less than 15-20 minutes after they’ve consumed their last drink.
We know that on average it takes the body about an hour to digest a drink, so why is it that policy-makers don’t make establishments that serve alcohol stay open for at least one hour after they stop serving alcohol? Sounds rational to me! This would do two things: it would allow people to trickle out over the course of time rather than being herded out into the streets, and it would give people a chance to either sober up or decide that they are not in a condition to drive – before they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.
For way too long policy-makers around this city/county have proposed the same solution to the problem of violence associated with clubs – shutting them down or trying to over-regulate clubs that are considered a “nuisance” by the city or county. It has not worked, and probably will never work
It’s time for policy-makers along with the State Liquor Control Board to implement good policies and permanent solutions rather than a band-aid approach to a problem that will continue to exist as long as we continue to act like we live in a small-town in the middle of nowhere.
Through the eyes of an ink barrel, may peace be unto you!