Criminal Automobiles: A Letter to the Editor

The most practical remedy is to establish government dispensaries for limited sales to good citizens who are not drunkards. This will eventually be done.

We love reading through old letters to the editor to see the opinions of locals a hundred years ago. Here’s a great one we dug up from the Washington Post , printed on September 22nd, 1923. The author was Thomas W. Gilmer of 545 Florida Ave. NW.

To the Editor of The Post–Sir: The automobile is first aid to the bootlegger. Thousands of automobiles are engaged in unlawful traffic, roaming the streets and roads all day and all night long. So many could not be out all night for any good purpose. Everybody knows they are transporting liquor, but few are caught.

Unless the enforcement officer actually sees the liquor or sees a sale made, he can not search a vehicle without a search warrant, and that can not be quickly obtained. This is in accordance with the fourth amendment to the Constitution. Thus the fourth amendment makes it hard to enforce the eighteenth.

The most practical remedy is to establish government dispensaries for limited sales to good citizens who are not drunkards. This will eventually be done.

The old-style saloon will never be restored, although the Bible does say, “Use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake,” &c.

THOS. W. GILMER.
545 Florida avenue northwest, Sept. 18.

Letter to the editor from September 23rd, 1923

Well, Mr. Gilmer was right that “dispensaries for limited sales” would be eventually done. But, certainly not limited, given the abundance of bars and restaurants, which I suppose could be considered old-style saloonish, right?

 

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