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The American Issue _ ILLINOIS EDITION Volume XXIII WESTERVILLE, OHIO, FEBRUARY, 1928 Number 2 ILLINOIS WAS OVERRUN WITH BOOTLEGGERS IN THE DAYS OF THE SALOON AND BREWERY Over 10,000 Blind Pigs in Illinois in 1916, in Addition to Over 8,000 Li censed Saloons; Chicago Vice Commission Says Enforcement of Regulations Was a Joke All dealers in intoxicating liquors un der the license regime were required to pay the federal government tax, under se vere penalty. The Annual Report of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue 1915 (page 230) showed that there were 22,052 persons paying the federal tax to sell in toxicating liquors at retail in Illinois for that year; in 1916 (page 234) the total was 21,799; and 1917 (page 244) 20,587. The only persons who could retail in toxicating liquors legally in the State of Illinois during that period were saloon keepers and druggists. A careful survey made by the Anti Saloon League showed that there were 8,301 licensed saloons in the state in May, 1918. Over 10,000 Blind Pigs The State department of registration estimates that there were approximately 3.000 drug stores operating in Illinois during the years mentioned. (There are no exact figures, since state registration was made in the names of individuals, not stores.) Hence the average number of persons paying the government tax to re tail intoxicating liquors for each year uui ing the period 1915-17, inclusive, was 21, 478; the total number who could legally sell under such tax averaged approxi mately 11,300 for each year, leaving 10, 178 persons who paid the government tax, but who never complied with the stale law, and hence were illegal traffick ers in liquors—bootleggers and blind pig gers. These people paid the tax to sell liquors at retail to save themselves from the severe penalty of the federal govern ment, but “cheated” under the state law. It is very apparent that licensing the liquor traffic never solved the bootlegging problem and that prohibition did not cause bootlegging. Law Enforcement a Joke If any further revelation of the falsity ■ of the wet propaganda that illicit liquor traffic and political corruption came only t with prohibition ,a report of the Chicago Commission on the Liquor problem was made in December, 1916, surely will dis t pel any doubt on the question. Here it is: Chicago Under License Was a Bedlam of Lawlessness “The Commission has found a woeful lack of law enforcement in connection \ with the regulation of the sale of bever ages. '1'his lack of law enforcement does not apply particularly to the present ad ; ministration and no such criticism is in tended in this report. Under no admin istration, so far as the commission can judge from the evidence disclosed, has there been even a real effort to compel the dealers in spirituous, vinous, malt and • brewed liquors to comply strictly with the state laws and city ordinances reg ulating the sale of alcoholic beverages. “This lack of law enforcement is so no torious that the public has grown callous aad no longer accepts in good faith any order issued which has to do with the regulation of saloons and places where al colohic beverages are sold. This disre spect for the law has a most dangerous tendency in a democracy. If the laws are violated in one direction and the violators are allowed to escape punishment, it has a tendency to break down our entire system of government. Lawlessness in any one particular direction breeds law lessness in other directions and the effect is utterly demoralizing to the community. "... Why are the law's regulating the sale of liquor not enforced? To say that they cannot be enforced is an insult to our law-making bodies as well as to those entrusted with the administration of government and the enforcement of law. Because they never have been en forced in the past is far Trom an admis sion that they are unenforceable. The fact lies not alone with the laws, hut with our whole system of law enforcement. “Regulation of the liquor traffic is a principle so well established and so gen erally recognized that no argument in de fense of it is necessary. Why, therefore, should the laws that regulate the conduct of a saloon not be enforced as equally and as fully as the laws regulating a grocery store or any other legitimate line .of busi ness? Why should some enjoy special privileges to the business disadvantage of their law-abiding competitors? Why should law-abiding saloonkeepers be pen alized for observing the law? Yet that is what is happening every day in Chicago. “Because of a sinister political influ ence law enforcement, as it applies to the liquor business, has become a joke and a by-word. As soon as a police order is issued to “clean up” places of question able character, this influence makes itself felt. The police arc afraid to do their duty because, if they offend some one who is a political power in his ward, they find themselves transferred—“sent to the woods"—for the "good of the service.” The police are not to blame for such cir cumstances. The responsibility rests higher up. The whole system is vicious and calls for immediate remedy. “This pernicious system of political ‘puli’ works an injury to the decent- law abiding citizens engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages, who desires to com ply with the law. Suppose that it is the 1 o’clock ordinance or the Sunday closing law that is under consideration. The law abiding saloon-keeper closes his place promptly at the hour designated by the law. His competitor across the street is allowed to keep his place open. The po liceman on the beat knows the law is be ing violated and so reports to his super ior officer. The violation continues and the policeman learns in some indirect way that “things have to be fixed.” He does not want to be transferred to a beat out in Hegeswisch, so he maintains a dis creet silence. Thus is contempt for law bred in the minds of the men sworn to uphold it.... “The necessity for law enforcement is here emphasized because it is difficult, or impossible, to point out the weaknesses and defects in laws, the efficacy of which have never really been tested. No one can say from experience how far it is possible to regulate the liquor industry under the existing laws, for the reason that the laws have not been enforced.” As a matter of better business, mer chants and manufacturers should give money and influence for the maintenance and enforcement of the dry law. A dry President and a dry Congress should be the goal of the dry voters of the nation. The flag is not going to surrender to the booleggers, moonshiners or rum run ners. DRYS, ATTENTION! The Supreme Court of Illinois has spoken. The state primary law is sus tained. The primary election will be held on April 10th. At that election Illinois will elect 151 members of the House of Representatives in the Illinois State legislature, 25 State Senators, all those coming from even numbered Senatorial Districts of the state, and 25 Congressmen. Under the operation of Illinois laws the primary election will really decide in many districts and in the case of many of these candidates. Therefore, this is the time for the drys to throw off their lethargy. This is the time when we can work most effectively to improve the political conditions of our state. 1 o talk mournfully about how bad our politics may be doesn’t get us anywhere, unless we work patiently and intelligently to improve them. The next two months should be a time of hard work on the part of all of us. There are good possibilities of making substantial gains in our numbers in the legislature. The wet organizations are in the field. They are busy and vicious. Reports reach us that offers of bribes have been freely made and intimidations resorted to by the wet interests for the purpose of undermining legislative support of Illinois prohibition. Friends of the Constitution, the people who are opposed to nullification of our state laws and our national safeguards, must support the Prohibition policy and work diligently to elect drys to the legislature. That is the specific tiring they can do right now. It will count more in the support of prohibition than anything else they can do, and indeed, is the only thing our friends can do at the present time that will really make things any better, and electing dry men and defeating wet ones will accomplish much. BLIND FIGS IN ONTARIO Brewers Agree to Abolish Sale of Beer by Keg as Means of Check ing Blind Pigging Under “Gov ernment Control” Action was taken at a meeting of a hundred brewers of the province of On tario with D. B. Hannah, chairman of the Ontario Liquor commission, abolishing the sale of beer by the keg and half-keg. And here is the interesting part of this pioccdure, his action taken was aimed at blind pigs and cheating hotels and res taurants. It is to be hoped that President Nich olas Murray Butler who is advocating “this wonderful government control sys tem,” now in vogue in Ontario, as a means of doing away with this blind pig and illicit liquor traffic, will take notice of this news item from Ontario as car ried in the daily press. It is explained that a common prac tice in the province is to sell real brew disguised as near beer, and the brewers and the liquor commission believe that with the sale of beer narrowed down to bottles alone, beer on tap will become virtually extinct. They are only fooling themselves if they believe this. So long as beer is «iade legally and distributed, the bling piggers and bootleggers will get it and dispense it in competition with the gtvc; ununt stores. Just as the government control law lias failed thus far to abolish the blind pig, so it will continue to fail despite any amount of tinkering the commission may apply to it. Liquor manufacturers and liquor sellers have never been known to obey any reg ulation. Foes of prohibition tell us that the prohibition law can’t by enforced. There is this difference, however, between the situation in our country and in On tario. Here, due to the prohibition law, the manufacture and sale of liquor for beverage purposes is outlawed, and the men engaged in the traffic are outlaws and criminals. In Ontario the brewer and liquor smuggler have the advantage of being in a recognized, legal business. PUTTING ON THE BRAKES Even Russia is moving against the liq uor traffic—that same traffic which she has been encouraging. A drive is on against the home brew liquor evil in the country districts of Russia, and the re port of the head of the Department of In terior Affairs shows that over 10,000 mak ers of home brewed liquor were fined a total sum exceeding 132,000 rubles during the first two weeks in January. At the same time 3.400 stills were seized and a number of offenders sentenced to terms of hard labor. It is estimated that thA total annual con sumption of home brew reaches 600,000, 000 bottles, and that the country annual ly loses 150,000,000 rubles worth of grain as a result of the manufacture of this liq uor. Temperance advocales point out how many tractors and other useful farm arti cles could be bought with the monejr squandered on drink.