The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 01, 1918, Page 8, Image 10

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The Commoner
"VOL. 18, NO. 5
Prohibition a Great Success in Nebraska
From tlio NobraBka Stato Journal, May 1.
Ono year ago today Nobraska climbed upon
the wator wagon. Statewide constitutional pro
hibition, backed up by a Btrict prohibitory law
passed by the legislature, went into effect. Tho
Htato as a whole, after tho experience of ono
abort year, is ho firmly fixed upon tho water
wagon, according to public opinion expressed
ovorywhere, that nothing short of an earthquake
can shako it from its position on the front seat.
Ono year ago today the grog shops were closed
for good in Nebraska. Tho unsightly sights
and tho obscene scones that accompanied that
closing in some portions of tho state will long
bo romomborcd by men and some women who
participated, and by sightseers who looked on.
Tho bar aB a barrier that separates a fool and
his money, segregates him from his brains, his
honor and his health, was gone from the state.
Tho few saloon keepers who wero not the abject
slaves of tho browors and other holdup men,
drovo away from the so-called bright spots in
thoir automobiles to their now houses or to the
farms which they had bought with tho earnings
of the foolish ones, and rotired from active busi
ness. Tho other kind of saloon keepers became
tramps wandering in tho few remaining wot
Btates looking for a good location, there to begin
anow their slavory for the manufacturers of li
quor, providing the latter would stake them to
a permit to sell the stuff. Some who had robbed
both tho brewor and tho consumer, retired too,
with tho intontion of living happily over after
in Bplto of the thoughts they may think in their
sobor momentB.
Tho poor befuddled consumer, the old sot who
could drink or lot it alone, laid in a "reasonable
amount" allowoti under tho law, if he had tho
monoy, but it was booh gone. Ho either
drank it hlmsolf or his friends got
it from him by inviting him to go hunting
rabbits or on a fishing trip. The man with a
bottlo was popular aB long as tho thing held a
drop. "Whon tho bottom was reached, when all
was gone, whon tho tremors began to work, whon
tho sot was afraid to bo left alone in the dark,
it occurred to moat of thorn that they could lot
It alono, and they are now doing it. So far as
heard from fow of tho old soakB died because
boozo was donied thorn. Not so many prominent
mon wore laid to rest from what the death cer
tificate charitably termed "heart failure," aftor
prohibition wont into effect as before.
Business men in cities and villages found no
place to put thoir feet or rest their elbows, so
thoy paid more attention to thoir business op
portunities. Workmen who wore dirty rags and
had no monoy to clothe their families or feed
thom, found after a time that they could dress
bettor and provide for their families and were
no longer afraid to look tho world in tho face.
Many a man found ho was ablo to support two
pairs of Bhoes whore ono had been plenty.
Some of tho highly paid mechanics who had
novor a cent of thoir wages loft on Monday
morning, aro now clothed in fine linen and drive
thoir own automobiles, tho blear has left thoir
faces and thoy look respectable and happy. In
fact thero is a paleness on the faces of Nebraska
men that sometimes gives a shock to observing
physicians who like to diagnose from sight, but
invariably these diagnosticians make up their
minds that it 1b tho natural color of the human
boing who does not light up with booze. Thoy
Bay crimson, carmine and purple aro in fact not
flesh colors, that these lithographic tints aro
wholly artflcial, indicative of hob nail livers
ruined digestion, poor circulation, diseased kid!
books CnBestIon of the brain and empty pocket
Every kind of business except the dens and
professions that fed on tho weakness of men
Allod with boozo began to thrive in Nebraska
It began to show in the looks and abearance
of the people gathered in pubic places! in stores
in tho Bchools, and in happior homes The
divorce courts, the juvenile courts' The
domestic relations courts, suddenly w
Ker33andhK. Xl T
wagon for a whole state has had 0
the' effect has been observed ft ttS Svff
B5 S? ,ml Government has backed un the
state of Nebraska in making its prohibitory law
G) nno vonr ncn todav the saloons were
closed in Nebraska, obeying an amend-
ment to the state constitution adopted in
November, 1916, by a majority of almost
30,000, Inquiry in widely separated
communities reveals the presence of al-
most no opposition to the new policy.
Almost invariably the report is of reason-
able enforcement of the law, fewer police
court cases, better collections, increased
bank deposits, and better social order
generally. It is conceded that improved
business and financial conditions may be
due largely to high prices and good
crops. Better social order can be charged
almost wholly to the closing of the sa-
loons. Thus the special public prosecutor
at Omaha gives these as the results of
the first year of prohibition in that city:
A reduction, of 50 per cent in total po-
lice court arrests.
Heavy reduction of number of charges
of wife beating and non-support.
Decrease in appeals for relief from
poor debtors.
Vagrancy reduced to a minimum.
Omaha workhouse abandoned because
not needed.
County jail prisoners reduced in num-
ber 50 per cent.
The figures from" Grand Island are
equally impressive. Police court records
show less disorder and drunkenness,
fewor petty crimes, and a decrease in
immorality. The number of arrests on
such charges has been cut more than 70
per cent. During the period from May
1, 1917, to April 25, 1918, the total ar-
rests for intoxication and connected
charges was 14. In the same period for
the preceding year the number was 492.
From May 1, 191G, to April 25, 1917,
the last wet year, the number of arreBts
for drunkenness and disorderly conduct
was 296 as compared with 37 in the pe-
riod the city has been without saloons.
Arrests on immoral counts dropped from
118 to 38. Only nine assault cases have
been docketed in police court in the past
year, whereas there were 33 assault
cases during the previous year.
In Lincoln the arrests for drunkenness
in the single month of September, 1916,
were virtually the same as in the entire
first year under prohibition. The num-
ber of criminal cases in the district court
was almost cut in two.
Other cities and towns have the same
story to tell, the figures showing so strik-
ing a uniformity that it would be tire-
some to repeat them. The first year has
been so great a success for the new pol-
icy that its effect on the state is no longer
seriously discussed. Nebraska State
more effective by the passage of a statute which
makes it an offense and attaches a penalty for
transporting liquor from a wet state to a dry
state. Since last May when the bone dry law
won in force in the state forty-five cases against
whiskey runners" have been filed in the Lin
coln district of the United States court. Of th?R
number thirty-five convictions were secured Of
the other remaining cases some have been dis
missed and others are still pending The far?
era grand jury found indictmentagainst set
eral persons for conspiracy to violate ti,o Vo 7
amendment, as the federal sUute covering ?f
quor cases is known. These TersonJ wg I
yet been brought to trial In S? J'KL
T nffena,erS against the Btalute have been
given jail sentences instead of fines.
"Perhaps there has been less cha T
coin than in some other placed VittTlfo
of saloons, but there is no comparison here with
the conditions of old. There is no crime and
poverty in Lincojn like that that flourished in
the palmy days of liquor and the segregated
"When I note the results I am ashamed that
I ever was lukewarm In the matter of prohibi
tion for booze. If ever a thing -was detrimental
to a community it was booze. It brought on
starvation and strife; filled the penitentiary and
the insane asylums; brought hunger to the little
children and the wives in the home; caused
murder and every crime in the list.
"The saloon was a loafing place for. men where
time and money was spent; -where energy was
dissipated and the moral fibre "broken down, in
the days of the open saloon pay days were busV
days for the police. Saturdays and holidays
were busy days. The police had to fight their
way through mobs of drunken men frequently
to get a man wanted. On Christmas day this
year the matron and I policed the city while the
patrolmen enjoyed a day off.
"The police roll has been reduced, and the
merchants have cash in their drawers where
they once had bad bills. Prohibition has emptied
the city jail, has brought cheer to the children
in the homes and dissipated the. fear of the wife.
It has made men of bums where booze made
bums of men." James Malone, Lincoln chief
of police.
An Omaha dispatch, dated1 May 1, says: The
most striking effects of prohibition are seen in
the office of the federal - revenue collector.
"Where receipts for government taxes were form
erly issued by the hundreds, during the current
year but sixty have been issued. So far as a
cursory inspection of these go, they apparently
are all issued to druggists. ' The number of
permits issued to Omaha druggists is 12, while
four were iBsued to Lincoln druggists, three to
drug men in Grand Island, and one each in
Scottsbluff, Valentine, Fremont, Beatrice, David
City, Aurora, Norfolk, Kearney, Geneva, Neligh
and Bayard.
Hundreds of druggists in the-state no longer
deal in any liquors coming under the federal
law. This law makes it necessary for them to
pay a license fee where the stuff handled has
over a half of 1 per cent alcohol in it.
From a report made by T. J. McGuire, special
prosecutor, under date of April 30, the follow
ing .facts are taken:
"The social evil, at least that section which
set itself nip in luxurious houses and in estab
lished localities, has been eliminated in Omaha.
"The total number of police court arrests for
the past year will show approximately a de
crease of 50 per cent as compared -with the year
"The records will show a heavy falling off of
the number of men arrested and charged with
wife-beating or non-support of their families.
'The records of the legal aid department of
the board of public welfare show a Temarliable
decrease in the appeals for relief from poor
"Vagrancy, which formerly kept our jails
crowded, is now reduced to the minimum.
As a result of these conditions, developed by
the enforcement of prohibition law in Omaha
and Douglas county, the city administration was
able some months ago to abolish the city wort
house because of the fact that there were not
enough prisoners to keep tlie place clean and to
occupy the care of five employees, who were
needed to operate the workhouse before pro
hibition. "In the county, where prior to prohibition
thero were often 200 or more prisoners on an
average, the number was cut to less than 100.
. A report covering the effects of prohibition
on business bays:
"Business men, big and .little, say that the
effect has been marked in many lines; find trade