Your Beer Will Kill You Dead!

OK, maybe your beer won’t kill you dead, but it sounds good, right? Honestly, nobody could rationally think that beer kills, right? I mean, sure, the abuse of alcohol is a bad thing and there are some folks that are just ‘out there’ who might not see a difference between consumption of alcohol and the abuse of alcohol, but nobody really pays attention to those people, right?

Oh hell…

Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or violence

Drinking causes more than 4 percent of deaths worldwide, WHO warns

Yup, that’s the headline on MSNBC.com’s story forwarded to me by Kevin (Thanks, Kev). Read it, it’s entertaining. OK, it’s infuriating, but really… read it anyway. You’ll learn a few things, like:

  • alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism, it said.
  • Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes
  • every fifth death is due to harmful drinking (in Russia)

Here’s the rub for me. The story, by Stephanie Nebehay, tosses the word ‘alcohol’ out like it has an actual meaning to her story. It isn’t till the fifth paragraph that she even includes a quote that qualifies the type of consumption she’s really talking about – ‘harmful use’ (read, “abuse”).

What’s more, there seems to be no qualifiers for alcohol – a drink is apparently a drink – be it vodka, whisky, beer… it’s all the same. It strikes me as odd, however, that the article ends on the sudsy folks – ABIB and SABMiller (Diageo, too). Of course the SABMiller guy comes off sounding like a dick, suggesting the world would be a more dangerous place if people resorted to the unsafe practice of making beer at home… because apparently that can still blind you or something. Oh, wait, sorry – homebrewing beer is safe. That’s right.

Anyway, this seems to be just another example of blurred lines between use (which the vast majority of drinkers do) and abuse (the folks that make the news). The purpose of the story isn’t well-hidden either:

Health ministers from the WHO’s 193 member states agreed last May to try to curb binge drinking and other growing forms of excessive alcohol use through higher taxes on alcoholic drinks and tighter marketing restrictions.

Yup, let’s fix the overstated and misunderstood problem by punishing everyone for the follies of a few. Maybe if they put a skull and crossbones on the label with bigger warning signs it’ll help – I mean, nobody smokes anymore, right? Oh yeah, wrong on that one, too.

Don’t buy the BS. Brewers and drinkers, in America at least, pay their fair share of taxes. Look at the number of folks employed across the nation – look at the excise tax number for the Feds and the States, see the positive financial contribution made by the alcohol industry, overall. Our taxes are high enough – the scare tactics employed here are nothing more than an excuse to get even more.

See, that was fun!

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