Hats off to attorney Chris Corbitt for his lawsuit against Arkansas State University over gun rights at First National Bank Arena. Armed law-abiding citizens at sporting events might help protect others from some increasingly common incident of random violence. In response to the suit, the Arkansas Attorney General's Office argues that allowing concealed weapons will jeopardize the permit for arena alcohol sales.

The promotion and use of alcohol should have no place in sports especially at the collegiate level. Underage drinking, alcohol abuse and related sexual assaults are major problems at most universities. A significant number of college students develop alcohol dependency due to a culture of binge drinking which often exists on campuses. I find it appalling that our universities (even in the so-called “Bible Belt”) are willing to encourage drinking and sports gambling as a means of revenue generation.

There is abundant evidence documenting the negative consequences of alcohol intake on physical and mental health. The American Cancer Society now recommends total abstinence from using alcohol as our bodies convert it into a toxic, DNA-damaging chemical known as acetaldehyde. A study by the World Health Organization has refuted the belief that small to moderate amounts of alcohol were beneficial to heart health. According to the WHO, “Over the past several decades the prevalence of cardiovascular disease has nearly doubled, and alcohol has played a major role in the incidence of much of it."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a study indicating that half of those injured or killed in traffic accidents had alcohol or drugs in their system. What a pity if the alcohol permit does get pulled. Folks who insist on imbibing will then have to drink at home rather than driving after consuming alcohol at the arena.

Rather than promoting alcohol use, our state institutions need to encourage sobriety and personal responsibility.

Clint Hatcher

Jonesboro