Making booze less available, which is as likely to happen in Slovakia as Mečiar truly disappearing from political life, will be difficult in a culture that accepts drunks in cars, drunks on trams, drunks tumbling through the doors of bars, drunks huddled around sidewalk kiosks during their work breaks, as if they're just a bunch of good old boys (and a few girls) having a good old time.
During the last five years of the 1990s I lived on Sklenarova Street in Bratislava. Just behind my flat, in two city blocks, were four bars but only one small cafe and one mini-market. Walking to work at around 7:30 in the morning, whenever the weather allowed, I would always see anywhere from five or six up to a dozen or more teenage boys, certainly not more than 15 years old, sitting outside drinking their breakfast before heading off to class at the nearby school. On one memorable morning a pair of uniformed policemen were seated out with the usual teenage drunks, also drinking their breakfast.
It is the easy acceptance of scenes like this that must change. Making the law more strict only assumes there are sober police officers to enforce that law.
18. Feb 2002 at 0:00