Its hard to believe, but in the days leading up to the hearing in which the alcohol license of the T&W Caf Lounge Inc. in Thomson was revoked, some in the community actually were calling the action too harsh.
Those were the words of McDuffie County Commissioner Bob Farr, the only commissioner to vote against yanking T&Ws license. Too harsh? Since when is enforcing the law and protecting children too harsh?
If anything, a simple revocation is far too lenient. For too long, community leaders have looked the other way while the T&Ws management did little to deter underage patrons and violent activity. The nightclubs owners disagree, claiming theyve done all they could to keep teens out of the club - and have the gall to berate witnesses for failing to tell them when theyve seen underage patrons inside.
Those witnesses had found over the years a lackadaisical attitude toward enforcing the law - not just from the clubs owners, but from local officials. T&W is grandfathered into a residential neighborhood, out of sight of most Thomson society. Nearby residents had all but given up on getting the cancer cut out of their midst.
The problem became too much to ignore, however, when 14-year-old Aunsharia Moss was gunned down New Years Day while escorting a friend who was picking up her mother from work. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Aunsharia was struck in the head by a stray bullet - one of more than 40 fired during a wild, sprawling gunbattle that had spilled out of the nightclub.
Members of the Cherokee community - especially Aunsharias family - had enough. Exercising the time-honored constitutional right of citizens to petition their government, they demanded action from McDuffie county commissioners. And commissioners, finally awaking to the need to take a stronger role in oversight of a licensed nightclub, found no option but to shut down the T&W Caf Lounge.
Will there be a challenge to the revocation? Probably; after all, the clubs owner loses a substantial investment when the liquor spigot is cut off. He certainly has an incentive to try to get it switched back on.
But the community has an even stronger incentive to keep it closed - and thankfully, a majority of commissioners willing to follow the law and the peoples lead.
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