Public Inebriation - In Alaska and ElsewhereOctober 26th, 2009
The NY Times features a video report on efforts of officials in Anchorage to ameliorate the problem of chronic public inebriation through an involuntary
committal process – Title 47.
Another excellent resource focused on this issue is the documentary Drunk In Public, which chronicles the sad life of Mark David Allen, a man who has been arrested over 480 times (at last count)
for public drunkenness and related offenses. The documentary effectively manages the balance between pathos and analysis,
while maintaining a genuine respect for its subject.
It also demonstrates the limitations
of what Willard Gaylin and Bruce Jennings have aptly termed “autonomy gone bonkers,” whereby an excessive focus
on individual rights paradoxically destroys individuals and extracts huge costs from society in the bargain.
Reference: Gaylin, W. & Jennings, B. (1996). The perversion of
autonomy: The proper uses of coercions and constraints in a liberal society. New York: Free Press.