The Nebraska State Liquor Control Board recently voted unanimously to revoke the licenses of all four of Whiteclay, Nebraska’s liquor stores. Whiteclay has long been a point of contention for activists and legislators, who have been increasingly appalled by the rampant drunkenness, street fights and other lawless behavior that has plagued the town since its founding over 130 years ago. Many also view the town’s chief source of economic activity, the provision of alcohol to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, to be immoral.
The town’s opponents finally got enough headwinds to make some real political gains. The vote will put in jeopardy the livelihood of the town’s 12 official residents. But some observers say that there simply was no way to justify the escalating lawlessness of the town. They say that it posed a public safety hazard to all whom were present there and that there was no real alternative but to revoke the ability of the stores, the sole occupied buildings in the town, to continue plying their trade.
This argument was based on the fact that the sheriff’s office for Sheridan County, the county in which Whiteclay is located, is tens of miles from the town itself. Calls to the police often took hours for a response. This has led to serious brawls going on for extended lengths of time on a regular basis. Many cases of people who have passed out in the street or in alleys are recorded each week. The State of Nebraska finally elected to put an end to it all.