Steve, in your first post you claimed that, "In the circle of people with whom I travel, it is nothing for them (and I refer to folks who are about 22-26 y/o) to knock out half a dozen shots in a half hour.", and " I like to get my drink on when and where appropriate -- but, this is an increasing problem (public intoxication) and does lead to problems both in cars and in the streets." I've been operating bars and restaurants in a mid-sized college town for over twenty years and I couldn't disagree with you more on this subject. It has been my experience, as well as the experience of most of my peers in the business community that alcohol consumption has decreased dramatically over the past 15 years. Primarily, this has been due to very effective ad campaigns by a variety of organizations and stricter enforcement and penalties of alcohol related infractions. If you are considering your "circle of people" as representative of the public as a whole I think you are making a gross misjudgement. I have seen that patrons are much more responsible drinkers than back in the day. The awareness of what constitutes public intoxication, or blood alcohol level is very high and the vast majority of patrons (and service workers)are respectful of the limits. And as far as someone downing "half a dozen shots in a half hour", that is just plain extremism. Any competently run establishment would refuse to serve a patron that quantity of alcohol in such a short period. I'm sure it happens, but those are just the type of egregious cases that make dram shop suit headlines. The exception, not the rule.
In your second post you state that, "I went out tonight to a bar where the cops were plentiful. I had three beers, over the course of time, but wasn't the least bit reckless, and walked back to my hotel about a half a mile." Well, technically it sounds as though you could have been cited for public intoxication. Let's just say that you are a normal sized person and drank those beers in a two-hour period, your BAC was possibly over .08. And let's just say that some police officer with a quota to meet decided (in arbitrary fashion) that you were a danger to yourself or others because you might trip over a curb on the way home. And all of a sudden BADDABOOM, you got yourself arrested. On top of that, your server or the owner of the bar you were in gets popped too!
That sir, is not law enforcement, it is harassment. Harassment to the degree that not only will your personal record be marred, but depending on your occupation, it may affect your employment. Further, the server/bartender/owner now have legal/employment issues when in fact they could be totally innocent of any wrongdoing. For instance, prior to serving you that last beer, you may not have been legally intoxicated.
Sure, there are drunks doing stupid things out there, no argument from me. There are also alot of sober people doing stupid things. I won't defend either of them. I will however defend business owners rights, reputations and the ability to operate our establishments within the letter of the law and free from government harassment.