September 07, 2007

Whiteclay isn't the problem?

For Whiteclay, still more problems than answersIs anything being done to combat the public drunkenness?

"Not anything, not one single thing," said Moss, 38, whose parents used to run the store. Not much has changed over the years, said Moss, who argues that the influence of the reservation, not Whiteclay itself, is the problem.

"People think it's a little piece of hell," he said of Whiteclay. "It's not. The people that come here are good people. They're just so bored and consumed by alcohol; it's all they have."

Problems on the Pine Ridge reservation that spill into Whiteclay are similar to the acute poverty and blight Lisa Adams used to see as a prosecutor in Newark, N.J.

"Many of the problems that exist here are mimicked in urban areas with urban blight," said Adams, a Pine Ridge tribal judge. The prohibition against booze on the reservation, she said, isn't working, just as it didn't work nationally in the 1920s. In Pine Ridge it has caused a proliferation of bootlegged alcohol, she said.

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