Reading COVID-19 daily news in the U-B (which does a great job of keeping us informed about local issues) my curiosity is often aroused and I am compelled to do further research.

This has happened with the reopening of the wine-tasting rooms in Walla Walla.

I think it best to identify myself as a teetotaler mourning the loss to the Walla Walla economy of the vegetable and tree-grown-fruit markets of by-gone days to the proliferation of the wine industry.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and the one deceived thereby is not wise,” (Proverbs 20:1) was one of dozens of biblical passages used by my mother to steer her children into the way of wisdom.

I decided to research the impact — if any — of the COVID-19 shut-down on alcohol-related car crashes. This began with a piece in the current Harvard Health Letter noting that, of vehicle-related deaths in the U.S. occurring from 2000 to 2015 (612,000), 37% (more than 223,000) involved drivers who had been drinking.

And of those deaths 15% involved drivers with blood alcohol levels within legal limits. Their conclusion: “Driving with a low blood alcohol level may be legal, but it’s not really safe.”

So, I wondered if DUI fatal car crashes diminished during the past three months while tasting rooms and bars were basically non-operational. My logical mind assumed they would.

But I found only one area, South Africa, reported a dramatic decrease of alcohol-related driving deaths, with no explanation of why there and not here or anywhere else?

All of this only leads me to conclude that the Bible is right — “wine (alcoholic beverages in general) is a mocker.”

As one blogger wrote, “When it comes to alcohol, digressing into silliness isn’t uncommon. On the one hand, the stuff can get you drunk and you can do silly, stupid things (I would add even violent things!). But on the other hand (it) is the source of huge amounts of tax revenue, (is) among the most heavily regulated substances in the country, and . . . entire departments of government are devoted to overseeing (its production and use).”

And, since the wine industry has replaced the food industry in the Walla Walla Valley I have to accept the fact it will ever be so. (Sigh)

Donna Ritchie Casebolt

College Place