Moonshine, other crime arise during such times

Friday, October 21, 2011

The state revenuer was asked for his opinion on why people continued to distill various grains into moonshine.

His answer was simple.

"Unemployment going up. Price of sugar coming down. People gonna make some 'shine."

It was 1972, some 40 miles south of Atlanta and the simple law of supply and demand was in full swing in a little town that recently approved a referendum so a dry county could allow liquor stores.

Several liquor stores opened, but there were other factors. It was about moonshine, drinking corn from a jar. It's like Jesse Keith Whitley singing about "Kentucky Thunder," or a good ol' Tennessean going to Rocky Top with more than a tune in his head.

Now, during this Great Recession, two Marshall County residents provided your newspaper with evidence of crimes.

In both instances, our fellow readers brought in documents and stories about a scam. They realize there's little, if anything that law enforcement agencies can do about either situation, so they want a warning published here telling others: "Don't be fooled. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Since that Georgia revenuer applied one of the economic facts of life to crime, too many people have brought such a request to me. They've been cheated, or almost, or there was a bad experience and the only thing they know to do is to try to prevent it from happening to someone else.

It even happened to my wife and me. She got an e-mail saying there's money to collect through some convoluted and well-argued version of what cops call the pigeon drop. There's this money. See? All I need is your help with a little more and we'll both get even more.

It happened to us elsewhere. We called the police. The officer said it's a scam. He could file a report, but probably nothing would be done. So, write it anyway, he was told.

Scams come and go. A seasonal ebb and flow, as it were.

Usually, in the spring the so-called "Irish Travelers" arrive. Con artists to be sure. No offense is intended when using words reflecting on a place of origin. The phrase isn't original here.

It's said they travel back roads in the spring. Maybe they're going north to someplace they didn't want to stay during the frigid winter months.

Maybe they're coming south now that it's getting cooler.

The really aggravating thing is that those traveling through cyberspace could be anywhere.

They probably don't have the in-person skills to fool you to your face. Nor would they have the talent to build a still, make a product and skirt the law where they live year-round.

Regardless: Just recognize scams usually rely on victims' willingness to take a chance, give into a bit of greed, or be weak when there's a financial need.

Be strong. Keep the faith. Talk to friends and relatives about your lives and don't be tricked into thinking there's an unworthy treat out there.

And, oh yeah: Happy Halloween.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.