Ban on horse racing would only halt freedom

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department wants county commissioners to outlaw horse racing on private property.
Fortunately, commissioners recognized that such an intrusive ordinance would not accomplish law-enforcement’s intended goal of reducing crime and they denied it.
We’re not suggesting it’s a good idea for private property owners to host horse races on Sunday afternoons. The sport can be dangerous and we’re not surprised that requests for law-enforcement intervention could be plenty if alcohol and/or gambling is a part of the ritual.
But the point is that government has no business deciding what hobbies are OK for consenting adults.
Sgt. Rick Short of the sheriff’s department told commissioners that Sheriff Tom Gossett is concerned about illegal activities that may go along with the horse races.
“His (Gossett’s) concern is alcohol, fighting and loud noises,” Short said.
Commissioners pointed out that the sheriff’s department can issue citations for loud noises and public nuisance, according to a story in last week’s Portales News-Tribune. Law enforcement can, and should, also get involved if an assault takes place.
The key word is “if.”
Outlawing horse races will not stop good ol’ country boys (and gals) from letting off steam on the weekends.
An inspired game of horseshoes can lead to noise and violence, too. Should commissioners outlaw board games as well?
Even if county officials brought a halt to horse racing, it would not take a creative mind long to find a substitute sport. We find horse racing far less objectionable than say, cockfighting or dogfighting, in which animals are often severely injured or killed.
We sympathize with the sheriff’s department and applaud efforts to be proactive in preventing crime. But outlawing activities that could lead to crime would be a never-ending exercise that would not reduce crime anyway, only freedom.
County commissioners were wise to avoid this slippery slope.