How Does the Cast of Moonshiners Evade the Law so Well?

How Does the Cast of Moonshiners Evade the Law so Well?

America had its time of prohibition back almost 100 years ago, when the sale or consumption of virtually any type of the drinking type of alcohol was banned by Federal law. Though today there are still “dry” counties, counties that continue to make it illegal to sell alcohol, most states allow its sale. On the other side of the tracks there are the moonshiners, people who continue their tradition of making alcohol in the hidden places of the countryside.

Moonshining remains illegal, and the people who still carry on making it maintain that it is more about the lost government revenue via taxation than the moonshine itself that makes them the target of law enforcement. None of this stopped the Discovery Channel from making a series called “Moonshiners.” As the series title suggests, a bunch of investigators follows along with actual moonshiners on their nightly runs through back roads and sometimes dangerous situations to deliver their homemade brand of alcohol.

You have to give credit where credit is due here because there are the risks moonshiners take as a part of the game. And then there was a Fox 411 news interview that actually had two moonshiners from the program come on national TV and tell how they avoid being arrested. Even though the show is seen weekly by almost 4 million people, including law enforcement agencies, none of that seems to bother the duo. The general rule seems to be: it’s not a crime if you don’t get caught.

The first part of avoiding arrest is to be at a different location when the episode airs than when it was first filmed. The idea is that law enforcement actually has to catch you doing something wrong, not just seeing you do something wrong. This loophole may be credited to modern technology. Timing is everything, since once the show airs their location is disclosed. All they do is make sure they are not in that location when the episode ends.

If this sounds really simple, it is because it is. There are no blurred faces or darkened rooms during the nationally broadcast interview, so everyone can see who Tim and Tickle are. When you consider that the show is in its 7th season, it really makes you wonder not only how they have managed to evade arrest during all these years, but also how Discovery Channel avoids any legal problems over the show. Maybe they just all sit down and discuss the problem over a drink.

But despite their boldness, Tim has actually started his own business, legally, in the manufacture of — alcohol. There is a certain amount of irony in this but maybe it says more about moonshining than they’re willing to admit. It’s almost certain they are getting paid for the series, which may have been the seed money for Tim to start his business. But the risk-reward factor seems to be tipping to the side of law enforcement each year the season continues. Complain as they will about the Tax Man, apparently there has come a time to forget about tradition and stay out of the slammer.

Then there is the view that there are people who will always want moonshine because it cannot be found legally anywhere. Tim and Tickle maintain that the quality is better than anything you can find that is commercially manufactured (including his own brand?), so as long as there are people willing to feed the demand, the supply of moonshiners is not likely to drop significantly. And it also seems that there are both makers and takers of moonshine who simply like to do something that is legally questionable, playing a game of hide and seek with law enforcement.

The interesting thing is, no one in the general public seems to be calling for the heads of Tim, Tickle, or any other known moonshiners out there. Definitely not its nearly 4 million Discovery Channel viewers. Maybe moonshining isn’t really as dangerous, legally or otherwise, as the show advertises itself to be. The late night treks to a buyer, maybe, but are they really on the scope of those dadburned revenuers? All that can be said for sure is there are a lot of people who follow their exploits every Tuesday on primetime, and the revenue the Discovery Channel is making from the show and the money paid out to the likes of Tim and Tickle keeps flowing into their pockets. Everyone seems happy with this situation — except the Tax Man.

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