Tuesday, October 28, 2008

something worth getting angry about


this is the kind of news story that just shouldn't be there. i shouldn't be able to go to my hometown newspaper and see the headline "man charged with 10th drunken driving offense." there are so many reasons why this should just not be possible. for organization's sake, i'll list a few, because i know you're so very interested (even though you, the 'readers' don't exist in the case of this blog):

1. probability factor #1 -- you know why we never hear of someone's 10th d.u.i.? -- it certainly isn't because we have reasonably tough laws to keep these people off the road - it's because they usually kill themselves and/or a few others on their 1st, 2nd or 3rd. the fact that this guy has somehow not killed anyone is astounding, and defies all odds. if i didn't want to cut off his testacles and feed them to a raccoon, i'd go meet him and ask him to buy me a lottery ticket.

2. probability factor #2 -- the fact that he's been ARRESTED 10 times is completely ridiculous as well. i imagine this guy has probably been drunk about 90% of the time he's driven a car in the last 20 years. i don't think that's an outrageous conjecture. and i would expect that one would get caught while driving visibly impaired (to other drivers, pedestrians, the odd cop car he happens to drive by) maybe one out of every 4 or 5 times. and that's when it's REALLY blatant. like pissed his pants, threw up on the dash, bumper bowling with the sidewalks drunk.

3. there was a woman in the car with him. they switched seats when he got pulled over, so she obviously knew this guy had prior convictions/a history. just the fact that TWO HUMAN BRAINS couldn't catch this decision in the "why the fuck would i ever let this guy/myself drive" filter is a testament to how insanely wide the range of function there is in our species. i only hope that these two represent the far extreme, opposite the guy who invented the remote control.

4. the only humans lower on the scale of reason and responsibility are ... whoever has been in charge of our drug and alcohol policy for the last 75 years, and the rest of us that tolerate it. i mean, i'm all about america being a great place and all, but i think the system is in need of more than just a slight tweaking when you can get 5-10 in a federal prison for growing a pot plant in your basement, and this scum of the earth (AND HIS FUCKING CHAPERONE) is out there trying to keep his van on one of the three blurry roads in his line of vision. as i've ranted before, i think there are a lot of causes that aren't worth the effort, but the attitude that 'rights' are more important than public safety should be stomped out of any intelligent, compassionate society long before ol' Numbnuts has a chance to get behind the wheel again. here i go...

but things don't change. i've had personal experience with friends who have either lost their own life, or taken others' by drinking and driving, and my disappointment isn't so much with their behavior, although i certainly think such acts should come with severe punishment (one paid for his mistake with his own life, the other will continue to pay for the rest of his with guilt and a constant need for strict self-control). my beef is with their (and my) friends who act shocked and careful for a month or two, and then continue their weekly drive home from the bar after 5 or 6 mgd's and 4 shots of absolut. i know that most everyone has driven once or twice when they shouldn't have - usually when we're 17. but to continue doing so into your 20's and beyond, and after you've seen what can happen to good people who make that one bad choice - is like spitting on graves.

it's not a funny story anymore - "i was so smashed, i don't even know how i got home," - trying deal with something we know is flatly immoral and offensive by making it funny. i wonder if the same people think it's funny when they have to pay for the medical bills of 50-year smokers and motorcycle wheely-pullers who think helmets are 'gay.' we're so selfish that we can't bear to consider the potential consequences, so we leave our cares at home, in the sock drawer, or buried back in the closet in a box next to a picture of a dead friend, or up on the shelf with all the booze we could be drinking at home anyway, with living friends, with the music quiet enough to still have a conversation, and the price of watered-down beer at a reasonable retail level.

now, i've been to bars, i understand the appeal. but i've also lived next to one. i understand the fights, the broken glass that pops my tires, and the wasteoids stumbling out the door in their cloak of shit cologne, to their black car, revving the engine and speeding off toward the 'bystanders' and the 'families of three' and the 'telephone poles.' they ride off with their rights strapped to their chests, terrorizing the innocents like some jackass jihadist, fighting for nothings, blaring badass music to enhance the feeling of independence and power that comes from slamming coors all night and grabbing an ass or two.

so i realize this isn't most of the people i know, or would care to know. and yes, i'm a little more 'personally' pissed about this, because this particular 10-time asshole was pulled over on roads that lead to the cottage and my brother's house. but i've had a shitty month, and this gives me the opportunity to vent about something i take very seriously. i do a lot of crap that avoids rational behavior filters. i have very little right to preach to anyone about anything. but i think that the 'right' to scream at the top of my lungs about this - even AT people i consider pretty in-line with reasonable standards for citizenship and decency - is one i'd fight for. but i'll fight sober, or i'll take a damn cab to the battlefront.


Joshua (who smote them) said...

I'll continue ranting to myself: "Britz, then of Waukesha, was arrested in July of 2000 after he fell asleep at a railroad crossing with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake. Britz was on probation at the time for walking out on a jail sentence he was serving for a previous drunken-driving conviction."


Joshua (who smote them) said...

from wikipedia:

"Comparisons with other countries

The USA has one of the worst DUI driving accident rates in the developed world while having lower to mid-range rates of alcohol consumption."

especially embarrassing given that the u.s. has much less traffic, wider roads, etc. than most countries. we're shitty drivers who think we can afford to get even shittier by getting... shitfaced.

we're also holding up the ceiling of legal blood/alcohol levels at .08 -- most countries are at .05 or below, and stricter penalties irrefutably act as a deterrent.

Anonymous said...

Rarely do I get fired up - but I agree, this is one of those topics that if you're not angry you're not paying attention. I pride myself in being the perpetual designated driver. It's not worth the risk. Esp after the experiences we've vicariously lived through. And really, one unintelligent driving experience is not excusable, but what horrible person continues to risk his own life and all other beings around him for 2, 3, 4, 5, 10!! times? His balls should be cut off for pure lack of respect for human kind. He makes the rest of us look bad.
Excellent eloquence, ravishing rant. Good one Josh.