About the Other Night

I was going to leave this as a comment to the previous post, but it was long, and I figured, hey, it's my blog, I'll write where I want to...

I'm generally from the "mind your own business" school of thought. I think that a lot of life's little problems would probably be avoided if people just minded their own business a little more (especially a lot of the problems I see in my job). So, that's what I ended up doing the other night. (Although, I did blog about it.)

That said, I definitely understand that there's a difference between having a drink or two before driving and driving while impaired. And, in my opinion, this driver was more in the reeked-of-alcohol-and-had-been-drinking-for-a-while category than the otherwise-clean-but-just-had-a-shot-or-even-two category. But that's just based on my "training and experience" which is probably no more reliable than the police officers' that I try to discredit as part of my job.

Further, I felt that it was worse that this man was not only drinking and driving, but drinking and driving while on a job that requires driving. I felt, for what it's worth, that somehow there's a difference between having a few glasses of wine with dinner and then driving straight home compared to having a few drinks, knowing that you're going to spend the rest of the evening driving around as part of a service job. Not that there's a difference legally, but I guess there is to me.

Someone mentioned that drunk driving is one of their "issues." It's not mine, but I can respect that. I see a lot of different crimes in my job, and I hear a lot of different rationalizations. "I stole because I was hungry," "I stole because the opportunity was there," "I stole to support my habit." These I can generally, at least to some degree, understand. Even "I hit her because I just lost my temper," I can understand that maybe you didn't grow up in a way that you were taught to control your temper, or you were never really taught that it's not okay to hit someone (especially if you were being hit, or watching mom being hit).

But I really can't understand any rationalization to knowingly driving drunk. I happen to work in a city with a million ways to get home if you can't drive - call a friend, call a cab, take the bus, take the train, or just walk. I guess maybe one difference is that when I was in school (not that long ago), drunk driving was a big issue. We talked about it in health class and in driver's ed. There were occasionally guest speakers (probably doing community service, I guess) and S.A.D.D. would set up wrecked cars in front of the high school. We were taught that drunk driving was not just bad, but very bad. And, if I had to guess, I'd say that most of the commenters who said, "He could've hit a kid" grew up in this same era. The reality is that not every impaired, or even drunk, driver ends up hitting someone or something. Fortunately, a lot make it home safe. I'm not saying drunk drivers are never dangerous, I just wonder how much of this drunk-driver-is-going-to-kill-someone mantra is reality, and how much of it is what we were just taught in school.

A lot of the drunk driving clients that I see are older, in their 40s or 50s, probably from a time when drunk driving wasn't such an issue. Most have never been in trouble for anything else. The rest are kids, who were just being stupid. Those usually fall into the "I didn't think I was that drunk" category (of course, they "only had 2 beers"). Or "I just didn't think."

Finally, though, I feel like even if I wanted to say something about it now, it's kind of too late. (Remember, this is the police department that said a $6K theft wasn't worth following up on, I don't think "the pizza guy was drunk a few nights ago" is going to rank too highly.) But I think that, in the future, if something like this happened, I might call the police. And, I also think that if I felt like my local police department was more responsive, I might be more inclined to report more incidents, but, like I said, in the past I lost quite a few hours with them regarding my case, only to be told that it wasn't worth following up on. There's been other similar incidents (worse, actually), but I'll leave it at that for now.

So, I guess that's more or less the end of that now. Unless I end up ordering from there again. Which I might have to do, considering how good the alfredo was... (Although, I'm still interested in hearing everyone's opinions).


  1. I didn't comment on your original stab at this topic, but since you have resumed, here's my two cents.

    I think you should have reported the guy at that time, now it would be no good. I do defense work and I have defended those accused of DUI and I tend to be sympathetic to the client. However, the delivery guy wasn't a client, but a danger. I have a colleague, whose practice also includes criminal defense, whose son was killed by a drunk driver this last year. I know of several others who have lost family members to drunk drivers. I think you have come to the conclusion that you should have reported the guy -- but as I might have done at the time--you minded your own business and went with the odds that he wasn't going to get anyone killed that night.

  2. DWI, drunk driving, dui, and a license to drink.
    Madd, sadd, radd, A.A., and Alanon related.

    Copyright: 1987-2005 © Bruce Alm. Documentation is available.

    The answer to the problem of drunk driving, etc. could be this; a permit for the purchase and consumption of alcohol beverages.

    This would not only be a major assault on the problem of drunk driving, but would also have an effect on virtually all other crimes such as these;
    murder, rape, assault, burglary, robbery, suicide, vandalism, wife beating, child beating, child molestation, the spread of aids, college binge drinking, animal cruelty, etc., the list is endless.

    If this proposition was made law, there could be a major reduction in all these areas of concern, even though the emphasis concerning alcohol abuse seems to be drunk driving in particular.

    There could also be many other positive results;

    families healed, better work performance, booze money spent on products that would help the economy (we've all heard of the guy who spends half his check in the bar on payday,) would spare many health problems, etc.

    This new law could go something like this:

    Any person found guilty of any crime where drinking was a factor would lose the right to purchase and/or consume alcohol beverages.

    For a first misdemeanor, a three year revocation. a second misdemeanor, a ten year revocation. a third misdemeanor, a lifetime revocation. Any felony crime, an automatic lifetime revocation.
    Anyone caught drinking alcohol without a permit would receive a possible $1000 fine and/or jail sentence. those who would supply alcohol to people without a drinking permit (and possibly make money at it,) would also lose his/her right to purchase alcohol beverages.

    What wife or husband would buy an alcoholic spouse a bottle?

    What friend would give a problem drinker a drink at the possible cost of a thousand bucks and the loss of their own privilege? This could be a total discouragement to these would-be pushers.

    This permit doesn't seem as though it would be a problem to put into effect. It could simply be a large X, or whatever, on the back of any drivers license in any state, to show who has been revoked, and cannot purchase alcohol.

    Most people of drinking age have a driver's license, but one area that might be a problem could be New York City, where many people don't drive.

    This problem could be resolved, however, by a license-type I.D. specifically for the purchase of alcohol beverages. Most, if not all states have these already for the purpose of identification.
    This could be a small price to pay for the saved lives of thousands of Americans each and every year.

    After this, it would simply be a matter of drinking establishments checking I.D.s at the time of purchase.
    In the case of crowded bars, they could simply check I.D.s at the door, as they do now.

    Would this be a violation of rights?

    There can be no argument here since they already check I.D.s of people who look as though they may not be old enough to drink.

    This could be a good saying, "If a person who doesn't know how to drive shouldn't have a license to drive, a person who doesn't know how to drink shouldn't have a license to drink."

    Here are some other pluses to this idea:

    A good percentage of people in correctional institutions are there because of alcohol related offences . Because of this, court, penal, and law enforcement costs could drop dramatically.

    The need for A.A., ALANON, MADD, SADD, etc., could be greatly diminished as well.

    What the alcoholic fears most, is the temptation to have that first drink, usually a spur of the moment type thing. Without the ability to do this, he/she is fairly safe. To start drinking again would almost have to be planned in advance. and to maintain steady drinking would be extremely difficult, in most cases.

    Even though A.A. members as a group don't become involved in political movements, it seems as individuals, they would all be in favor of a situation like this. Any person who wants to quit drinking, even if never having been in trouble with the law, could simply turn in their license for the non-drinking type.

    A woman from MAAD, on the NBC TODAY show, said "One out of every ten Americans has a drinking problem, and that 10% consumes 60% of all alcohol beverages sold in the U.S.."
    If this is true, there could be financial problems for breweries, liquor stores, bars, rehab centers, etc., as well as lawyers, massive amounts of tax revenue 'down the drain,' and so on.
    But it doesn't seem as though anyone would have a valid argument against a proposal such as this for financial reasons. To do so would be morally wrong, and could be likened to a drug-pusher attitude.

    Even with the problems this new law could present, it still could, in one sense, be considered the simple solution to the number one drug problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. Alcoholism.


    What ever happened to the skid row drunk?


    Yuk Yuk.