Last Friday evening I was out with some friends at Buca di Beppo in Encino. During the course of our two hour meal together, I consumed 2, yes, honest to FCBE, only 2 Sam Adams pale ales -albeit 16 oz. drafts. However, whenever I consume ANY alcohol and have to drive more than a mile or so from my house (Encino is about 30 miles away) I never feel good about it for fear of Big Brother. Yes, I felt absolutely fine, coherent and alert, as if all that alcohol was just sponged up by the bowls of pasta just consumed.
Yet today we live in an age of bullshit. Now PLEASE let me be clear, drunk driving IS a problem and unlike many of the other chickenshit traffic infractions I fume about regularly, we NEED police to deal with this issue. However (here it comes, the “in tension” part and where the bullshit comes in) we are not going to solve the problem of drunk driving simply by redefining “drunk” whenever some pressure groups get in bed with some lawmakers. In fact, redefining any terms in order to increase the number of offenders does not solve problems -it only creates the illusion of a much bigger and widespread problem.
New York was the first state in the union to outlaw “inebriated” driving back in the 1910’s. The law stated you could not drive drunk yet had no objective standard by which to measure inebriation. In the 1930’s the National Safety Council working with the American Medical Association agreed together and concluded that a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 was the marker for inebriation. This .15 stood for nearly 5 decades until the 1980’s when pressure groups, namely Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), convinced lawmakers to lower the BAC to .10. This stood for a time until there was federal pressure on all states to lower it once again, this time to .08, the current threshold, or risk losing highway federal funding. Today there is talk this .08 may be lowered to .05. Which effectively means we have brought back prohibition insofar as operating a vehicle is concerned.
The problem was never the BAC limits, rather the lack of enforcement of existing law. What could have happened in the evolution of the human body that it remained sober until a BAC of .15 was reached for nearly half a century and today we are “drunk” at nearly half that amount? When did we all become such lightweights?
Groups such as MADD and SADD seem to LOVE to pad their stats for some strange reason. I know personally a family who lost their son to a drunk driver and are now members of MADD -as MADD came to their side in assistance and claimed him as another victim of intoxicated driving. Yet the young man who was killed was also drunk and was likely the erratic driver and cause of the accident. That is akin to suggesting the ground was responsible for killing the man willingly jumping off the building.
So what is the bullshit?
Consider me a BADD…Blogger Against Drunk Driving -yet I want to solve the problem NOT redefine it. For example, if I set out to prove our nation has an obesity epidemic, the path of least resistance is to redefine “obesity” and argue a lower BMI is truly obese; nothing in reality changes except the definition. So whether it be problems such as obesity, addiction, or sexual crimes, if we can successfully redefine these terms and what they mean in order to increase the number of offenders, we can successfully move forward our agenda, whatever that may be (hint: it is usually green and you can spend it) . Want to catch more drunk drivers? Make a “drunk” .01 or higher…even if all they had was rum cake for dessert.
Ironically I arrived home Friday evening and waited for Rene’. When she finally arrived she told me she was held up because she had run into a DUI checkpoint and had to wait over half an hour. She said she was interrogated, a flashlight in her eyes as she fumbled through her purse (flashlight shown in there as well) filled with tampons and personal items trying to find her license, all the while the officer accusing her of not having one. Of course she finally found it and the jack-booted-entrapping-thug kindly let her go (please read my sarcasm here), though not without instilling fear, intimidation and embarrassment. Yes, I know some say that if they check 2,000 drivers and catch even 1 “drunk” it is worth it. Is it really? We could stop all kinds of social ills by becoming a police state, though is that really what we want? Perhaps we can create laws forcing people to stay home and lock their doors 24/7. All problems solved.
Since we live in this age of bullshit, I must play the bullshitters at their own game so that evening I spent a hundred bucks on a fuel celled breathalyzer. I rarely have anything at all to drink when I know I have to drive, yet on those rare occasions I do have a couple or must drive unexpectedly, I figure $100 is nothing compared to the 10 g’s or more it would cost to get caught driving “drunk” -which tomorrow might mean inhaling rubbing alcohol vapors.
So I endured the online shame of this purchase as I perused sites belittling the “types” of people (read: alcoholics) who would buy one of these things. Yet I did not create the rules, for better or worse, bullshit or not, I must abide by them. Which, I suppose, means I can do crack and drive as they have no measureable means to detect it. Hmmmmm….