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DUI: Punish, Treat or Whine?
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Having been foolish in my younger days, I agree with the stricter DUI laws being enforced these days. I shudder to think of what might have happened if I had actually hit someone driving home after having had 1 too many. I do see an alarming tendency, though, with both the new laws, and the public outcry, especially from MADD and like groups.

Alcoholism is both a physical and mental disease as well as a choice. No one seems to be willing to look at both sides. I've seen the "poor me" crew bemoaning their state as helpless victims of their upbringing and genetic disposition, and I've seen the folks who'd like to make this a moral and willpower issue. With the newest suggestion of a breathalizer liked to the car's ignition and the bill being paid by the person charged with DUI, we are moving more and more to punishing people to the point of ruining them on a first offense and letting the habitual offenders off because they just bypass the system altogether.

MADD is upset that the "don't drink and drive" message is no longer working as it did in previous years. They don't recognize that with the lower blood alcohol limit for DUI, the number of people charged would indeed increase.

We also never hear folks discussing the proliferation of alcohol advertising on TV, in print, and on the radio. If you're hip, young, beautiful and happy, you can't possibly be out having fun if you don't have a beer, Bacardi or di Saronna in your hand, right? Until alcohol advertising is viewed like tobacco advertising and we start changing our cultural mindset about it, we will continue to have drunk driving problems and alcohol abuse issues.

I'm sure many will comment about both sides here but keep this in mind. The majority of people hollering on either side of the issue differ from people facing DUI charges in just one respect. You've never been caught. If you are completely honest, I doubt there are many people who can write in and truthfully claim to never have gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle after having a beer or a mixed drink, or a glass of wine. Think long and hard before passing judgement on those who have been caught once.

As for habitual offenders, I almost wonder if aversion therapy or mandatory prescription treatment might not be a reasonable idea...but there I go again; tromping all over their god given rights.

Any other thoughts?


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