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Thursday 16 January 2003

Drunkenness and The Law

January 7, Washington Post, on the topic of the Fairfax County, VA police arresting people for being intoxicated in public with fairly flimsy probable cause:

Katherine K. Hanley (D), chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said the operation was a tool to reduce drunken driving and would be evaluated before it is repeated.

The same woman, January 16, also in the Washington Post, speaking about the same issue:

Katherine K. Hanley (D), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said she had “serious concerns” about a tactic that has won little community support. Hanley said the sting was unlikely to be repeated.

The police, of course, are unrepentant:

Asked where one could get drunk, [Police Chief J. Thomas Manger] replied, “At home. Or at someone else’s home, and stay there till you’re not drunk.”

So all of that stuff about designated drivers that the police and MADD & Co. have been telling us for years? Never mind. They were mistaken. (Which begs the question: why should we give a damn what these clowns tell us now?)

Instead, we’re being told to drink at home, at least until they decide to ban that. We all know that sitting around drinking at home is healthy behavior.

Anything as long as our delicate sensibilities are not disturbed by what the Virginia ABC gives as telltale signs of the drunk:

  • Difficulty in lighting a cigarette

  • Person is overly loud or friendly

  • Person is overly quiet and subdued

Because we wouldn’t want people to be too friendly, or too loud or too quiet. Given the recent jihad against smoking, though, one would think that “difficulty in lighting a cigarette” would be cited by the Surgeon General as a beneficial effect of drunkenness.

But, in Virginia, there are no beneficial effects of drunkenness, except for the incredible pile of money the state collects from taxing beer and wine, and from selling hard liquor itself. (In Virginia, all hard liquor must be purchased from state liquor stores or from distributors who must purchase their stocks from the state. In fiscal year 2002, the state raked in over $189 million in revenue, invluding over $46 million in profits from its liquor-sales operation. Almost 4% of the state’s revenue comes from taxes on and sales of alcoholic beverages.)

Posted by tino at 12:02 16.01.03
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I personally like this statement ” Police Chief J. Thomas Manger alleged yesterday that an organized campaign against police has been spread on the Internet.”

So obviously the Police Chief has a problem with the residents of Fairfax County getting information about his department and their actions. Not to mention the fact they might actually express their displeasure with the departments actions. I don’t think he remembers that he is a public servant.

Posted by: Paul Johnson at January 16, 2003 10:12 PM

I believe the citizens of Fairfax county should band together and keep the Chief of Police under constant surviellance 24/7. Eventually someone will catch him at dinner or a gathering having a few drinks. Then maybe we can get him tested and arrested. What do you bet the law would change then?

Posted by: at January 21, 2003 09:19 PM

DWI, drunk driving, DUI, and a license to drink. madd, sadd, radd, A.A., and Alanon related.

Copyright: 1993-2004 Bruce Alm

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?

Posted by: Drunk Driving at May 12, 2004 11:43 PM