On Wednesday evening three young lives were snuffed out in our city due to the actions of yet another inconsiderate drunk driver.
These three lives will contribute to the statistic that at the end of this year will inform us that once again approximately 1,000 lives have been lost due to the actions of drunk drivers across our country.
Our neighbors to the south slaughter 30 of their fellow countrymen every single day for an annual total in excess of 10,000 lives lost to drunk driving.
These numbers reflect only the fatalities and not the tens of thousands of other lives whose owners are left with bodies broken beyond repair and minds forever scarred by the horror of these events.
Nor do these numbers speak to the thousands of families who, in the blink of an eye, find themselves without a loved or one loved ones and are left to pick up the broken pieces and try and move on.
I have never intended this blog to be used as a platform for expressing opinions on contentious issues but that Wednesday night accident – actually, not an accident but rather, a predictable consequence of drunk driving – begs for action to be taken.
It is long past the time for this senseless carnage to be taken far more seriously than it is. A few years ago a drunken cement truck driver killed five people and spent all of three years in jail before being paroled. Other recent sentences have allowed for the convicted to walk free in remarkable short periods of time.
I have written several blogs on the need to get involved rather than be one of those who sit around saying,”Someone should do something.”
I agree someone should do something and I’m asking all of you to become someone who does something. This has to stop.
Granted, the stats reveal that there has been a slow decline in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities but a slow decline is not enough.
I don’t know the solution to this problem but I do know that what we are doing today is just simply not working.
I personally have a viewpoint that I know is harsh and I know would be rejected by the majority, but for the record here is: Driving is not a right it is a privilege and I believe that privilege should permanently – forever – be removed from any person convicted of drunk driving, even former premiers of Canadian provinces.
Never again should those convicted be allowed behind the wheel of the vehicle regardless of their reason or momentary lapse in judgment.
Furthermore, I believe those whose selfish actions cause harm to others or steal their lives from them should be dealt with in a manner far more harshly than is meted out under our present system.
A 2009 episode of 60 Minutes told the story of Kathleen Rice, a District Attorney in Nassau County who successfully convicted a man whose actions, while driving drunk, caused the deaths of a 7 year old girl and a limousine driver as well as serious injuries to several others. The drunk driver received a sentence is 18 years to life.
Since then she has successfully charged and convicted other drunken killers with second-degree murder and has obtained similar sentences.
I applaud those sentences. I belief that when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk and take a life, you forfeit your right to walk among the free.
As I mentioned earlier,I know this is not a popular stance and I have been told on more than one occasion that my viewpoints are extreme.
I agree, they may be extreme but so is taking a life.
I have been told alcoholism is a disease, and we don’t lock people up for being sick.
Actually we do. When people are stricken by diseases that may cause harm to others they are quarantined for the safety of all of us until such time it is determined that they pose no further threat.
Those who kill,or cause grievous harm,while driving drunk should be quarantined behind bars for extraordinary long periods of time.
As it can never be determined with absolute certainty that they no longer pose a threat to society, the quarantine could, perhaps, last a lifetime.
I expect to be criticized harshly for my comments. The criticism will come from many but not from those who have buried loved ones taken from them by the selfish, inconsiderate actions of a person who, while drunk, made the conscious decision to drive a vehicle.
One thousand human lives every year. Really?
Somebody needs to do something and I’m going to be one of those somebodies.
Will you join me?
Till we read again.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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– Here is another review of my book by Actionable Books.