A Movement Gone Wrong

What if I told you that there was an organization out there taken over by zealots, and people who are motivated by grief to engage in activism restrict the freedom of others. Sound familiar? I really enjoyed this link to Classical Values provided by Glenn Reynolds, who also had some really worthwhile contributions to this line of thought. From Eric of Classical Values:

When I was awakened early this morning, I made the mistake of turning on the TV in the hope of being bored into drowsiness so I could go back to sleep. I turned on C-SPAN, thinking that boring speeches would do the trick.

Big mistake. Instead of boring speeches, I was greeted by passionate, in-your-face activists from M.A.D.D. The hard core of that organization consists mostly of people who have lost a family member because of an accident with a drunk driver, and who have clearly sublimated the normal grief which accompanies the death of a loved one into political activism. They think that their loved ones died because of lax laws, and they press for endlessly tougher laws, which they claim will stop drunk driving.

M.A.D.D. activists are now pushing to make drunk driving a felony, and to lower the blood alcohol level standard for DUI from .08 (already lowered from .10 thanks to MADD activists) down to .04.

.04 is the BAC you’d get from a glass of wine.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that this would create a gigantic new group of felons.

Read the whole thread. Sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? I’d say just as wrong too, but really, no one is going to be put in jeopardy of life and limb by not getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. Someone denied their right to effective self-defense tools just might.

For anyone who wants to belong to an organization who actually stands up for the motoring public, I would suggest the National Motorists Association, who have actually been willing to stand up to MADD’s insanity. They are doing what AAA used to do before they sold out to become an insurance company.

What’s really sadd about MADD, is that if they get what they want, they will destroy the legitimacy of these laws in the eyes of the public, and will actually reverse the gains they’ve made in the past several decades educating the public that drunk driving is a serious problem. In the end, social shame is what stops DUI, and if the standard is one drink and you’re a felon, that shame is going to disappear. MADD actually hurts its own cause with this garbage.

15 thoughts on “A Movement Gone Wrong”

  1. Ah, but the increase in fines and imprisonment is a good thing. There’s a lot of revenue to be made there.

    Funny though that if you think about it, the real end result of this will result in MORE DUI’s, not less. Only because the definition of DUI is ridiculously low.

  2. “Ah, but the increase in fines and imprisonment is a good thing. There’s a lot of revenue to be made there.”

    You don’t make money by imprisoning people. I doubt you actually make enough money from the fines to recoup the cost of prosecuting the cases at all.

  3. The problem, IMHO, is that we allow people to decide if their sober enough to drive. OF COURSE people are going to convince themselves they can handle the booze. Why drinking and driving is perfectly legal in this country is beyond me. Especially when you have to administer a series of tests to determine whether you’re sober enough to be behind the wheel. How does that make sense? If you want to drink, you should just accept that driving is no longer an option. Zero tolerance. Not “Go ahead and drink, and then you can decide if you’re still sober enough to drive.”

  4. Well, mike, Zero-Tolerance = Zero-Intelligence.

    I can have a beer and be perfectly capable of handling a vehicle. Perfectly. The thing is that millions of people every day have a glass of wine, a beer, or a mixed drink and drive with 0 problems. Millions. And yet we don’t have millions of DUI deaths & accidents each day.

    Adults can make their own decisions. And yes, sometimes those decisions have consequences. But you don’t punish all for the actions of a few. Sorry, but that’s not how freedom works.

    If you’re pulled over and are intoxicated to the point where you’re unsafe to drive, then yes, you should be arrested.

    How do you plan on enforcing your 0 Intelligence rule?

  5. There’s big problems with there proposal (even though, at times I’m tempted to agree with it.) I can tell you that there will be officers tempted to not enforce it because they honestly believe that the laws and punishments are to harsh.

    Part of the problem with DUI laws is that the top level punishments for habitual offenders are rarely punished at the full extent of the law and their punishments rarely differ that much from first time offenders. I’ve seen reports on people who had 20 DUIs on their records. But, just taking away their driver’s license does little to stop them. A better solution is to charge the habitual DUI offenders (4+ convictions) with a felony that results in a minimum of 1 year in prison. The same punishment should go to anyone who is driving with a suspended/revoked license because of a DUI.

  6. Mike:

    The issue is how having one or two beer compares to other hazards caused while driving. How distracting is it compared to a chatty passenger? To a cell phone? To cold medication? To a pretty woman walking down the street?

    If it’s on par with those things, it should be treated similarly.

  7. Not to mention the issue in many states where you aren’t actually “pulled over” for demonstrating an objective inability to follow the traffic laws safely (veering, failing to stop at light, too low/high speed, etc) but rather stopped arbitrarily and subjected to testing on a random basis.

    Tests that are admittedly in most cases pretty indicative of actual impairment, like BAC used to be when it was at 0.10, but still subject to error on an individual basis.

    Impaired and distracted driving are serious issues but random stops and arbitrary measurements (as opposed to objective punishments for actually breaking traffic regulations for _any_ reason) are not the best way to deal with them.

    Education and public shame is.

  8. Oh gads another one..

    First, enforce the stinking laws we already have. A relative was killed by a multiple repeat offender, not someone with a beer in them. He wasn’t a little drunk either. Why the hell was he out there after multiple DWIs?

    Those that advocate zero tolerance are the first ones I’d help to be pulled over for a check. It’s also bankrupt thinking more so because it’s NOT thinking at all.


  9. Sebastian, the issue is telling people it’s fine to drink and drive. We all seem fine with telling people they can’t drink and carry a gun, and yet guns are protected under the second amendment. Why the disconnect?

    As for people with multiple DWIs, taking away the license is pointless, because people can still drive without a license. You know what they can’t drive without? A car. If people keep getting their cars taken away, they’ll quickly learn they can’t afford DWI. More so if it’s a borrowed car, just like a borrowed gun used in a crime is pretty much gone.

  10. I think the standard for carrying a gun should be the same as it is for driving. I think people with multiple DUIs can get their cars taken in many states.

  11. Mike, I wholeheartedly support having a minimal amount of alcohol and still being able to drive / pack heat / operate a pneumatic press / whatever.

    In the Marine Corps, I worked on Cobra Helicopters and F/A-18 Hornets – both rather expensive pieces of hardware. The rule was no more than 2 beers for lunch. And at the time, I was 19 and allowed to drink at the e-club.

    Somehow, the birds stayed in the air. Go figure.

    The problem I have is the Zero Intelligence approach, that *any* amount of alcohol automatically makes you incapable of operating anything more complicated than a pair of safety scissors when that’s patently false and easily proven by the millions of people who have a drink or two and manage to make it home just fine.

    The other problem I have with the BAC number is it’s arbitrary. Back in my 20’s, I had a problem with drinking because I’d get sick to my stomach before I’d get a good buzz. I had built up a tolerance, which happens. So one guy could have a .08 and be totally in control of his facilities while the lightweight girl with a .04 can barely walk. This is why the cops need to be able to have a bunch of tests to ensure the person is *actually* inebriated to the point of being unable to control the car.

    DUI is a bad thing. I have no qualms against impounding repeat DUI offenders’ vehicles. If it’s borrowed, the owner can get it back, but the hassle should make it harder for a drunk to borrow a car. But only if we are willing to do the extra work to ensure the person is REALLY drunk and not just above a ridiculously low BAC which doesn’t prove anything.

  12. “The problem I have is the Zero Intelligence approach, that *any* amount of alcohol automatically makes you incapable of operating anything more complicated than a pair of safety scissors”

    Nobody is making that claim, so yes, I disagree too. Let’s leave the straw men out of this one. And if you want to be taken seriously, we’re discussing “zero tolerance.”

  13. “If you want to drink, you should just accept that driving is no longer an option. Zero tolerance”

    You made that exact statement. And Zero-Tolerance is a cop out. Unfortunately life isn’t cut and dry enough to say “This rule is perfect and will fit every situation”.

    And you can take me seriously or not, I care not. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see if my points are valid or not regardless if I make fun of the ‘Zero Intelligence’ required to accept Zero-Tolerance as a good rule of thumb.

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