Bear wrote >>
jackoh wrote >>
And, as an aside, have you never been to a restaurant, had a glass of wine, and then driven home?
I said to myself when I wrote that, that having a sip of wine a few hours before getting behind the wheel would be sufficient for someone... wasn't far off. But regardless, yes, I've been stupid to varying degrees in the past. And although the responsibility was entirely my own, my decisions did take place in an environment in which people engaged in precisely this sort of asinine discussion about how drunk one should be before it's not ok to drive.
I have to wonder how often such environments result in people making poor choices on that issue, precisely when they are least capable of making them, and precisely when it matters the most. Contrast that attitude, for example, with the British campaign against drunk driving, which has succeeded in creating a near-universal taboo... and in reducing drunk-driving deaths by about three-quarters over thirty years.
I would like to raise some issues in this discussion. I have some aquaintances who say that I tend to take things too far. Nevertheless, why not?
The problem of carnage by motor vehicle, particularly those driven by impaired drivers,is real. Carnage, so caused, should be subject to prosecution. However, that carnage could be potentially caused without having any evidence of having been so, I find problematic. If we are to be subject to prosecution for the potential harm that we could do, how are any of us to be free? And, under the premise of "innocent until proven guilty" how could a charge of this nature stand unless we are guilty by virtue of the circumstances in which we find ourselves no matter what their outcome?
To me, the problem here is that we cede the determination of how we lead our lives, how we conduct ourselves day to day, to the given historical and technological arrangement extant. Unfortunately, motor vehicle transportation is the way in which we get anywhere today (unless,in this country, you are lucky enough to live in Manhattan or Chicago). But to make everyone's lives bend to accomodate this circumstance, to me, proves problematic, especially if it means not a direct transgression of this arrangement, but just a potential to impair it. I have no problem prosecuting those who cause injury while driving impaired; what I do have a problem with is prosecuting someone because they are a potential, not an actual, criminal. And making it illegal to be in a circumstance to potentially commit a criminal act without actually having done so, I'm not sure accords with the foundations of our legal system.