Skip to comments.Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Drink!
Posted on 12/28/2010 6:10:44 AM PST by Kaslin
On Feb. 11, 2006, in Iraq, I was honored to meet a model Marine by the name of Cpl. David Stidman. He did two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Commendably, he also left his post to come home and care for his ailing father, Dwayne Stidman, who tragically was hit and critically wounded by a drunken driver last May.
Three months later, on Aug. 2, 2010, Cpl. Stidman was killed. Not on the battlefields of the Middle East, but on his home streets of Texas while still caring for his father and family. And not by a drive-by shooter, but by another drunken driver. Cpl. Stidman was killed on his motorcycle while completely stopped at a stoplight just miles from home.
To add insult to injury, David's killer had not one but two prior driving-while-intoxicated violations. The driver had been released repeatedly from his criminal charges and allowed to drive because of the lack of strict laws and enforcement by our liberal court systems.
(To read Dwayne's story about his son's service and heroism to both his country and family, go to http://www.DavidStidman.com/biography.html.)
Words cannot express the depths of what my wife, Gena, and I felt when reading David's story. He was truly the epitome of the best our country creates. God only knows the lives he saved through his service to our country.
And even now, in his passing, his father, Dwayne, is fighting with him to save even more lives by reducing the number of drunken drivers and repeat offenders on America's roads.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, here are three sobering statistics:
--In 2009, 10,839 people died in drunken driving crashes -- one every 50 minutes.
--One in 3 people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point.
--An average drunken driver has driven while drunk 87 times before his first arrest.
During this holiday break, with New Year's parties moving fast on the horizon, there's no better time to join the fight against drunken drivers. Here's what you can do.
First, check out MADD's website, which shows how safe the roads are in your state; you may be shocked. The site also gives some action keys so that you can help to make those roads safer.
Second, if you're a sober driver on the road over the holidays, please be very careful as you travel. At all times of the day, keep an eye out on those in your total range of vision, including in your vehicle's blind spots.
Third, don't be naive or dumb; don't drink and drive. And don't even think you can. A one-time mistake could cost you the rest of your life, as well as take the life of another.
Consider trying an alcohol-free New Year's Eve. Train yourself to understand that you don't need alcohol to have a great time. If you do drink, do so in moderation. And if you attend parties serving alcohol and you have no plans for moderation, then designate a sober driver before you go.
Tragically, too many people who drink don't ask for a designated driver and don't tell anyone whether and when they are drinking too much. Well, the way I see it is: If you don't ask and don't tell, then don't drink! If you can't responsibly handle the alcohol, then you shouldn't handle it at all.
Fourth, please join Dwayne in his quest to crack down on drunken drivers, at http://www.DavidStidman.com.
With others' help, Dwayne is trying to get stricter laws, get police to enforce the drinking laws we already have, and keep drunken drivers and repeat offenders from even making plea bargains. The judges and judicial system need to protect the innocent more than they do the guilty.
Dwayne also is working on a video that helps the victims of drunken drivers by providing information to help them cope with their losses, about casualty assistance, on where to find legal advice and even on how to find military support groups.
In short, Dwayne is trying to prevent other families from suffering through a holiday season like the one he's going through, one without the physical presence of a loved one. As he put it, "we went to war over (about 3,000) Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001, yet we allow drunks to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and take the lives of 11,773 Americans (of the 13,896 alcohol-related deaths, as reported in 2008). And let's not forget the thousands more injured. Due to these weak laws currently in place and the lack of enforcement by the courts, thousands more will spend the rest of their lives in sorrow coping with the loss of their loved ones. ... We need change! ... I will not allow (David's) sacrifice to fall on deaf ears. The laws must be changed and enforced to save the lives of thousands of Americans in the years to come. I hope you feel the same as I do."
Again, the way I see it, at least when it comes to our military, is: Our troops are willing to sacrifice their lives in foreign territory; the least we can do when they come home is keep them safe on American soil.
The MADD site is worthless - no definition of ‘safe’, no research to show how they determined ranking. I can pull numbers out of MY butt, too.
I NEVER drink and drive. My father never had a DUI arrest. Nor have I.
When you drive a car, you’re responsible for the lives of others. A drunk driver is like a guy with a loaded gun. Only the lack of sobriety can get someone else killed.
And one has to live with that for the rest of one’s life. DON’T DO IT - DRIVING IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT AND EXERCISE IT RESPONSIBLY ALWAYS!
I’ve NEVER been hit or injured by a drunk driver.
I HAVE been hit by a woman who was in a hurry to turn, and by a college girl running a red light (in a hurry to get somewhere.)
The latter involved 4 cars and damn well killed an innocent bystander.
These two and the drunk driver were serial bad-drivers. Made several incremental poor decisions, and were each a problem and danger to others.
The drunk driver, the careless woman, and the stupid girl are all impaired and dangerous....girl more so as she was speeding intentionally.
Some bad sober drivers will NEVER be as safe as most people at 0.12. WHAT ABOUT THEM?
MADD just uses alcohol as a demonization tool, since they could get no marketing traction for a consistent campaign against ALL dangerous drivers.
It’s sad when anyone dies in an accident but there’s a lot more to it then the statistics thrown out in this article.
Here’s a few more:
# Talking on a cell phone causes nearly 25% of car accidents.
# One-fifth of experienced adult drivers in the United States send text messages while driving.
# In 2008 almost 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured in crashes related to driver distraction.
# At any given time during daylight hours in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
# 4 out of every 5 accidents (80%) are attributed to distracted drivers. In contrast, drunk drivers account for roughly 1 out of 3 (33%) of all accidents nationally.
Not every alcohol related accident means the person is over the limit. What does alcohol related mean? It means someone involved in the accident had a measurable (not necessarily illegal) amount of alcohol in their system.
Point being is we’ve got laws on the books and you either follow them or you don’t. You shouldn’t be drinking and driving and you shouldn’t be on a cell phone texting or talking when driving. We don’t need more laws...
“David’s killer had not one but two prior driving-while-intoxicated violations.”
After going to court for many years as an expert I have come to the conclusion that to eliminate these fiasco’s we need to drug test all Judges. If your not clean you can’t sit on the bench...no reformed druggies allowed. They follow the “there but for the grace of God go I” rule too often. That’s not excluding the favor for their old law buddies.
Note that this happened in Texas.
I live in Texas and I’ve been a victim of a drunk driver. And so I can tell you that Texas has the most lenient DWI laws of any state in the Nation. And that our state’s DWI fatalities lead the Nation in per capita deaths.
Also noticing how other FReepers on this thread want to castigate MADD and draw attention to other reasons why our traffic fatalities are too high, but no one except MADD is making a difference in reducing the murders occuring on our highways.
Bullcrap. I see lots of those 'sobriety checkpoints' around. I've never seen MADD there even once.
WHO do you think is the driving force in pushing for states to enact these checkpoints?
The liquor lobbyists?
Don’t be a fool.
Municipal governments starved for revenue. Police Departments eager to seize assets under forfeiture laws. DUI attorneys hungry for clients. Court officials more than happy to fill dockets and bank accounts with fees for 'costs'. That's who.
“...An average drunken driver has driven while drunk 87 times before his first arrest...”
I wonder what the math is to come up with that.
An interesting way to stop a LOT of DUI, which would also help budget stretched States at the same time, is an odd, non-punitive punishment.
Importantly, it is available *only* to first time DUI offenders, and then *only* if there was no harm involved in their offense.
The idea is that today, the punishment for DUI can be terribly destructive, lasting for years, even ruining a person’s life, far beyond the legal penalties. If no one else is hurt in a first time DUI, this is intolerably severe.
So why not give these first time DUI offenders a choice? If they have the money, instead of the typical punishments, let them pay a non-appealable *fine* instead. A WHOPPER of a fine, say $30,000.
For that price, they will not have a DUI on their record, they will not lose their driver’s license, or have their insurance company notified to jack up their rates. They will not lose their job, and maybe their home, spouse and family.
If they don’t have the money, nor can they raise it, no problem, they just go through the ordinary DUI process.
Sounds unfair? Actually, what it does is give the *public* something back. When a DUI is arrested and jailed, along with all the other penalties, it costs the taxpayer a lot of money.
Wouldn’t it be better if instead of costing us money, catching this type of DUI *made* the public money?
Each year California has some 100,000 first time DUI offenses, with no other harm involved. If just one quarter of these people kicked down $30k for their DUI, it would be worth $750,000,000 to the State.
Cellphone drivers are equally impaired behind the wheel (distracted, disoriented, and handicapped by choice). And people use their cellphones 24-7-365. Drunk drivers tend to be out in higher percentages in the nighttime hours and especially during holidays and other “event” days (Superbowl, etc.).
Yet talk of prohibiting cellphone use while driving and some of those who support MADD suddenly get defensive.
Careful with that line of reasoning. Utah and other states are considering requiring ALL drivers to have breath ignition systems (with random followup "blow tests" during transit) in all cars, regardless of a lack of any past infractions.
The founding mother left the organization in the 1980s, said it had become a neoprohibition movement, and went on to lobby on behalf of breweries and bars.
Texas is considering lowering the BAC to 0.03 or 0.05. Currently it is 0.08. The new "standard" would not carry the same charge as 0.08 but would be enforced all the same.
Also have seen proposals to limit alcohol use to the 0.03 standard for all bar "employees" (including performers).
There are still dry neighborhoods in Houston (cannot buy beer even at the grocery store) and dry counties up near Dallas (you must buy a "membership" to buy wine with a meal at restaurants there).
54% of all statistics are made up.
Cellphone/drunk driving....same leftist control concept.
Demonize, then control.
I’ve used a cellphone safely for 15 years with no wrecks of any kind.
An old man who can’t see and drives 15mph too slow in the fast lane who’s never owned a cellphone is more dangerous.
Fight dangerous driving. These other people instead use driving stats as a tool to demonize a particular liberty.
Wonder what it is if they tallied the illegal immigrants in with that. Some police forces will not charge someone who is suspected of being here illegally. They cannot ask and don't want to open a can of worms.
Since there is not even an arrest made, no charge goes on the books.
Anytime I see a driver who is doing a crappy job merging onto the highway, or driving 5 miles under the limit and drifting from side to side in the lane, (s)he is on a cellphone. Same with the driver who sits at a protected left turn and doesn’t move forward until the light turns yellow.
Judges in Texas are legally permitted to drink in court "as long as it is for medicinal purposes".
The same math Nancy Pelosi uses, I am not saying it isn’t true but it can’t be more than a guess. How would you ever come up with a reliable figure? The first problem is defining “drunk”. Blood alcohol level is not reliable because different people react differently, some are impaired at a low level, others much less so.
MADD turned the corner from being an organization that makes a difference to an organization that is the enemy of freedom a long time ago. MADD is currently pushing to get states to lower the legal limit to below the published margin of error on breathalyzers, if they get their way anybody can blow drunk at any time. MADD loves those DUI checkpoints which make everybody driving on the wrong road at the wrong time give evidence against themselves.
Driving drunk is bad, and back in the 80s MADD did a good job of changing the American culture to understand that. But now they’re just prohibitionists.
Ok. So that’s your focus.
You could therefore join my “faction” against “dangerous drivers” and accomplish even more without singling out cell phones or burgers or dumb kids or old geezers.
Ironically, a recent story from California claims DUI checkpoints are being used to target illegals: