Gut Rumbles
 

August 13, 2004

real criminals

I got a DUI a little over three years ago. That happened on the night after I was thrown out of my house by my darling ex-wife, and I had $60 to my name, thanks to all her efforts at clearing up all the financial loose ends (stealing ALL the money) before she lowered the boom on me. I drank some vodka in a cheap motel room, took six Ambien sleeping pills, still couldn't sleep and got a wild hair up my ass to drive to the beach to watch the sun come up.

The cops got me in Thunderbolt, Georgia, and I richly deserved to be arrested. I pulled a .12 on a breathalyzer, but I was a lot more fucked up than that. I was arrested by a woman, and she did the world a favor by getting me off the road.

I spent the night in jail around some serious hooligans, but I didn't give a shit at the time. I was ready to die, and I think that some of those crazy people recognized that fact. They left me alone, even though I was dressed only in sandals, a Confederate Flag tee-shirt and a bathing suit. I was the only white person in that coal bin. I actually WANTED somebody to start some shit with me, but nobody did. I WANTED a fight.

Cop Three, my personal lawyer for these kinds of things bailed me out about 1:00 the next day. I ended up paying a hefty fine, attending Drunk School, going to a MADD Awareness session, performing 40 hours of Community Service and visiting a probation officer for three months, until I just paid her off and made the state happy. All in all, that ordeal cost me about $5,000. I've stayed out of trouble ever since.

I was guilty as shit the night I was arrested. I'll make no bones about that fact. My ass SHOULD have been hauled off the road and taken to jail without passing GO. I was a menace to society. I was as fucked-up as a worm.

But I disagree with this. I was arrested after I pulled off on the side of the road and quit driving after I realized that I couldn't see the road anymore. The cops caught a sitting duck. Even the woman who arrested me said, "I didn't arrest you. You arrested yourself."

She was correct. But I know too many people who have had their lives turned upside-down thanks to a DUI after having a couple of drinks at a business dinner and being caught by a random road-block later. I deserved what I got, but these people DIDN'T. That puritanical mentality that suffuses so much of our nation is alive and well in DUI laws.

The Federal Government mandated a .08 legal drinking limit with the threat of taking away Federal highway funds if the states didn't comply. I love that idea. The federal government says, "We're gonna take your money and NOT GIVE IT BACK if you don't do what we say." States complied. There's nothing like a robber with a foot on your throat and a sword in his hand to make you want to hand over your wallet and your freedom.

At the MADD class, I heard horror stories of drunken drivers with five previous convictions driving 100 MPH the wrong way down an Interstate highway and killing people in the process. I never heard ANY story where a BAC of less than .225 was used as an example of a "drunk" driver. But those AREN'T the people being arrested today.

Pull a .09 and you're going to jail whether you're drunk or not. That kind of bullshit has nothing to do with highway safety or putting an end to drunken driving. It's all about another way for government to take money from its citizens.

And if you believe any differently, you are a sheeple.

Comments

That's the reason I walked away from MADD. Used to be they were trying to get the multiple offenders off the road permanently. When that became too hard politically they changed tactics to lower the bar to go after more people. A BAC of 0.10 has science behind it, 0.08 is "doing something about the problem" and the only people helped are the insurance companys. Look at who really buys the breathalyzers and radar guns. The insurance company who then "donate" them to the police departments. You could refer to that as drumming up business

Posted by: Wildman7316 on August 13, 2004 09:26 AM

It's spreading around the world, A-man.
The state of Western Australia was the last hold out of the .08 BAC in Oz.
With a population of 3 million, and about 20,000 miles of road, nobody was killing each other because of a skinful of booze, but the Almighty Federal Government said, you will have .05 BAC or We will cut off your road funding money. Naturally, the cowards agreed and bowed down to their Fed Masters.

Western Australia contributes more than 40% of GDP, and has 10% of the population.

We like our trucks, SUV's and motorcycles, we lose less killed in road accidents than any other state, but we bow down to the mighty Feds and are not allowed to drive faster then 60 MPH, on thousands of miles of isolated roads or go to jail for having one drink more than what was legal 10 years ago.

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.
(quote from a fine US singer)

I feel your pain, Acidman.

Posted by: Henry Blowfly on August 13, 2004 11:19 AM

I think it was Janis Joplin(Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose), but I recall Kristoferson singing it too. I've had a DUI, years ago, it still causes problems. At the time, it was supposed to go "off your record" within 7 years, but I believe someone got the bright idea that it should "never" go off your record. I was "awareded" my DUI by an Ohio State Trooper. They don't leave any I's undotted or T's uncrossed. I got the full treatment. When he pulled me over, they took both me and my Boxer "Spike" to the pokey. I had to blow, he didn't;). Guess I should've told him Spike was driving....

Posted by: BryanH on August 13, 2004 11:41 AM

In my opinion, .10 is a god place to leave the legal limit. I agree, this .08 and lower bullshit not only is an affirmative action plan for insurance companies and state treasuries, but worse, lowering the BAC does absolutely nothing to deter drunk drivers.

Leave the BAC at .10, put some teeth in the drunk driving laws, and better yet, enforce them!

Posted by: Anthony L. on August 13, 2004 11:46 AM

Been there, Done that, Paid a high price for the T-Shirt.

I was caught in the same trap about 4 yrs. ago in MI.. It cost me almost $ 3,000 in fines, lost my job because I wasn't able to drive for a year, and not to mention the price of Insurance for my car. That was before they dropped the BAC to .08. I agree they should just leave it at .10.

Posted by: Steve on August 13, 2004 01:25 PM

My nephew got hit and run by a drunk asshole like you Steve. How do you justify driving impaired and causing a kid to live as an invelid?

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 13, 2004 01:50 PM

Drunk School? Sounds fun ... almost bacchanalian.

Posted by: GeneralCaesar on August 13, 2004 01:59 PM

I don't think any one here is "defending" drunk driving, Drumwater, but rather that the "one size fits all" (ala' over .08 and you are automatically assumed to be completely imparied) is stupid. Sure, for some that might be true, but other people have a higher tolerance level for alcohol. To stigmatize someone as a drunk driver for life because they stopped off for a few beers after work -- which is just about all it would take -- is a witch-hunt mentality. Each case should be judged on its own merits and circumstances.

If the person weaving all over the road, slurring, stumbling around and incoherent, that's one thing. If they are not, but just happen to get stopped at a random road-check and blow over the magic number, that is another!

Anyone who drinks at all knows exactly what I am talking about (and that certainly includes most of us Southern Baptists! LOL).

Posted by: Texasreb on August 13, 2004 02:22 PM

I totally agree with you, Acidman. I got a DUI a few years back and had to go to jail as well as lose my licence, etc
.
In jail, I met a few others who were there for DUI also, and we got to talking. It turned out that all of us had fairly new cars, had stable jobs, etc. Also, other people we knew who had been caught for drunk driving had good cars and good jobs too.

We came up with a theory, that the police were targeting people with newer cars, because those people would be more likely to have the money and motivation to pay the hefty fines.

Also, we had each been caught during a "saturation patrol," where they put a ton of cops in a small area and try to pull over as many people as possible.

DUI's are definitely a money making oppourtunity, and the police are definitely working it.

Posted by: DogsDon'tPurr on August 13, 2004 02:34 PM

How fucking hard is it to get a fucking designated driver? Lazy fucks.

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 13, 2004 03:13 PM

How about a 20 year old stopped w/ a 0.06? Not DUI but under age drinking, even with NO BOOZE in the car! $2500 + "counseling" and increased insurance for three years.

Posted by: tim on August 13, 2004 04:01 PM

Maybe he'll learn Tim. I guess that $20 for a cab doesn't seem so bad after all huh?

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 13, 2004 04:43 PM

Last year SC lowered the limit from .10 to .08. The state newspaper just ran a story in which law enforcement complained that the new law is too soft, because it allows people who blow an .08 to raise in court the defense that they weren't actually drunk. I guess it IS inconvenient when the prosecution has to actually prove its case.

So I agree w/Acidman for once. ;)

Posted by: kc on August 13, 2004 06:26 PM

It's simple. If you drink, don't drive. You and everyone else on the road will be safer. Bitch all ya want about being picked on and about intrusive gub-ment. Just don't drive after consuming any alcohol. Period.

Think you're life gets fucked up with the DUI & its financial consequences? Try being dead or maimed for life due to someone who "thought he could handle his booze". Yeah, that "someone" could include you.

The driving public has provided ample proof for too many years to count that self-policing won't work. The slaughter continues. Absent those stiff (some think unreasonable) DUI laws, it would be WORSE. Bitching about the law is as foolish as climbing behind the wheel when you're impaired. And trust me, you're already incurring impairment @ a BAC of ".08".

Posted by: Hap Arnold on August 13, 2004 07:42 PM

Bullshit, Hap. .07 is NOT impared while .08 IS? My ass.

Are you a memeber of Muthers All Doing Dingbat now?

Posted by: Acidman on August 13, 2004 08:51 PM

I don't know shit about BAC and impairment. I just know what they taught in driver's ed.

I do know Dumptaster bangs his mom, though.

Posted by: Geoffrey on August 13, 2004 10:11 PM

Long ago I was involved at work helping run a project "correlating" driving skills and BAC levels. All experienced drinkers. They kept repeating a medium speed cone course as their BAC was raised using their favorite stuff.

The best guy on cone course time with no hits did it at the 0.18 level, and he was still really good after blowing a 0.24. He was still standing, talking, and driving rationally at 0.29. Quite a few did very well in the 0.18-0.20 levels.

But, some folks couldn't even FIND the cone course entry point at 0.15. One lady couldn't even open the car door at this level, and barfed her guts out. I sometimes saw her close a local bar and drive home. She knew her limits.

All this was started early in the morning, before any food. There were some God-awful hangovers. And some absolutely hilarious movie footage.

DUI is just another example of the "one size fits all" bullshit mentality.
But, it's the best we've got.

Posted by: Dan Pursel on August 13, 2004 10:32 PM

Drumwaster~ In response to your question, "How hard is it to find a designated driver?" .....I have this to say:
Suppose you want to go out to a romantic dinner with your sweetheart. You go to a restaurant that's all the way across town, and each of you have 2 glasses of wine. Are you drunk, no. I doubt you'd be mowing down innocent bystanders on the way home. But you would probably be considered legally drunk. Are you going to ask someone in the resaurant to be your designated driver? Are you going to pay $50 for a cab and leave your car at the resaurant? No, you're going drive home and hope you don't get pulled over.

I think we can whine all we want about this situation because the law is all screwed up here. It's not taking extremely drunk drivers off the road, it's just penalizing people who have had a glass of wine with dinner. That's easy pickin's and easy money. It isn't solving any of the bigger problems.

Posted by: DogsDon'tPurr on August 14, 2004 12:17 AM

Dogfart,
I'm whining? You tell my nephew in his wheelchair that I'm whining. Get off your deadbeat ass and pay for a taxi. You got the money or are you too fucking white trash poor to afford one? Got no friends to give you a lift? No surprised. When I see some asshole drunk like you get in a car, I take the keys and talk reasonable to them about their options. When they resist I simply beat the living shit out if them. Usually they're smart enought to walk home. You?

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 14, 2004 12:56 AM

Drumwaster~ Maybe you need to chill out and have a cocktail !

Posted by: DogsDon'tPurr on August 14, 2004 03:27 AM

Drumwaster,
Just out of curiositys' sake, the hit and run? What was his or her BAC? How many times had they been arrested before? What if anything did the lose by leaving the scene of the accident? Rather than ranting at people how rarely drink and do so in moderation, look at the real killers. Saw somewhere where somebody more ambitious than me had made up a chart with number of prior arrests running up and BAC a time of fatal or injury accident running from left to right with deaths/injurys in the boxes. Funny thing, the .08, .09 boxes with no prior arrests (or even prior arrrests) where VERY lightly populated. While on the other hand the boxes with the higher BACs had much higher casualities. In the beginning, these were the people MADD was trying to get off the road and into prision. It turned out to be too hard, so now they are working with the politicians and the insurance companies to "do something".
Guess who pays?

Posted by: Wildman7316 on August 14, 2004 03:50 AM

Who said I drive after drinking? Not me. I just said that I have no idea how drinking, eating, waiting, BAC, and impairment all relate.

Oh, and I told everyone about how you bang your mom.

And your cat.

Posted by: Geoffrey on August 14, 2004 10:19 AM

Dogfart,
I take that's you backing down?

Wildtoad,
Is this all about insurance to you and who pays? It's a about a kid that will never walk again you scumbag.

Geoffrey,
I don't even have a cat you stupid son of a bitch.

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 14, 2004 10:33 AM

That's a big hamster, then.

Posted by: Geoffrey on August 14, 2004 10:45 AM

Geoffrey,
I don't have a hamster either. Did they let school out early today?

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 14, 2004 11:51 AM

Doesn't your mother get jealous?

Posted by: Geoffrey on August 14, 2004 11:57 AM

Drumwaster imposter:

Anecdotes of personal tragedy have no place in a discussion of general principles. If you don't know that, your opinions are worthless.

Posted by: Brett on August 14, 2004 02:33 PM

Ayyyyy-MEN to that Brett!

Anyone with a heart sympathizes with the loss and the tragedy of a young life cut short by a drunk driver. BUT...that doesn't justify making technical criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens who happen to have stopped off for a few beer after work and just might happen to blow over .08 on the meter, yet are able to function as well as someone who, from the opposite end, may have drunk a pot of coffee and be totally caffine wired.

Posted by: TexasReb on August 14, 2004 06:49 PM

Blow me Brett.

Posted by: Drumwaster on August 14, 2004 06:53 PM

Drumwaster,
As if you couldn't tell, you are coming across as a bit of a zelot. If you want to play sob stories, here's mine; a girl i dated all through high school had here mother killed by a drunk driver in the late 1970's in Western Colorado. His _16th_ arrest with a Blood Alcohol Count that would put most people into the hospital for alcohol poisioning, about 0.25 if I remember correctly. If you want to know why I personally despise MADD the way I do it is because I saw them as a holy cause to get the people off the road that kill innocents. I invested alot of my time, not a small amount of money and no shortage of my personal honor into this cause to see it turned into a profit center for the states, lawyers and the insurance companies at the expense of the people least likely to cause trouble. My _one_ DUI arrest came with a 0.0 BAC as determined by a blood test in San Diego, California (try driving stone cold sober while getting directions to the drunks house by said drunk) because i missed a letter when requested to say the alphabet backwards (zyxw...) after other wise acing a roadside sobriety test. Yes the land of the Nuts and Flakes had just recently dropped its legal BAC to 0.08.
If you wish to preserve a shred of credability, give up the decade and the general area as well as some specifics of the criminal in this case. I personally am trying to determine if you are just a fanatic with a thing against anybody who occasionally has a drink or if you are serious about doing something about the real problem or do you just like to cause hate and discontent

Posted by: Wildman7316 on August 14, 2004 10:25 PM

The troll posting here is NOT Drumwaster or Raging Dave or any of the other names he uses. He's a fucking troll.

You can ask Velociman how I behave today when I know I've had enough to drink. I took a cab home from the Exchange Tavern the afternoon we got together.

Once burnt, twice learnt for me.

Posted by: Acidman on August 15, 2004 08:55 AM

I'm an officer that arrests about 12 DUI's per month in Indiana and I won't even make them take the test unless I see impairment. I've seen impairment at .06 and some people seem fine at .17. I guarantee you that everyone I've locked up deserved it. I look for drunks so that the innocent bystanders have safe streets to travel on.

Posted by: Ofc. D Hensley on August 17, 2004 12:25 PM
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