Okay, so I haven't been on in a while, and I know I touched on this point in one of my previous blogs, but I just had to restate. I was watching Law & Order today and they were prosecuting a fellow for murder one because he killed 3 people while driving. Now some of you may recognize this episode just by that and know where I'm heading, for the rest of you, some plot points. The man was actually drunk while he was driving, and he probably didn't hit the people 'on purpose' but they can't really 'prove' he was drunk. There is a witness that collaborates his story about how much he had to drink (about 15 of those little airline bottles of Scotch) but McCoy is more or less hiding her from the defense because the most the guy can get for 'vehicular manslaughter' is 5-15 and they can get him for life for 'murder one'. Since there are witnesses that say the man intentionally sped up to hit the first pedestrian he killed, McCoy isn't happy with vehicular manslaughter. At the end McCoy 'does the right thing' and hands over the witness statement that states he was actually drunk and therefore 'not responsible' for murder and gets the man for vehicular manslaughter. The whole point is since he was drunk he couldn't form 'intent' to kill. One more thing: he did this before, sending a woman into a coma, and was driving without a license at the time of the 3 deaths because the last judge took his license away.
Can someone please tell me what part of this wasn't intentional???? Not only did the man have a known track record of being belligerent and irrational (above the norm) when he was drunk he also knew he had driven and hurt someone before. Yet, knowing this, knowing what might come from drinking, HE STILL CHOSE TO GET DRUNK. The key word there is CHOSE. He knew full well that getting drunk may result in another injury or death because he knew himself and his history. He even admitted that he was prone to blackout periods. Most people, if they accidentally put someone into a coma by their hand, would go to any lengths to avoid such a thing happening again. Yet he went out of his way to recreate the same situation, choosing to get drunk when he had no definate plan to get home safely. There is nothing sacred about getting drunk, or high, or any other form of 'altered', no inaliable 'right' or 'reason' to do so. (please note I am not saying that getting drunk should be illegal, just that any one individual doesn't have any specific 'right' to get drunk where, when, and however he wishes and that restrictions can/are/should be put into place to protect societ as a whole, such as no driving under the influence.) Unless someone forcefully injects you, or spikes your drink without you realizing, then you darn well are responsible for ANYTHING that happens while you are drunk. Its the same thing as if you plan a robbery and someone gets killed. Even through you didn't 'intend' to murder since a murder is a foreseeable outcome from a robbery you are guilty of murder. Since an accident is a foreseeable outcome of driving drunk and driving drunk is a foreseeable outcome of getting drunk in an area that you do not have a specific plan to to get drunk and get home safe that someone is drunk shouldn't be any more of an excuse for murder than robbery is. I can not understand why murdering someone while breaking a law should give you a way to beat said murder rap! And the same should be said for any form of intentionally altered state, pot, heroine, prescription drug abuse, gypsum, etc. Now since I've never been drunk some people might say I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't understand how you don't intend to get drunk, how you don't realize you're drunk, how you can't be expected to stick to a plan when you are drunk etc etc etc. Okay, I've never been drunk. I have, however, been sober. And I've been a designated driver. And I've had enough to drink that I knew it was beginning to affect me. I know its perfectly reasonable to a) realize you are beginning to feel the effects of alcohol b) to realize you probably shouldn't drink anymore c) to plan ahead and have a reliable designated driver, and d) to not have keys on you when you start the evening. If someone wants to get drunk, and while I don't quite understand it and feel sorry for people who feel getting drunk is necessary to 'have a good time', its perfectly reasonable to expect a SOBER person to plan ahead to know a) where they are going to get drunk b) where they will stay the night or alternately c) how they will get home. As well as d) not to leave the house with any means of driving e) but with enough money to call a cab if they happen to get stuck. Well then, you say, what about people who take the keys to a car after they are already drunk and change the plan by getting behind the wheel of a car? Any designated driver worth the trust of being a designated driver, as well as any friend worth his salt, would immediately call the cops on anyone who did such a thing so the cops could deal safely with the situation. Yes, if we were at a friend's house drinking and my husband (I am usually the designated driver), for whatever reason, grabbed the keys and headed off in the car you better believe I would call the cops right away. I would much rather have my husband arrested for a DUI than have him in an accident where he killed someone. Its too much of a risk. And for those who would said 'well it just happened', that they didn't plan on getting drunk so they couldn't reasonably be expected to have a plan... then don't bloody get drunk! There is no reason why you suddenly HAVE to drink because you suddenly and unexpectly have the ability to take a drink! If you want to change your plan to include drinking you have the time you are sober before you take your first drink to be a responsible adult and MAKE a plan BEFORE you take that first 'unexpected' drink. The only drink that can reasonably be called 'unexpected' is the one you didn't know you took, i.e. someone spiked your 7up. Even that's not a horribly good excuse because by the time someone has reached drinking age they've been told repeatedly that while at a part they should never take a drink from everyone, always get your own and if the drinks are in a community area make sure its sealed. Yes, it possible for someone to spike the drink of even the most careful of people, but its not very likely. The bottom line is this: not holding people responsible for what they CHOOSE to do is only another way of giving them permission to do it. People drink and drive, people smoke dope, shoot heroine, cook meth, and otherwise give themselves over to alternate states of consciousness because they know perfectly well the justice system is like a free ride for them. All they have to say is 'diminished capacity' and they'll be out in time to hit the next happy hour.