Quote for the Day…
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. – John Maxwell
Today’s independent commentary deals with these people/issues:
- Something Good
- Covid-19 Vaccine
- TWW Poll
- One More Thing
It’s been tough to find something good the Montana Legislature is doing this session, but the following story from MTN News made me hopeful.
As many of you know, I hate drunk driving and Montana is soft about enforcing the existing laws and many of the laws are weak.
When my older sister was a teenager, she had her life forever altered by a drunk driver. The drunk driver harmed three teenagers that night and cost their families thousands of dollars in medical bills because he left town without being prosecuted. My sister missed her whole senior year of high school because of this drunk driver.
MTN News recently reported that Republican Representative Bill Mercer of Billings is sponsoring House Bill 115 that he believes could keep people who are constantly driving drunk off the roads by requiring prison time and giving judges more sentencing options. Mercer told MTN News that about 70% of those who get one DUI conviction never get another but he added there are 50-to-60 people a year in our state who are getting a fifth and sixth conviction — or even more.
I hope House Bill 115 gets enough support to pass. While it is not the greatest bill, it is a start to get the epidemic of drunk driving under control in Montana.
I am happy to report that I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) earlier this week. I had a slight headache for a couple of hours and soreness in my arm, but that was it. Nothing major.
It was well worth getting out of my underground bunker to get vaccinated. People should get the vaccines and we should all wear masks and practice social distancing for the foreseeable future.
Do not be a mask-hole – do your part.
Freedom is not free!
Don’t forget to participate in the latest poll from The Western Word that asks you to grade the Montana Legislature thus far.
Click HERE to participate.
The results will be released on Thursday.
ONE MORE THING:
I found the following story quite amusing and had to share…
NBC News is reporting that embattled National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre feared for his safety after mass shootings in recent years, forcing him to take refuge aboard a friend’s luxury yacht, the gun rights advocate testified. LaPierre made the admission in a deposition connected to the NRA’s bankruptcy case in Dallas.
Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense had a great response:
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?”
Read the full story from NBC News HERE.
When a person drives a car drunk, no crime has been committed. If there is an incident involving the vehicle, it is certainly an extenuating factor. Drunk driving accidents are terrible, senseless, and, probably preventable. The point is, treating drunk driving as a crime is not working. We must admit that approach is a failure. We have an entire failed industry that depends on criminal convictions ( now we have for-profit prisons). Drunk driving is a sign of an addiction. Addiction should be a health care issue with stringent, enforced mitigation. Let us face it, incarceration has failed to prevent terrible personal and social tragedy and, excessive expenditure.
“When a person drives a car drunk, no crime has been committed” Wait! What??
Sorry, Mr McNaught, but DUI IS most definitely a crime. The definition of what level of impairment reaches that threshold, and what the judicial consequences should be, might vary in some jurisdictions, but the fact of criminality is absolute. Just because you don’t get caught after robbing a bank doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a crime.
I remember 1 or 2 sessions ago, when the Legislature finally, reluctantly, made their first, tentative little baby steps toward strengthening Montana’s pathetic approach to reducing this criminal behavior. One member of the body vehemently opposed those efforts, openly admitting that he did so because he owned a bar, and judicial consequences for DUI would reduce his profits!!
You observe, “…..treating drunk driving as a crime is not working.” I think you over-simplify (and incorrectly) the reality. The half-hearted measures from the Legislature actually have reduced the rate and impact of DUI, but lax enforcement, active refusal of purveyors to participate, and un-even judicial treatment of offenders have prevented most of the improvements we should be seeing.
Thanks for the reply. Legally, technically, no perpetrator no victim no crime. Addictions (we hope) are better treated as a health issue than a crime. Of course we both agree the goal is to get drunks especially irresponsible drunks off the roads. My argument is, that our current approach is not effective. The tragic loss of life and the money we, as a society, waste struggling to get drunks off the road is not working. Addiction is not a crime. It becomes an extenuation to a crime (however serious or minor) when a crime has been committed. I think we can help more drunks with a different method, and get them off the street.