For instance, drinking and driving and drunk driving. There is a distinction to be made here.
An important one.
Why on earth should it be illegal – a crime – merely to have been drinking and driving?
Emphasis on merely.
Put another way, why should it be a punishable offense to have been drinking when one’s driving can’t be faulted? Unless of course the object of the exercise is to impose a kind of low-rent Prohibition – to punish people for drinking – this makes no sense at all.
But it does seem to be the object of the exercise.
Which is why the law increasingly package-deals the consumption of alcohol – any alcohol at all – with “drunk” driving. Those under 21 (who may not legally buy, possess or consume alcohol) can be convicted of “drunk” driving if they are found with even a single empty beer can in the car at a “sobriety checkpoint.” It does not matter whether the driver even drank the single can of beer. The presence of the empty can is sufficient.
In every state, you are automatically presumed to be a “drunk” driver if your blood alcohol content is .08 regardless of your driving. Mark that. Your actual driving is not the issue, as far as the law is concerned. It is not necessary for the arresting officer to even assert that he saw you driving erratically, much less prove that you were.
Even if you got him to concede in open court that he’d been following you for miles as you drove down a curvy mountain road and could not point to anything about your driving that indicated that you were other than in full control of you vehicle before finally pulling you over for a seatbelt violation or because the little light over your license plate was out – and subsequently, you “blew” a .08 in the Breathalyzer – it would not matter.
You are a “drunk” driver.
You could win the Indy 500 – sure proof that no matter what proof your blood might be, you are a damned fine driver but if your BAC is over whatever the arbitrary number is (currently, it is .08; it used to be .10 and before that, it was .12) then legally speaking, you are a dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, out-of-control “drunk.”
Your faultless driving is not admissible evidence that while you may indeed have been drinking, you weren’t “drunk.”
But the law is lazy.
It does not want to be burdened with the obligation to prove that you – specifically – have had “too much” to drink. That would need to be established on a case-by-case basis, because each individual varies in his driving ability as well as his ability to handle his booze.
A person of low-average ability behind the wheel who has had nothing to drink but nonetheless wanders across the double yellow in every curve is legally acceptable (or at most, if a cop witnesses it, may get cited for a minor traffic offense) while the high-skilled driver who stays in his lane even though he has had a couple of beers gets arrested at a “sobriety checkpoint” solely because his BAC is over the ever-diminishing allowable threshold. The former faces a small fine and gets to drive home, wandering all over the road. The latter faces thousands in fines and goes to jail.
Because the law wants a one-size-fits-all (and thus, necessarily dumbed-down) standard that is based on a bait-and-switch.
Driving is no longer the focus. That would require observation and evidence, which was as it used to be. If you were driving erratically – across the double yellow, for instance – that was the necessary probable cause for pulling you over to investigate further. But if you weren’t driving erratically then a cop had no legal basis to pull you over because he had no probable cause. If your driving could not be faulted, the presumption was you were a competent driver. Whether you’d been drinking was immaterial. As it ought to be.
This reasonable standard has been replaced by shockingly unreasonable random stops without any probable cause whatsoever and the conflation of arbitrarily decreed trace amounts of alcohol in one’s system with drunkenness.
The sell is that more “drunks” are captured this way. In truth, they are merely catching more people who’ve been drinking.
If the argument is that people who drink (even a little) and drive are as a general rule “drunk” by definition (no matter their individual driving) and the only criteria necessary to establish a criminal case is the presence of small traces of alcohol in their system (or even just a single empty can of beer on the floorboards) then why shouldn’t people who are over the age of say 65 who – in general – have weaker eyesight and slower reflexes and a higher likelihood of being afflicted with dementia and so on – likewise be presumed dangerous behind the wheel, regardless of their competence behind the wheel?
Arrest them all!
Of course, grokking this point requires a conceptual faculty, the ability to discern principles and apply them to particulars. Most Americans lack this, courtesy of government schooling – which trains them to react emotionally instead. This makes it easy to demonize demon rum without (for the moment) demonizing older people as a class.
Their turn will necessarily come. Because one thing does follow another.
Most people, unfortunately, do not comprehend.
They target fixate on the emotional jihad du jour. Right now it is “drunk” driving. Perhaps tomorrow it will be elder driving. Or some other goat group.
Government schools have done their work, brilliantly.
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