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December 22, 2005

Comments

redperegrine

From the OCR:

"The 34-member board recently granted what critics say is a generous pension benefit package to its employees."

They did?

Jason

Is there any question anymore that DUI, in the absence of any property damage or personal injury whatsoever, is one of the most ridiculous and useless "crimes" on the books today (not counting of course the ones these guys brought to our attention)? When every single citizen has one on their record (through eloquent combinations of continually lowering the threshold and administering wasteful dragnets, task forces, and roadblocks), I wonder if people will finally realize that it just doesn't mean anything?

redperegrine

Jason, I once discovered that it is illegal to race elephants in Amerige Park in Fullerton.

Blog Watcher

I wonder if people will finally realize that it just doesn't mean anything?

I'm not sure what you mean by this. But I have a neighbor who still walks with a limp after she was broadsided by a DUI several years ago.

I guarantee it means something to her.

Jason

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

What I meant was that it won't mean anything to have one once everybody's got one. Once upon a time it was a social status symbol to have a cell phone - now they're so ubiquitous they don't mean anything.

But I have a neighbor who still walks with a limp after she was broadsided by a DUI several years ago.

I guarantee it means something to her.

Would the limp and the accompanying anguish, both on her part and yours, be any more or less meaningful if she had been broadsided by a completely sober person? Honestly? Is anguish brought on by personal injury that quantitative?

Don't get me wrong - I don't think I'd have a problem with laying at least the presumption of fault in an accident on drivers who are intoxicated, or stricter penalties (or making it easier to sue them or something) on drivers who damage or injure while intoxicated, or measures of that nature. But laws of prior restraint are very, very seldom a good idea, and the victimless crimes they create are just busywork for the law enforcement and legal professions.

Hanna

David Whiting is writing about unexploded ordnance lurking under trails around El Toro, specifically in Rancho Santa Margarita

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/sports/ocoutdoors/article_909703.php

OC Fire Storm

Is there any question anymore that DUI, in the absence of any property damage or personal injury whatsoever, is one of the most ridiculous and useless "crimes" on the books today...

Get real, Jason. You're saying that if someone gets in his or her car and does not hit anything or anyone on the way home, it's ok, but if he or she does have an accident then it becomes an issue? Sorta a "No harm, no foul" kinda thing? Drunks kill people. Tougher laws and directed enforcement (DUI check points, higher visibility, etc.) make a difference.

Blog Watcher

Jason. I've got a better idea. Let's take a page from the OCR's Op Ed staff.

Let's get rid of all the DUI laws and let the 'free' market determine the proper level of enforcement and punishment.

Logical

Jason,

I don't know, but I'd think that a very small % of the population has actually been arrested for DUI; you seem to think the vast majority of folks have had such an encounter; this may just be a result of who you associate with; you may want to be more careful when selecting your company; they will reflect on you.

Also, I happen to know someone who falls into the arrest/convicted 'no harm, no foul' category; in this particular case, as with many, many others I would presume, this person has altered their behavior and has never put themselves in the same position again (a position that may cause fatality in the next instance); thus, yes, 'no harm, no foul' DUI arrests are, without a doubt, providing a safer community (granted, there are others who won't alter the behavior until the foul occurs).

And finally, by your logic, I should be able to take my guns, walk into my front yard and start firing into the air; as long a slug does not land on person or property, then that's just an OK fine thing to do; I think not.

Cheers!

NickM

A drunk driver is unreasonably dangerous to everyone else on the road.

I echo Logical's first paragraph.

Nick

Alejandra

I believe part of Jason's point, was that most of us have been DUI once in our lives, so let's not get RIGHTOUS, but I guess that's how bloggers are....It's not right, safe, or legal to drive intoxicated, however, people including an O.C presiding Judge, a City Attorney, Cops, Retired Cops, Firemen, and others made mistakes....It's called being human. Anyone that takes arguement with that is rightous. LOOK IN THE MIRROR!!!!!

Jason

Sorry for the delay in response, was incommunicado for Christmas. I'm probably too late to be noticed, but just in case, here goes.

OCFS:
You're saying that if someone gets in his or her car and does not hit anything or anyone on the way home, it's ok, but if he or she does have an accident then it becomes an issue? Sorta a "No harm, no foul" kinda thing?

Is it that outlandish to consider? What actions has he taken - once on the piece of state- and locally-regulated land we call "roads" - that are different from anyone else on said road? Who has he injured? Whose property has he damaged? Most crimes are mala in se, but this is one of the worst examples of mala prohibita gone wrong.

Drunks kill people.

So do sober people - and twice as often. In CA, only 34% of traffic fatalities and 10% of traffic injuries are alcohol-involved (source linked below) and that includes cases like a sober driver hitting a drunk pedestrian, and a drunk driver dying alone after hitting a light pole and such. And it's already illegal to kill people, so why the need for another law that punishes someone who hasn't killed anyone? Alcohol affects different people in different ways, such that one person can have a BAC of .10 and not be impaired (and I'm talking about actually impaired not legally impaired), while another can have .04 and be severely impaired. A one-size-fits-all system is just stupid. Hold people responsible for when they do something wrong, not just when they might do something wrong.

BW:
I've got a better idea. Let's take a page from the OCR's Op Ed staff.

Let's get rid of all the DUI laws and let the 'free' market determine the proper level of enforcement and punishment.

Huh? What does the Register have to do with this discussion? Thanks for avoiding answering my question and addressing my alternatives. By the way, you decrease your credibility every time you use 'scare' quotes like that - it makes those who actually study things like free-market ideas aware that you've done nothing of the sort.

L:
I don't know, but I'd think that a very small % of the population has actually been arrested for DUI; you seem to think the vast majority of folks have had such an encounter; this may just be a result of who you associate with; you may want to be more careful when selecting your company; they will reflect on you.

I think you're underestimating how likely people are to keep that little fact about themselves hush-hush. Consider that in CA from 1993-2003 1.6 million people were convicted of DUI (same source, below) - and that doesn't count alcohol-induced reckless driving or DWI convictions. If someone knows 20 people who have been driving since that period, one of them has a DUI, statistically speaking. I'll bet you know four or five, and you just don't know that about them. But to address your point, I never insinuated that I'm of the impression the "vast majority of folks have had such an encounter". I'm just saying that someday that will be the case (through the means I described), and it will no longer mean anything.

this person has altered their behavior and has never put themselves in the same position again (a position that may cause fatality in the next instance); thus, yes, 'no harm, no foul' DUI arrests are, without a doubt, providing a safer community (granted, there are others who won't alter the behavior until the foul occurs).

When you say "may cause fatality" and "without a doubt" in the same sentence, you lend strength to my point - if your friend could have lived his entire life driving home drunk once or twice a week without injuring another soul, his arrest didn't change anything. How do we know what would have happened? I would argue that the degree to which it's actually "providing a safer community" is a miniscule amount and insignificant next to incarcerating otherwise law-abiding and peaceful folks who by your own admission only might cause a fatality if left to their own devices. This is the problem with prior restraint laws.

And finally, by your logic, I should be able to take my guns, walk into my front yard and start firing into the air; as long a slug does not land on person or property, then that's just an OK fine thing to do; I think not.

First, thank you for bringing more to the discussion than soundbites like "drunks kill people" and absurd extremes like "let's abolish all the laws, woohoo!".

However, I think the analogy is flawed. The law is based on what a reasonable person would or can do. Driving on a road within the lines, at a safe speed and in a safe manner is what you're supposed to do - reasonable people do this all the time. Driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic would be an unreasonable action. Shooting a gun at a target with a sufficient backstop (or, in the case of emergency, at a threatening attacker) is what you're supposed to do - reasonable people do this all the time. Shooting in the air with no idea of where your bullet will land would be an unreasonable action. I would argue that while a driver can reasonably judge for himself whether or not he'll injure anyone while driving while impaired (or whether he's impaired at all - and if he's wrong he'll pay the the consequences, which I've mentioned I'd support being tougher when applied to said impaired driver), a shooter cannot reasonably judge for himself whether or not he'll injure anyone while firing wildly into the air. The car is under the driver's direct control the entire time he's driving it - the same can't be said about a bullet after it leaves a gun's barrel.

N:
A drunk driver is unreasonably dangerous to everyone else on the road.

I disagree, and the relative proportion of traffic fatalities and injuries between alcohol-related and non-alcohol related accidents seems to support that.

Source: CA DMV DUI statistics

DC

I am writing because I have not been able to find any information on what occured after all to McGrath after being arrested for DUI and driving on the wrong side of the road. If you know anything related to this story, anything recent, please contact me.

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