Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Again with the alcohol? Really?

I read this article yesterday, and the first post I wrote in response to it was considerably longer and less thoughtful than this one. I'm not going to post that one, because I cannot avoid the feeling that it would be useless. Plus, it was fueled more by an impassioned gut reaction than by reason. Let's try take 2.

Mr. Harsanyi doesn't like prohibition-style legislation or activism, and he's right. However, he fails to offer any solutions to the problem of drunk driving (it is a problem, isn't it, Dave?) that would be more reasonable than those currently advocated by MADD members and their ilk.

I guess part of me just doesn't get the point of writing this kind of article. Prohibition isn't a good idea, and most of us learned that in 7th grade. Why not an article the thrust of which is more like, "Prohibition is stupid, here's what we should do instead to curb drunk driving."

As it is, Mr. Harsanyi isn't barking up that particular tree, and the reader is left with the feeling that the entirety of the MADD organization has gone off the prohibitionist's deep end and we should all just leave the drinkers alone with their alcohol and the right to get smashed wherever they please.

Oh, see? There I go again. Sorry.

What I mean is, one gets the feeling from this article that preemptive measures are never a good idea, and since habitual drunk drivers are the real threat (which is only mostly true), all we can do is wait for the alcoholics to get drunk, drive, and be arrested several times before we can even identify who they are. I guess we'll all just have to keep our fingers crossed that none of those offenses involve the loss of human life.

Dang it, I did it again. Ok, back on the horse.

Personally, I'm solidly in favor of rehabilitative programs—reduce the number of alcoholics and you'll reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths—but I've always heard that you can't help an alcoholic who doesn't want to be helped, so I guess we might as well keep a clear path to the bar and wait for the drunks to see the light (or kill someone and be forced to attend a few AA meetings), right?

Crap. I guess this is why I should avoid this topic. Especially when I'm channeling my inner curmudgeon.

And while some of the above was unnecessary, here's the rub: if my neighbor can cling to his right to go get drunk and drive back to our apartment complex, which he does regularly, I believe I can reserve the right to be righteously indignant about it. Fair enough?

In the meantime, if you know someone who has a problem, stop letting it slide. You're not doing anyone a favor. (Oh, except there's the problem: we were all raised to keep our mouths shut if we don't have anything nice to say, and telling someone they're an alcoholic isn't very nice, is it?)

Ok, seriously, I'm done now.

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