Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
A Deadly Combination
Micky Tells His Story
One night, in 1981, I was walking on a downtown street when a drunk driver going 70 miles and hour, hit me. It’s a miracle I survived. But my physical life was ruined forever.
Since that misfortune happened to me, I have been dead to this world. Mom says I died on the night of the accident, and in a sense she seems to be right. I am no longer the same son I used to be. My body was paralyzed. The only part of my being which still works is my mind. I am now confined to my bed and my wheelchair.
To comfort me, people tell me that, since the most important part of my being, my mind, is still in tact, I should use it to compensate for the loss of my physical functions. I know that, through faith and determination, many quadriplegics have made a success in their lives, but maybe you do not know how hard it is for me to bear the fact that I am physically trapped—trapped for the rest of my life. I remember how I grew up—walking, running, playing, roller skating, hiking, going to school, and doing the usual chores of everyday life. I will never be able to do those things again. And still worse, I am deprived of the ability of feeding myself, taking a shower by myself, or using the toilet by myself. And I am only 27 years old.
I was making plans to get married and raise a happy family. The wonderful young lady to whom I was engaged shed many tears when she saw what had happened to me seven years ago. And I still cry at night for my shattered dreams, for what I will miss forever, and for the heavy cross that my family and I have to carry.
Maybe you do not realize how painful it is for me to know that I will have to spend the rest of my life in a nursing home. And I am not the only victim of drunk driving. Many others, like myself, will go through a similar experience until our society wakes up to the fact that drunk driving must be faced as a national epidemic and that something very positive must be done to curb it.
Therefore I plead with the readers of my story: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t make other victims like me. Spare other families from going through the ordeal that my family is going through.
Each year, one and a half million people are seriously injured on the highway in the United States. Many of these are disfigured or disabled for life. Another 50,000 die in fatal traffic accidents.
Each year over 1.3 million people are arrested for drunken driving, but, according to the NHTSA, for one drunken driver that is arrested, 2,000 are not. One out of every ten drivers on any given Friday or Saturday night is drunk, the NHTSA says:
CRIME ON THE HIGHWAYS
When we talk about drunk driving as a cause of auto accidents, we are talking about a crime that kills more than homicides, a crime that injures more people and more seriously than those who commit assaults with deadly weapons, a crime that does more property damage than the forgers, burglars, and robbers all added together,” said C. L., a Sacramento woman whose 13-yeqr-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
To corroborate the above statement, we quote a few examples from the newspapers:
In August, 1984, a mother and her three small children were among seven people killed in Washington D. C., when a car careening onto a sidewalk hurtled some of the victims into the air and pinned others against a brick wall. The driver was intoxicated.
A woman who had two prior drunken-driving convictions was sentenced (June 1985) to 12 years in prison, in Santa Ana, California, for a drunken driving accident that killed three people.
In May, 1988, a pickup truck collided with a church bus on interstate 71 in Kentucky and killed 27 people, most of them youngsters. The truck driver, a repeat drunk-driving offender, was traveling the wrong way on the interstate. Tests showed a blood alcohol level of 0.24 percent
PUNISHING AND REEDUCATING
Many groups have sprung up demanding that something be done to curb intoxication on our roads. And stepped-up efforts by citizens’ group, lawmakers, police and judges against drunken driving and have brought some results. Virtually every state has toughened its drunk-driving laws in recent years. States that immediately suspend drivers’ licenses and impose harsh sentences claim to have made an impact.
Bill Giguiere, a former probation officer and forensic toxicologist who pioneered a model treatment program for serious alcoholic drivers in San Mateo County, California, says he has obtained positive results with an intensive 90-day treatment program which depend upon a daily urinalysis or breath test. Whenever a client was found to have alcohol in his bloodstream, he was suspended from the treatment program and sent to jail.
Brad Burdin, certified alcoholism counselor, Lemon Grove, California, recommends the following:
“Prohibitive fines, terms of sentenced community service, suspended jail sentences with proviso of successful, more stringently monitored abstinence from drinking—these can be useful without overloading an already burdened jail system and can be the sword of Damocles to provide impetus for cooperating with education and rehabilitation.
“Most drinkers and nondrinkers alike in this country are ignorant of the facts about alcohol use and alcoholism, sad to say.
“Reeducation and rehabilitation are not, therefore, ‘coddling’ when used in conjunction with the above stiff penalties, to be suspended as long as behavior changes and vacated if it does not. Part of education is that drinking drivers who kill are responsible for their actions.”
Other important measures have also been proposed to keep drunken drivers from the road. Someone suggested: what do you think of taking sobered-up drunken drivers on a tour of the morgue and the emergency room of a hospital?
“People who drive drunk,” Ann Landers thinks, must be made to witness the pain and sorrow they (and others like them) have caused. Seeing the bloodied broken bodies and smashed skulls, listening to the anguished cries of the victim’s families and sweating out hours in surgery is the most effective deterrent.”
In October 1988, in Orange County, California, four young men, 18 to 21, were arrested and convicted on charge of drunken driving. “In addition to their fines and probation, they were sentenced to visit the coroner’s office in what judges say is an attempt not so much to shock young offenders as to expose them to the frailty of human life….The nervous joking, what little there was, ended as the four young visitors to the coroner’s office passed the body of a teenage suicide victim on a wheeled table in the hallway….The compulsory visits to the morgue, started three years ago (1985) by a judge in Sacramento, are evolving into a routine procedure in California, where they are being used by at least 24 judges in the state.”
Roanoke Times & World News, October 5, 1988.
Young offenders sentenced to visit the coroner’s office, the morgue, and the autopsy room say that, although they fear a jail sentence more. They feel a deeper impact when they look at broken bodies and bleeding car accident victims. “I wouldn’t even run a red light, much less drink and drive,” said one young man who took part in a tour of the Orange County coroner’s office.
Joe Kaplan, president of the National Safety council of Los Angeles, says: “If you drink, don’t drive, and if you drive don’t drink. That was the best advice 48 years ago, and it still is.” WE say from a Christian standpoint, that drinking is to be condemned regardless, for all obvious reasons. If you do not fully agree with us on this point, we hope you will understand, at least, that drinking and driving is likely to be the costliest mistake of your lifetime.
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?”
“They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.”
“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”
“At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”