Imagine that you have a friend or relative and that every evening he gets up from the dinner table, stuffs fresh ammunition into a pistol or rifle and says: "Well, I think I'll go out and spend a few hours shooting at innocent bystanders."
What would you do? You'd try to stop him, wouldn't you? If you couldn't stop him, you'd call the police, wouldn't you?Surely, you wouldn't just sit there and let him stroll into the streets and start shooting.
So. Why do we sit there and do nothing when an intoxicated friend or relative decides to take to the streets behind the controls of one of the deadliest weapons ever devised by humankind: the automobile.
December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Month, and for good reason. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year's is the official season for drunken driving in this country, which is not to say that drunken drivers only terrorize the public during the holidays.
Two out of five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related car crash in their lifetime.
Drunken driving results in nearly 18,000 deaths and about 300,000 injuries every year.
In most states, nearly half of all highway deaths involve alcohol.
One-third of those arrested or convicted of drunken driving are repeat offenders.
This last item was, in a way, the most alarming because it means that many of the people who drive drunk are doing it on a regular basis. It means they are always out there, constantly posing a lethal threat to their fellow citizens.
We know who the drunken drivers are. We know because they are sitting next to us at work, or at the corner bar. We know because they are getting up from the dinner table every evening and stumbling into the streets to wreak havoc on society with that semiautomatic assault weapon known as the automobile.
We know who they are and we need to stop them. We need to get them into treatment for their drinking problem or take their keys away or, if all else fails, we need to call the cops and have them arrested the moment they climb into a car.