Pet Peeve

22 11 2006

It is the start of the Silly Season, which means it is also the start of the Drunk-driving season. Therefore, we are all about to be bombarded by alternating noise sources: Christmas Carols, Christmas sale ads, and anti-DUI campaign ads.

Before I get started, I want to make something clear: This is NOT a screed against alcohol. I am not advocating prohibition. I drink alcohol. I enjoy a “dram or twa o’ uisgebah” and the odd bottle of good beer. But I absolutely REFUSE to drive after having one drink. Just one. It’s called self discipline. I highly recommend it.

Where I work, a major anti-DUI campaign just kicked into gear. The Safety Department was told to get the word out about the perils of drinking and driving. And they tried. They made up posters, trucked in a wrecked car from a DUI fatality and planted it where everyone could see it, held special training sessions, and generally did their utmost to make sure everyone in the building was aware that drunk driving was a Bad Thing. But their efforts were immediately handicapped by the PC Police.

Yep. Political Correctness reared its ugly head and shut down a couple of facets in the anti-DUI campaign. One project involved several employees acting out what would happen during a DUI accident. They even had an ambulance, representatives of the local police departments, and a coffin for the “body”. When this campaign idea was broached, the upper management squelched the idea. “Somebody might be offended by the coffin.

Another idea was put forth, this time a mock courtroom and mock jail, where various employees would be hauled into “court” for DUI and subjected to a fire and brimstone lecture from the “judge” just before sentencing. “I don’t think so. It might make people uncomfortable.”

How far have we sunk, as a society, when concern over peoples’ feelings takes precedence over their actual physical health and life? “People might get offended.” Waaaaaaaaa! They have to be ALIVE to be offended.

It might make people uncomfortable.” Discomfort is something which can be lived with. Discomfort- especially the emotional sort of discomfort under discussion- is something felt by people who are still alive. The dead aren’t offended by anything. Neither do they get uncomfortable.

You want discomfort? How “comfortable” are the families and friends of the victims of a DUI accident? Their emotional comfort level is probably well into negative numbers. You want offended? I’m pretty sure everyone related to someone killed by a drunk driver is pretty offended.

As I wrote in a previous post, everyone dies. That does not diminish the tragedy of lives snuffed out just because some dirtbag thinks he’s a NASCAR driver after a few beers. How many men, women, and children are we willing to see killed, crippled, and maimed before we decide to stop tolerating drunk driving? Why is the completely preventable pain created by drunk driving less important than hurting someone’s feelings?

There IS something we can do about it. Something which does not require the assistance of anyone else. First, don’t drink and drive. Second, don’t tolerate people who do. Treat drunk drivers like the moral outcasts they truly are. Don’t make excuses for Uncle Edwin or Cousin Nancy when they get behind the wheel after bar-hopping all night. Avoid talking to them. Refuse to do business with them, if possible. If each and every person in this country makes it socially unacceptable to drink and drive, maybe we can cut down on some of the carnage on the roads. 

 And, don’t worry about hurting their feelings, either.

Current status: Peeved

Music: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Wagner



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