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Thread: Drunk driving and "pre-crime"

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Drunk driving and "pre-crime"

    Pre-crime used to be a sci-fi literature concept. But it's already our everyday reality. The fallout from the shooting in Tucson is going to make that very clear, very soon.

    But first, consider "drunk" driving.

    There was a time, long ago, when a driver had to actually cause an accident - or at least, do something tangible that gave evidence of actually impaired driving, such as weaving over the double yellow or limping along at suspiciously slow speed. This was the probable cause needed by a cop to pull the suspect over.

    Fair enough.

    Then in the '90s we got (courtesy of Clintigula) the criminalization of drinking - irrespective of our actual driving. The mere presence of trace amounts of alcohol in one's blood became sufficient to arrest a person for "drunk" driving - even though all the person did was run afoul of a notoriously unreliable Breathalyzer machine.

    It did not matter that people process alcohol differently; that some people are much better drivers even with a little booze in their systems than others are completely sober. And more besides.

    Most people now equate having "x" amount of alcohol in your system - in ever declining percentages - with "drunk driving." It is an epic victory of demagoguery and propaganda.

    And is it not by definition also an example of pre-crime?

    Many readers will clamp shut their brains right about now and accuse me of defending mayhem and irresponsibility - which is proof they've bought into the pre-crime argument at the deepest level possible.

    The merest potential connection; the flimsiest hint of possibility, no matter how tenuous or stretched. It's now all you need to be regarded as having actually done something.

    And to be treated accordingly.

    Having implanted itself deeply in the American mindset, we shall soon see an expansion of the principle.

    Already, less than a week after the fruitcake in Tucson did his thing, we have lawmakers equating criticism of the government or its representatives with acts of violence against the government and its representatives. It does not matter that the fruitcake did his deed because he's a fruitcake, or that we have laws on the books to prosecute actions such as murder.

    Soon, what willmatter is what you think - and say. These will become the Deed just as surely (as far as the law is concerned) as if you actually pulled the trigger, even if you never even mentioned a trigger at all.

    To give voice to a sentiment such as "the government is corrupt and something needs to done," will amount to ipso facto evidence of advocating violence - perhaps even of committing violence - much as a motorist who has consumed an arbitrary amount of alcohol is ipso facto a drunk driver.

    Consider: You are liable to arrest for "drunk driving" even if you aren't driving at all. You merely have to be in your car - even if you're in the passenger seat and the car is parked. People who have had one too many and decided to sleep it off in their car have been arrested for DWI just the same as if they had been straddling the double yellow at 65 MPH with a gin and tonic in one hand and their left leg hanging out the window.

    The courts have said that drinking "x" amount of alcohol not only defines "impairment" - it also amounts to intent to drive drunk, whether you're driving or not.

    Is it really a great leap to suspect that political speech - hatriolic speech - will soon be treated the same way? That to say something - anything - that smacks of criticism of government and its flunkies will shortly be regarded as tantamount to shooting people?

    Gun laws - and the TSA - already operate on this principle.

    You have no record of criminal misconduct or mental illness. You're a taxpayer, a responsible citizen. Yet in several states (and of course, Washington, D.C.) you're assumed to have criminal intent, and thus, denied the right to own a firearm. If you possess one anyway - even if you have done nothing with it to harm or even threaten to harm another person - then you're presumed guilty of various felonies, just the same as if you had actually used it to threaten or harm others.

    Pre-crime again.

    The TSA subjects people at random - and en masse - to rough and humiliating searches, including invasive physical pat downs, just like cops do to felony suspects. Not because of anything we've actually done or even hinted we may do but only because the TSA apes impute "terrorist intent" to anyone who desires to travel by commercial airplane. Ipso facto.

    Just like having a drink before you drive makes you a "drunk" driver - no matter how good your actual driving happens to be.

    We've upended perhaps the most basic concept of Western jurisprudence - that for their to be a crime, or wrongdoing, there must be an actual criminal act, or wrongdoing.

    But a society that embraced the tar baby of pre-emptive wars should not be surprised to wake up one day to find it is now also snuggling the concept of pre-crime - with all its consequences.

  2. #2
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    DWI is meaningless. If someone is actually so drunk that they have already decided that they are willing to get behind the wheel of their car and drive home and they believe they can do it safely, risking their own life and the lives of others, a law isnt' going to deter them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Most of the current drunk driving rules came into being about the same time as the name "Homeland Security". The Bush League pushed a lot of laws through because of 9-11. Impaired driving was lawered from 0.10 to o.08 blood alcohol content. I'm not supporting getting behind the wheel while drunk, but the change only made it easier to arrest people.

    I don't know when it came about but the America I grew up with went away. Growing up it was better to be "Dead than Red" and now the GOP touts the Red states. "Homeland" sounds like something the Soviet Union would have. All the things people complain about have been changing since the early 80's. I still recite the original Pledge of Allegiance as it is the one I learned as a child. It's not the one the Republicans changed to fight the "Godless Communists". The new one offends my religious sensibilities.

    Now, the social security system I've been required to pay into for 40+ years is an entitlement. I have to listen to people who literally scream on TV when I try to listen to a debate. Radio talk show hosts don't believe what they say themselves, they only say it to charge as Rush Limbaugh once said "Usurous advertising rates". Red China is in the process of beating us with the dollar. Every time we buy cheapie stuff at ChinaMart, they get their hooks into us a little more. We have ceded the space race, even though it pumped a lot of money into an economy and paid major benefits (Weather maps, GPS systems, cell phones, digital calculators, small computers and all the myriad things people take for granted) and now China is planning to build their own space station at the top of the gravity well. Remember the cold war? Guess what, we are in the process of losing it.

    I hear about Afghanistan is the longest war we've been in. It isn't. The Korean war is. This nation has been sitting at peace talks longer than I've been alive. There is a truce, that gets broken from time to time, but not an armistace. The Chinese Communists were helped by the U.S. when we were all fighting the Japnese Empire. They also held back a lot of the weapons so they could take over the country. They are still trying to take over Taiwan.

    All these people whining about what is happening think it just now started. It's been going on for 30 years. Republicans trying to shut the country down for political gain (it didn't work in the 90's and it isn't working now) and Democrats who seem to have problems with reality.

    I've watched things change. I don't like what I've seen. Instead of reasoned debate we get hammered by mega corporations telling us what to believe. Fow News is owned by Rupert Murdoch and the FCC rules were changed so he could buy it by his buddies in the Bush League. He is now a U.S. citizen but he wasn't at the time.
    Honk if you love Jesus.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    I don't know about other states, but in CA you can be arrested for drunk driving withOUT even starting the engine or moving the vehicle.

    If you're caught in the vehicle with the keys in the ignition, but engine is NOT started, and you're over the legal limit (.08), you're busted. Even if the parking brake is on and in vehicle in park with an ice cold engine.

    -Don-

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