A new principle forms the basis of American criminal justice. It is that innocence is irrelevant. More accurately, it is an obstruction.
It gets in the way of what government wants - which is to bully and control everyone.
The former requirement in law - and general custom - that conviction had to precede punishment and that evidence to suggest wrongdoing had to precede investigation has been thrown in the woods - so to speak - in favor of making things easier for the criminal justice system by assuming everyone is a criminal.
And treating all of us presumptively as such.
The latest such being a proposal - a threatened law, HR 3374 - purveyed by a termagant to liberty named Kathleen Rice, who is a coercive authoritarian “representative” (of whom begs some interesting questions) from the state of New York. She is demanding that all new cars be fitted with Breathalyzers - and ignition interlocks - by 2029.
You used to have to be convicted of drunk driving before they installed a Breathalyzer machine in your car. Rice wants them installed in every car - whether you drink or not.
The “drunk” part of her proposed law - the End Drunk Driving Act - is especially fatuous given the already low national standard defining it. A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 has been legally synonymous with presumptive "drunk" driving for the past 20-plus years - meaning no evidence of impaired driving had to be presented; the BAC alone suffices to convict.
This, of course, amounts to punishing people for violating a rule rather than for driving "drunk." It specifically punishes people whose driving can't be faulted - which also begs some interesting questions about the real motive behind all of this.
The former race car driver Bob Bondurant - who for years ran a high-performance driving school I was lucky enough to attend - likes his beer. And evenwith several in him was more in control of the Ford Econoline van he took us around the test track in than my ex mother-in-law is in control of her Hyundai out on the public roads, absent any beers (or BAC) at all.
But never mind; virtue-signaling hysteria about booze trumps any discussion of impairment.
Which is why the maximum allowed BAC is in the process of being virtue-signaled to effectively zero in a number of states and actually is zero - if you’re not 21 years old old - in states that have a “zero tolerance” policy for any alcohol in your system if you’re not of legal age to drink.
It doesn’t matter that you’re obviously not “drunk” if your BAC is .01 or even .04 - and arguably not even .05, the new threshold defining “drunk” for all in states such as Utah.
Or that you might be impaired by something else - such as poor driving skills, a form of behind-the-wheel debility far more common than the booze-infused kind and objectively far more dangerous because there are many more such out there and they are no checkpoints for the inept.
What matters - as far as the law and this Rice woman are concerned - is the use of the pretext to establish the precedent. If the government can force Breathalyzers on everyone then why not also random home checks by armed government workers to look for . . . well, anything?
On the basis of . . . nothing.
How about monitoring software on your computer and cell phone to make sure you're not going where you shouldn't be on the Internet? After you - anyone - might.
Children are being exploited, after all - and what have you got to hide?
The law loves precedent. Non-lawyers and those who don't think as lawyers (and politicians) do don't get this. They ought to - and the sooner they do, the less damage we'll have to undo.
Rice herself may simply be an opportunistic legislative jihadi in search of a faux cause - or a genuinely fervid neo-Prohibitionist harpie with a neurotic fixation on alcohol in any amount as sinful.
And sins must be punished - no matter how faultless your driving.
If her fatwa is passed, you will still be allowed to drink - provided you stay home. Or stay where you are. Any drinking prior to driving will mean no driving - whether you’re “drunk” being entirely beside the point.
The car won't go.
And you won't have to "blow," either. The Breathalyzer she is proposing is really a passive alcohol sensor that samples you via your skin - or can detect booze (or Listerine - another problem) on your breath by sampling the air inside the car.
Your Rice-approved new car will also very likely narc you out to the insurance mafia for even trying to drive - that constituting evidence of an "unsafe" attitude. Attempting to defeat the device, meanwhile, will probably be some sort of crime in and of itself - regardless of drinking (or not).
And even if you don’t drink, ever, you’ll still pay - for another cloying technology you don’t want and more importantly, don’t deserve.
See that earlier point about not having been convicted of . . . anything.
Because if Rice succeeds, you’ll be forced to pay for the Breathalyzer and related tech, both up front as well as down the road - when any of the various components involved breaks. Which you'll be required to pay to have fixed.
For saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!
Just add it to the bar tab - so to speak. You're already paying for things like air bags (at least $1,000 per car in up-front costs and may the finance gods help you if they ever deploy and need to be replaced).
You'll also pay another way - in terms of the freedom you once enjoyed to not be treated as a criminal before being convicted of a criminal act.
But this Rice creature isn't interested in any of that. She is here to Keep Us Safe - no matter what it costs us.
And no matter that Keeping Us Safe is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, ostensibly (but far from actually) the law of the land.
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