Posted by: Opey | May 4, 2007

DUI Nation

It is a sad fact of life in America these days that the act of driving while intoxicated is often overlooked, excused, and sometimes seen as a badge of honor of sorts. It was just reported today that Josh Hancock, the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher who was killed in an auto accident this past weekend, was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The report was made even more stunning by the fact that there was marijuana found in the car and that Hancock was on a cell phone with a friend at the time.  Of course, the usual swarm of the media hit a fevered pitch with this announcement, noting that athletes believe their invincible, and that baseball clubhouses are now banning alcohol after games.  The circus got even weirder when Tony LaRussa, who himself was arrested for DUI, was decrying drinking and driving at a press conference.  There is a bigger issue at play here.  We have come to be desensitized about DUI through the actions of celebrities and athletes.  These people are able to use their arrests, minimize their negativity, and then turn them around as a form of publicity (see Mel Gibson).  This is what needs to stop.  No more can we as a society accept this type of action.  Whether it is a sole pitcher killed on the freeway, a drunk driver killing a family, or another young celebrity pulled over after swerving too much, it must be dealt with in a fashion that reflects the gravity of the situation.

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