Earlier in June, Kenny Stabler, a star quarterback from Alabama in the 60s and a mega-star for the Raiders in the 70s, was picked up at 1 AM driving while intoxicated. According to news reports, this was the thrid time he's been nailed. There's no count of the many other times he may have put lives at risk when he wasn't spotted.
On the boards, some of his fans were lamenting his arrest, and hoping things wouldn't go too hard on him, one even hoping that he could beat the rap. For reasons you'll read below, that attitude burns me up.
As much as I liked watching Stabler play, both in college and the pros, and as much as I like him in the booth, I'm never disposed to give a drunk driver a break.
My grandparents, who up until that time were actually more like my parents, were killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday afternoon. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving when I was 11 years old, and their trunk was full of newly bought Christmas presents for my brother, my sister, and me. The drunk ran a stop sign on a road that came into the highway at a 45 degree angle and hit the right rear corner of their car. They never even had a chance to see him coming. Their car spun into a large tree. My grandmother was killed on impact. My grandfather died in the ambulance, having never regained consciousness from the moment of impact with the tree.
When you experience this close at hand, and realize that its not AT ALL difficult to avoid drinking and driving, you don't cut these CRIMINALS any slack whatsoever. Yes, they are CRIMINALS, cut and dried. Its illegal everywhere in this country (and almost every other) to drive in any impaired condidtion. Everyone who drinks and drives is well aware of that, and they know that this criminal activity frequently costs the lives of the criminals themselves, and tragically they also kill innocent drivers and pedestrians.
There is absolutely no justification to hope they can 'get out of it', no matter how popular the loser might be in other circles. I'd much rather see Stabler in jail for a few years than see him kill a family the next time its more important to him to act like a complete jerk than it is to consider the lives he puts at risk.
As far as I'm concerned, the 'breath check ignition' needs to be ordered at the first hint that someone might drive under the influence. These peoples' immaturity and selfishness cannot be allowed to take others' lives, and devastate families.
That tragedy had an impact on me that I will feel until the day I die. I have never come CLOSE to drinking and driving. Its always been very clear to me that if I ever did that, then I become the low life that killed my beloved grandparents. Neither have I EVER let someone who's been drinking around me get in a car to drive. I've taken keys, called cabs, and often driven them on long round trips to get them home. I have a long history of volunteering to be the designated driver.
If you're not doing the same, put some long hard thought into it. You'll save lives, maybe even yours or someone close to you.