A Spoonful of Salt

A Spoonful of Salt
Please take everything you read with a grain of salt. But for this blog, please take it with a spoonful.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend Update: A Death, Wedding and Bill

Goodness! So much has happened over the weekend. Most notably, Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Special Forces. But I'm sure you knew that already unless you have been living under a rock. Of course there are already conspiracy theorists going crazy over the news. They are picking apart the story as to how he was killed, why he was buried at sea so quickly after his death and even the timing of the raid on his compound and subsequent death. I am not concerned with any of that. I am just glad Al-Qaeda's leader is dead, and maybe the victim's families (of those killed in 9/11) can have some peace knowing that the man responsible has been brought to justice. Too bad it only took them 10 years to find and kill him.

Besides, I have my own theory as to why Osama's compound was raided this weekend. Obama was upset that he wasn't invited to the royal wedding, so he wanted to steal the limelight from Will and Kate. That's right, I said it! He was jealous.

Speaking of, the Superbowl of weddings, was this past Friday. I won't even get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, so, I certainly wasn't willing lose sleep to get up at 4am to watch the wedding of two people I don't even know. However, I did see their kiss on the balcony and all the highlights of their little shindig after it took place. Her dress was pretty, but not spectacular. The flowers were boring. The guests' hats were atrocious. I think that is a fair assessment of it all.

In local news, I had a group project/ presentation on Saturday morning, in which, we presented the pros and cons of HB 137. This bill is currently being considered in the 82nd legislative session of the Texas House of Representatives and would require someone who has been convicted of Driving While Intoxicated to have a mark, or as I like to call it, "scarlet letter," placed on his driver's license. For the first offense, he would be required to have a scarlet letter on his license for three years, for the second conviction, five years, and the third, permanently. I, of course, am the only person in my class full of morons that thinks this is an incredibly stupid waste of taxpayer's money. Besides that, it is unfair for many reasons. The most important being that everyone has a right to due process according to the United States Constitution. Once someone is convicted of a crime and completes his sentence/punishment, that should be the end of it. He shouldn't have to be embarrassed every time he shows his driver's license to someone (Police Officer, Clerk at liquor store, Clerk at grocery store, Teller at bank, a Notary Public, a TSA worker at the airport, etc, etc).

According to Rep. Gallego (click on link to watch video of short debate), the author of this bill, the hope is that a Bartender will see the scarlet letter, realize that the individual has a drinking problem and refuse service to him, thus, preventing him from drinking and driving and perhaps killing someone in the process. This is nonsense, plain and simple. First of all, how ignorant of Rep. Gallego to assume that everyone who gets a DWI is an alcoholic! Secondly, some people actually do learn from their mistakes and don't repeat them, and some do not. Either way, humans have something called free will, which entitles us to make our own decisions, be it right or wrong. Thirdly, obviously Rep. Gallego has never been a Bar Owner of Bartender because if he had been, he would know that no Bartender is going to use his moral compass to decide whether or not to serve a sober, paying customer. He has his bottom line to think about. He is in business to turn a profit, not punish people for past mistakes. He runs a bar, not an adult day care. You get the point.

This is what I said in my presentation and it is the truth: there is no amount of legislation that can be passed to make people be responsible and do the right thing. For example, there are laws prohibiting drug use, prostitution, violence and murder. All of these things still happen every day. So, how is a mark on one's driver's license going to stop someone from drinking and driving? It will not.

Additionally, did you know that DWI is the only charge that one cannot get expunged (meaning, to hide one's criminal record on a background check) from one's record? This means any potential employer, school, etc. can see it for an indefinite amount of time. A felony charge of say, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Burglary can be expunged but a DWI cannot. So, a DWI charge already stays on one's record for the rest of one's life. There is not need for the scarlet letter.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way condoning drinking and driving. It is a crime and should be punished accordingly. However, the punishment should fit the crime. Public humiliation is neither morally acceptable nor just for a DWI-1, which, in my opinion, is merely a result of a lapse in judgement in most cases.)

I have much more I could write about on the matter, but I wouldn't want to bore you more than I already have. Happy Monday! Make it a great week!


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