Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Continuing Publicity On Repeat OWI Offenders Is A Good Thing

A Washington County motorist smashes his truck into an apartment and is arrested for his 5th OWI.

Big story in the Journal Sentinel. Good.

Wisconsin media are finally publicizing repeat OWI offenders' cases and should do so until legislators move to criminalize an offender's 1st offense and make a second a felony.

A repeat offense should not be treated as a misdemeanor.

Get these menaces and their unguided missiles off the highways - - and out of our living rooms.

And take the vehicles from repeat offenders. States and the federal government confiscate the firearms and vehicles used by those hunting illegally, as I pointed out in this blog post, here.

Why do they carry out these seizures? Because it's a punishment that helps prevent repeat offenses and scares the dickins out of others thinking they might do a little illegal shooting, too.

"What? Lose my gun? My vehicle?"

Now you're talking deterrence. And the protection of the public.

But back to media. They need to keep up the pressure.

If media lose interest in these stories, so will lawmakers. An election is approaching, special interest money will flow, and without the bright glare of publicity, we might end up this year and legislative session with only some sort of fig-leaf study about jail space and treatment dollars.

Look what the legislature did the last time it addressed (sic) this issue: as I pointed out on this blog in March, our spineless legislators ramped up the penalties on 7th, 8th, and 9th time offenders, and continued to give 1st-and-other-offenders the continuing pass.

Citizens and media have to push the legislature to act, or more people will die needlessly on the highways at the hands of impaired motorists who need treatment and separation from driving until their sobriety is reliable.

This week's legislative special session is still a reality. If legislators care as much as some claim, and as all should, they'd change the laws right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why do taverns have parking lots? Well. it has to be so that people don't have to walk too far back to their vehicles after they've had a few (or a few too many).

I only mention this to make the point that the consumer is not the only one who should be scrutinized while we're waxing profound about what might be done to reduce the number of intoxicated travelers (repeat offenders or first timers) who threaten public safety. Those who serve (and over-serve) need some better reason to not act as if they didn't know that serving intoxicating beverages to those with keys in their pockets is a large part of this so-called debate.

Why should those who make lots of money selling what impairs (to some degree) all who indulge be let off the hook for their part in so many tragedies? Let's stop pretending that it's just too hard to tell when someone has had too many or that those driving away from the tavern impaired have only themselves to blame.

If it's that hard to tell when people have had "too many" then let's err on the side of caution (and public safety) and let no one who drives to the tavern be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages at all. And hold the servers at least partly responsible if there is any violation of that rule.

But then again, let's face it; in Wisconsin we don't really believe that drinking and driving is a problem; at least not one that anything can be done to change...