Thursday, March 23, 2006

Waging Preemptive War Against Drunk Drivers

Recently, President Bush reaffirmed his doctrine of "preemptive war." The President's rationale for preemptive war is a simple one: Prevent terrorist attacks before they happen by invading countries that might possibly be loosely linked to potential suspected terrorists. Already his ideas are having far-reaching effects in unexpected ways. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has decided to follow the President's lead by launching preemptive assaults against would-be drunk drivers in order to stop drunk driving accidents before they happen. Their unique and ingenious solution: Arrest people in bars for being drunk.

Where better to find drunk people than in bars? The TABC has started sending undercover police into bars to arrest people who have had a few too many, as well as the bartenders who served them. The sting operation has already netted 30 drunk near-drivers in 36 bars. Although some of these people may not actually have been intending to drive, the TABC points out that technically being drunk in public is against the law and bars are public spaces so the arrests are perfectly legal. In every war there is always a little collateral damage anyway. And besides, the images of formerly law-abiding citizens being dragged out of bars in handcuffs will send a strong message to potential drunk drivers throughout Texas that they should stay home and get drunk alone as long as that is still legal.

Texas now has the highest number of drunk drivers in the nation, but it is doubtful that the state will have this distinction for long after the TABC's crackdown. And if this operation is successful, the idea may spread to other states, the way laws against smoking in bars have begun to spread around the country, saving thousands of people from the theoretical effects of second-hand smoke. Soon bars could be as safe as churches.

Just as the Space Program gave us such tangible ancillary benefits as Tang, the War on Terror is changing American society in ways we could not possibly have dreamed of. The TABC program of "preemptive law enforcement" is just one example of the local innovations that Bush's ideas have inspired. It's no accident that the chairman of the TABC, John T. Steen Jr., is a Bush Ranger, one of 100 people who have raised more than $200,000 for the President. He is the kind of outside-the-box thinker that the President surrounds himself with.

As former drunk drivers themselves, President Bush and Vice President Cheney surely realize the importance of rooting out future drunk drivers before they get behind the wheel. But TABC spokesperson Carolyn Beck points out that drunk driving is not the only concern. “There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they’re intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car,” Beck said. “People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss.” Perhaps the TABC may eventually decide that it should also go after people who have not actually begun drinking yet to save them from trying to dive into swimming pools from balconies. The possibilities for preemptive law enforcement are limitless. I think this little social experiment in Texas has given us an exciting glimpse into what the future holds in store for us.

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6 comments:

BenMerc said...

"I think this little social experiment in Texas has given us an exciting glimpse into what the future holds in store for us."

I don’t know about that…if there is a ripple from any of this felt in the alcohol industry, they will squash it faster then Cheney chambering another round at a quail hunt. But it does give us yet another glimpse of cultural trends that yearn for the stiff embrace of our Puritanical roots. But I think all bets are off if it interferes with anyone's profits.

John said...

Maybe George just got fed up with having to use the secret service to find his girls...

Ed said...

Tang predates the space program. It was invented by General Foods in 1957 and began to be produced commercially in 1959.

Bitter Scribe said...

Didn't Texas let you legally drink at the wheel until very recently? For all I know, they still do. A pretty strange dichotomy, that law and this.

Poons said...

You know its a lot better to be a "space-driver" than a car driver. Here at least you know a drunk driver will be booked! Here these guys are regularly getting high in spirits .. and HIGH in space!!Read this: Drnk drivers on space too

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