Wednesday, December 12, 2012
My thoughts on the tragic events last weekend...
I know the big debate the last few days has been what happens to Josh Brent now? I want to first say my heart goes out to him. He has a huge burden to carry & I feel for him. I can't imagine... My prayers have been with Brown's family and those who loved him.
Secondly, it's no secret that I am majorly anti-drunk driving. Some say its because I only drink twice a year and that I don't understand what happens to a drunk person with keys in their hands *shrug* Whatever the case, something that happened to me earlier in this life or a past life (as some might also beleive) has programmed me to feel this way. Bottom line, driving under the influence is illegal.
Don't get me wrong here, I don't agree with EVERY SINGLE LAW or even some of the things our judicial system does. I have little control over that but IF I had a say, I know how I would vote on most of those issues.
According to MADD:
Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.
That is a stat that doesn't need to happen. It is preventable, it is irresponsible & unnecessary.
Over 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. (also from MADD)
YIKES!! That is more than I thought! How about you?
My husband and I had a debate about this the other night. He put it into perspective for me by saying, "Let's say I'm driving and have a similiar accident that takes the life of ____ (insert name of his friend). Do I deserve prison for this? Do I deserve to be in a cell next to murderers, rapists, child molesters?"
Dang - when you put it that way... It is ILLEGAL to drink & drive - we all know that but is someone who is in Brent's situation a CRIMINAL? I mean, there was no "intent" to do harm, right? It was a laps in judgement, yes, but does it make him or anyone else approx. 27 times a day a CRIMINAL? I had to be honest and say, "What does ___'s family think? Do they have a forgiving nature or are they asking for the max? Do they want you to get hit upside the head with the "book" a few dozen times?" I say this because their grief would take priority over how I feel and what I wanted to see happen.
Then the question, does any drunk driver in Brent's situation deserve that or would they and the general public be better off with them spending time in a "Betty Ford" type clinic with extreme restrictions on driving for life along with a financial restitution to the grieving family?
I can't answer that but having said all of that, it is clear that Brown's family do have a forgiving nature and they are leaning on Brent for comfort. I don't know that they will want the max sentence for him - I think they will want him to get help.
Then again, this is his 2nd offense. He didn't learn the first time. Who is to say that help like a clinic that is designed to specificly deal with addiction could help him? I think it would... but how is the law written?
Range of Punishment
Penitentiary: Confinement in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) for not less than 2 years to 20 years.
Fine: A fine not to exceed $10,000.
Will that punishment help him? Will that be a service to society as a whole? Will that help Brown's family?
I don't think so.
Should there be a consequence for his actions? ABSOLUTELY! No question - no doubt.
Back in my day in school, we had a police officer talk to us about the dangers of drugs. He showed us film from drunk driving accidents and discussed the consequences for all of these things (and more) with us in detail. Our son, who isn't much younger than these two young men, went through the same thing. He brought home some things to share with me and they provided materials I could use for discussion with him. We were taught at a young age - even back in my day ('70s & '80s) to NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. We went through this again when he took defensive driving. Again, we talked in detail about his class... I only hope that he never forgets what they tried to teach him in that class. Driving is a privilege. Not everyone that 'Can' drive can do so legally and he needs to understand that - for life.
Do I have the answer - ABSOLUTELY NOT! I'm not a judge, I am not a law-maker and I'm not a drinker. I don't understand how one might go from drinking to driving... and I sure don't know how a young man at 24 thinks either. All I know is, for me and my family, I do all that I can to prevent anyone in my house from making this potentially fatal mistake. Does that mean that it will never EVER NEVER happen? NO!! It can happen. I'm human and I live with humans. NONE of us are perfect by any means. We have and will make mistakes. I can only pray that it's not a mistake that leads to the death of another.
The only thing I know for sure is, all I can do is pray for Brown's family, friends, his unborn child...
and pray that Brent can find peace and a way to help other young people who may be on the verge of going down this very dangerous road.
I urge you all to have these difficult conversations with your children and your loved ones. Don't allow them to NOT take these conversations seriously. As we learned over the weekend, it is life or death serious. Tell them what to do in the case they feel uncomfortable leaving with the person they came with... give them quidance and instruction for these specific situations so they are better able to know what to look for, what to do... it could save their life - or someone they have never met before...
I hope this came out in the spirit in which it was intended. If you're reading this, you know me well enough to understand where my heart is. I think the world of you all and I never want any of you or someone you love to feel what Brown's family is feeling - or what Brent and his family are facing...