Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alcohol Nannies and The New War On Alcohol

David Harsanyi, a columnist at the Denver Post, is the author of the book "Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children."

Part of the book was published in the November issue of Reason Magazine as an article titled "Prohibition Returns! Teetotaling do-gooders attack your right to drink."

A D.C. police officer who arrested a middle-aged mother of two driving in Georgetown after eating in a restaurant and having only one glass of wine (only 0.03% BAC), was quoted as saying "If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of alcohol, you will be dealt with in D.C. We have zero tolerance .... Anything above 0.01, we can arrest."

Note: That would mean that .0001 of you blood is alcohol.

From the article:

Drinking is under attack these days in ways we haven't seen since the failed experiment with national alcohol prohibition in the 1920s. Indeed, for many neoprohibitionists, that experiment wasn't a failure at all, since it did cut alcohol consumption, which is all that matters. We can see that mentality today in policies that go beyond preventing drunk driving or punishing drunk drivers and aim to discourage drinking per se.

Pretty scarcy stuff from a very interesting article.

(HT: Society and Money)

10 Comments:

At 11/10/2007 12:14 PM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

I don't want anyone on the road with me to be driving while drunk, so please don't take this the wrong way, but there is such a concept of diminishing returns. My understanding is that most states have a BAC of either .10 or .08 as being the limit, or something like that, so .01 is absurdly too strict.

Besides, doesn't the DC police have more pressing things to allocate scarce resources to than to look for and arrest someone who most rational citizens would say has done nothing wrong?

 
At 11/10/2007 12:19 PM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

To follow up, it would be nice if the DC police had a policy of zero tolerance for murder and rape instead, to name two particularly heinous crimes that are clearly underresourced where police action is concerned.

 
At 11/10/2007 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the actual law in DC states that the legal BAC limit is .08, it is inconceivable to me that DC LEOs can arbitrarily choose to arrest citizens doing nothing illegal. There would be a good case here for harassment or false arrrest.

skh.pcola

 
At 11/10/2007 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about a biased article. The author didn't say what the $400.00 ticket was for.

The defendant (a middle aged attorney) could have been taking any number of over the counter or prescription drugs that increased the impairing effects of the single glass of wine she drank.

Therefore it is conceivable that she was showing signs of impairment. Certainly the police officer had reasonable cause and the duty to stop her, investigate if she was impaired because she was driving without headlights at night.

The D.A. chose to move forward with charges, she went to trial, presumably fought, lost and suffered the consequences of her actions.

I don't care if someone has 0.01% blood alcohol content, if they are driving without their headlights on at night and showing visible signs of impairment I want them off the streets.

 
At 11/10/2007 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $400 was for "driving under the influence" which is different than driving while intoxicated; it is a broad citation in which the police have the authority to use their discretion on whether or not someone below 0.08 but above 0.01 is "impared." Not drunk, but impared enough to effect their driving, according to the police officer.

 
At 11/10/2007 3:34 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Not drunk, but impared enough to effect their driving, according to the police officer"...

Hmmm, ususally that's called extortion...

 
At 11/10/2007 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS reference one of the original Washington Post articles for more, less biased details...which backup the Reason piece.

Also, there have been a few cases where DC police have actually cited people on the front porches of their rowhouses for open contaner and/or drunk in public violations. Their reasoning being that the city actually owns most front yards of row houses, and the owner's property starts at the face of the building, or the threshold of the front door. The city has allowed people to build front porches and bay windows that extend into the city owned front yard with "projection permits."

Thus, the reasoning is drinking on your front porch that extends from the face of your row house is the same thing as drinking in a DC park.

 
At 11/11/2007 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

juandos, I completely agree with you, it is definitely extortion; I was just pointing out some more details on this situation, and some of the insanity that we have to deal with in DC sometimes.

 
At 11/11/2007 5:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:44 PM Anonymous

Thank you for the link to more details...

There is something fishy about one D.C. cop making 25% of the arrests for "driving under the influence" (under .08)

 
At 11/11/2007 4:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Yes A @ 3:44 PM for that other link...

Let me ask you this since here in the St. Louis, Mo area we've been experiencing the same sort nonsense for several years now...

I in fact was jailed and ticketed for DUI (police set up check point testing everyone) back when the level was suppose be .1 and I had a .02... That garnered the village a cool $600+ for my supposed inability to drive safely...

Now that people have made a point to not go to bars, weddings, and suppers where alcohol is served (thereby putting people out of work) the police in the various villages and counties around the state have resorted to billing drivers for not heeding the facist nanny state rule regarding the use of seat belts... The costs I understand are similer to that of those caught with alcohol in their systems...

 

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