Friday, September 17, 2010

The Closet Quaker

Today at work, a colleague asked whether I would be attending a movie with some other staff members. It turns out the movie they were going to see dealt with a particularly dark and disturbing subject. With apologies for taking his lighthearted remarks out of context, when I pointed out the film's dark subject matter, the colleague jokingly suggested that to deal with the intense movie content, the staff members planned to sit in the back row and smoke pot. Then, he suggested that if I joined them, I would be one of the "cool kids". I told him that, at school, I was never one of the cool kids, to which he replied, "It's never too late!" As he started to walk down the hall, I called out to him, "It is for me."

Growing up, I never tried drugs, never drank beer, didn't swear and never put a cigarette in my mouth. Nothing's changed. In my heart, I always thought I was pretty cool for doing what I believed was right and, as I went on through school and life, seeing the effects of alcohol, drugs and smoking only confirmed what I already knew.

I never liked what alcohol did to my friends. Most were hilarious when they were drunk, while others were nasty jerks. I never wanted to be someone I wasn't. I never wanted to do things I wouldn't remember. I always wanted to be in control and responsible for my mind and body.

A lot of people need alcohol or drugs to have a good time. That's fine, as long as their indulgence doesn't hurt anyone. Drunk drivers are the most disgusting animals and yet, they are rarely given sufficient punishment. Instead, it's the victims and their familes who suffer most. Justice is a joke and drunk driving laws, far too lenient.

About six years ago, 60 year old Gilles Francoeur hit three people in the Laurentians while driving drunk. The body of one of them, an 18 year old boy, was embedded in the windshield of his car as he fled the scene. He got two years less a day. In May 1997, drunk businessman Ron Carriere struck and killed a 14 year old boy who was riding his bicycle along Highway 338 in Dorion. Carriere hid out and was only arrested in August. He got 18 months in jail and two years probation. The list of similar Quebec cases is never-ending. One 48 year old man was arrested in Laval in 2001 and charged with driving drunk for a twelfth time! A poll released in November of the same year, reported one-in-six Canadians admitted to drinking and driving within the last month.

Who would risk causing one of these tragedies? What kind of a person would do this to innocent human beings? I'll tell you; they're people who cannot have a good time unless they get high, or drunk.

How many people have died because of alcohol? The people drinking this stuff are too ignorant to stop themselves from driving. It appears people cannot be responsible and drink. It's been tried and it continues to fail. Beer companies must be proud. To make a nauseating situation worse, authorities are now suggesting bartenders and cab drivers are to blame for the irresponsible decisions and behavior of drunk customers? It makes me puke.

Take responsibilty for yourself. There are consequences to your decision to have "one more for the road".

There's a bar down the street from my house. Gee, I wonder whether any customers might be getting into their vehicles intoxicated and over the legal limit? Officer, how about indulging in a little thing called "law enforcement"?

There should be no second chances for drunk drivers who injure or cause death. Do their victims get a second chance? No. If they don't, you don't. That's real justice.

The bleeding hearts say the dead victims are gone and it's important to help heal the living. If that's true, do more to help the relatives of the victims cope with their unspeakable suffering, so they can go on living with as little pain as possible. One way to help is to keep killer drunks locked-up, regardless of whether they're ordinary jerks, or professional athletes.

I won't be going to the movie with my colleagues and I won't be smoking pot in the back row.

Chris Michaels, a disc-jockey buddy with whom I worked for years at a rock radio station, once referred to me as "a closet Quaker". Chris pegged me. It still cracks me up!

I'm not trying to be "holier than thou", this is just me...and there's no closet in sight.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you Richard, but at the same time, there is something called alcoholism and addiction. The phenomenon of craving. A disease in itself.
    Some of us are lucky enough to recover from it. Others not so lucky that it remains a monkey on one's back, filled with remorse, regret, insanity, and unfortunate consequences, not necissarily based on weak will.
    You are one of the lucky ones that is not predisposed. The cool kids don't know until it comes bite some of them in the ass, others not.