Monday, October 10, 2005

Damn Right It's Neoprohibition!

Sorta crossposted, with just a bit more color, to The House.

Mad props, or should I say MADD props to Fox News. Also I want to give props to my people at the Modern Drunkard board for the link.

The Supreme Court gave its OK to the road blocks in 1992, despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause. Given that they're usually publicized, the primary effect of these roadblocks is to deter social drinkers. The hard-drinkers, the real threats to highway safety, know to avoid them.

Sure enough, after former President Clinton signed .08 into law in 2000, drunk driving fatalities began to inch upward again — after two decades of decline — suggesting that the real drunk drivers were successfully avoiding the roadblocks. Thankfully, fatalities fell again last year, but that hardly proves MADD correct — deaths continued to go up in those states that employ sobriety roadblocks. The corresponding fall in fatalities in states that refuse to use the roadblocks more than made up the difference, suggesting that, freed from roadblock duty, law enforcement was able to work more effectively to catch drunk drivers.

Nice little dig at Clinton there, although I can't say I disagree. But the danger with an article like this, be it on Fox News or CNN, is that it would apply partisan spin to what is probably the only issue where both parties are in agreement for one reason or another. In other words, the "socialist" Left wants to take your hooch away just as much as the "religious" Right. They have truly got their shit together on this and the taxpayer, as well as the responsible, casual drinker gets caught in the middle.

MADD has also worked to undermine the criminal protections of accused drunk drivers — protections routinely granted to accused murderers, rapists and other felony crimes. MADD, for example, has pushed to impose tougher penalties on motorists who refuse to take roadside breath tests than on those who take them and fail — effectively turning the Fifth Amendment on its ear. The organization also favors "administrative license revocation," which means the revocation of the driver's licenses and, in some cases, the confiscation of the vehicles, of those accused of drunken driving before they're ever given a trial.

The organization is also pushing the widespread use of ignition interlock devices, in which a driver must blow into a tube to start his car, then blow again every 20 minutes or so while driving. Washington state recently passed a law allowing judges to mandate the devices in the cars of people merely accused of drunk driving, not convicted. And the states of New Mexico and New York have both considered legislation that would require the devices in every car sold in-state. The New Mexico bill is stalled in the state senate after being passed by the house. The New York bill was initially killed, but it gains more votes each time its determined sponsors reintroduce it.

MADD is also pushing its agenda onto family laws, including a zero tolerance policy for divorced parents. Under the bills MADD is trying to push through state legislatures, a parent caught consuming one beer or glass of wine before driving could face penalties that, according to MADD, "should include, but are not limited to" — "incarceration," "change of primary custody," or "termination of parental rights." This means that if you take your kid to the game, have a beer in the third inning, then drive home, you could very well lose your rights as a father.

What started out as a legitimate organization that has been initially successful, has now begun to tread down a road that only leads to the further erosion of our rights. We don't have to fear the coming of neoprohibition. It's already here!

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