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Karen Horsley, Fargo, Published August 03 2012

Create a culture without the wink

It’s all well and good to create a new culture and enact tougher penalties for drinking and driving, but I believe we might do better to take a step back and create a culture that does not wink at excessive drinking in any setting.

Even those who insist they will never drink and drive may lose their resolve when they have had too much to drink and cannot find a ride home. But drunken driving is not the only bad thing that occurs when people drink too much.

Assaults of every kind, including verbal abuse, violence and rape, are not uncommon among people whose thought processes are dulled by alcohol. Those being assaulted are more vulnerable if they have been drinking and cannot think clearly enough to extricate themselves from an abusive situation before it gets out of hand. The potential for injury and death is always present when people drink more than they can safely consume, no matter where they are.

Children today grow up in a culture where drinking is considered an essential part of having a good time. Authorities of every kind – legal, police, educators, parents and others – must work together to create a new culture. The media can help. They must focus on long-range benefits for society and individuals, rather than on satisfying short-lived desires.