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Thomas A. Davies, Published April 06 2013

Letter: Who are dimwits who favor meaningless DUI penalties?

For the better part of a year, we have heard our legislators touting the need for more effective DUI laws. Men like Rep. Ed Gruchalla, D-Fargo, have been speaking from experience in law enforcement, and others have just been “speaking” because it gave them press. Whenever law enforcement, the medical community and experts in their fields promote laws such as this, when it comes to voting, legislators are either scared, stupid or, as I would brand them, “cowards.”

Mandatory jail time for all first offenders (no community service, no electronic monitoring) would begin the so-called cultural change. Large fines for people with large incomes are fine – lower-income people could be financially ruined. Jail is an equalizer that no one wants. When Fargo and cities across the state had the “sit till you’re sober” policy, the parking lots in bars across the city were full after hours because no one wanted to chance the certainty of jail.

The genius who came up with the idea that no jail should be imposed unless the blood alcohol reaches .24 gets my vote for the idiot of the year. At .08, some people stumble all over and some don’t seem to show the effects. But at .08, you are under the influence, and jail should have applied. Who is the dimwit who suggested .24, a BAC that would have most people on their knees and not in personal control at all?

Are the majority of legislators who oppose reasonable laws so concerned about being able to have their booze and drive, too, that they totally ignore the number of lives lost by the actions of drunken drivers?

How in the name of God can they look those who have lost loved ones in the face with what they’re doing? Perhaps they should be required (I know this will never happen) to accompany law enforcement to the scene of an accident resulting in fatality, and as a matter of fact those that result in substantial property damage. Perhaps our band of elected officials ought to accompany law enforcement while they break the news to someone that their loved ones will not be coming home. Perhaps the motley crew should be mandated to observe an autopsy performed on victims of a drunken driver. Perhaps they might be required to visit the hospitals and watch those injured suffer and go through physical and occupational therapy.

Perhaps if they had the brains that God gave a goat, I wouldn’t have to ask these questions.

I know name-calling isn’t a great way to make a point, but it does cause one to focus on the issue, which is why I do so.

No one said being an elected official is easy; if you want easy, stay home. If you have courage, address the problems, don’t run from them.

The Legislature is supposed to represent the people. My question of this Legislature is: People in what state?

Davies is retired Fargo municipal judge.