Monday, October 15, 2007

Deadly Weapons, Innocent Lives, and Intent

When we think of deadly weapons, we usually think of guns, knives-things of that nature.

What about your car? Would you ever consider your car a “deadly weapon”? Your car, in and of itself, may not be a deadly weapon, but add alcohol to the driver-“ammunition”, if you will-suddenly the car becomes a dangerous, deadly weapon.

We have the DUI task-force and checkpoints out every holiday. We have organizations such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. Both are great in their efforts.

What concerns me is the amount of DUI’s a person is able to rack up, and serve little or no time in jail. What concerns me is how, I could go into a room full of strangers, intentionally fire a gun, killing or attempting to kill as many people as possible and be charged with multiple counts of murder, as well as attempted murder. Yet, a person who gets behind the wheel of a car intentionally drunk, on a street full of strangers, driving aimlessly, killing innocent people-they are charged with manslaughter or second-degree murder. Let’s not forget the word “intent”. If you drink to the point that you are legally drunk, then drive, it should be a given that you intend to take an innocent person’s life. Doesn’t this warrant a harsher punishment?

In the last couple weeks, we have seen our community mourn the loss of Julia Sunderlin, an innocent woman, performing an everyday task in her life-walking her dog. The people that allegedly killed her, perfect strangers, were allegedly drunk and on their way to buy more beer. They are charged with manslaughter in this case. Had they walked up to her on the side of the road, shot and killed her, they would more than likely be charged with first-degree murder.


There are more than enough examples of multiple DUI offenders. There are more than enough examples of ridiculous sentences that DUI offenders receive after killing an innocent person, again-perfect strangers.

A car with a drunk person behind the wheel is a deadly weapon. Nobody gets behind the wheel drunk, involuntarily. A punishment should fit the crime.

Think intent.

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