Then there is same old, same old perpetrator as victim trope. Mr. Ban allegedly had a .15 blood alcohol level, but, of course, he is otherwise blameless. We hear nothing of detail of the lives of those he hit and killed while drunk (Belkys Rodriguez Quezada, Lisandro Enriquez Rodriguez, Danny Enriquez Rodriguez), or who were killed in his own car (Sinoeun Uong), but a great deal about why we should empathize with the drunk driver.
From the the Fresno Bee story:
“He’s a good person,” Peggy Corona, 53, said of Ban. “I feel sorry for everyone.”
Tuy, 29, said she is worried about her stepfather because he has had open-heart surgery and needs daily doses of medicine. Tuy said Ban also still feels the effects of being shot in the back. He was among three innocent victims of a September 1996 shooting at a southeast Fresno party, police said then.
Of course, the victim is said in part to be blameworthy, as if the perpetrator’s driving drunk did not really precipitate the deaths:
Tuy and Oeum, who is recovering from injuries he suffered in the crash, said the public shouldn’t pass judgment on Ban until all the facts are known. They say passengers in a car that was in front of the victims’ Kia could help the CHP know what really happened, “We feel sorry for the victims’ family,” Tuy said. “But we want the truth to come out.”
And the truth would be that Mr. Ban did not really drive with a .15 blood alcohol level?
Or that he only killed four people while drunk, but some others are blameworthy as well?
Cf. the Bee account:
Ban, whose injuries were moderate, is being held on $618,000 bail, facing four felony charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. His blood-alcohol has not been revealed by the CHP, but the criminal complaint says it was .15 or higher. The legal limit to drive is below .08 blood-alcohol.
Prosecutors say Ban has three prior drunken-driving convictions, but court records only list two of them. His last DUI conviction came in 2006.
Oeum said he, Uong and Ban had been drinking Sunday, but Ban had no trouble driving. Oeum said he and Uong were drinking in the car when the crash happened.
“I’m not going to lie. He drank beer while we were fishing, but not while he was driving,” Oeum said.
We feel relieved that the drunken Mr. Ban got intoxicated right before driving, but had the good sense not to drink while he was actually driving. In our society, that is now a plus.
Enough said — until next time. A lot of us — like the dead of this story and last week’s — have a rendezvous on the road with the Bains and Vazquezes of California, and we know only two certainties of our meeting with them: the state will care more about them than us the deceased, and our killers will have had a long record of drunk driving without many consequences. In the case of Ms. Vazquez, her lawyer implied that society was supposed to find solace that she only rear-ended her victim off a cliff, rather than T-boned him or hit him head-on. In the case of Mr. Bain, we are told that he drank beer, fished for crayfish, and could drive well after drinking, and that was not really culpable while driving a car with a .15 alcohol blood level.
If we did not have these cases, we would have to invent them, given the state of our sick society.