September 25, 2010

ERIC SCHEIE ON M.A.D.D.: Anti-Drinking Activists Drunk With Power. “Now, I do not defend drunk driving. But the direction in which this hysteria is going — making driving after a glass of wine with dinner a felony — is simply an outrage. This isn’t a crackdown on drunk driving; it is neo-prohibitionism. The M.A.D.D. speakers were also calling for a return to the 55 mph speed limit, because drunk drivers are said to be much more dangerous at high speeds.”

M.A.D.D. has been all about the benjamins for years. They’re just another example of a non-profit gone wrong. They should disband, now that their work is basically done. But they won’t, because that would shut down the gravy train.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

I read your post on M.A.D.D. (as well as the link to CV) and thought I would share a recent experience involving my teenage son. Typical stuff — he went to a party, neighbor complains of noise (at 8:30 p.m.) and “thinks there may be underage drinking.” My son had been there about 30 minutes, and called me to pick him up because he was bored at the party. When I had arrived, there were already four policeman who prevented me from entering the home to pick up my son (literally putting his hand on my chest to stop me form proceeding). When I asked why, I was told that it was for safety reasons (ha!). I asked if anyone were under arrest, or whether there was a physical danger to my son or any other kid. I was told to get off the property or risk a charge of intereference with police. Parents now started arriving but the police barred anyone fom entering or leaving. This went on for about a half hour. By that time there were ELEVEN patrol cars and 25 police officers on the scene. I saw the report on their computer screen, and they estimated that 20 teenagers were in the house, meaning more police than teenagers. I called my son, who said the kids were getting scared by the police lights, confused about what the fuss was all about, police all around the house, and securing the house so no one could leave. After they secured the perimeter, they entered the house (no idea what cause they had to go in) and brought the kids out one at a time, physically separating children from their parents (police had formed wall around each kid as they esorted them to thebreathlyzer). I yelled at my son to be cooperative and the police threatened me with arrest “for talking to a suspect.” Funny, 5 minutes earlier they asked for the kid’s names so they could get him and release him to me to take him home.

Turns out that one kid blew a .02 (probably had a glass of wine with his parents). The police officer who took the breathalyzer screamed “GOTCHA! BINGO!” The other 19 (including my son) were charged with Underage Possession of Alcohol because they were in the house with a kid who blew a .02. Ridiculous. What is really infuriating is that had there been some dumb kid who chugged a fifth of Jack, they would have been the house suffering from alcohol poisoning for over an hour while the police were singularly focused on nailing as many kids as they could. Safety was not anywhere near the top consideration.

I asked a local prosecutor afterwards if this were normal practice, and she said it was. The prosecutor also told me that is why so many parents end up bitterly fighting these charges — they are just enraged that the police show up with enough firepower to defend the Green Zone because it is possible some 16 year old had a beer, and then act as if they are breaking up the Capone gang. The courthouse crowd knows this so they usually make a deal where the kid goes to an Alcohol Awareness class and the charge gets expunged, to avoid letting the police actions see the light of day. Truth is, if my son gets one class and the charges are expunged, we’ll probably do it too just to make this go away.

Mind you, my son is in deep stuff for going to a party without parents, but that is our problem as parents. Ironically, we had items stolen from our carport and car about three weeks earlier, and it took two weeks for the police to show up, and then they clearly told us that they would do little or nothing. What this showed me is that the priority of police is alcohol regulation, likely under intense political pressure.

The point of this story is that the M.A.D.D. crowd is out of control, and unfortunately they usually have the support of the local police and government. THey keep getting money, so the cycle perpetuates itself. It may be just a citation but it is an example of nanny statism with screwed up priororities.

So push back. And don’t credit them with any special moral authority, since they have none.

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