Dear Tell All: Every time I read the Wisconsin State Journal, it seems like there's another article about alcohol legislation. They just passed a drunk-driving bill and people are already saying it's not strong enough. Now lawmakers want to raise Wisconsin's beer tax. Everybody I know at school drinks, and most of us have driven drunk, so what's the big deal? The government should stay out of our private lives.
Raise a Toast to Freedom
Dear Toasted: I usually try to keep this column light, but there's really nothing funny about drunk driving or alcohol abuse. Yet based on some of the news stories from the last few months, something very funny has been going on lately.
In October, a Wisconsin woman called 911 to report a drunk driver. The dispatcher asked, "Okay, are you behind them?" She responded, "No, I am them." This responsibly irresponsible drinker had called in to report herself. Then in December, police found a La Crosse man on a curb who was so drunk he couldn't stand on his own. When this liver transplant recipient was given a breath test, he registered 0.39%.
Just last month a drunken woman visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc ignored barriers, warning signs and time-tested, grade-school advice and fed her fingers to the bears...literally. Not to be outdone, a Minnesota man built a motorized recliner, complete with a stereo, headlights and cup holders. After downing several beers at home and then driving to the Keyboard Lounge for a few more, he hopped on the chair and promptly crashed into a Dodge Intrepid before he had even made it out of the parking lot. His blood-alcohol content was 0.29%, more than three times the legal limit.
People, what are you thinking?!!? Maybe there's something in the water - or perhaps something in the beer - but if this isn't a drinking problem, I don't know what is. This column really isn't long enough for me to tackle complex issues like the government's role in our personal lives or the merits of specific alcohol legislation, but obviously something needs to be done. If you can't control your drinking, then someone else will, and it might as well be the government.
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