Equating MADD with "mothers against guns"
OK, disclaimer time: I listen to NPR in the morning. I've got some good credibility filters, so I usually know if what I'm hearing is slanted. But let me proceed.
This morning I heard a female voice on NPR saying "we need to work against gun violence like MADD worked against drunk drivers."
I thought about that for a few moments before concluding that that's a pretty good idea. Let's look at what MADD achieved:
- In nearly all states, the MADD influence reduced the threshhold of intoxication from 0.01% BAL to 0.08%.
- Penalties for DUI/DWI have generally become more harsh.
- There are fewer "get out of jail free" cards for first-time offenders.
- Many states make DUI/DWI offenses felonies now, not just misdemeanors.
- My gut feeling is that there are more people finding Designated Drivers or cab rides home after a night of partying with alcohol.
So here's my take on that, and how we need to be aware of what MADD achieved and how they achieved it:
- There were no pre-emptory or statutory confiscations of automobiles based on size, weight, or horsepower.
- No bars or restaurants (= sources for alcohol consumption) were denied their right to conduct business; there were no limits placed on an individual's alcohol consumption.
- No liquor stores had their sales recorded, and purchases were not limited in any way.
- No legal limits were placed on how much alcohol an individual could possess at home, nor were storage requirements mandated.
Thus all the gains with which MADD succeeded were based on actual behaviors, not a "chance" or "possibility" or a restriction based on a "potential" danger to society.
And a lot of MADD's success was based on drawing attention to the problems with drunk drivers, not alcohol sales.
Would not the same approach be beneficial in our cause? MADD addressed the behaviors and not the substance. Nationwide, we've got over 20,000 gun laws, but it turns out that few are actually enforced. Gun charges are frequently hard to prove and are near the top of the list to be plea-bargained down to lesser offenses. That's the type of situation we need to highlight!
I welcome your thoughts on the subject.