One of the interesting aspects to drunk driving cases is the way they are treated by the media. It has become standard for new organizations to immediately patronize drunk driving suspects when a DUI story breaks out. Whether that occurs or not, the story could also be accompanied by smarmy takes that point out the behavior or actions of a person accused of driving drunk, forgetting that person’s humanity for a moment just to take a shot at some humor.
The following story exemplifies this notion. Though it didn’t happen here in Denver, Colorado, location isn’t the point. A man was in need of someone to bail him out of jail. He called upon one of his friends, who drove to the police station while intoxicated — and in doing so, he ran into a street sign that said “Civilian of the Year.” The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone.
But this is exactly the point we are trying to make. It is an obvious joke, one that doesn’t enlighten anyone or point out some of the important elements of the story. Obviously this friend is in need of some help. His drinking habits are a problem, and therapy or counseling could certainly make strides towards correcting this behavior. Instead, the media is cracking jokes about what he did and the police charge him with multiple charges relating to his DUI.
Should the man be excused for driving under the influence? Of course not. But the way we treat DUI stories, as a society, needs to adjust.
Source: 10 News, “Drunk Driver crashes into ‘Civilian of the Year’ sign,” Inside Edition, Jan. 28, 2016