Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Toledo Tragedy --Drunk Driver Kills Five --Christians, Arise! Alcohol "is a mocker" --says the Bible.

Did you all see the news account about the Mr. Gagnon who killed five members of a family traveling for the holidays from Maryland? One account told how some drive-thru employees recognized this driver was drunk and called the police --but they arrived 3 minutes after he left their establishment. And another driver said he reported him as soon as he saw him get on the freeway the wrong way. There are vigilant people sounding the alarms, but it takes such short time to have an auto accident.

We don't hear much about the "evils of alcohol" (or gambling) anymore. It used to be that the fundamentalist Christians railed against these substances and activities --so much so that they were a political party, the Prohibition Party, and while the historians say prohibition "didn't work," it did slow down per capita consumption for 4 to 5 decades --we retained our pre-prohibition
(1920's) level of consumption in the 1970's. And have probably exceeded it since --as many of the conservative churches have moderated their stance.

My husband tells me that official prohibition was successful in reducing drinking as proven by the cirrhosis of the liver stats --which improved dramatically when liquor was illegal. (Even though it was still obtainable through illegal means and became the focus of crime-stoppers activity like the drug trade today.)

How much of a role does alcohol play in family abuse of all kinds? And is it not responsible for MOST traffic accidents?

Perhaps it's time for Carrie Nation to rise again! Few remember this lady who took her followers and baseball bats into the saloons and destroyed all the demon rum and evil spirits! That was a righteous demonstration!

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


LisaRenee said...

The statistics on the reduction of cirrhosis related to Prohibition is debatable, one study that was done on this has been quoted often but most recognize that the statistical data base available was questionable. On the flip side of the argument it's been stated that:

alcohol prohibition increased violent crime: homicide rates are high in the 1920-1933 period, when constitutional prohibition of alcohol was in effect; the homicide rate drops quickly after 1933, when Prohibition was repealed;

It's impossible to legislate common sense and no matter how many laws or additional rules are created there are going to be those who don't follow them. It's clear that Michael Gangon knew he was drunk and also knew driving while drunk was against the law. Creating more of a nanny state where the government takes something away from all of us due to the irresponsible personal behavior of a few is not something I'd advocate for.

Barb said...

Nice to have you visit here, Lisa.

I also would not advocate a return to restricting alcohol by law --but I would return to an emphasis in society and churches generally on the harms of all such addictions --that make so many people dangerous on the roads, unsafe for their families, and poor. It's true that if you never try these things, you'll never be addicted to them. No one can predict that he himself will not be addicted like others are.

It's a fact that children addicted to drugs and/or alcohol typically have parents who use alcohol socially and smoke, at least. It is more rare among the children of tee-totalers who neither smoke or social drink.

Out of all my and my husband's siblings, (5 total counting us) only one experimented with smoking or drinking as I recall, in a rebellious brief period of adolescence. My father tried smoking in the garage as a young man --had a preacher father to rebel against, I suppose, or was curious.

But for 4 or more generations on my father's side, including my kids, no alcohol or nicotine or gambling addicts or social participants and no divorce either. This was the evangelical Christian side of my family tree which taught us from little up to abstain from those things as extension of our religious faith, such that we were not even tempted.

I think a lot of pain and dysfunction is avoided by such disciplines --and there is just good ol' wisdom in abstinence.

I had a friend who disagreed with our abstinence approach in child-rearing --and said he kept liquor around and measured the levels of liquid in the bottles so he would know if anyone was under-age drinking in his home when he and his wife left the teens home alone. When this happened, the neighbors noted the wild parties --and the kids got into drugs, one quite severely, addicted to this day. He said my kids would be the ones to go wild --said having alcohol around the house was like having candy around the house --if you keep it there, no one is craving it --but if you deny the kids, they will crave it.

IN fact, if the candy is around, I AM tempted --if it isn't here, I'm fine--or if I crave it, I'll nevertheless get along and eat less of it if it's not around all the time. (Of course,eating in general is somewhat different as an addiction or habit, in that we were started on it at very early age and cannot go off food cold-turkey --or even gradually. And we can't avoid starting to eat --whereas we can avoid nicotine, alcohol, drugs and gambling from the start --be taught to do so as a wise choice in life --and avoid much misery --such as causing this awful accident.

I know they say prohibition increased crime --but it was because alcohol drinking, manufacture and sales were crimes --like the drug trade, so they had more crime until they decriminalized the liquor trade. They did have less cirrhosis.

There was a lot of mafia crime including murders during this period, whether alcohol related or not. I'm curious about your homicide stats and think I'll look into it further. I know this was a period when my grandmother fed hobos from her back door --and one guy showed up for Christmas that nobody knew, because of her Christian charity. She didn't explain who he was and everyone thought he came with someone at the party --until he left and they all said, "Now who was he??"

-Sepp said...

I grew up in a house where beer and liquor was stored in the open. My mom had no problem with me drinking her beer or, getting into the liquor. Taking the mystery and the excitement out of doing something bad is what kept me away from the stuff.
There was always beer and booze in the house and never any need to measure it or, monitor it since I had no attraction to it.
Kids that I grew up with on the other hand, would snatch beer and drink liquor and wondered why I didn't since it was always available.
I'd tasted the stuff and wasn't impressed so I left it alone. I had no fear of getting caught thus there was no thrill involved.

Barb said...

well, Sepp, my story as a parent --your story as a child --the story of my friends' children and their problems --all tell us that simply having alcohol in the home --or out of the home --is not a guarantee to a child's sobriety or lack of it.

However, I think being raised without alcohol around or used by anyone in the family, is MORE likely to raise a teetotaler than not --unless other factors make a kid really rebel against everything his parents stand for.

Peers are influential also, however. My kids didn't really hang out much with any "wild" ones or the popular drinking crowd --or the few who would be inclined that way, wouldn't be that way with our kids. It depends on whether your child is a follower of people you know are into drinking and who is the dominant one? the drinker or the non-drinker?

For someone to be around it and choose to be sober --sounds like a good common-sensical conservative to me!