Driving around lately, the number of police officers everywhere is absolutely astounding. I’ve seen more people stopped by officers on the side of the road than I ever have before. Cops seem to be lurking around every corner on the freeways, causing people to suddenly slam on the brakes and ram into each other like a game of bumper cars. They’re all over the surface streets too.
The Arizona DUI media machine is in overdrive as well, with things like this passing for news:
I must admit that it’s adorable when folks here in the valley think people who don’t live here have any interest in reading our shitty newspapers. It’s not so adorable that I live someplace where people are so out of touch with reality that they even entertain the notion that any of this has anything to do with stopping drunk drivers, or that scare pieces like that will make one tiny bit of difference.
Wanna know how many free shuttles I’ve seen advertised? Things to make mass transit cheaper, easier, or more appealing? Things to make these services known and easily available to so-called revelers? Good stuff may be out there, but I don’t know about it. I even surfed the web trying to find services that would get me to and from events, and I didn’t see much of anything that seemed workable.
How are drunk people, who aren’t from here and probably don’t have any friends here, supposed to make the smart call when their judgment is already impaired and we Arizonans spend all of our time and money telling them not to drink and drive without ever providing alternatives? The signs on the highway say “drive hammered, get nailed,” not how to safely get where you need to go. We are all about saturation patrols and task forces and shows of government force. We’re here to screw with you, to ruin your life if you mess up, apparently. We don’t care so much about creating and making readily available safe other options for you. From what I can gather, the idea of doing anything nice to anyone sickens people here.
I waver on whether it’s Schadenfreude, greed, or a thirst for prohibition all over again that drives this state. What I know is that we could get a lot of buses and a lot of bus drivers, probably enough to make it so no one has to drive drunk to or from any of the festivities going on right now, and still spend a lot less than we will on all the extra cops, cop vehicles, equipment, training, and other expenses it will take to deal with the onslaught of DUI stops, arrests, and convictions that are going to occur because of this weekend.
The cynic in me, the only part of me that ever gets fed living here, tells me that the real problem is that stopping drunk driving does not result in fines and fees being pumped back into the government’s coffers. If we make it so nobody needs to drunk drive, what happens to all those well-connected cottage industries that exist only because of our precious DUI boondoggle?
It seems to me that it isn’t really about drunk driving at all.