Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Jennifer Carter, Poster Girl For "Hardcore Drunk Drivers"

Prepare to meet a new term: "Hardcore Drunk Driver." This is a person who is not deterred by multiple convictions for DUI; not deterred by heavy fines; not deterred by loss of license. This is a person who will drink and who will drive, unless you put them in jail and don't let them out.

They are considered addicts, and as such are not to be trusted within proximity of their drug of choice. And we aren't banning alcohol anytime soon.

So, at some point a person who keeps drinking and driving simply has to be put away, at least until they demonstrate that they no longer drink alcohol.

WTOP radio out of Washington, DC has a copyrighted story regarding Jennifer Carter, the 27 year old who killed herself and two others while driving aggressively in Frederick, MD the weekend after Christmas.

The WTOP story contains comments from a Maryland legislator who has been trying to deal with this issue by stiffening laws and trying to come up with tax money to pay for awareness.

It's not yet known if Carter was drunk at the time of the crash, but the story asks the question: why was she even on the road? She had been convicted of DUI three times, the most recent coming two years ago. So, one way to look at it is, she had been doing alright for two years. Perhaps she had even stopped drinking.

The story is at the WTOP website:

It will be interesting to see which way this story goes. Was alcohol a factor in this crash? If not, will there still be a hue and cry to keep repeat DUI offenders off the road permanently? And no matter what the answers are to the above, there is no question that Carter was driving aggressively.

Why? What was her hurry? I have shown little sympathy for Carter in these pages thus far; knowing that she had three DUIs, and that she was only 27 years old, makes me want to know more about who she was and what was going on in her life. My morbid curiosity has been piqued.

Sometimes, if we slow something down and examine it, we learn more than if we simply toss it onto the pile of all the other human errors which have come before.

So we'll slow this one down a bit. If anything comes along to flesh out the facts of this story, I will report them here. has a picture of the bleached blonde and more details of her vehicular rap sheet:

...and more people suggesting that repeat offender DUI drivers should be locked up. But the question is: for how long? What about treatment? This is a complicated issue, but there seems to be some momentum starting to build, based on the outrageousness of Carter's list of offenses.

And to think she was only 27.

Yeah, this story is a keeper.

Topix has an interesting thread going, including some good-byes from friends of the son who was killed along with his father. Also, lots of calls for prison time for repeat DUI offenders. Here's the Topix thread: (I am guessing the 4 states are PA, MD, VA and WV) interviewed Carter's mother. We now know that Carter was on her way to the store to pick up roses to be placed on her father's grave.

There isn't anything to add to the facts of the crash itself, but it does help to round out the picture.

"I Was Wrong": What A Concept

The NY Times has a nice first person story from a cardiologist who examined an intern for chest pain and made the wrong call. Nobody died; the man was correctly diagnosed the next morning and treated for a blockage.

What's interesting is that the cardiologist struggled with the morality of what to say to the patient. Years of experience caution doctors against admitting anything, or even sincerely apologizing for an incorrect diagnosis.

Anyway, the story tugged at me a little bit, so here it is:

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is...Oh, What A Mess

Saudi Arabia keeps making it difficult for regular Americans to have the same affection for them that the American ruling family has. Sure they have lots of oil and have always been friendly with the Bush clan, and they don't mind much when we tromp all over their desert on our way to the next front in the GWOT.

But then there are those laws they use to suppress individual rights, rights you and I take for granted. Their latest (that we know of) expression of their utter fear of openness is their detention of 32 year old blogger Fouah al-Farhan. In this quote from the NY Times write-up, Farhan says in a letter to friends: "The issue that caused all of this is because I wrote about the
political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia, and they think I'm running an online campaign promoting their issue." In that letter, Farhan alerts his friends that he has been warned of an investigation into his writings.

So, a young Saudi man is in detention today, because he wishes to be able to speak his mind publicly. He isn't a jihadist; he isn't a revolutionary. He is an ordinary citizen who sees things he does not like, and speaks about them.

I wouldn't put it past the American ruling family to try something similar. In these GWOT times, they can do whatever they want in the name of (rigid back, please) "National Security."

The NY Times piece: