The Huntington Beach City Council in Huntington Beach, CA votes tonight on a proposal to publish the mug shots of repeat DUI offenders on the city’s Facebook page.
HB–a 200k-person town with a high douchebag content–is a town I know very well from my years growing up in Orange County. With a downtown area packed with bumpin’ bars, the city apparently ranks number 1 of 56 similar-sized SoCal cities for the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities–in 2009, 195 people were killed or injured and there were 1,687 DUI arrests.
Now, let me pause for a second and say that I write this post during a visit to my “second home” of a small town in Oregon, and just discovered that a well-known local idiot with priors hit and killed a 26-year-old woman who was walking her bike home from work last week in Portland. He was stupidly driving two friends home, shitty drunk and speeding. After spending much of today reading online reports about his charges and the fallout of her death–the bikers’ blog posts, the grieving statements from her family and friends, the public vigil–I am filled with a deep sense of sadness, anger and frustration. I hate the story. I hate that the former slaps on the wrists and multiple friend interventions never hampered his alcohol intake and poor choices. I hate that an innocent person is dead, gone forever from everyone who loves her, because some dude was having a rad, ragin’ night.
So I am in a particular state of mind while considering whether or not the Huntington Beach proposal is a good idea.
Is public shaming ever effective? According to AP reports, which cite multiple short-lived attempts to maintain similar Facebook-photo-shaming campaigns in other cities, the jury is still out. Opposition of this proposal is high–for a variety of reasons–even though it is legal for police to publish arrest photos. But I can’t help but wonder if the potential for web humiliation, however unsavory it may seem, could motivate friends and family members to press harder on someone who’s showing a habit of driving under the influence. Maybe the thought of being publicly shamed–because it could threaten their relationships, career, and future–might be just enough to keep someone with a prior to call up a cab. Maybe even just one person, who might otherwise slam their two-ton vehicle into the body of a woman walking home, might not turn on the ignition when they’re sauced.
And maybe that would be worth it.
Filed under: Alcohol, Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities, Bicycles, Drunk Driving, Drunks, DUI, Good Idea Bad Idea, Huntingon Beach City Council, Huntington Beach, Poor Choices, Public Humiliation, Public Shaming, Sadness, Stupidity, Vehicular Homicide
One Response to “Look Into The Eyes Of A DUI”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.