BOSTON (CBS) — It was just a brief item on the news wire over the weekend, about a 52-year-old man busted early Saturday morning in Seekonk allegedly driving drunk. 1:20 a.m. and he’s weaving across the double yellow line at high speed, police say. Just thank God you or your loved one wasn’t coming the opposite way at that moment.
But what really caught my eye about this case was the fact that, according to police, the perp had an active Massachusetts driver’s license – despite the fact that this was his ninth DUI arrest.
Let me repeat that – he had a valid license even though he had been busted for drunk driving eight times before.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the drunk driving laws being, essentially, ignored, and I doubt it will be the last. And the truth is flaunting the law is something of a national pastime for all sorts of folks at all levels of our society.
We’re all still suffering from the contempt with which many of the top financiers in our country treated federal laws governing transactions. And just last week we were treated to the spectacle of 79 members of the US House voting against the censure of New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who violated a host of ethics laws in order to line his own pockets and cheated on his income taxes for 17 years even as he was overseeing tax policy.
While we’re at it, let’s throw in the crowd of folks who rallied outside City Hall last week in defense of former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner who maintains he did “nothing wrong” despite the video that shows him palming a bribe. It seems, does it not, that a whole lot of important and powerful people don’t think the law applies to them.
It’s bad enough when some sad, reckless drunk operates under that principle. But when our alleged leaders of the public and private sectors ignore the law to, it’s a warning that we’re a culture in trouble because we’re saying we believe in the rule but acting as if we don’t.
Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause, discusses the issue with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller.
Jon Keller offers his own analysis.