It is the middle of the night, and someone is knocking on your front door. Your 18 year old daughter isn’t in her bed. Your stomach turns. You panic. Acknowledgement of what you’re about to be told slams into you like a ton of bricks. You cannot catch your breath. Your hand tightens on the doorknob, not ready to face the reality you know you cannot change.
Many of us will never experience this horrific feeling. Many of us will never know what it is to lose a loved one so tragically. And many of us will have restful nights, never awoken to death knocking at your door.
But there are many who have. They’ve lived through their own nightmare. They’ve answered the door in the middle of the night. They’ve taken vigil beside a hospital bed, the only sounds coming from the ventilator keeping their child, husband, wife, or friend alive. They’ve screamed in agony, shed relentless tears, lost a piece of their soul. They are victims from drinking and driving.
Drunk driving has been a problem since before prohibition. However, with time things have changed. Now it is a criminal offence. If you kill someone while driving under the influence it is considered manslaughter. You are no different than the man, or woman who shoots their neighbor over a disagreement. You are equal to the person who robs a convenience store, killing the cashier.
You are a murderer.
Many of you may disagree. You argue that a few beers or shots at the bar do not change your perception while behind the wheel. You’re fine. You know exactly what you are doing. You have complete control.
News flash! So did the man who held up the convenience store. He was in control too.
What if it was your child, wife, or husband who had been killed in an armed robbery? You would want justice. Demand the killer go to jail for his crimes. You may even think he should die. As a Canadian Citizen you rely on the government to punish this criminal in the court of law. You expect nothing less. What is so different if the killing is done from behind the wheel of a Ford Escort, or Dodge Ram? Just like the robber, the drunk driver made a choice. Isn’t driving under the influence similar to waving a loaded gun in public? You are placing innocent civilians at risk. You are a danger to society. You are using your vehicle as a weapon.
Ask yourself, is drinking and driving worth it? Are a dozen beers and a buzz worth the consequences if you drive home killing yourself or someone else? Are you prepared to put all your aspirations and dreams on the back burner for a good time that could land you in jail with a criminal record?
Will you be able to look into the eyes of a grieving mother, or father after you’ve killed their child? A few years behind bars is never going to come close to the guilt, and anguish of what you did. Just like the victims family, you will never forget. You will live your own personal nightmare.
The only difference is… you created it.