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Choice, Not Accident

September 08, 1996

J. R. Moehringer ("The Accident," July 28) made a huge leap in reasoning by stating that I want James Patterson to suffer and be used as an example. That is faulty reasoning and untrue. Believing that consequences must be faced for drinking and driving is not an attack on any individual. There's no need to make an example of James; sadly, plenty of examples already exist.

Much suffering is caused by an all-too-frequent mix of alcohol and driving. One trip to the Mojave Desert and many lives are changed forever. It is not a matter which "side" one is on; it is an issue of lives and of taking a stand that preserves the laws that are intended to protect us all. Regardless of the emotional issues and complications involved in this case, the law sets the standards for behaviors. Upholding and enforcing the law is the only way civilized society can protect itself from dangerous behaviors.

This was not "The Accident," which was the headline of the article. This was "The Choice." The word "accident" implies that something just happens, is beyond control and possibly could not be avoided. Driving impaired is not excusable, even if the passengers are friends and/or consumed alcohol themselves. Also, we need not pass the buck for the results of James' crimes to the families. They struggled, came together and, despite their pain, helped create sentencing conditions designed to increase the likelihood that James will change his dangerous behaviors.

Reidel Post, Executive Director

MADD, Orange County

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