Illinoid Police Resort to Name-Calling in Attempt to Reduce DUIs
By: Chris Kramer
It appears that the Illinois State Police decided that name-calling should be brought up from the schoolyard and used on Illinoisans in an effort to curb drinking and driving.
The law enforcement agency publically called Illinois DUI offenders "losers' and implied that if you are arrested for drinking and driving, you'll be a loser for the rest of your years.
An $800,000 anti-drunk driving campaign-suitably titled the "Loser' campaign-boasted television spots showing people physically branded with the word "LOSER' because they were at one time arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Picture a young woman sitting in a college classroom, raising her arm to answer a question, slowly opening her hand and revealing to the viewer that she has the word "LOSER" etched in her palm because she was once arrested for DUI. Picture the look of shame on her face. Loser.
Picture a man trying to conduct business with "LOSER" carved in deep, black jagged letters on his forehead for the world to see. Loser.
Sounds a bit harsh, huh?
The "Loser" Intent
The controversial commercials were part of a national crackdown on drinking and driving coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The marketing campaign was intended to serve as a public announcement surrounding the Labor Day weekend to inform people of the consequences of drinking and driving.
An Illinois State Police press release stated, "The new commercial illustrates how one DUI negatively and permanently brands the offender's image, in addition to jail time, loss of freedom and legal consequences."
The Most Powerful "Loser" of All?
According to the logic of the Illinois campaign, President George W. Bush is a loser. After all, the leader of the free world was arrested in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol in Maine.
Bush has publically commented on his Maine DUI arrest. He admitted to drunk driving, said it was a mistake and added that he's learned his lesson.
"I'm not proud of that. I made some mistakes," Bush told CNN in a 2000 article after the DUI story broke. "I occasionally drank too much, and I did that night. I learned my lesson."
A List of "Losers"
Below are some other people that would be deemed "losers" by the Illinois State Police because they were once arrested for DUI or once convicted for DUI:
- Diana Ross, singer;
- Sidney Blumenthal, top advisor for Bill & Hillary Clinton;
- Ty Pennington, host of Extreme Makeover;
- Matt Roloff, Little People, Big World star;
- Kiefer Sutherland, actor; and
- Dick Cheney, vice president.
Sticks and Stones
Regardless of police ploys, know that you aren't automatically judged as a loser by every person you meet because you've been arrested for drinking and driving.
Also know that being arrested for a DUI doesn't necessarily mean that you will be convicted. A local DUI lawyer may help you assess your case and determine if there are possible challenges that may help you beat your DUI charges and clear your record or minimize your DUI penalties.
If you have been convicted of DUI, it's still not the "end of the world" like the commercial may want you to believe. You may still be able to clear your record or get your record expunged.
Although the consequences of DUI are serious, they don't have to ruin your life and you certainly shouldn't brand yourself as a "loser" for making a mistake.
All of us make mistakes. As discussed previously, even the President of the United States has made an error in judgment about drinking and driving. One bad choice doesn't necessarily have to haunt you for the rest of your life.
If Bush is allowed to learn from his mistakes and move forward, then shouldn't we all be afforded that?