330 Why the bad driving?

Comments

Tom Garrett 1 year ago

The bad accident we had on 87 between Pine and Payson has made me think again. There has to be something fundamentally wrong when a 27 year old woman cannot get her car to track.

Fifteen years ago when I came here permanently I was genuinely happy that the drivers up here were better than the ones down in the Valley.

Oh, there were a few now and then, mostly on holiday weekends, who were in too much of a rush, but even that was no problem. And it was easy to understand too. They weren't just driving into town to do a little shopping; they were on a long drive, either up from the Valley or on the way back down. They wanted to get where they were going. And there was the question of how many times someone had done something it irritate them, too. But they weren't really bad drivers, just in too much of a rush.

But lately?

Every time I make the short drove to Payson--every single time!--I see one thing that I just cannot understand: people who constantly cross the double yellow line. And I don't mean just an inch or two, which would be bad enough; I am talking about both front and rear wheels going completely into the oncoming lane.

I just don't get it. How can anyone be such a bad driver that he or she can't get a car to track in the middle of a fairly wide lane? It seems impossible that anyone could be such a bad driver. It doesn't take much to control a car these days. Power steering makes it a cinch.

I watch people who are in the opposing lane almost every time they take an outside curve. Almost every time! On an inside turn like that you cannot see who is coming the other way. Getting in the oncoming lane is like pointing a gun at our head.

There's got to be an explanation, but I just can't think of it. Come on, folks. Surely someone must know what's going on. What is it? Is it just here, or everywhere? What?

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frederick franz 1 year ago

Perhaps people are not serious enough about driving and what the consequences of poor practices can result in. Here in Grants Pass, the problem I see is lack of courtesy. An example of this is a 4 lane, one way road, which merges into a 2 lane one way road. If I signal to change into the right hand lane so I can turn off the road, I am almost always ignored. Let's all drive carefully and courteously.

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Ronald Hamric 1 year ago

Tom, Might I offer one possible point for consideration. Many people, even many who have residence up here became accustomed to the multi-lane, fairly straight roads that predominate metropolitan areas. These two lane curvy roads, with few shoulder barricades literally scare the dickens out of them. Therefore they wander all over the place when traversing 87 between Payson and Pine, either way. I know you have seen this, but it helps make my point. You are behind someone going 10-15 under the posted speed limit and still crossing the double yellow as well as the white line on the right shoulder. Often they are riding their brakes on every curve whether uphill or downhill. But once they get to the 4 lane straight away at Buckhead Mesa, it's 10-15 over the posted speed limit and they are dead straight in their traffic lane. Once they arrive at the end and it returns to two lanes, they go right back to the weaving, brakes, and much slower speed. We have all seen it but I think it would take a shrink to figure out precisely what is going on in their heads. I drive defensively which means I put as much distance between me and those types whenever the opportunity presents itself, even if I have to use a pull out and let them get way ahead before I get back on the road. They are literally dangerous to everyone who has to share the road with them as one simply cannot predict their actions.

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Susan Daniels 1 year ago

Ron, I'll probably be one of the drivers you described. I haven't taken the drive to Pine yet and now knowing it is a two lane curvy road, I will be cautious and probably slower than other drivers. The roads take some getting used to being from the Midwest. I'll get better. I just need time to adjust but in the meantime I won't be a hazard. If you are in a hurry or just want to drive the speed limit, I'll make it possible for you to pass. I purposely sold my motorcycle before moving here because, as you said, the roads literally scare the dickens out of me. So, please be patient with us. We just need time to adjust to the change in driving habits. If you are behind someone who can barely see over the steering wheel and should have given up their license years ago...well, can't help you there. Keep your distance.

I do have a question about the accident. Was the young woman a local or just passing through? Was it speed, impairment, or health issue that contributed to the accident? All too often, it's just getting behind the wheel and being stupid.

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Ronald Hamric 1 year ago

Ms. Daniels, I have no problem with someone driving a few miles under the posted speed limit. The speed limit is the maximum speed allowed, not the minimum. At least you appreciate how challenging it is to acclimate to the types of road conditions here as opposed to more metropolitan regions. I have come to be able to recognize when a driver in a vehicle ahead of me is uncomfortable with the road environment. To ride their bumper is only going to make them more nervous and prone to an error. No one has to be in such a hurry that they cannot be courteous and understanding. I tend to separate myself from those drivers because if they do make an error, I don't want to be a part of that circumstance. The truth is, no matter how fast or slow we drive that road, we'll usually end up together at some stop light in Payson or doing 35 through Pine. You take your time while you adjust to these roads. They can be very unforgiving if you make a mistake as can be seen by all the cross memorials along the sides of that road. If you see someone in a hurry, riding your rear bumper, it won't be me.;-)

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Don't know the road. Have never driven on highways that aren't wide and straight. Aren't paying attention. Lighting a cigarette. Texting. Arguing with who ever else is in the car. Talking on the phone. Changing the radio. Malfunction of vehicle. Drunk. Sleepy. Looking at the scenery. Driving to fast. Young driver. JUST PLAIN STUPID.

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Susan Daniels 1 year ago

Having lived in Germany for 4 years many moons ago, I'm hopeful it all comes back to me. Until then I'll take my time. I'm still finding my way around Payson!

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Strange this subject is on today. Got a call about 5:30 my youngest grandson 21, was in a car wreck on the Beeline about 6 miles south of Sunflower. It was raining, a puddle in the road with gravel underneath, spun off the road and his car straddled a ditch. Taken to Scottsdale hospital. Home now in Payson, swollen eye, knot on his head, staples in his stomach, brace on one leg, bandage on the other. Young, inexperienced, stupid.
Should have pulled off the road until the hard rain stopped. I'm sure he won't be able to move around much for awhile. He will get his lecture from grandma when the pills wear off. I want him to hear everything I say.

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

"I drive defensively...even if I have to use a pull out and let them get way ahead before I get back on the road."

Me too. I never get on someone's tail. Back when Lolly used to go places she always like a low speed, lower than I would normally drive, and even lower than most people drive, so I spent a lot of time pulling off to let people go by. Not a problem.

Just one comment, though. I do not see why anyone can't get his or her vehicle to stay within a smooth, well paved, broad lane like those on 87. It doesn't take the skills of a neurosurgeon to drive a car. What I observe each week is this: When nobody is coming some people are all over the place, but when forced into it they stay where they belong. It would appear, therefore, that the lousy driving is not accidental, but deliberate or lazy. What does that say?

"I do have a question about the accident. Was the young woman a local or just passing through? Was it speed, impairment, or health issue that contributed to the accident? All too often, it's just getting behind the wheel and being stupid."

It was a local 27 year old woman from Pine. We do not yet know why she went out of her lane. She was too injured to be interviewed.

"If you see someone in a hurry, riding your rear bumper, it won't be me.;-)"

Me either. In fact, I've noticed something that I find interesting. If some bongo brain is following me too closely (usually out of anger about having been passed) he almost always backs off when he comes up to me and finds me being polite and staying well back of a slow driver. Can you see the psychology in that? "Oh! That S.O.B. passed me, huh? Thinks he's better than I am. Okay, I'll show em! I'll catch him and get right on his bumper. Let's see how he likes that!" Then he sees me being my usual polite self. "Oh, well. Maybe I misjudged him." Truth is, I pass slow drivers between Pine and the top of the hill near the Control Road because I am worried about them being ahead of me, and all over the road, after the four lane.

"He will get his lecture from grandma when the pills wear off. I want him to hear everything I say."

Add a few choice words for me. :-)

How anyone can have a one car accident on a clear road is beyond me. Because of the life I've led I have probably had to drive three to four times as far as most people, and have had exactly three accidents: 1. Drunk comes across four lane highway at night, at 65 mph, through flashing red light and stop sign and gets me (age 22). 2. Young woman loses a tread on recap, hits brakes (a really dumb move), spins across highway at 75 mph, and gets me just before I can exit from slow lane (age 58). 3. Young woman fails to see problem ahead in morning (kid's ball rolls into main road) which stops all traffic ahead of me; she hits driver behind me, who hits me. (age 61).

Lucky, right? All three times there was absolutely nothing I could have done to avoid the accident (other than to stay home and give up driving).

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Everyone should have to take a driving test and written test at least every five years. What scares me is now when anyone over 18 or maybe it is 21 gets a license it is good until they are 65 then we have to take a test and renew it every 5 yrs. Maybe everyone should have to take driving lessons before they get their first license.

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Ronald Hamric 1 year ago

Pat, I've always thought the driving test should be to negotiate Fossil Creek Road from Strawberry to the bottom, on a snowy day. If a person demonstrates they can handle really tough roads, the normal ones should be no problem. Isn't going to happen though. Just wishful thinking ;-).

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Ronald, I rode up Fossil Creek with my dad when it was snowing so much he kept wiping the windshield with his hand. We had a man from Okla. with us that was always terrified when we were on that road. However that day he was sitting back completely relaxed. Someone in the car asked him wasn't he afraid. His answer was hell no, I can't see over the cliff. True story.

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

"His answer was hell no, I can't see over the cliff."

That's why people who don't listen to the news are so happy.

"Pat, I've always thought the driving test should be to negotiate Fossil Creek Road from Strawberry to the bottom, on a snowy day."

Odd you should mention that, Ron. The police station that handled driving tests in New London was right across the street from a K-6 elementary school, with side road separating them. I went in, filled out the papers, came outside with the cop who was testing me, and waited till he said to go.

As I started the engine on my old 35 Chevy with stick shift and machanical brakes the school bell rang and here came the kids--all over the place, like ants coming out of a nest -- about 500 of them.

"Turn right," he told me.

I did, making my way through the cloud of kids crossing the road, not one of them in a crosswalk, of course.

I got through the kids and came to another small road. "Turn right," he told me.

A block down that road, he said, "Turn right." And when we came to the street on which we had started, having just gone around a very short block, he said, "Okay. Park 'er."

I stopped in front of the police station. He got out. So did I.

"That's it?" I asked.

"Hell! If you can make it through a cloud of kids like that you can drive anywhere."

That was my whole driving test. Took maybe 5 minutes.

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Tom, It was probably better than you thought if you missed all the kids.

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

Pat, I agreed with what he said. It's not so much how well people do with all the prepared checks; it's--I think--a certain attitude. To be honest with you, I forgot all about that copt being in the car while I was going through the kids. All that was on my mind was to get through them so that I could take my test, so I was just driving the way I would naturally drive.

I had been warned that they would take me up on Town Hill, the steepest road in town, make me stop, and then take off again without rolling even an inch backward. That's not easy to do with an old long stroke six, four on the floor, and the old stiff clutches.

Want to hear a funny one? My brother Charlie, who was the one who taught me, took me up on another hill, one away from the main traffic, and had me practice it. I did it without rolling backward an inch.

Charlie chuckled, so I asked, "Why are you laughing?"

"You're not going to have any trouble with the test; you did it in third gear. But let's try it in low now." :-)

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Kim Chittick 1 year ago

After reading all of your comments, you've got me laughing, as well as, thinking.

For me, personally, I don't buy the whole, "strange, unfamiliar roads" argument. I have driven all over the country. Even did a "straight through" run from Payson to North Carolina once. Mountain roads. Midwest interstates. Midwest toll-roads. Driven in the Bahamas. In Mexico. All over California. Oklahoma. North Dakota. Iowa. Minnesota and Wisconsin. Driven all sorts of vehicles on those roads to include a 40 foot moving truck, as well as a Ferrari 308 GTS. The trick is, keep your eyes open, your attention on the road, make sure that your vehicle is in good operating condition, and pay attention to the signs and to your fellow road warriors. Practice good road courtesy.

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

Kim,

I could agree with you more. I've driven the length and breadth of this country so many times moving from one base to another, or driving to some base to teach a course, that I long since lost track of how many times it was. There was one time when I drove from Kansas City, MO, to some little Air Force Base out in the sticks every day for 8 weeks straight. It was on 166, and I don't know if anyone has ever driven that road but there isn't a straight, or level, piece of it more than 30 feet long.

It just occurred to me that I have done the same thing over in the UK. On one of my rush-home-each-weekend-to-be-with-the-family drives I was stuck with a road you just would not believe, but which are quite common over there. Get this: A paved ONE lane country road with a speed limit of 70. When you have to pass someone going the other way, one of you has to stop and let the other one go by. No kidding!

I ask you: What would it be like if we had a road like that between Pine and Payson?

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Try driving 15 miles in the dark towing a 14ft trailer on a dirt road under construction between those dumb flashing lights on a post every 15 ft. About 8 inches on each side of the trailer. That was the worst 15 miles I ever drove. We were taking our grandson to Iowa to race his Go Kart in the Nationals and he just knew I was going to hit one of the lights and he wouldn't get to race. The road to Pine is a piece of cake now. Have driven it for at least 55 yrs. and it is wonderful compared to when I started. No power steering and had to shift gears when I started.(:

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Try driving 15 miles in the dark towing a 14ft trailer on a dirt road under construction between those dumb flashing lights on a post every 15 ft. About 8 inches on each side of the trailer. That was the worst 15 miles I ever drove. We were taking our grandson to Iowa to race his Go Kart in the Nationals and he just knew I was going to hit one of the lights and he wouldn't get to race. The road to Pine is a piece of cake now. Have driven it for at least 55 yrs. and it is wonderful compared to when I started. No power steering and had to shift gears when I started and it was dirt. (:

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Sorry I posted twice I went back to add the road was dirt. Didn't realize I had already hit the button.

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Bernice Winandy 1 year ago

According to the Payson Roundup, the woman involved in the accident was also involved in another accident on the same road earlier this summer.

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Kim Chittick 1 year ago

Tom and Pat...I just LOOOVE reading your reminisces!!!

Bernice, I do remember reading that!! Hmmmmm.

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

car accident. Some people are slow learners. Too bad others have to suffer because of it.

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

I read that too.

quote:

Almost a month before Tuesday’s accident, on June 20, Schwanbeck was reportedly driving to Pine when she nearly hit a truck pulling a horse trailer head-on.

The driver of the truck, Cassie Frausto, 19, said she was driving to the Payson rodeo grounds with a friend and her two horses, Pepsi and Cowboy.

As she rounded the corner north of the turnoff for the Tonto Natural Bridge, she said she spotted Schwanbeck’s white passenger vehicle driving erratically.

Frausto slowed down. But as she approached, Schwanbeck reportedly lost control of her vehicle and rolled.

Cassie said she swerved to avoid the rolling vehicle. The horse trailer came loose and went crashing down the embankment. Cassie feared for her horses, but they both ambled out of the trailer with only minor injuries.

Unquote

Because the sentence starting with "As she rounded the corner north of the turnoff..." does not say which vehicle was goes south, and which north, it's hard to tell exactly where the accident occurred, north of the four lane, or on the four lane. But there is no doubt that it says that Schwanbeck lost control of her vehicle and caused the accident.

It that is so, there must almost certainly be some fundamental problem here. Some kind of illness? Drugs? DUI? What? Until we hear more we won't have a clue what is going on.

But you know what makes me think? I always go to town on Tuesday, and have been seeing someone driving all over the place every doggone time I go. The latest accident happened on Tuesday at the exact time I was on my way home; had I been ten minutes earlier I would have been right where it happened. And back in June I made a change one week, and made an extra trip to town on a Sunday and saw someone driving across the double yellow line that day; and that was the last time she had an accident. I pay no attention to the color of cars because I am color blind. Could I have been seeing the same vehicle each time? Does that explain "all" the bad driving?

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Pat Randall 1 year ago

Tom, You are getting as bad as me. The person with the horse trailer was going south . You said she was going to the rodeo grounds in Payson from Pine. Do you know north and south? (:

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Bernice Winandy 1 year ago

Good point, Pat. I guess you have a "gotcha Tom" :-)

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Tom Garrett 1 year ago

Thanks, Pat. I didn't even read that paragraph. It was of no interest to me except for the fact that it said she was towing a horse trailer. But it's a big help that you caught the fact that she was going south. That means that Schwanbeck rolled her car on the four lane, in clear weather, on a dry day.

How do you do that? How in the world can you roll a car on a four lane plus continuous left turn road, on a straightaway, with nothing to threaten you or make you swerve?

I would really like to know if there was a blood alcohol test or drug test done.

Which reminds me....

Aha! Go to http://apps.supremecourt.az.gov/publicaccess/caselookup.aspx

Chelsea Schwanbeck age 27 (1985)

Or just Google Chelsea Schwanbeck.

Could be the wrong one, of course.

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

Bernice,

I doubt we will hear anything for a while. If the women is the same one who has been in other accidents this may be a big case.

Not talking about this case — not yet anyway — but about related ones, especially the Wrong-Way-Willie we all just read about yesterday, what can be done about people who lose their licenses for good reason and still continue to drive, including driving while drunk?

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Pat Randall 12 months ago

Many years ago the license was taken from your car. So if you went on the street the first officer that saw you would stop you and off to jail. Maybe we should have a law your car is taken away.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

I'm at the point where I am beginning to see the merit in Singapore's approach. Mess with drugs and it's the death penalty, no ifs, ands, or buts. Doesn't mean that approach has completely eradicated drug abuse in that country, but it is far less than we are suffering with here. At some point I think we are going to have to accept that these weak wristed approaches we have been relying on simply don't work and more draconian steps need to be evaluated. I won't hold my breath. It completely flabbergasts me that we can condone/legalize infanticide yet we are lo to take extreme measures against those who have shown/demonstrated a total disregard for the laws of social order and have demonstrated that they are a threat to everyone around them.

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

"Maybe we should have a law your car is taken away."

It would immediately be abused.

"those who have shown/demonstrated a total disregard for the laws of social order..."

Ron, do you realize what you are saying? "laws of social order..." That sounds like Harry Reid, Al Gore, and the rest of them.

The BIG problem with drugs is the drug laws themselves. Before we had them we did not have the focus on drugs that we have today. Shoot! Go to Seattle where pot is legal and see if it makes any difference. Answer, yes it does; it has kicked the really harmful drugs out the window and reduced drug related medical problems out the window with them. Laws that say what you can do with your own body interfere with our natural rights.

The trick is to separate the actual dangers from the imagined ones. Someone who thinks he can drive down the road weaving all over the place needs to be stashed in prison breaking rocks until he decides it's not a good idea. And if we would get off the %$#@! drug laws that have filled our prisons we would have plenty of room for people like that.

Put then in for so long, and work their butts so hard they NEVER want to do it again! But dump the unnecessary drug laws in the trash where they belong. Think about it. What sense does it make to make it illegal to get high on pot when it's perfectly legal to get as high as a kite on booze? It's not HOW you get that way that's important; it's WHAT YOU DO while you're high that counts.

I have avoided mentioning this several times because I have made my viewpoint as clear as air, but since you keep bringing it up. Abortion is the killing of a human being. Both scientifically and morally there is no question about that. All this "freedom of choice" crap is just that. You cannot "choose" to kill another human being in our society. So the real question on the table is whether or not the nation will condone the killing of the unborn, not one of "right of privacy." Hey! That's also what the Supreme Court ruling said. It did not say that there was any right to kill someone; it just ruled against a state law that was too invasive. Some day that issue will be revisited, take my word for it.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

Tom, I reference to "laws of social order..." , I am NOT referring to any of man's laws. Those are so screwed up it makes the mind whirl. When I speak of the Laws od Social Order I'm referring to natural laws. You know, like it is simply wrong for one person to take what belongs to another. It is wrong for one person to physically harm another. It is wrong for one to conduct themselves in a fashion that they are a danger to the welfare of those around them. Those types of laws have always existed in any civilized society without the need for some highly paid attorney to actually write them down and have them put in to "law" via legislation. As I posted with that link, no one knows how many written laws exist in the US. As far as I'm concerned, that circumstance warrants the total refusal of adherence to any of them. You know just like Obama and Holder. Simply ignore laws you don't agree with and if your in the enforcement business, simply ignore the enforcement of those laws you don't agree with. Of course the moment WE try that, the full weight and penalty would come down on us. You see, we just don't belong to that group of elites who are in control of this nation and can do pretty much whatever they want. That's a fact!!

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Bernice Winandy 12 months ago

Tom, you have previously expressed your views regarding the legalization of drugs. I cannot agree with your views on this matter.

Getting back to Wrong Way Willie. I believe that Pat has made a good suggestion. Remove the license plate from the car.

There are ways of keeping habitual offenders off the road. I happen to know an individual who after being caught driving intoxicated several times, was declared an alcoholic and told he could not get a driver's icense unless he attended AA and reformed. I do not know if his wife had to make this declaration. He has not attended AA and has not reformed and to this day he cannot get a driver's license. Now all we need are people who refuse to let him use their car. His wife will NOT let him use the their car and he has not driven for the passt 15 years. Sadly, he still drinks. He is very good at covering up his condition. However, anyone familiar with the "signs" can recognize them.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

Bernice,

I'm with you on the drug issue. I spent an awful lot of my career on the streets dealing with the results of drug abuse. It couldn't be easier to get if they were giving it free at WalMart. Although after all those years seeing what I saw, I agree with Tom, that laws are not going to solve the problem. Like you pointed out in your reference to DUI's, whatever the "law" does to someone such as the person you mentioned. it does not have much impact on that self destructive behavior they are tied into. I'll let you in on a small bit of info regarding the young lady who had the back to back accidents between Pine and Payson. She is the grand-niece of a couple I know. The cars she was driving in both cases were not her cars, they belonged to relatives. Under our current approach in dealing with these folks that endanger us all, passing more laws or even enforcing the ones currently on the books, is not going to bring back the innocent person/s they will eventually kill.

Do I have a solution? Not one that is presently acceptable to our society at large. We are too passionate and sympathetic towards others than to take the "extreme" steps that seem to be the only alternative left. I suppose I've become resigned to the situation and feel it is simply one of those social issues I can effectively do nothing about except as regards my own personal conduct.

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

"When I speak of the Laws od Social Order I'm referring to natural laws. You know, like it is simply wrong for one person to take what belongs to another. It is wrong for one person to physically harm another."

Gotcha. Natural laws. Had me worried there for a minute.

"Tom, you have previously expressed your views regarding the legalization of drugs. I cannot agree with your views on this matter."

Fine, Bernice. I think of you as a person who believes in the rights of the individual over the opinion of controlling people, but we all draw a line somewhere in any issue, and if yours is drawn in a different place from mine, it's something I genuinely respect.

Here are my feelings on the subject, which may help.

First, I believe that something is only wrong when it harms someone else; what you do to yourself is your business. I even include suicide in that, although I strongly agree that trying to help people who are suicidal is something we must do.

Secondly, I believe that in deciding what should be illegal it should be the effect of what something does that should be considered. Since the effect of alcohol and — say — pot are essentially the same it is just plain wrong to make one a criminal offense and the other perfectly legal.

Third, the evidence is very clear that when things like pot (I hate wasting time and effort typing the longer word, by the way; that's why I use the slang term) and cocaine are legal the use of other, far more dangerous, drugs, drops dramatically, and even sometimes almost quits. Therefore, it only makes sense to legalize a few essentially harmless things which are now illegal.

Fourth, it is obvious that things like heroin, and medicines with serious side effects, should be controlled, but the emphasis should be on control, not on prosecution for their use. Where there should be criminal charges is for those who produce and sell such things. When essentially harmless drugs are legal, the use of such things drops so dramatically that controlling them becomes far easier.

Fifth, a great deal of the problem with drugs lies in the teen population, where minds are not yet fully formed and wrong choices have always been made. The kids who want to smoke or drink too early are going to do it no matter how much we try to tell them how stupid it is. Our current drug laws force the little idiots to go into medicine cabinets and drag out things that are far more dangerous than pot. If fools are going to do stupid things, it's a lot better to have booze, pot, and tobacco be what they do them with. I am NOT saying we should enable such things; I am just saying that if we could quit spending billions trying to stop people from doing what they are going to do anyway, we could put a few of those bucks into stopping the flow of the really dangerous substances.

That's about it. l might add that I have never used an illegal drug, and when I was in places where they were legal I didn't use them there either.

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

"Getting back to Wrong Way Willie. I believe that Pat has made a good suggestion. Remove the license plate from the car."

It's a thought, but it would immediately be abused. What if someone else in the family drives? And even if that's not true, how does the person, or his family, do their shopping?

Plus which, if there is anything that angers me it's the way the state abuses its powers by charging people for every thing the state does. The minute they started taking away plates they would charge an arm and a leg to put them back. It's the same scam they use when they require people to go to someone every month or whatever. You'd croak if you knew how many state employees ride a desk to the bank every month — doing absolutely nothing of any use. It's a racket, and it is promoted — as always — by the bureau chiefs.

Bernice, I agree with you that someone who cannot reform should simply lose his right to drive. I would not require AA, however. It is a religious group. Some similar, non-religious group should be offered as an alternate for those who want it.

Ron, you said a mouthful. I especially agree with you that the punishments we mete out do not fit the crime. A case like that woman is an extreme, and the punishment should be just as extreme.

And I also agree with your implied comment that current DUI law are crap. They hit the one time offender and the easy targets, and the limits are set far too low for political reasons. They do nothing about the habitual drunks and the druggies like that woman, who are the ones we need to nail. I have many times, while driving home from teaching a late course in Phoenix, seen cop cars positioned to catch people coming out of bars. Bah! That's quota filling.

I would stick that woman in prison, and tell her that when she genuinely decides to change she can get out. But what I would hang over her head is the threat of spending the rest of her natural life in a cell if she does it again.

Simple, ruin HER life instead of letting her ruin someone else's life.

And get off the minor stuff! That's all for show!

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

Tom,

Whoa! I don't hardly know where to start, so will begin with this one. "First, I believe that something is only wrong when it harms someone else; what you do to yourself is your business." The implication in your view is that drug abusers/alcoholics are somehow isolated from the society at large and pose no threat to others, only themselves. I KNOW you don't believe that, or else I missed the gist of your point. Seen too many examples of other people injured or killed by someone's right to do whatever they want with their body. How do you propose to keep all those using drugs and alcohol abusively, separated from all others in society, especially their immediate family members? I'll stay tuned for your proposals, and please make sure they are actually viable proposals.

" Since the effect of alcohol and — say — pot are essentially the same it is just plain wrong to make one a criminal offense and the other perfectly legal." I concur, but the logic in that position is that because we have one tremendously dangerous problem that we attempted to correct through prohibition (which failed), that justifies approving even more of such social problems. On that point, I can't agree.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

"...pot ..... and cocaine are legal..". I told this story before, but it bears repeating as it comes from real world experience. When we would respond on these folks who abuse drugs and alcohol, I was always amazed with how down and out they always were. I'd ask them, "How in the world did you come to this point?" More often than not the reply would be "Well me and some friends were toking a few joints and that stuff just wasn't getting it done anymore, so we thought we'd try some of that other stuff". That other stuff being heroin, cocaine, meth, PCP, etc. Pot is a "gateway" drug. Certainly no more or less than alcohol when abused, but it has that effect. Cocaine is what we referred to as "spiral addiction". Once you take that first "hit" you will chase that euphoric feeling again and again. And with cocaine, you never can get enough to get you back to that first "high". At some point, heavy users even resort to free-basing in an effort to capture that first euphoria. Usually we will end up body bagging them after they overdose. The human body will tolerate only so much.

I've expressed my proposals on a viable solution to the drug problem before but I'll repeat it. Legalize are currently controlled substances. Make them all as cheap as possible, as strong as possible, and as readily available as possible. For those among us who simply cannot face life without some mind altering substance, let them have all they want. In a VERY short time they will take themselves out of the gene pool. Certainly society will pay a huge price in the interim, but eventually when the bodies start stacking up, and they will, folks will begin to accept that such conduct has the same result as jumping off the Empire State building, and sane people will have no part in such activity.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

" Where there should be criminal charges is for those who produce and sell such things."

I used to be a "tour guide" for ski clubs. Went to Canada and many other places with these groups. On one occasion me and one of my fellow guides, took the LA City Department of Water & Power Ski Club to Vail, Colorado. Now you need to appreciate that Vail is the "playground of the rich and famous". People such as the Kennedy's, Gerald Ford's, and others very high up in political office, along with many large corporations CEO,s , stock brokers, movie stars and the like. Pretty much the "upper crust" of America's elite society. Now Vail is a "no vehicles" enclave. If you want to get around in Vail Village, you walk or take a shuttle. On our first morning there, we were walking from our hotel to the nearest ski lift. On the way we pass all these businesses catering to the needs of the "upper crust". What I saw really stunned me. In almost every ski shop, the front of the display windows was occupied with silver or gold plated "coke" straws, silver or gold razor blades, "bongs" and assorted other drug paraphernalia . Anything having to do with skiing was all in the back of the displays. Whoa! And this is the place where all those folks that are supposed to be prosecuting the "War on Drugs" hang out.

As with many ski resorts, Vail has a half-way lodge so one doesn't have to come off the mountain to eat lunch or use the restrooms. Stopped there for lunch and other things, As I was taking care of the "other things" in the men's restroom, my head was literally engulfed in a cloud of marijuana smoke that banked down from the ceiling to halfway to the floor. Not a doper, but I got my first introduction to how powerful "second hand smoke" is. -cont'd-

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

-cont'd- That evening, my buddy and I along with some in the group we were "guiding" went to one of the restaurants in the village. The place was fairly darkened and we soon found out why. As soon as one's eyes acclimated you could see folks, with no concern , doing lines of cocaine right on the top of their tables, or else using that extra long small finger nail to stuff it up their noses. The drug trade that was going on in the restrooms was unmistakable.

Now what's the point of this little true story? If you don't know who the top of the chain customers are for the really high cost drugs in this nation, then you are blind or willfully ignorant. The very people who hold themselves up to be the "righteous stalwarts" of society in this nation are the biggest drug users going. That includes politicians, CEO's, movie stars, doctors, lawyers, etc. If that is the case, and it is, then the war on drugs is a phoney war, because those charged with prosecuting that war are the drug trades biggest enablers. If they drug tested every congressional staffer, aide, and the congress critters themselves, the truth would be readily apparent. Even our esteemed President is on record doing dope. There are even pictures out there of him "toking", when he was younger of course. Yeah! Right.

The truth is that the people I've listed above are to some degree worse than those in the ghettos and barrios, and other poor class neighborhoods who are involved in drugs, either dealing, manufacturing, or using. These "elitists" would have you believe they are above all that. They are not. It is a lie and a sham. They are most likely profiting big time from the trade themselves or have friends or associates who are and have no intent on doing anything to undermine their little business ventures. They may allow legalization of pot, because that is a "gateway drug" to the more expensive stuff they trade in. More potential customers for them. That's reality.

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Pat Randall 12 months ago

Tom, AA is one of the greatest org. I know. It was not made on religion. The biggest problem is you have to want to stop drinking or doing drugs. Just turning up at meetings won't do it if you don't want to be helped. We had a family member who was an alcoholic from the age of probably 17. His parents had him locked up in a place on Camelback road in Phoenix to get him sober and on the straight and narrow. He had a fifth of whiskey before they were out of sight. Everything in the world was done to get and keep him sober. Finally he admitted he was a drunk and wanted to be sober. He joined AA and never had a drink for 10 yrs. So he quit going to meetings. Decided he could have one beer and that wouldn't hurt anything. Then the next week he had two, wasn't long before he was lost again. One of his friends from AA came to talk to him and got him back to the meetings. Cont.

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Pat Randall 12 months ago

As long as he attended the meetings at least once a week he was fine. He did slip a few times. His wife found out if she put a couple of drops of syrup of ipecac in his beer it would make him sick and he would go back to the meetings. He was one of the finest men I ever knew. Smart, nice, could fix anything, would do anything to help anyone drunk or sober. Without AA he would have been dead by the time he was 40. I could probably name 40 or more people in the area who are alcoholics but don't drink as long as they attend the meetings. Most have businesses and are very successful. You may even know some of them but not their history with AA. There is also another group kind of connected to AA for wives, relatives or whatever of alcoholics to help them better understand alcoholics and survive living with them. Don't knock AA. It is the best thing for any one with a drinking problem. Jail won't help them except for the time they are there. There is no medicine to help them. It just makes them sick if they are taking it and take a drink of alcohol. OK lecture over.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

Pat,

Not sure if you are aware that one who has an alcohol/drug abuse problem, can get a Social Security Disability if that abuse caused "other" medical issues and if stopping the drug and alcohol abuse would not alleviate that "other" medical issue. It could be paranoia or other mental issues, physical issues, etc. The policies are sort of vague as regards "current abuse" and the Social Security and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) imply that they take it on a case by case basis. Bottom line, if you are/were and alcohol/drug abuser and it created other health issues, your are eligible for Disability benefits. On a personal note, I have seen few abusers who haven't caused themselves "other" health issues by their substance abuse. Ever seen a long time Meth user up close? Or someone who uses crack? Not pretty.

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Pat Randall 12 months ago

Yes, I am aware and I don't think they should get disability. They will only use it to buy more drugs. I had an aunt that had been a bartender most of her life. She got arthritis in her hands so bad her fingers were all twisted and she could not tend bar anymore. Went to get disability in Oregon where she lived at the time. She was turned down, and the lady behind the desk told her all the younger people she saw in there would get it because they used drugs. That's justice??

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

"...or else I missed the gist of your point."

Right. Just read it again. "First, I believe that something is only wrong when it harms someone else; what you do to yourself is your business."

That covers the entire gamut, from drinking to suicide. The key is the phrase "when it harms someone else." If you go home, sit down, and get drunk you are NOT harming someone else. If you get drunk, get in your car, and kill someone, you ARE harming someone else. Punish the crime, not the non-crime. That's the trouble with progressives: They want to make everyone "perfect." They want no one to have access to anything they don't like, including alcohol, tobacco, and firearms (does that have familiar ring to it?).

If you are trying to say that people should be punished because they represent a "potential" threat to society, I hope you vote a straight Democratic ticket next time and bring in your carry permit because you just voted against yourself. You can't have it both ways: either people are free to be themselves as long as they harm no one else, or they are not free. Period!

"How do you propose to keep all those using drugs and alcohol abusively, separated from all others in society, especially their immediate family members?"

If and when they commit a crime then deal with them. Until then, they are free men and women. Do YOU drink? Should we jail YOU for drinking to save humanity from you?

Holy mackerel!

" I concur, but the logic in that position is that because we have one tremendously dangerous problem that we attempted to correct through prohibition (which failed), that justifies approving even more of such social problems."

I didn't say that, you did.

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Ronald Hamric 12 months ago

" Since the effect of alcohol and — say — pot are essentially the same it is just plain wrong to make one a criminal offense and the other perfectly legal." Tom Garrett 1 day, 4 hours ago

Are you not implying that since alcohol is legal and yet equally as harmful as pot which is illegal, that pot and alcohol use should be equal under the law? You are not proposing we revisit prohibition of alcohol are you? Alcohol is legal while the Feds still classify pot as a controlled substance. Of course, the Feds have chosen once again to ignore the enforcement of their very own laws or else every pot head in Washington State and Colorado would be under Federal prosecution. Either change it or enforce it, I say! And if that is not what you are proposing, pray tell what was your point of the disparity in the law?

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Tom Garrett 12 months ago

Pat,

I admire AA. Always have. But the government cannot send an individual to a religious organization; therefore we can't have a law which sends people to AA. And if you think it is not a religious organization, drop in on a meeting. That's all it will take to convince you.

I'm just being logical, that's all. Nothing against AA.

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Bernice Winandy 12 months ago

Tom, I think your resolution to the drug issue is too simplistic. I believe it is impossible to abuse drugs without ultimately harming someone other than yourself. You may develop health problems and with no insurance because you cannot work because of your habit you get Medicaid. If you are a parent you are definitely setting a poor example for your children. If you are married, you are not living up to your marital promises.

In other words in order to abuse drugs and not harm anyone, you would have to have an unending supply of money, live alone and have home delivery of your drug of choice, etc.

There are no easy, simple answer to the drug problem. However, aggressively going after the suppliers might be the best route.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Bernice, you just brought up all the arguments used by people who would turn us into slaves who do what THEY think is right.

The exact same arguments can be made about eating fatty foods, drinking soft drinks, not exercising enough, eating beef and pork, and literally anything we do. ANYTHING I do hurts you in some way. ANYTHING you do hurts me in some way.

Those arguments do not hold water.

In the first place they are contrary to the very principles of freedom upon which this nation was created.

And secondly, the damage that over-controlling laws do to all of us when an attempt is made to enforce them is FAR worse that the "harm" they are intended to stop, which, by the way, they do not even make a dent in.

At the moment more than 40% of all the people in prison in this country are there for drug related crimes. That financial burden placed upon us by trying to legislate what people can do is a large part of the reason why our nation is broke.

Just go see how much money is wasted on BATF, drug enforcement, and prisons. Your taxes would drop so fast if we went back to the laws of 1912 that you would hardly know what to do with all the money.

Prohibition does NOT work. It never has worked. It never will work.

And what was so bad about 1912? Were we up to our hips in druggies? No!

Why not?

No profit in it. No pushers. No one tempting kids to try something so they can sell it to them.

Go look at countries where drugs are legal. They are literally ignored.

I am not talking though my hat. I have been there, lived in those countries for years, and seen what a non-issue drugs are.

Our laws are just plain stupid.

Hey! Pot is now legal in Colorado and Washington State. Go take a look. Has the world ended over there?

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 4 weeks ago

An alcoholic or a drug addict parent harms their children. Doctors and nurses can tell you a lot about babies that are born addicted to drugs. Serious birth defects have been traced back to alcoholism and drug addiction. __Downey, Jr, the actor became addicted to drugs as a child because his father and his friends gave him drugs.

The point I am trying to make is simply that more should be done about going after the supplier of illegal drugs. Do you agree?

Amersterdam has a legal red light district. They don't seem to have any problems with this district. Does that mean we should legalize prostitution here. They also have legalized some drugs. I am not sure if it is just pot or other things, too. I hear good and bad reports on this matter in Amsterdam.

By the way when we were in Amsterdam, the bus driver happened to take a wrong turn. Lo and behold we were driving through the red light district. Semi dressed women sitting in store front windows. Quite a sightfor these old Yankee eyes. When I realized what I was seeing all I could say was, O my.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Bernice,

A. I apologize. I was too hard on you. It was the last post of the day and I was tired, but I should have said some things I didn't say. i should have said that I understand where you are coming from. And that there is no way that I condone anyone doing things like drinking and driving, or driving while stoned. I feel no need for drugs, nor have ever felt that need, or ever used one. I've been in countries where it was perfectly legal to go to the corner drugstore and buy a milkshake with pot in it. I never even so much and looked. It's a total non-issue with me.

B. What I said in A does not excuse the fact that I was so doggone one-sided.

Here's the bottom line: We do more real damage than good when we go overboard. If we stop, took a look at reality, realize a few things, and work out a middle ground solution the entire nation gains

Pot, for example, is in and of itself almost harmless. It has fewer side effects both the short run and the long run as alcohol. There is no logical reason for it to be illegal. And there's the other side of that coin; by making it illegal we create a vast profit-making underground.

The Best thing? Legalize it. Period! They've done that in two states now and there have been no bad effects; in fact the effects have been positive. So we made a mistake? Fine. It's not undoable.

And having said that, we need to take a look at every drug law we have and make a rational decision. Most of them will stay illegal because they don't just create a euphoria, but actually damage organs. It's fine that they stay illegal, just as there is no logical reason to allow medical drugs to be prescribed by someone who does not know the dangers.

Society has a right — even a responsibility — to control genuinely harmful substances which have no redeeming qualities. Heroin, for example, should never become legal. When pot, and perhaps some other drugs I know nothing about become legal, cheap, and plentiful there will be no need for things like meth et al. They exist mainly because it is so hard to produce or procure pot without being caught at it and jailed.

There will always be a few odd people who will seek out and find destructive drugs like heroin. There is little we can do about that. We can keep it illegal to produce or sell things like that, but not to use them. We can do our best to help addicts, jail the suppliers, and do some things we now do. But taking a non-criminal approach to much of the drug issue is the only sensible road. The billions it is costing us bring us no success.

As to prostitution? From a moral viewpoint I am obviously opposed to it. From a legal standpoint I just think the laws should require that it take place in locations that are out of sight, and that the policy of the nation should be to make it plain that while we allow it, we do not condone it.

By the way, you've mentioned "Yankee" twice now. What part of Yankee-Land do you hail from?

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the man should be arrested the same time they arrest the prostitute. I think the police could do more good doing something besides using entrapment to arrest the prostitutes. What is the difference in paying up front, or taking a woman out to dinner and then going somewhere and 'sleep' together?

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I do not use the term Yankee in the true sense when I apply it to myself. I use the term as a substitute for American. I hail from the midwest -- the area of the country which is known for producing the most level headed people in the U.S. O the slings and arrows that are coming my way; I 'm running, I'm running! I had better start dancing!! :-)

Actually I grew up in Milwaukee, which when I was a kid had a real true live Socialist for a mayor. The mayor actually lived in what could be called "my extended neighborhood," Now I know all of you are going to say, so that is where she got it.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, My father in-law who I loved dearly was the man I was talking about before. He was in AA for at least 30 years. I have a copy of the first book that the man that started AA wrote along with some others and have read them. AA is not a religious organization. They do talk about a higher power but you don't have to believe in any religion to attend meetings and participate. No one is required to pray or believe in a higher power. They are independent people that admit they have a problem and want help.
The people that are ordered to go there will not get any thing from the meetings until they admit they are alcoholic.

To lighten up a little, I am probably the only bar owner that furnished a building across from my bar for the AA to meet. Coffee pot and all. No they didn't go to the meetings and then come in and drink alcohol at the bar. They drank more coffee and soda pop.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"I think the man should be arrested the same time they arrest the prostitute."

Personally, I think they should arrest neither of them.

"What is the difference in paying up front, or taking a woman out to dinner and then going somewhere and 'sleep' together?"

In a humorous vein, and depending on things like the era, the class of the restaurant, and the price of the motel room, I would say it would be in the range of from 20 to 2000 bucks.

But being serious, there are so many possibly aspects of that evening out to consider it's an impossible question to answer.

"I do not use the term Yankee in the true sense...."

Of course you do. To someone outside this country we're all Yankees, especially in the home country. Could tell you stories about that.

"...the area of the country which is known for producing the most level headed people in the U.S."

"I'm running!"

Too late! :-)

"They do talk about a higher power...."

Which, though you may not know it, is the reason they do not get through to a portion of those they could help. Some people immediately reject that approach, and so they just walk away from AA. If they've be required to go there they do it mentally. There should be an alternative. And I'll say it again, so that I don't stir up a hornets nest of comments. I respect AA and think they do good.

"No they didn't go to the meetings and then come in and drink alcohol at the bar."

Well, of course not, Pat.

It's much more fun to do it the other way around. Then you can doze a little while all those people talk. :-)

Sorry. Sometimes I just cannot pass up a joke.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, The AA members that used my little office bldg. were serious about living sober. It was not a court order group. There were no bibles or religious sermons of any kind.

I left out part of the story about the bldg. On Monday nights the poker players used it to play poker as the liquor dept. said it was illegal for them to play in the bar. Their wives wouldn't let them play at home. The single ones lived in really small places so there wasn't room there. There was a kitchen like cabinet in there where they kept their liquor and cards to drink and play poker. Never once was the liquor touched by the AA members. It was next to the coffee for the AA members. Every one in town thought I was nuts, but there was no place for them to go and both groups kept it clean.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Pat, I think the AA 12 steps has a religious tone. I feel the religious tone is not a negative. I also feel that the tone is not particular to any one religion.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

That's nice, Pat. Very caring.

As to the religious tone, I am not speaking in generalities. I'm being very practical. What do I mean? I have known, and now know, people who will not go to AA because of it. That means AA loses some people they could help. That's the only objection I have to them.

Funny, but true, story. One day while I was stationed in Utah, and for reasons I do not know, we had a squadron meeting in some auditorium, probably the base theater. Some ex-drunk came and talked to us. Oddly enough, he was British, with a strong accent. He didn't talk for long, which was good thing because dragging a thousand guys to an auditorium to listen to a talk about booze is likely to get you a hostile audience.

He had a good sense of humor, though, which was a saving grace. He told us how his wife used to get on him, especially about his drinking, but her nagging was the basic reason he drank. He would have dumped her but he did not believe in divorce.

The only part I remember is the funny part. He said he was really struggling to give up drinking, but her nagging kept driving him back to the bottle. He never told her about it when he was trying to dry out because she just got on him all the worse. One time, he'd been sober for about four weeks, he said, and finally he just had to have a drink after she had been on him all day.

He polished off half a water glass of whiskey and went into their den to relax. Wife came in and saw him quietly watching TV.

"See?" she said. "See how nice you can be when you don't drink?"

Got a good laugh. :-)

He was off the booze and had been for a long time. He didn't say whether or not he had divorced his wife. I think he did, but didn't want to say it.

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