Monthly Archives: September 2013

I think that we should ban all red Ford F-150’s

Okay, before Ford or Ford drivers start responding in anger, let me finish.  I don’t blame the truck or the alcohol for the crash.

This is why I am so insistent on using the term Drunk/Impaired  Drivers instead of Driving.  People so often want to blame the problem on the alcohol. The last time I checked, a bottle of wine or a two-four of beer cannot drive a vehicle by themselves.  Nor can a vehicle do Tequila shots.  The problem with blaming the alcohol is that we are taking the responsibility for the act away from the person that chose to drink, that chose to get drunk, that chose to dig their keys out of their pocket/purse, that chose to walk to their vehicle, that chose to unlock their vehicle, that chose to climb into their vehicle, that chose to put the key into the ignition, that chose to turn that key, that chose to put their car in gear, that chose to attempt to drive it home.

Yes, Drunk Driving does kill but more importantly Drunk Drivers kill other , innocent people.  People that are just going about their daily lives – driving to and from work, taking their kids to their activities and school, driving to and from the cottage or camping or vacation – are killed every day by someone that has made a conscious decision to break the law. It’s simple, in Canada, Impaired Drivers kill innocent people EVERY SINGLE DAY.  That number does not include the Impaired Drivers, only the victims. They have weighed  the risk of getting caught and the measly penalty that they may incur versus your and your family’s safety.  Guess what ? You lose.

I have repeatedly heard the same story where the victim of a drunk driver invariably is blamed by the courts. ‘ You pulled out too soon, you pulled out too late, you didn’t drive defensively enough, you shouldn’t have driven down that road, you should have known there was a blind spot, you should have reacted faster ‘(forget that they didn’t react at all), I could go on and on.  Hello???  Has anyone else heard of “Victim Blaming”?  It’s just not acceptable in this country in this day and age and yet we, as Canadians, allow it every single day.

I say we have reached the point where we need to make a choice .  We ban alcohol, we ban all vehicles from driving, or we stop blaming everything but the drunk driver and actually hold them accountable for their actions and  enforce the laws and penalties ,as we expect them  to be, when someone chooses to drive drunk.

 

 

How to Save a Life

 

I seem to have a music theme going this week.  But in keeping with the song’s message, this is “how to save a life”.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this woman is a hero in my books.  So, if anyone knows someone in Montreal that is looking for help, please pass her name along.  Heaven knows, we don’t punish the Drunk Drivers in this country but perhaps we should at least recognize the people that stop them.

 

Montreal waitress fired after stopping drunken patron from driving home

By  | Daily Brew – 20 hours ago

 

Sometimes reason and civic duty are ignored, thrown out of the window and even punished in the face of threatened legal action.

That, at least, is what one Montreal-area waitress learned when she was fired from her job after stopping a drunken patron from driving home.

CBC News reports that Valerie Couturier was fired from a Montreal-area restaurant after an Aug. 16 incident in which she called the police and blocked an intoxicated customer from taking his car into traffic.

Traffic in which you could have been driving, or one of your loved ones could have been driving. On streets filled with unsuspecting pedestrians and other innocent bystanders.

Couturier had just finished a shift and was visiting with friends when a visibly intoxicated customer began to leave.

[ Related: Religious minorities face threat as Quebec values charter released ]

“Me and my friend tried to stop him and ask him if he wanted to call a cab,” she told the network, adding that the man was insistent on taking his car home. “The guy just took his keys and left.”

In a Facebook post, translated from French, Couturier said that they took the man’s car keys and wallet, and waited with him until police arrived.

Officers eventually drove the man home, and no charges were laid. But that couldn’t be the end of the dram, now could it?

What comes next? Couturier is fired and her boss admits that it was connected to that event, although he won’t talk about it thanks to the threat of litigation. Not that the restaurant fears that Couturier will sue, but because it seems there is concern the customer will.

This is precious. It is not clear what the argument is, but Canadians bars and restaurants that serve alcohol have a “duty of care” to protect the public from obviously inebriated customers.

[ More Brew: 9/11 ‘truther’ billboards appear in Canadian cities ]

The restaurant knows this. In a Facebook post, it cites a company policy on how to handle drunk customers, which includes calling police as a final measure.

Regardless, Couturier is now without a job. But at least she still has her conscience and her principles, which will take her a lot farther in this world.

 

Well I just never saw that one coming…

I heard a story last week that broke my heart.  A young girl (18 years old) was hit by a Drunk Driver.  She is now a quadriplegic , amputee, she’s had strokes because of the crash. The Drunk Driver had been convicted 3 times prior of Drunk Driving offences.   Even after all of that happened to her, he still only lost his licence for 10 years (18months in an alcohol rehab facility).

I often wonder what goes through the courts collective heads when they allow someone with multiple convictions for Driving Drunk/Impaired to continue driving.

I also wonder what they say when the person goes on to kill/severely injure someone.  “Well, we just never saw that coming.”

I wonder if they’re the same people that stand on the beach watching to see if the storm surge from a hurricane will really be as big as predicted.

I wonder how the prosecution and sentencing would change if, instead of sending the Impaired Drivers to jail the Defence Attorney, the Crown Prosecutor and the Judge were all give provisional sentences for everyone they allowed back on the road.  If the Drunk Driver re-offends, then all of them go to jail instead.  Something tells me that may be the only way we get the courts to listen and take this seriously.

Blame it on the ….

“Blame it on the Alcohol” is the name of a song, not a valid defence.  Here are some of the excuses that I have heard for drunk drivers not being charged after they have injured or killed someone:

1.  In order to be charged, they must be able to form malicious intent but they are not able to form malicious intent when they are drunk.

2. I didn’t realize I was that drunk.

3. It was only his first offence.

4. He/She’s just a kid.  This will ruin the rest of their life.

5. The other driver pulled out in front of them.  They only had 3 seconds to react.  They never had time.

So, here is my reply to those (I’m sure there are others, please feel free to send them to me.  I can put them in my book.  I’m thinking the title should be “Drunk Driving for Dummies.”). I will give appropriate responses to each in order.

1. Did they plan another way home before they started working their way through that two-four of beer? No.  Then I guess they formed malicious intent when they were still sober.

2.  Just how drunk did you realize you were?

3. So….. what other offences can they get away with the first time?  Murder, break and enter, armed robbery??? Ju-u-u-s-t checkin.

4.  At least they still have a life.  That’s more than they gave my _______ (fill in appropriate loved one)

5.  Did you know that air marshals are taught that it only takes 3 seconds to hijack a plane.  So they are trained to prevent a hijacking in less than 3 seconds?  A space shuttle launch can be aborted in less than 3 seconds.  Basketball’s 3 second rule.  72% of people judge another person within the first 3 seconds of meeting them.  The “Intelligent Knife” can tell surgeons if tissue is cancerous within 3 seconds.  40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds for it to load.  The Concorde could travel 1 mile in 3 minutes. And last, but not least, the Abbotsford Heat scored 2 goals within 3 seconds in the AHL.

It would seem that a lot can be accomplished in 3 seconds.

Why am I doing this to myself?

Day 38 of my blog.  I started on August 3 and today is September 10.  There have been many days when I am wading through government statistics and reports, or papers written on “what we need to do”, or “what the cost will be”, or the Charter of Rights issues for the Impaired Drivers and truthfully I am sitting at my computer crying.  I’m crying, not just for the 1055 days, 25,320 hours, 1,519,200 minutes, or 91,152,000 seconds that we have had to live without Gracie but also for the 4220 people that have been killed by Impaired Drivers since Gracie.  Or the 185,000 people injured by Impaired Drivers..  

Then I start typing again because in the 38 days that I have been doing this blog there have been 152 Killed by Impaired Drivers in Canada and 6750 Injured Survivors of Impaired Drivers in Canada.

While our governments have been playing politics, we are being killed and maimed.  If only Impaired Drivers took vacations.

Message From a Friend – Mackenzie S.

This post is from a friend of our family, Mackenzie S.   In an application for a Me to We scholarship from Free the Children and BlackBerry, Mackenzie wrote:

“Are people sent into our lives for a reason?  Are we all given a purpose?  Who I am today has been sparked from an eleven year old girl who seems to have life figured out. She taught me three things:

one – to always give back and be an inspiration,

two – to discover who I am and run with it,

three – to go for more dreams.

I want to touch the lives of those around me. I want to be the person sent into someone’s life, to be the person that motivates them. I want to have a purpose and make a difference.”

The 11-year old that Mackenzie was talking about was our daughter Gracie.  In her short life, she had a profound effect on so many people.

These are the kind of people that we are losing every day to Drunk Drivers.

I, too, want to give back by getting the laws changed for the next generation and inspire all of you to help me in doing that.  I am and will always be Gracie’s Mom but now I need to rediscover who I am, which is becoming an activist, and run with it.  My dream is that no parent will ever have to experience what my family has been forced to endure.

Sadly, I have discovered that it is a big dream.  It’s not something that I can do alone.  So I have had to learn to ask for help, which is what I’m doing now.

I am going for my dream.  Please join me in making my dream a reality.

Drunk Driving for Dummies

 

If you drive drunk — you’re a Dummy.   Short and sweet and to the point.

Oh wait — you’re also a criminal.  Nuff said.

 

Langley, B.C. Event Tonight for those that are NOT DUMMIES

BKT

 

This particular event is not for Dummies.  If you are in the neighbourhood of Langley, B.C. stop by and say “Hi” to Sheri and Markita for me.  The will be there for Families For Justice.  They are also fighting for us to be heard and counted.  If you get there and meet them, could you please give them both a hug from Julie in Ontario.  I have not yet met them, only spoken and emailed but we share the same “hole in our hearts”.

Have a safe weekend everyone.

How to decorate your shoes

How do you decorate the shoes to represent someone that you loved?  How do you sum up everything that you loved about them in one little pair of shoes?  Well, the simple answer is that you don’t.  Don’t think of them as one pair of shoes to squeeze in everything, think of it more as a quilt with each shoe being a panel.  Make a “quilt” with shoes for each victim/survivor.  Get together as a group and each pick a theme/hobby/colour/something that made them special to you.  Then each of you can share materials and spend a day putting the shoes together and going through pictures.  Make a day to share what you love and what you miss about them.

As an example, my husband is doing her flippers because she was going to be his scuba buddy.  I am debating between her love of all things Scooby-Doo or her first dance costume (a bumble bee) or the words of wisdom and humour that she had for all of us.  Her old babysitter told me the other night that she was going to donate a pair of plain white shoes and not put anything on them because the first time that Grace met Gill’s boyfriend (husband now), she was buck naked (which was also her favourite outfit).  Another close friend (who claims to be artistically challenged, is just going to put the shoes backwards because he always remembered that Grace wore her shoes on the wrong feet and could never tell.

Most importantly, just get together, share stories, celebrate their life, have a good laugh at the fun memories and a good cry over missing them but do it together.  The whole idea of this project for me was to recognize each person’s community of family and friends and what we have all lost.  So be a community for a day.

Then pack up the shoes, with pictures and stories and send them to me so that the rest of Canada can see them as you do.

PS – I need them by October 15th so that I can get them to Ottawa.  And let me know on the website how many are coming so that I have enough transportation.  My biggest hope is that I have to call in favours for trailers to get them there.

Definitions

JOY\’joi\n. 1.  feelings of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind.  2. a pleasurable aspect of something, or something that is seen as a source of happiness.

Use in a sentence – ” It’s important to find joy in even the smallest tasks.”

You may be wondering why I put that definition in.  This was taped to Gracie’s bookcase beside her bed.  It was the first thing that she saw in the morning and the last thing that she saw at night.  It’s easy to remember our children as perfect.  Gracie wasn’t perfect (for one, she hated being called Gracie – and let me know it regularly) but she firmly believed that her purpose was to, not only find the joy in everything that she did, but to share joy as well with everyone that she met.

MISTAKE\n. 1. an error or fault resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness.  2. a misconception or misunderstanding.  3. an error in action, calculation, opinion or judgement caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge

Use in a sentence – “I made a mistake in my addition on the math test.”

CHOICE\n. 1. an act/opportunity/right of choosing between 2 or more possibilities.  2. an alternative action or possibility.  3. a supply from which to select.

Use in a sentence – “It was my choice to have those drinks and then to try to drive home instead of calling a cab/friend/staying over.”

CRIME\n. 1. an unjust, senseless, or disgraceful act or condition.  2. a serious offence, especially one in violation of morality.  3. an action or instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited  4. an action or activity considered to be evil, shameful or wrong.   5. something reprehensible or disgraceful.

Use in a sentence – “It is a crime to drive drunk.”  “It is a crime to kill someone while driving drunk.”  “It is a bigger crime for the criminal courts to allow them to go unpunished.”

VICTIM\n.  1. a person harmed, injured ,or killed as a result of a crime or other event or action.  2. A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking   3. a person or thing that suffers harm, death, etc., from another or from some adverse act, circumstance, etc.  4. a person who is deceived or cheated

Use in a sentence – “My daughter was a victim of the number one violent crime in Canada.”  “Many families in Canada are victims of the Criminal Courts after their loved ones have been killed by a drunk driver.”

Why did I put these definitions together?  Because people make a choice to drive drunk.  Because driving drunk is a crime NOT a mistake.  Because the person killed or injured is the victim, NOT the drunk driver.  Because there are 4 victims killed by drunk drivers EVERY DAY and roughly 170 victims injured by drunk drivers EVERY DAY.  Because, by definition,  you cannot charge a drunk driver with a victimless crime if someone was killed because of their actions.  Because you cannot take away a victim’s rights to a victim impact statement by charging drunk drivers with a victimless crime.  Because the world lost someone that thought it was her job to bring joy to everyone that she met.  Because I miss my Gracie with every breath that I take and she should be counted.

 

 

“Impaired Driving rates are lower than they were 25 years ago…”

Once again I have to ask why all politicians use the same statistics to quote.  So, being me, I chose to go looking.  Guess what I found.  The reason that they all quote the comparison of the rates from 25 years ago.  That is because if they quoted the statistics 15 years ago, the rates would be higher today.

That’s right folks.  In the last 7 years we’ve lost all of the gains that we made in the previous 9-10 years.  We have gone backwards since 2006.  In order to find a level lower than today’s, you would have to look at numbers from the 1990’s.

Our rates are going up and since we now know that the courts are withdrawing the bulk of  Impaired Driving Causing Death charges, it could only mean that more drunk drivers are killing themselves.

So we have already discussed the fact that Impaired Drivers are the number one cause of criminal death in Canada.  The number of people killed by drunk drivers significantly outnumbers the number of people killed by all other methods of homicide  combined yet “Impaired Driving accounted for only 6% of all admissions to sentenced custody in correctional services in 2010/2011.” (Impaired driving in Canada, 2011 – Juristat Article, Statistics Canada).  That means that although Impaired Drivers account for more than half of the killings in Canada, they only account for 6% of the prison population.

And I haven’t even ranted about the survivors yet.  I received an email from a mom just yesterday asking if she could send shoes for her daughter even though her daughter survived.  After reading her story, I cried.  It was so much like ours.  What this young woman has survived is nothing short of miraculous and I only hope that she and her mom know how impressive they are.  Nothing that anyone does will ever give Sara her old life back but it’s time for the courts to recognize what was stolen from her.