Don’t Drink and Drive, Do Drugs and Drive!
I watched a show last night about random breath testing in Australia. It was one of these reality experience shows, obviously designed to be a community service message about not drinking and driving. Suitably it includes everything from fatal accidents where alcohol was a factor to the 80 something year old granny who had sip too many on her port at the local RSL Club. These sorts of shows are all over the world.
What amazed me was the level of punishment handed out when compared across all of the offenses shown throughout the show. In addition, some possible patterns appeared in the severity of the punishment based on some very broad ethnic groupings. So, considering I had nothing better to do for an hour or so this morning I quickly scanned through some old recordings of show to see if this was a one off or indeed systematic.
I found that if you are Caucasian you are more likely to receive a harsher sentence than if you are from a minority group. Whether this is affirmative action meets judicial racial profiling or simply that the Caucasian Australians had a record of offenses and those on the show from an ethnic background do not I can’t say but it was interesting.
What totally blew me away though was the message that the show sends about using anything from recreational to hard drugs. Remember any of these drugs are illegal in Australia. The government and police spend fortunes in taxpayer’s money to identify, target, and arrest people involved in illicit substances. If they catch you with an illicit substance in your possession, you receive more than just an insignificant or no punishment.
Not one of the people on the show, caught with an illicit substance in their system, received a fine or suspension of their license. They all received either a warning with no conviction recorded or a good behaviour bond. These were people whose blood test came back positive, and who publicly admitted on the show to everything from smoking a joint to using meth, ice, crack, or even heroin.
Personally, I drink a beer, wine or spirits because I enjoy the beverage. Regrettably many people (especially young people) in Australia drink for effect. Essentially, what this show is telling them is if you drink alcohol you might lose your license, incur a fine, receive community service and possibly be sentenced to jail for repeat offenders. However, if you use drugs (illicit substances) and sit behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you can be almost certain you will be let off with at worst a reprimand and instructions to be a good little boy for the next six to 12 months. Go forth and shoot up!!! … basically!!
There must be others who believe this is wrong!
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