Ten Thousand Reasons

by Bob Turner on November 18, 2021

Early in the morning of November 2nd, the car driven by Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs struck and killed a 23-year-old Tina Tintor. Ruggs’s Corvette was clocked at 156 mph and his blood-alcohol level was 0.16. In both cases, he doubled the Nevada limit. Ruggs has been charged with four felony counts. The former Alabama receiver will spend a lot of time in jail. No time in prison can fully account for the horror he has brought upon the victim’s family.

This situation got national press because it involved a professional athlete, but it is hardly unusual. Roughly 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving accidents. That number has decreased over the past decade because of rideshare apps. There is no reason it shouldn’t hit zero. These accidents are totally preventable. In fact, they are not accidents at all; they are homicides. They are situations where someone decides they are above the law and that the worst outcome won’t happen to them. But it will.

You’d think that visible situations like the one in Las Vegas would wake everyone up to the senseless violence and trauma that comes through such selfishness. We know better. Three days later, Ohio State’s third-string quarterback Jack Miller was arrested for driving while intoxicated. The dashcam footage features him telling the officer that fellow players were in the car. The blind driving the blacked-out. I’m not sure that a mugshot was what college players had in mind when they insisted on monetizing their name, image, and likeness.

We shouldn’t be having this conversation, but we are. People literally spend nearly six hours per day on their phone but can’t seem to pull up Uber or Lyft when they are a walking, breathing homicide. They say they aren’t driving far. They say they feel fine. They say they know their limit. There are 10,000 caskets each year that know the truth. When impaired, we have terrible judgment.

People do dumb (even violent) things when under the influence. We can’t expect drunk people to make sober decisions. A smallish woman can get to .08 blood alcohol in 1-2 drinks. Men can handle more alcohol, but also have the liability of starting off with worse judgment in the first place. It’s best to decide a plan of action before getting into the ring. Otherwise we run the risk of being the cause of our town’s next funeral. It’s just a matter of waking up every morning and deciding that this will not be the day to behave like the most selfish person on the planet.

On many nights our girls and I go for walks in our neighborhood, which is just behind a bar, a bar with tacos, and a liquor store. I don’t trust most of the cars in the parking lot. I see a bunch of drivers who think it won’t happen to them. I do trust the people coming out of the storefront a few doors down. They are part of a recovery group. They stand outside while they talk and smoke. Our girls take a wide berth worrying about the cigarette smoke. I’m not worried, however. None of them are pulling out of that lot impaired. They don’t need 10,000 reasons. They know one. In life, no one is exempt.


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