Friday, December 28, 2012

Apologies. So what?

After Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo allegedly ran a red light, failed a field sobriety test, registered a .11 blood-alcohol level and was arrested for driving under the influence, our senior senator abjectly apologized to his family, his constituents and his state. He promised to accept whatever punishment is meted out and to take steps to see that it doesn’t happen again.

He was graceful. He was humble. He was probably sincere. But so what?

At nearly 40 percent over the legal limit for blood alcohol, the good senator wasn’t just a little tipsy. He was looped, smashed, trashed. The Washington Post reported that according to court documents, Crapo told an arresting officer that he’d “consumed several shots of vodka.”

Then, he allegedly started his white Jeep’s engine and drove the now deadly weapon through a red light before police pulled him over. For the rest of his life, Crapo will be in their debt for getting him off the road before he killed someone.

The statistics on drunk driving in the U.S. should be sobering. In 2011, 9,878 people died in alcohol-related crashes, which were nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths. The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before being arrested the first time.

The three-term senator made himself the poster boy for what not to do during the holidays—or any day.

Crapo occupies a lofty position in our society. The court should not go easy on the Harvard-trained lawyer. Not only should he face big fines and a sky-high insurance bill, a couple of days in jail wouldn’t be excessive along with an order for rehabilitation. The next photo of him we see should be when he’s taking the bus to his Senate office because he lost his license to drive.

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