Toughened DUI law might not be tough enough

The OlympianJanuary 6, 2014 

BOO: DRIVING DRUNK

State legislators passed a tougher impaired-driving law last year, but that wasn’t deterrent enough to keep the driver of a Ferrari from leading cops on a 100 mph chase through downtown Olympia. The alleged driver, Joseph Goodman, has five DUI convictions.

Under the new law, which went into effect last fall, drivers suspected of a second offense face mandatory arrest and must have an interlock device installed on their vehicle within five days of being charged. That threat didn’t slow down the Ferrari driver, who could have easily killed a pedestrian or another motorist.

Maybe the Legislature should put some sharper teeth into the DUI law.

YAY: THE WALKING PATROL

The City of Olympia has added another officer to its downtown walking patrol unit, thanks to voters who last year approved a small increase in sales tax for public safety. We support any initiative designed to deter crime and boost the public’s confidence in personal safety in the downtown area.

BOO: WINE STORES CLOSE

Has wine lost favor among South Sounders, or is there some other reason that two downtown Olympia wine merchants have closed their doors recently? After 10 years in business, the Olympic Wine Merchant locked its doors last week and the relatively new Classic Winemakers has a for-lease sign in the window.

Olympic owner Patrick Hub will open a new store near Tacoma, but suggests that downtown issues played into his decision. He didn’t elaborate and says the downtown issues are “self-evident.” Maybe South Sounders are just happy with “three buck chuck.”

YAY: SIN STILL EXISTS

Contrary to a report from certain Italian newspaper, a Vatican press release says Pope Francis has not abolished sin. Whew. A leftist newspaper in Rome suggested the new Pope’s words and gestures had effectively brought an end to sinful behavior. Without sin, how could we identify the good people?

BOO: REFUSING FLU SHOTS

The season’s first death from the flu — a man in his 50s — should remind everyone who hasn’t already received his or her flu shot to do it today. Thurston County health officials said the deceased had no known risk factors. In other words, the flu can kill otherwise healthy people.

When more people get a flu shot, it decreases everyone else’s chance of falling ill. Health experts preach the concept of “community immunity.” Do your part, and get a shot.

YAY: POLICE DEATHS DOWN

Fewer law enforcement officers died on the job last year than any year since 1959. In 2013, 111 officers were killed, most in traffic accidents, but 33 died from gunshot wounds. That’s the lowest number since 1887, but it’s still too many.

BOO: MORE KIDS SHOT

In the past year, 194 children under the age of 12 were shot and killed. Of those, 52 involved a child handling an unsecured gun, and 127 of the children died in their own homes. There’s no excuse for unlocked, loaded guns in anyone’s home.

YAY: SAVING ELECTRICITY

When the current supply of 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs disappear from retail shelves, they won’t be replaced. President George W. Bush signed a law in 2007 setting higher efficiency standards. Consumers will have to choose among compact fluorescent (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LED) or halogen bulbs. All three will last longer and use less power, but they will also cost more.

BOO: BOMBED, JAMES BOMBED

With apparently nothing better to do, a team of British scientists tallied up the quantity of alcohol supposedly consumed by Agent 007, and concluded that he would have died by age 56 of an alcohol-related liver disease, such as cirrhosis, and developed impotence. Thanks, Brits, for taking the fun out of another fantasy.

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