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Drunk and Disorderly

Chris Farmer RSS / 06.01.2012. u 10:59

There is nothing more sobering than being pulled over for walking under the influence.

According to the brain scientists and rocket surgeons whom we have elected to public office in Belgrade ("we" being loosely applied here), it is NOT enough to switch off the music early. It is NOT enough to close the bars, cafes, and restaurants by midnight. It is NOT enough to curtail the sale of alcohol after a certain hour. Now, if we have a few too many, we will have to sleep in the bars until morning.

Drunk driving is a serious business and should well be down-upon cracked. But the next stumbling steps seem a bit draconian. The intoxicated are banned from public transport. And the drunken staggers which mark many a weekend evening in the White City are now against the law and punishable by fines of up to EUR 300.

In practical terms: if you have had too much and have the presence of mind to leave your car behind, you could still be nicked for drunk and disorderly as you walk home.

The implications, however, are more staggering still. The implied intent is to get people to drink less. A good thing? Certainly. Another implied result is to force people who DO choose to inebriate themselves to take taxis, all other options being closed to them. Collusion and conspiracy? Possibly. A further implication is in the bulging coffers of the city drunk tank (do we have one?) when the police sweep up a few hundred tipsy citizens winding their way back from an evening on the town. Money spinner? For sure!

Looking at it from the other side, one can see the benefit to the Regular Guy of not having to suffer drunks sitting next to them on the bus. One could also see the advantage of keeping people off the streets who use them as crawl spaces, urinals, vomitoriums, and dance halls owing to the influence of strong drink. Surely that kind of behavior is to be frowned upon.

There is a little civil liberties issue lurking in the back of my head, however. The basic idea is how much the citizen should be responsible for his own actions and how much should be within the purview of the constabulary. We humans regularly choose boneheaded courses of action. We are distinguished from lower animals by that very ability to act stupidly. Does that mean we should embrace our idiot natures and exercise our boneheadedness to the full? No - that is not the question here. The question is this: Are we able, as a species and as citizens within a social structure, to be self-regulating?

And if the laws regulating that social structure appear to be arbitrary, inconsistently applied, or haphazard, how much can the citizen be blamed for being unable to walk the straight line? Big questions, to be sure.

All of this would seem to be a defense of drunkenness. It is not. It is rather a call for a little common sense. Common sense holds that everyone, no matter how unevolved, knows that alcohol impairs the common senses. We also know that smoking is bad for us. We know we should not walk out into the middle of a busy street. We know a lot of things. Making them illegal, however, lifts the responsibility from our shoulders and places it in the hands of the police.

The Solution, therefore, is to finish the job. Let's make the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal. Let's ban cigarettes. Let's furthermore restrict citizens from going from place to place without a specific reason. Let's prevent them from eating too much. Let's ban music. After all, it would seem that we cannot be trusted to eat, drink, move about, or converse without running afoul of the law anyway. With all of us under a kind of general house arrest, the citizen could be sure to be safe and peaceful.

What a beautiful world this would be!

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Komentari (12)

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reanimator reanimator 11:04 06.01.2012

...

1st
mlekac mlekac 12:06 06.01.2012

No comment!



(Sorry, Chris, have been at great party last night, no hangover, but still need to gather myself)
rade.radumilo rade.radumilo 12:14 06.01.2012

One more...

One more regulation to break and to feal revolutionary about that!
rade.radumilo rade.radumilo 12:15 06.01.2012

One more...

One more regulation to break and to feal revolutionary about that!
Jukie Jukie 13:18 06.01.2012

Public transport

Of course they are banned from public transport - they do not have enough coordination to swipe the Bus Plus card; and it absolutely MUST be swiped, even if you have a prepaid pass for unlimited number of rides, or else it will be blocked, as Big Brother must know where you are at all times.
tyson tyson 14:33 06.01.2012

So long, drunkard!

It is NOT enough to curtail the sale of alcohol after a certain hour. Now, if we have a few too many, we will have to sleep in the bars until morning.

It's rather simple: drink responsibly. Or else. And if you don't (that is, drink responsibly), then be ready to face the consequences.

The obvious goal is to make (force?) people drink less.

What's wrong with that?



korto malteze korto malteze 17:07 06.01.2012

Re: So long, drunkard!

The obvious goal is to make (force?) people drink less.

What's wrong with that?


Everything. You can not force anyone into a healthy life. One has rights to lead an unhealthy life. Matter of choice. You may offer programs to help someone out of an alcohol problem, shall he choose so.
If alcohol consumption leads to dangerous consequences for the others or property, there are legal sanctions for that. As long as no one is endangered by me being drunk, who cares? The police would be the last on my list to care by default.
This is a step before introducing a curfew.

Reminds me of a 30-year old song that described a time I thought of as long gone. ('Licnu kartu! Cupavac, stani!')

Just to be clear on the matter, I rarely drink alcohol at all, so I will not experience the problem. Still, it disturbs the principles of human rights. I thought we've been down that road before, not a good direction to go.
jinks jinks 14:53 06.01.2012

When somebody

has had something to drink and walks home ... what are the drunkenness criteria that apply to him (as a pedestrian) regarding the level of intoxication, when compared to the intoxication criteria for drivers (in ‰, for example)?
Chris Farmer Chris Farmer 15:26 06.01.2012

Re: When somebody

jinks
has had something to drink and walks home ... what are the drunkenness criteria that apply to him (as a pedestrian) regarding the level of intoxication, when compared to the intoxication criteria for drivers (in ‰, for example)?

I would be interested to know that too... I fear it will be an arbitrary decision.
Dont Fear The Reaper Dont Fear The Reaper 15:31 06.01.2012

(NOT) Ilf & (NOT) Petrov

"Pedestrians just need to be loved .. Pedestrians created the world."
There is nothing more sobering than being pulled over for walking under the influence.

Ah, well, then don't walk where the cars should drive. Even Ilf & Petrov knew that

Let's not go into those hateful limitations imposed on Nighly Havoc that used to be Belgrade Night Life, but in this new issue let's first see a difference between the road and the sidewalk.

Road - that is where the cars should be
Sidewalk - that is where pedestrians should be, drunk or sober

So, if you are drunk and you are

"staggering on the road, lying on the road or in any way interfering with the traffic"

you will pay the fine. Which is much steeper than if you do the same thing sober, but in both cases you will be fined, as is the case in almost all countries that have this little thing called law ;>

So, be content - drunks can still stagger their way home, as long as they are on the pavement. But if you are drunk and you are lying on the pavement, you may be fined as well, but only for public disorder. But hey, wait a minute, the same thing exists in other countries (*). Ah, yes, but this is Belgrade, City of No Laws, Booze, Drugs & Sex 24/7 - so lets protest against any law that diminishes that! Let's make Belgrade, once again, the perfect place for few thousand and hell for all the rest!

(*) Drunk & disorderly in a public place
S 91, Criminal Justice Act 1967javascript:;
£80 for 16 year olds and over (£40 for 10-15 year olds)


                         
Chris Farmer Chris Farmer 15:54 06.01.2012

Re: (NOT) Ilf & (NOT) Petrov

You are correct, of course, to point out that it does exist in other countries. And for a very long time, in fact.

Far from being specifically critical of the Belgrade statute, I think the question still goes back to common sense and measurablility. Unless the law is very clear about the standards which qualify you for a fine, I suspect abuse will ensue. Abuse will come in the form of subjectivity in the arresting officers and petty corruption. This is not only here, but everywhere.

Do not misinterpret a defense of civil liberties for a defense of stupid, drunken behavior.



dali76 dali76 10:08 07.01.2012

.....

Ron Paul for mayor!!
:)


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