Friday, June 5, 2009

That's Fun?

A more serious set of comments tonight.

I just finished watching this evening's episode of the ABC News program 20/20. The subject of this program was the tragic results of young women drinking alcohol. They presented two situations that were heartbreaking to watch. However, I don't care to concentrate on those because they were covered more than sufficiently by ABC News. Instead, I am covering the part of the story that is not covered: Drinking as a recreation.

Before I say my piece: I have declared in several places here that I don't think we should enact prohibition laws for both alcohol or drugs. This episode of 20/20 and numerous other stories are perfect examples of how these laws are ineffective at solving the problem. Bottom line: They don't solve the problem. Prohibition laws, at best, make people feel like they have given some meaning to the senseless suffering and death due to crimes committed while under the influence. The purpose of law is not to make people feel good - the law, as I have said before, is there to provide guidance for the minimum behavior to maintain a civilized society and prescribe punishment for those who refuse to comply. It is always our responsibility to go beyond the minimum - to do the right thing and to consider those around us. In the case of alcohol and drugs, if you choose to drink and do something that causes another person to be injured or killed, that is called assault and murder, and the drink and the person who sold you the drink and the place where you consumed the drink are immaterial (unless, of course, someone forced you to do so under duress, and peer pressure is not duress). In nearly every case and in every story I hear, it is people making a conscious decision to drink and/or take drugs for recreational purposes resulting in a(nother) bad decision that ultimately results in the death and injury stories. Nevertheless, there are many, many people every day who recreationally drink and do drugs and never do any harm to anyone or anything. So that's to make sure I'm being fair to everyone -- something our politicians and religious zealots (among others) don't seem to get.

That said, what in hell do you people find so damn fun about consuming these drugs (alcohol is a drug)? Don't you have anything better to do with your life? Going to a nightclub, drinking until you're too drunk to drive, getting in a car, and killing your best friend because you couldn't maintain control of your car. Fun? Getting so drunk you can't remember that a bunch of drunk, irresponsible young men lacking any sense of morals and who view women as objects for their own amusement can gang-rape you. That's FUN? Wake the hell up people. Y'all know I'm not a church-going guy and I'm not going to tell you to find Jesus, but I am going to tell you to stop and take a look around you. This all isn't here solely for your amusement, for you to piss on, destroy, annoy, and otherwise deface at your whim. There's a whole world out here, and each of us are only here for a relatively short time. To waste your life and potentially someone else's by acting with complete disregard for anything but yourself is the crime here. That goes way beyond drinking or doing drugs. Take Bernie Madoff for instance. I kind of wish we did find out he was doing drugs, because at least then I could maybe understand why someone would be so absolutely absent of any kind of compassion and morals to swindle people out of their money, then deny doing it.

I do admit I am getting off-track here, though. The point I am trying to make is this: There is so much potential good around. There is so much to learn about...to see. I get bored, depressed, sad, frustrated, just like you all do (if you read anything in this "blog," that's pretty obvious). That isn't a good time to consume something that removes your common sense and inhibitions, is it? I'd rather be a couch potato and fall asleep watching the game show network or history channel (yes, that really happens to me sometimes) than to kill someone or cause another pain, or to act so stupid that my friends find some kind of embarrassing humor in it. Instead of destroying something, do something that'll make the world a better place to live, or go out there and find something beautiful and take it all in. It's why I go out for a drive in rural Texas some afternoons. As adults, set an example for the young'uns. It looks to me like they seriously need it.

We don't need to make drugs or alcohol against the law. I think they're a bad thing, regardless, so whether or not they're illegal, I'm not doing them. If you're one of the ones who wants to have a drink or pop a pill once in a while, not get excessively drunk (or stoned), and are considerate of those around you, then that's okay with me. I'm probably not going to pal-around with you (much), but I'm not going to stop you from your own form of recreation, regardless of whether or not I understand it. When what you do goes beyond your personal space and starts to encroach upon mine, then it's not okay anymore. Either way, the law is not there to dictate how you should behave, and believe me, you wouldn't want it to be (except for religious zealots, and only if it's their way). We all need to be respectful and mindful of other people and the Earth where we all live, and to do this in our own way with the understanding that the law is a minimum standard, and that it is up to all of us to go beyond that.

Me? I don't know. I got a charge out of messing with my mp3 player. It was a lot less expensive (in many ways) than drinking away the blues...

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