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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

The LaGrande Observer is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

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We are a society that has lost its soul; a nation that has lost its conscience. From 1995 to 2000 we willingly accepted the killing of over 250,000 Americans on our nation's highways. But what is most tragic is that within that multitude of dead Americans is the slaughter of 99,153 who were sacrificed to those who drive drunk. What a shocking picture of the moral decay of this country — that we would allow that many of us to be slaughtered in order to quench our thirst for alcohol.

WE HAVE listened for a long time about the destructive power of tobacco and the related deaths that accumulate every year from this killer, but we have turned a blind eye to the slaughter of innocent of Americans of every age to those who are allowed to get into their vehicle and drive down our highways like a madman who would shoot off a gun in a crowded assembly. Drunken drivers are killers, individuals who are biding their time until they wreak havoc on the lives of both those they kill and those who are left behind.

It is time Oregon's political establishment stand up and say, "No more!" Americans stood together during the Vietnam war and raised such a fervor that eventually President Richard Nixon made the decision to withdraw troops from that southeast Asian nation. And when our troops returned home they were treated like lepers. But what do we do when confronted by drunks who want to drive? We make excuses and allow them to continue to evade prison and instead we let them get back into a vehicle. How sad!

WHEN THE NEXT Oregon Legislature meets in 2003, we suggest that both Republican and Democratic leaders come together and establish the most strict and severe laws ever enacted against those convicted of drunken driving. They should be treated like the public lepers they are. They should be treated like any other felon. And if they are involved in an accident that claims the life of another person, they should be made to stand trial for murder. For those who would drive while drunk, they are in essence acting like the person who takes a gun, knife or bomb and sets out to take the life of another. At best they are similar to those who in a fit of rage or emotion strike out and kill another human being. It is time for tolerance to end for those who act in this way.

The next governor, either Ted Kulongoski or Kevin Mannix, and leaders such as Senate Majority Leader David Nelson, R-Pendleton, and House Majority Leader Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, must show the kind of leadership needed to stop this wanton slaughter of innocent people. We wouldn't tolerate a terrorist running loose slaughtering fellow citizens, so why should we tolerate these highway terrorists?

Our inaction has meant that every year almost 16,000 Americans die at the hands of people who choose to drink and drive. Political leaders must step up and stop the slaughter.


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