So I guess you’ve heard by now that former Saints (and university of Tennessee, boy some fine individuals have passed through that football program) wide receiver Donte Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 2 years house arrest. To fill you in if you have not been following this what happened is he hit an killed someone (pedestrian) with his car while driving drunk. Now before I get started I will say that 30 days is not enough I think most people who do this get more than that (maybe something like 2 years), and just to get it out of the way I think he should have gotten what anyone else without money or fame would have gotten nothing more nothing less. But that is not the point of todays fire side chat. Also consider that according to everyone the incident was most likely the pedestrians fault and by all accounts if Stallworth was not drunk he would not have been charged; furthermore it is my understanding that Stallworth stopped and call police and honestly, even though it is the right thing to do and we all say it’s what we would do, it took some balls to do that.
There really are two things about this that have stuck out to me and I think they are really based on the same thing.
First, all last week I heard this kicked around on radio call in shows and I kept hearing something said that I personally think is horseshit. There where multiple callers and at least one host who were irate that he only got 30 days but they would all be like “sure I’ve got DWI….but he killed someone….” Sorry to break it to you but the only difference between you and Mr. Stallworth is luck…I mean come on, obviously the people that end up killing someone while drunk driving don’t jump in the car and say ‘lets go kill someone’. They are just like theses guys or most of you, and defiantly me in the past, they get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t and say something like I’ll be careful this time, or that type of stuff doesn’t happen to me, then proceed to endanger themselves and others. Sometimes that danger turns into reality, lots of times it doesn’t, but to me you are no ethical or morally better if you make it home unscathed or if your victim is a mailbox than someone who kills someone. One guy even call in and was bitch b/c he has a nephew who has 4 DWI and got ten years even though he never killed someone, but Stallworth only got 30 days. I hate to tell you guy, but your nephew is much more of a danger to others that Mr. Stallworth and he certainly deserved his sentence. It is strange to me that people don’t seem to get that it is driving drunk that is the problem. No one would call in a say I was shooting at someone but I missed so it no big deal, but people who shoot at and kill people they are murders. That’s why trying to shoot someone is called attempted murder and it’s almost as serious a crime as murder.
Second, not too long ago Michael Vick got in trouble for dog fighting. Vick gets sentenced to 2 years in jail. Now I don’t condone dog fighting I think it’s a horrible thing but lets look at this a crime that cost a human life gets you 30 days and a crime that cost the life dogs gets you 2 years….doesn’t make lots of sense. Even weirder is there was massive public out rage against Vick, people were protesting in the streets having rallies, etc. There was almost none of this for Stallworth whose crime cost a human life.
What ties this all together is something interesting about human nature. Unfortunately most of us have at one time or another gotten behind the wheel when we should not have, but most of us have not ended up killing someone. Most of us do consider DWI to be a serious issue but relatively minor as far as crime goes (I doubt any of us considers ourselves to be attempted murders), but most people see someone who kills someone while driving drunk as a murder and we are outraged. Most of us have not ever been involved in dog fighting at all and most of us see it as a major deal to be outraged about and to protest about. As humans we tend to minimize our own faults and then smugly judge those that do who have faults we happen not to have or do things we have not done. Most of us have driven drunk, we have not killed someone but we are at least somewhat aware that it could happen, and most of us can not relate to dog fighting at all. Not surprising judging by public reaction we feel dog fighting is the most egregious issue of the three, THEN killing someone while driving under the influence, and lastly DWI. Certainly something that endangers human life is more serious than dog fighting and killing someone is simply a by product of DWI (i.e. the real issue is DWI, DWI kills people the who and when are simply fate). I’d say we have it exactly backwards. In our minds we will not let ourselves consider DWI as serious (more serious really) as the others why?…b/c it gets in the way of us doing what we want to do when we want to do it, it hurts our egos over what we have done in the past, and it does not let us inflate our current egos by judging others.
I think this really spills over into so many problems we have in the world today. It is why we are so short sighted. We want leaders that are going to trick us with promises of having our cake and eating it too. We don’t want to hear that our problems might be some what our fault and that we might actually have to change or make sacrifices to overcome them (some people know this on a personal level but not on a society level) it is simply human nature….