Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ticked Off with the World

I've been around a while in this thing we call life and there are still way too many things that I just don't get. So much of it just ticks me off to no end.

But before I get to that and because this is a poker blog. I crashed out of the MATH last night a little after the first break when I lost 234,476,745 races. Unfortunately, those lost races carried over to my cash games as I again I found myself chasing losses. While I was down $400 at one point, I did end up only being down around $130 after about 1,000 hands. Nothing to exciting. I did have to lay down both KK and AA post flop which is never fun.

A recent event took place which again diminished my hope for humanity and saddens me to the state of the world that we live in. Especially with 2 young girls, I yearn for better times.

Here is a look at a few headlines from STLToday which is the website for the St Louis Post Dispatch. These headlines are from today and yesterday.

The last story is the one which spurred on this renewed animosity of that state of "things". The basic gist is the a couple of guys had been to a Cardinal baseball game and then went to a casino. After that, which they often did, they went to a Diner to grab something to eat. While making a right turn into the diner, a driver behind them decided to slam into them which then made the cars/trucks overturn and slam into a pole. The driver then kicked out his windshield and proceeded to run away. At this moment, he has not been found although they obviously know who the guy is since his truck was still there. I guess he could have been driving somebody Else's truck; but that is not the point. The point is that somebody needlessly ended two peoples lives and then ran away from it.

Why does this concern me so much? We see this everyday, right? Well, that in itself is enough to concern me; but this particular story happen to be with 2 guys that I knew. I will say that I was not close with them; but I was close with others around them including the brother of one of the victims. Now, I am usually a pretty calm and laid back and able to take what the world gives us; but sometimes I go on world tilt and just want to choke somebody or something.

Although not confirmed in this case, the leading factor in this incident was probably alcohol which is this is the part where I alienate myself from not only the world but most likely 90% of the poker blogger world as well. The simple question is why?

Before I start and as a matter of disclosure, I walked the straight and narrow during high school . After all, I was going to be the next great Tight End for the Dallas Cowboys. I was also raised Southern Baptist and drinking was just something that we just didn't do or should I say weren't supposed to do. Anyway, after the shock of reality hit, I continued on with my life as does everybody and headed of to college. Let's just say that I didn't walk the straight and narrow there. Nothing major although it did almost cost me from graduating as I was .001 below my needed Grade Point Average to graduate with my degree. So again, what is the great fascination with drinking and why is so ingrained and accepted in our culture?

A coworker recently asked me why I don't drink. The answer to me was fairly simple but also contained multiple reasons. First and foremost, as a Christian, I believe in setting the right examples to help others from taking mis-steps. If somebody saw me drinking a beer (even it was an O'Douls as I once used to do), it could lead to the misrepresentation that drinking (or should I say over drinking) is OK. Let me also say that drinking in of itself is not terrible. As a Bible believer, there was plenty of drinking going on then; but the Bible is very plain on its talks of over drinking or getting drunk. Simply Stated... Don't do it. Obviously, not everybody is a Bible follower and probably could care less what it says and that's your prerogative; but the effect that it has on all of us is so material that we should really think why it is that we as a society do and even embrace it. I hear so much and read so much talk about we did this and that and it required mass amounts of alcohol and everybody chuckles.... Everybody except for me as it really, deeply disturbs me that this is what this world has come to.

Let me throw out some stats (since we all know that I like to look at stats) and show how drinking affects us all.

  • In 2006, 17,602 people died in alcohol related traffic crashes.
  • About 3 in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash.
  • Over 1.46 million drivers were arrested for DUI in 2006.
  • Alcohol related crashes in the US alone cost the public and estimated 114.3 billion dollars in the year 2000.

Of course I could go on and talk about how this has affected not only lives but the cost of insurance and so many other things not related to driving but stilling directly related to drinking such as domestic abuse, verbal abuse, and just other "beer goggle" related things.

Having said all of that, if you want to drink socially or in your home, by all means go ahead. Just show yourself and the others around you some responsibility of knowing when to say when. That also goes for others watching your family and friends know when to say when. Perhaps, if somebody had done that to this driver, my two buddies or countless other victims would still be around today.

Have a nice day!


CC said...

Like you, I don't drink at all (in fact, I've only had two or three sips of wine as toasts). This is one of those social and community issues that I've chosen to ignore, probably ignorantly. It doesn't affect me directly as I don't go out with "the boys." I've allowed myself to simply make my choice for myself, really simply choosing not to move into alcohol as a vice or an escape. I'm afraid I would have an easy time using alcohol as a stress/anxiety crutch, although I really have no idea.

Alcohol in the context of our Justice system is difficult to defend. We have one of the highest incarcerated populations in the world, primarily due to drug offenses. Yet alcohol-related crimes are given a slap on the wrist, in the grand scheme of things. Worse, our culture has failed to expunge drinking and driving for what it should be: a reason to become a pariah in a social group.

DuggleBogey said...

Next time you are at a social gathering, ask the group "what was the drunkest you've ever been and driven home."

The answers will SCARE YOU.

I very rarely drink, and I don't go near the wheel if I do. I appreciate that you didn't try to use the bible as the single justification for not drinking, as a non-believer I much more appreciate your use of logical consequences as a better reason.

Very good post, sorry about your friends.

jamyhawk said...

Sorry to hear about your friends.

Phil said...

I should start this comment by saying I work for Anheuser-Busch and I am a drinker. I have never been involved in a drinking related accident or been ticketed or arrested for driving while drunk. I wanted to say I don't think it's fair to just pick on beer. I know you refer to it as drinking in your post but you specifically mention beer twice and no other specific kind of alcohol. I believe, but have nothing to back it up that more alcohol related accidents are caused by people drinking hard liquor. Second thing if it is determined that the person that caused the accident was not drunk but maybe talking on there cell phone are you going to go off on all people that drive while talking on the phone and support it with stats on accidents. Something like the following:

Cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year

I am by no means trying to say that drinking and driving is not a huge problem in the world what I am trying to say is life is all about making the right choices. I would bet 99% of drinkers have never had a problem with driving drunk. There is obviously a ton of drinkers out there so the 1% is still a major problem. I also completely understand your frustration with this driver that killed your friends. I think we need to have much harsher penalties for these crimes.

My next question for you is do you believe in the death penalty? If you do should this person be put to death. I know I have gotten off topic but I hate it when people blame things on drinking and not the accountability of person making the choice to drink and drive. I am looking forward to your answer to this last question.

Phil said...

BTW I am very sorry about your friends.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I am very sorry about your friends. I understand the desire to strangle the world...

Having said that, I don't believe that alcohol causes the problems. It's the people and the irresponsibility of the people that causes the problems. Alcohol doesn't contribute to death. People's abuse or irresponsible actions after the use of acohol causes it. Quite frankly, I hate that people like blame something else for the actions of the people. "I was drunk." Yeah, like that makes anything ok. And yet, it's almost socially accepted.

I like drinking, I've gotten drunk and behind the wheel which I regret even though I was never caught, but I definitely don't do that anymore. I think there's nothing wrong with drinking or getting drunk but that's just my personal opinion. However, if you are going to be irresponsible about it, then I think that's where the problem is. In other words, if you plan on getting drunk and you already have say a number of the cab company you are gonna call or a DD and you are going to a club or a bar that you are familiar with, I think there's nothing wrong. On the same token, going out in a locale you are unfamiliar with and by yourself and being plastered is probably not a good idea... you know what I mean? In the end, I think it's the people that should be responsible about it.

To put it in poker terms, if I kid loses all his money, maxes out his parents credit card, and feel the need to make up for it by robbing people or banks, is it poker that's causing that crime? No, it's the idiot's fault. I think the same goes for the alcohol. And the cell phone... and everything else that seems to bring out the worst in people...

WillWonka said...

Yo Alan,

I totally agree with you and Phil which is why I labelled the post "Ticked off at the world". It is that social acceptance and the bad judgement of people that ticks me off. I could have subsituted just about any vice and made the same point.

Alcohol was just the vice of the moment for me, albeit a big one. Logic would seemingly dictate tougher laws against this to avoid the massive casualties (not just lives but property) that go on when alcohol is used to hopefully deter people.

But yes, ultimately, the responsibilty is on the person. Also, it is on us when we see people over doing it.

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