Forum, Oct. 1: Drug Recognition Pushback No Surprise

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Drug Recognition Pushback No Surprise

Your article about the lawyers who have now started to argue the validity of the findings of trained drug recognition experts (“Vermont’s ‘Drug Recognition Experts’ Are Met With Skepticism,” Sept. 16) is not a surprise, since we are experiencing a dramatic rise in impaired driving crashes and arrests.

One look at opiate involvement in both fatal and non-fatal crashes shows opiate use either immediately before, or in many instances during, the drive. Now we have legalized marijuana use, both against the advice of enforcement agencies and without giving any thought to standards of testing to determine criminality of use while driving.

These officers go through extensive training to become drug recognition experts and are doing their best to keep motorists like me safe while I take my daughter to school, or drive family around town — among drivers who are so toasted they are falling asleep at traffic lights.

When St. Johnsbury attorney David Sleigh said DREs are using a “veneer of science that in essence do what we wanted to move away from 40 years ago,” he should look carefully at what 40 years ago looked like. In 1978, Mothers Against Drunk Driving had to step in and lobby to set the standards for present-day blood alcohol concentration testing. That’s where we were 40 years ago — no tests, no admissible enforcement and a lot of lawyers telling us why people should not be held accountable for their personal negligence while driving impaired by any substance.

Of course, the lawyers mentioned in your article have a lot of customers hoping not to be held accountable, which far too frequently leaves grieving families who have lost loved ones to these irresponsible (and sometimes repeat) offenders to mourn yet another senseless loss.

Richard Leute


Our Addiction to Gladiator Sports

Kudos, congratulations and much support to Vontae Davis, Pro Bowl player for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who walked off the field during a game on Sept. 16 saying: “I shouldn’t be out there anymore.” I am so pleased to see another professional football player showing a rational response to the recently identified plague of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) caused by concussions and a career of head-jarring hits among professional and amateur football players (along with boxers, hockey players and others in similar sports).

This should be another wake-up call to the American people regarding our addiction to these gladiator sports, which fill the same psychological, sociological, political and financial roles that the Coliseum events played for the ancient Romans: a distraction from the corruption of the political situation and a way to redirect anger from doing anything about the real fate of the populous.

An appeal to the “macho, testosterone” impulse inherent in human nature has worked throughout history, and is especially successful in our modern society where we have limited physical outlets for these impulses and where we are also extremely susceptible to the powerful marketing forces of the NFL owners, in cahoots with the advertising industry.

It is, of course, noteworthy that the vast majority of these damaged athletes are African-American — another expression of our continued racism, but one that is hard to swallow.

It is also instructive that Davis’ action, except for one initial news report, has not been followed up by the media, which is under the thumb of corporate America.

Withdrawing from this addiction, like all addictive behavior, is very difficult. In spite of my choice to no longer watch and thus indirectly support these gladiator sports, I still find myself occasionally looking at a game when walking by some TV somewhere.

But, with resolution and persistence, this addiction can be beaten — or at least, minimized. I encourage you to join me in this boycott of this addiction. The short- and long-term health of our athletes depend on it.

Philip Eller


It Doesn’t Add Up

Sexual predator scorecard: Donald Trump gets to play president. Brett Kavanaugh gets a Supreme Court nomination. Bill Cosby gets three to 10.

Go figure.

Dan Ludwig