Now that September 1 has finally come and gone, several new laws that passed during the recent legislative session are now in effect. Perhaps the most interesting law passed is the one that makes it a Class A Misdemeanor to have an argument while one is legally intoxicated.
What, you haven’t heard about this law yet? Well, you just haven’t been paying attention. It has been the subject of a great deal of debate, but the debate will no longer be permitted to take place over a pitcher of cerveza. Well, maybe one pitcher is okay for the debate, but two is really pushing things…
Ok, I am just kidding. There is no new law in Texas that makes it a crime to argue while intoxicated. However, sometimes it seems like it wouldn’t be such a crazy idea. Lots of the more serious stuff that is considered serious criminal behavior takes place once you get the ethanol and testosterone cocktail flowing through the brain. The “guns are a good thing” crowd hasn’t quite figured out how to spin this unpleasant fact of life just yet. Yes, drunk people probably do have lousy aim, but from 5 or 10 feet your aim isn’t usually a big concern.
Last time I checked, there are over 2,000 different felonies under Texas law. Every two years there are a few more added to the list. If you are drunk, or high on some of the more, umm, anxiety and paranoia inducing drugs, your odds of committing one of the 2000+ felonies increase dramatically, especially if you are male.
I can’t remember the last time a felony was de-criminalized. You’d think something, anything, would become less of a big deal over time and become a non-crime. Okay, maybe sodomy makes the short list here, but…
With so many crimes on the books that can be committed even while being stone sober, just imagine how easy it becomes once a person is 3 sheets to the wind or after 2 days of meth or crack induced sleep deprivation.
I really like the old fashioned police practice of hauling the drunks off to the drunk tank and simply letting them go with a small fine and some aspirin once they’ve sobered up. At least a public intoxication charge is as far as it would get in such situations.
If we made “arguing while intoxicated”, or “AWI” a crime, we could also have MADA” or Mothers Against Drunk Arguing. After a while, MADA could get organized and they could get the crime turned into a felony by showing everybody pictures of all the people who got killed or injured following the stuff that happens when drunk people argue. Those pictures would be pretty gruesome at times.
Although this post may seem silly, I do think that substance abuse tends to mix very poorly with arguments, especially when men are the ones abusing the substances. I’m not sure what the solution is to this serious issue, but since putting people in prison seems to be such a popular solution (that, by the way, rarely succeeds), I’m not sure that having another new crime, AWI, would do much good. It is possible that such a law would prevent or reduce the possibility of more serious crimes taking place. Of course, it would also give legislators more “tough on crime” stuff to brag about. They like having that.