Archive for December, 2011

Consequences

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

On December 11th, Nebraska center, Mike Caputo, was cited on suspicion of driving under the influence. Yesterday, he was officially charged with reckless driving, today he pled guilty to that charge.  MADD Nebraska is very disappointed with the decision of the city prosecutor to reduce his charges and not hold him accountable for his actions. Cases like this downplay just how serious of a crime driving under the influence is and sets a prededent that those who drink and drive will not see consequences for their actions.

It is disappointing to us when the criminal justice system does not enforce the strong DUI laws set in place by the state of Nebraska. It is truly a team effort to make sure that all those who make the choice to drink and drive are held accountable.  This is the best way to ensure that people learn from their mistakes. We here at MADD Nebraska would like to see fair and equitable treatment across the state, with all offenders receiving a punishment that fits their crime and that has to happen in the courts. Law Enforcment Agencies across the state are out there, working to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. But, unless their actions are followed by swift and certain punishment, the message gets lost.

We hope that even with the reduced charges, Mr. Caputo learns from his choice and never makes a decision that puts him in this situation again. More than that we hope he realizes what his choice could have led to. Every time someone gets behind the wheel after drinking they are putting themselves and others in danger. 53 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2010, 53 lives taken because someone made the choice to drink and drive. It is a lesson all of us can learn, to never drive after we have been drinking and to always designate a sober driver.

We hope that in the future, everyone will be held accountable for their actions by Nebraska’s criminal justice system. Dropping and/or reducing charges sends the message that drunk driving is not a serious crime. But, if you ask any of the families who have been impacted by an alcohol-related crash, it is, a dangerous, life-changing crime that deserves much more than a slap on the wrist as a punishment.

Role Models

Posted: December 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Do you remember who you looked up to when you were a child? Those people who were your inspirations and your role models. Maybe they were athletes, actors, politicians, maybe they were your parents. No matter who they were you looked up to them, you watched their actions and believed if you followed in their footsteps you could grow up to be like them someday. As most of us grew up, we quickly realized our future may not hold a job as the quarterback in the NFL or a professional ballet dancer, but the actions of those we looked up to still helped us to shape who we are and our perception of right and wrong.

I can’t help but then wonder, what are role models today teaching our children? Athletes, celebrities, politicians, even parents are making choices that we would not want our children to make. And at the top of that list of bad decisions, drunk driving. Just a few days ago a former Miss America was arrested for drunk driving, a disappointing action from someone who was most certainly a role model for many little girls.  (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57336703-504083/former-miss-usa-rima-fakih-arrested-on-suspicion-of-drunk-driving-police-say/) Miss Fakih may have just made a bad decision, and does seem extremely remorseful but, the message has already been sent.

It is easy to say these people are still just people who still make mistakes and should not be held to a higher standard. And while true they are still just regular people, they have to live their lives knowing that they eyes of many are watching.  Whether you ask for the privilege of being a role model or it falls upon you because of your status, it is up to you to live up to that responsibility.

Even more important, is for parents to realize they too are role models. Just because your child hopes to be the next Aaron Rodgers, doesn’t mean that he  isn’t looking up to you and following in your footsteps. In fact, a new study just released showed that if a parent recieves a DUI, their teens may make the same choice. (http://health.msn.com/health-topics/addiction/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100282343) Parents have a huge influence on their kids and their choices. MADD’s Power of Parents program encourages parents to remember that nearly 1/3 of teens say their parents are the biggest influence in their choice to drink and gives tips on how to have the conversation-early and often – about alcohol. (You can always contact the MADD Nebraska State Office to learn more about Power of Parents!) It is not just about the celebrity role models and their actions, remember that the biggest role models are the ones your kids come in contact with every day.

It is especially important to think about our choices as role models this time of year. The holiday season is upon us and that means there are a lot of opportunities to make good choices in front of your kids. Make sure as you attend holiday parties and events, that you always designate a sober driver and to host parties responsibly-giving non-alcoholic options and making sure all guests have a sober ride home. Don’t forget that your kids are watching the choices you make and no matter who they look up to, you are the biggest role model they have.