Herald Journal Columns
August 14, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Alcohol impairs judgement

Pastor Wally Glucklich, Elim Mission Church, Cokato

Vacations are a special treat for my wife, Ginny, and me because it means we can see all our children and grandchildren who live in California.

My special treat is to do a ride-along with my son, who is a California Highway Patrol officer.

Different from other times, a particular swing shift was filled with adventure, with three high-speed events up into the foothills and mountains of the Sierras. The night had almost come to an end when a call came of a single-car rollover with injuries and fatalities.

We were 20-some miles from the scene, so with lights on, we zipped around the winding roads to the accident at the 5,000-foot level. It was a tragic scene.

An F-150 extended-cab pickup truck was fully crushed, lying on its roof. All in the vehicle were teens.

Two were taken by ambulance to the hospital, one body was covered up, and the driver was sitting in the squad. Cause of accident, alcohol.

Yes, that night we had three alcohol-related events.

Alcohol impairs judgment. The woman we pulled over was drunk “like a skunk.” Did she know it? No!

She had difficulty going through the sobriety test. Still, she did not think she was drunk.

She told us she only had a few glasses of wine. Did alcohol affect her? Absolutely!

She could talk, but she couldn’t keep her story straight. She could walk, but every so often she would stagger or side-step.

Even on our way to jail, she still believed, without doubt, that she was fine.

Then, this week we hear of Mel Gibson’s drunk driving arrest with a 0.12 alcohol content. As a famous actor, director, and producer of the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” he was duly apologetic for what he said and did under the influence of alcohol.

Then I came home, read the back issues of the Enterprise, and noted on the front page that Cokato wants to break free from its “dry town” status and be progressive by changing its ordinances regarding distribution of liquor.

May I ask, after all the DARE training, do we still not understand the powerful effect of this drug?

Do we not comprehend that over 25,000 people, mostly innocent ones, die on the roads each year because of this socially-accepted drug?

Have we not lost enough of our own children and loved ones to an alcohol-related accident? Yet, we want to add more liquor to our community?

Some people will say, “But Pastor Wally, Jesus drank wine.” Yes, He did. The wine He drank was of a low alcohol content. He condemned drunkenness, and He walked or rode a donkey home.

But today, we put a person who has a 0.08 behind the wheel and say it’s OK. It’s a different world.

“But Pastor Wally, we believe in responsible drinking.” Yes, you do. I also think Mel Gibson, the woman, and the teen all felt they were responsible in their drinking. Out of those three, one person lost his life.

“But Pastor Wally, it will help bring more revenue into our community.” To that I say, is an increase in tax income more precious then a life?

It is only a matter of time until we will come face-to-face with this dilemma. Most of the time, alcohol affects someone else.

As a town, do we want to be an accomplice to such tragedies?

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