A state trooper at the scene of an accident last June asked a 5-year-old boy whether he’d been hurt in the crash. The boy’s mother, with a preliminary blood-alcohol reading of .286, pulled the child to herself and clapped a hand over his mouth.
The word “heartbreaking” would apply to this story, but let’s give the good news its due: Nobody died. The bad news is that, in four separate incidents, somebody could have died — namely, five children between infancy and age 15. Not to mention the mothers who put their children’s lives in danger. Also not to mention any other drivers who might have been in the way.
Writing in the Park Rapids Enterprise, Sarah Smith reports: “Four women have been arrested drunk this summer in Hubbard County, driving with their children in the car. All four incidents resulted in a crash. None of the children was seriously injured physically.”
One woman was arrested in Akeley, trying to sleep in a phone booth with her baby, after running her car into a ditch along Hwy. 64. (I know, I know: Since when did Akeley have a phone booth? Let’s focus on the story, here.)
To state the obvious, it’s no worse for mothers to drive drunk with kids in the car than for fathers to drive drunk with kids in the car. But there’s something within us that wants to believe otherwise — that while men might stoop to anything, mothers would never willingly endanger their children.
But there’s no meaningful difference between male alcoholics and female alcoholics: They’re all victims of a disease that brings all manner of grief. There’s also no meaningful difference between drunk drivers who’ve been caught and those who haven’t — with the possible exception being that those who have been caught are less likely to keep putting lives in danger. In that sense, the story out of Hubbard County is good news.
It’s also heartbreaking.
(Hat tip: Nancy Lebens)