Re: new to board - wedding guest dilemma
posted at 8/28/2009 6:47 AM EDT
In Response to Re: new to board - wedding guest dilemma
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: new to board - wedding guest dilemma : [QUOTE]In Do not forget, if Ms Kopechne's own blood alcohol level had been lower, she might have gotten out of the wreck herself- she was not killed outright, she drowned while he (however much he had drunk) was more able to function than she was. She was not in the car by chance. She clearly must have known he was not entirely sober. They could not charge him because under the laws and custom of the time, she bore a good deal of responsibility for her death. You're seriously blaming the victim?
Posted by WhirledPeasPlease[/QUOTE] No.
I am saying that when prosecutors decide whether or not to charge someone with manslaughter (not a deliberate killing) they know that most often they cannot get a jury to convict if they know that the deceased person willingly and knowingly got into a car with a person they know has been drinking, or if they have drunk enough themselves not to be able to release a seatbelt and swim away as someone else did. It is called putting yourself in harm's way, like stepping off the curb before checking traffic. Because the mental confusion of being in an accident and having alcohol in the system can cause someone to sit and drown in as little as 4 minutes, and no one else was under water in that car to say otherwise, that became the basis for charging/not charging the driver.
Under the law, not our wish system, a person is not required to rescue others , only themselves first
of all. Everyone wishes TK had gone back in and pulled her out too. But realistic evaluation says in the time it took him to get out, realize she was not coming, and go back, she may already have drowned - it may already have passed the 4 minute mark, and a person has less time with some alcohol reducing the amount of oxygen in their blood. That is enough for a jury to say, he did not have total responsibility for her death
. Her own previous decisions were part of it. In 1969, that meant he could only have been convicted of leaving the accident site or a single charge of DD which in those days
was usually a fine and probation.
I hate drunk drivers, and the law has finally come round to prevent deaths by coming down hard and severely punishing repeat offenders more often. Changes were long overdue. Yet time after time, when I have picked up ER nursing shifts, or when DH worked amblance services as an EMT, I see that to this day drivers get into cars after signing a charge card bill for 4 doulbe shot drinks in 3-4 hours, just for themselves, and nobody does a dammmed thing to stop it.
Looking at MJK's death now, in 2009, you have to look at the circumstances and the law as they were in 1969. Not
blaming the victim, just knowing that there was little point in spending 200,000 taxpayer dollars on a charge that would never stick under the laws of the time. Those laws said, if she had any responsibility for being in the situation, no one else could be considered totally at fault. Civil complaints, you only have to have some responsibility. Criminal, it must be 100% ( under 1969 laws.)
I hate the drinking and partying rich boy lifestyle like TK lived in those days. I did not agree with lots of his politics. But I have respect for someone who turns their life around and does a lot of public service. 40 years of hard work is a lot of public service time, and many, many people have benefited. Frankly, I have more respect for that than President Kennedy, who seems to inspire hero worship.