Monday, June 20, 2011

Bad Timing: Why I'm Disappointed That Alex Riley Dodged a DUI

I like A-Ry; that's why I wanted the book thrown at him, for his own good
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At 3 AM, Eastern Daylight Time, Ryan Dunn of Jackass fame died in a car accident. He had left the bar after drinking and was driving on US 322 north of West Chester, PA, where he was reputedly texting while driving shortly before he lost control of his vehicle.

What does this have to do with wrestling? Well, nothing topically, except for a court case being thrown out this weekend involving a wrestler. Last year, Alex Riley, then just a second to The Miz and right now the hottest babyface act in the company, got pulled over for a DUI in Hillsborough County, FL. Well, this past weekend, he got that DUI conviction thrown out, mainly because the arresting officers didn't have probable cause to pull him over. That's funny, because I never knew they needed probable cause to pull someone over for DUI. I mean, if that's the case, then how do they get away with sobriety checkpoints? Can anyone check the legality on that for me?

Anyway, I'm all for civil liberties, and yeah, I don't think cops should be pulling people over willy-nilly. That's police-state shit right there. However, there's a part of me that wishes that Riley's lawyers didn't find that loophole in the law that allowed the case to get thrown out. I feel like the stance on drunk driving in this country, while better than it was even 20 years ago, is still way too lax for my liking. Too many people, innocent or otherwise, lose their lives, limbs, movement or what have you, because they don't know how to drink responsibly. Riley, even as a WWE n00b, probably makes enough money to the point where he could have called a cab. Dunn probably made enough money from his Jackass work where he could have a personal DD pick him up and drop him off at whatever bars he wanted to go to. People know the dangers of impaired driving, and yet they willingly ignore those dangers in the name of convenience. Meanwhile, the legal penalties for killing someone while drunk in a car remain unbelievably lax, so there's no real deterrence factor. Oh, wow, you get your license revoked for a year or so. Big whoop.

So the cycle continues, and now, another person gets stupid and pays with his life, taking a passenger with him. This isn't to minimize Dunn's life or his death. I'm not saying you shouldn't feel bad for his family and friends or be bummed because you were a fan of his and didn't want to see him die this young. I just want people to realize the inherent stupidity here; they're not mutually exclusive feelings. The fact that he didn't kill anyone outside his own vehicle is irrelevant. He could have, and at that point, we'd be talking about truly innocent victims being killed by negligence. To me, that's unacceptable.

Which is why I feel disappointed that Riley was able to find that loophole to get his DUI thrown out. I'm not he, so I can't say whether or not he learned a lesson here. At the same time, I have to think that him skating on this charge makes him less likely to take in the gravity of what could have happened if an obstacle came up that he was slow to react to on his way home. He drove impaired and skated on charges. How does that teach anything? My only hope is that maybe he got news of how Dunn died (and let's face it, the fact that he was drunk and reputedly was on the phone is a double-whammy, but even if he wasn't on the phone? It's still terrible) and realized that wow, maybe he got away with one when his case got thrown out. Regardless, the last thing I want to see is Riley hurt himself or an innocent bystander because he was stupid enough to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking one too many.

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