Recently in Macleans magazine there was a decent op ed decrying Peter Mackay’s promotion of instituting random vehicle stops on the basis of reducing drunk driving. My initial negative reaction to the story was simply because I don’t like the idea of expanded police powers and particularly not when it comes to being able to search or detain without cause. As stated in the article “Peter MacKay said his department is looking at measures that could allow police to demand random breath tests from drivers – even in circumstances where there are no grounds to believe a particular driver is impaired”.
The Macleans op ed pointed out that recent figures indicate that in the last while distracted driving (texting) was responsible for more fatalities than impaired driving and that texting was judged to be a greater impairment than legal alcohol impairment. They then went on to hope that MADD would change their campaign to Mothers Against Distracted Driving.
It gave me pause that the op ed came across as radical when it was simply stating the facts. And therein lies the parallel to thinking about nicotine and other forms of drug use. These have been so vilified that to treat them as basic human conditions with positive and negative aspects and as deserving of the same sorts of approaches as other behaviors seems radical. Tobacco harm reduction was always perceived as radical even though its basis was accepted medical practice for all other conditions.
I guess we’ll never get over either desiring easy targets or maintaining our sacred scapegoats.