Forget flu, let’s fight drunk driving

Neither the public nor the authorities seem to be alarmed at the recent emergence of the virulent H1RR swine flu that has already claimed some 30 lives in Alberta.

Neither the public nor the authorities seem to be alarmed at the recent emergence of the virulent H1RR swine flu that has already claimed some 30 lives in Alberta.

No vaccine is available. Only one thing can help in stopping its deadly toll: public cooperation.

The H1RR and its cousin strains of and H1QE2 or H1TWP or H1AVE/ST have devastated families across this province in the past 30 days, and besides the emotional toll, they have cost a fortune in property damage, STARS, EMS, police and hospital services.

They will go on to also bleed the pocketbooks of taxpayers as victims’ families face the perpetrators of this virulent strain of swine flu in court.

Yet what are the mainstream media more concerned about?

What is Alberta Health Services more pumped about? What is the government prepared to spend a fortune on vaccines for? They want to spend a fortune vaccinating everyone against the H1N1 that has only killed 800 people worldwide in about the past six months.

But in one month alone, the H1RR swine flu has wiped out the equivalent of four per cent of the global estimated deaths of 800 people from the H1N1 swine flu!

You’d think someone might care!

With all the talk of closing hospital helicopter pads, reducing services, hiring freezes to save public funds and reduce medical costs to the public, you’d think that the No. 1 item on the agenda would be stopping the swine who drive drunk, or impaired on drugs, or prescription drugs, for these are the swine who are creating this epidemic of death in Alberta.

And yes, the H1RR and to some extent the H1AVE/ST and H1QE2 have been particularly virulent on Alberta highways in the month of July.

Are the RCMP and city police intended to be demoralized at the sight of human flesh scattered around on the road, splattered inside cars? Is it a wise investment to have EMS services and STARS air ambulance busily occupied saving lives of people who are suffering due to another’s total stupidity?

Do we have sufficiently stringent laws and penalties to “vaccinate” society against this virulent epidemic of unpredictable death on the highway?

The doomsday sayers and moneymaking big-pharma companies are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of another profitable H1N1 Black Plague — but in reality, the Black Death is with us in the form of rubber tires attached to cars, driven by careless swine who have a registered weapon in their hands, and no brains in their heads.

Traffic deaths are way more serious and devastating to society than the H1N1. But we seem to think that collisions (they are not accidents!) are inevitable, bad luck, destiny or unavoidable.

It’s not destiny. It’s a catastrophe!

Maybe it’s time to rethink that liquor tax. Double it — to pay for STARS and all those helipads that apparently needed a supposed Transport Canada upgrade.

Maybe it’s time to rethink what a ‘bar’ is. Maybe we should be like the Brits with a ‘local’ — a public house in each neighbourhood. A home converted to a tiny bar offering drinks and a light pub meal, darts, music and a couple of B&B type rooms.

These rooms would provide newcomers to the province a place to actually get a start in Alberta without joining the ranks of the homeless. The local pub would give the locals a community setting where they could get to know each other. You could go for a drink with friends and actually walk home safely. And it would stimulate small business opportunities for all the upcoming boomer retirees.

Maybe it’s time we rethink the laws on drinking and driving to zero tolerance.

Forget about the “human/charter rights” of the accused — what of the human rights of the deceased and the grieving families? Why are there only rights and no responsibilities? What of the brain injured and severely injured who become wards of the public for decades to come?

This is a swine flu epidemic we can’t afford.

There’s no vaccination against it. But there could be legislation to stop the swine.

That’s up to you.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Michelle Stirling-Anosh is a Ponoka freelance writer.

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