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Be Mad at Yourself

The most recent DWI accident was a tragedy that should not have happened. How is it that a man with five DWI’s is allowed to continue driving? In an Albuquerque Journal article today Governor Bill Richardson has this reaction (subscription):

Gov. Bill Richardson reacted to New Mexico’s latest drunken-driving tragedy by announcing Tuesday a series of anti-DWI initiatives.

“I’m frustrated and angry, and I do not accept the attitude that we have done enough on DWI,” Richardson said in response to the deaths of five members of a Las Vegas, N.M., family in a head-on collision Saturday evening just east of Santa Fe.

Really? You don’t think we’ve done enough? Well, then why does your campaign website celebrates your accomplishments in battling DWI’s?

The Richardson administration is cracking down on DWI at every level and it’s working.

No Governor, it’s not working. You take baby steps each legislative session instead of pushing through a comprehensive package. But, here is how you make a bad situation worse:

The governor also expressed concern about accounts by fellow airline passengers that Dana Papst, 44, of Tesuque was obviously intoxicated and drinking during a flight he took into Albuquerque hours before he drove the wrong way on Interstate 25 and plowed his pickup truck into a van carrying the family.

“I want to know why local law enforcement was not notified about a suspected drunk passenger who was flown to Albuquerque and was allowed to climb behind a wheel of a vehicle, threatening the safety of hundreds of drivers between the Sunport and Santa Fe,” Richardson said in a news release.

Shifting the blame. Trying to take the focus off of policy failures and shifting it to the airlines. That’s shameless. It is flawed legislative policies that allowed a man with five DWI’s to have a license to get behind the wheel of a car. It is not the airlines that ultimately deserves the blame.

No, that blame should sit squarely with Governor Richardson and the legislature. This tragedy could have been prevented, and it wasn’t. How many times are we going to let the Governor get away with turning the needless death of New Mexicans into a political press opportunity?

Over the last four year, our Governor has time and time again announced a series of anti-DWI initiatives. Yet, in the end all we really got were a series of announcements. When do we get real reform instead of rhetoric?

Now the nation is watching this Governor, and it remains to be seen whether or not this time he’ll actually do something.