Montana Pol’s Stirring Defense of Drunk Driving as a Lifestyle

By Dirk Hanson 04/01/11
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Rep. Alan Hale of Montana cranks up the outrage.
Photo via coltmonday

You might think it was climate change, or the threat of armed global conflict, but according to bar-owning State Rep. Alan Hale (R-Montana), the real threat to the American Way is... DUI laws. Hale rose in the Montana state legislature this week to deliver a stem-winding defense of drunk driving, claiming that stricter DUI laws in the state are “destroying a way of life.” Zaid Jilani at thinkprogress.org reports that the series of bills currently under debate in Montana “would increase the penalties for adults who facilitate minors’ access to alcohol, count older DUI offenses against a defendant in sentencing, and require new training for vendors who sell alcohol.” No matter. “I rise in opposition to this, and to all other DUI laws,” Rep. Hale proclaimed before the state legislature. Hale, who runs a bar in Basin, Montana, said: “These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them. They are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years.” And then Hale delivered the coup de grace: “These taverns and bars in the smaller communities connect people together, they’re the center of the communities. And I’ll guarantee you, there’s only two ways to get there—either you hitchhike, or you drive. I promise you that they’re not gonna hitchhike. Thank you.” (Watch the video HERE)

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]

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