What If?

January 12, 2009
By Edwin I. Lindsey Jr., Susquehanna, PA

What If?

I will give you an interesting scenario one that we constantly keep close to us each day. I want you
first to imagine that one that is truly special in which you could not possibly live without and
lose to some thoughtless tragedy. I want you to take this person to one of our many airports and see
them off because you can not go with them because of some personal thing that came up and needed
attending to. Your at the airport and they are in line to board the plane and going through the gate
to embark on their journey. You are left alone standing there as you wave at them. Then you spot
something very unusual the pilot and co-pilot of this plane are carrying their baggage and heading
to the plane that your loved one is on. You notice that they both are staggering and hear them speak
with a slurred manner to each other and they are quite happy. No one else notices this except for
you and everyone quickly turns their eyes away if they did notice them. They may be on drugs or
heavy medication or they might be quite obviously drunk. Now I ask you this question personally what
would you do? What would you do if your grand-children, son, daughter, wife, husband, or anyone that
you would miss was on that plane along with 247 passengers? I would like to think that you would try
and stop that plane from even leaving the terminal. I would like to think that you would do whatever
it took to get that plane grounded and have the pilot and co-pilot checked and arrested. To even
think that they would put your loved one in that risk. I find it hard that today you are putting
those same ones on that plane with that obvious drunk pilot. Just by not making tougher sentencing
and taking that privilege to drive in Pennsylvania permanently and of course the confiscating the
weapon of that crime of the repeat offender (the car). I find it hard to believe that you would put
your loved one in that situation by supporting everything to keep another repeat offender of drunk
driving behind that vehicle no matter what. Think I am nuts or crazy or just another lunatic? Let
me give you the many examples of keeping that repeat offender in back of the wheel. The Pennsylvania
Bureau Of Motor Vehicles is not mandated or obligated to check on any O.L.L. (Occupational Limited
License) carrier even on the first time offender of D.U.I. So they get their driver's license back
are they using their vehicle 24-7 again just like nothing happened? You pass lower B.A.C. Levels,
monitoring bracelets, interlock systems, rehabilitation, drug and alcohol checks, mandatory
insurance on any vehicle, A.R.D. Programs, and intervention classes and also send them back to a
driver's training school. Each and everything that you have passed and said that it will stop the
drunk driver has failed and you failed that love one and they are on that plane right now waiting to
embark on what they think will be a good time of fun and relaxation. We also have laws that were
passed that I would like you to look at on is with our Alcohol Licensing In Pennsylvania. Bar
tenders and bar owners to distribute alcoholic beverages must pass this test in order to serve
patrons. Question 1. Know when to stop giving a person drinks when the person is obviously drunk.
And it goes on to give some of the many answers. Slurred speech, staggering, unfocused vision and

Question 2. Is the bar and bar tender and the owner held responsible for releasing an intoxicated
person from the establishment where he or she was served.

Let's look at these two questions and I will give you my answers to them. After they pass this
test by either being handed the answers to and receive this license.

The bar owner may think that his bar maybe getting overwhelmed with patrons that want to drink. Does
he hire someone that is licensed to serve or does he just pick someone to serve the many patrons
beverages without the tender's license? Does this person that is feeding the patrons all sorts of
drinks know how to spot an intoxicated person? And cut them off getting anymore to drink? Why is it
then that when we read in the newspaper that this person just came from this bar and was blowing a
.022 in the breathalyzer and took 4 or 5 families lives? Why is it when the family of the deceased
questions a bar and bar tender that the bar claims no responsibility over that persons actions and
that person was not drunk when they left their bar? How many credible witnesses are you actually
going to find at the bar that this is what happened? Remember maybe the only person sober is the bar

The Dram Shop Act or Bill was supposed to protect these victims from the releasing of obviously
intoxicated patrons into the public and the Dram Shop Act also includes sales in Sporting events

Is the Dram Shop Act being enforced?

Is it funded?

Is it supported?

Apparently not when the PLCB is not mandated to check on any bar or bar tenders to see if they
actually have a license to serve behind the bar.

These same bars are distributing alcohol to minors such is the case we did have in Susquehanna
County 4 weeks ago when two bars were checked by the PLCB. Apparently someone turned these two bars

Proofs beyond any reasonable doubt lawyers say and yet how are you going to obtain this proof?

I want to go a step further and give you one of our charitable organizations mission statements and
this is from M.A.D.D. Below is the statement taken from the M.A.D.D. web site.

By 1999, MADD had greatly expanded its work on preventing underage drinking and emerging research
underscored our efforts to prevent youth alcohol use. MADD's efforts in this area were also
encouraged and supported by the government, corporations, educators, the media and public. The
mission statement was officially changed to make preventing underage drinking a free-standing prong
of the mission. The updated mission, which continues to guide the organization today, read "The
mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this
violent crime and prevent underage drinking.

The mission of MADD is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent
underage drinking.

The real question is this. How Do We Stop Drunk Driving By Constantly Putting Band-Aids On The
Problem And Still Let The Drunk Driver Drive? Band-Aids we have- Interlock systems, monitoring
bracelets, B.A.C. levels, O.L.L. license's for the first time offender, Ard programs,
rehabilitation, interventions without follow-ups, Rehabilitation with a 80 to 90 % failure rate.
Driver schools for the drunk driver? If no one is mandated to check on these things such as the
O.L.L. what makes you think that these things are going to work?

And yet our leaders still say to the law abiding citizens of Pennsylvania that it is a privilege to
drive in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is no leader because of the fact in one form or another all the
states have the same thing in one form or another O.L.L. license, Dram Shop Act, and all the rest
that Pennsylvania has. Or we would not be reading in the many newspapers throughout the United
States that the repeat offender of a dui. took the life of 4 or 5 children or the many families that
he or she will meet behind the wheel drunk. Megan spoke to me as she often encourages me to keep on
so that another family does not have to go through what ours has already been through. These are her
words that she encouraged me to write to you. An Ounce of Prevention is worth a lot more now. Then A
Ton Of Sorrow Later On!

This still is my prevention measures to you.

Raise The Alcohol Tax On All Alcoholic Beverages.

Safe Guard the Tax Money to Be Used For Extra Law Enforcement on Drunk Driving. And Also The Needed
Support and Funding For The Dram Shop Act.

We Have the Dram Shop Act but it is neither Enforced nor even Supported.

Dram Shop Act states That If A Person such as a bar tender or anyone who gives alcohol to a person
that the person drinking these beverages is already drunk and being fed more that the establishment
is held accountable. Whether the establishment is a bar or a sporting event.

The County District Attorney Has the Right to Exercise a Sting Operation If the Known Establishment
shows no effort in ceasing of the releasing of drunken patrons out their doors to drive on our
county roads.

We Support and Fund Sting Operations On Cigarette Sales To Minors and We support and fund sting
operations on Internet predators so therefore the funding and support is needed for the Dram Shop
Act for sting operations.

It will be up to the County by the direction of the state to pull these liquor licenses of these
establishments found guilty and if they continue they will be deemed as harmful to the community and

After 3 times of being caught behind the wheel drunk there is no other recourse but to pull your
privilege to drive permanently in the Commonwealth. Your vehicle will be confiscated and sold at
auction and the monies received will go back into the Dram Shop Act Fund.

If a family member feels sorry for you and gives you their car to drive they will be subject to jail
time and their vehicle confiscated and sold at auction also. No excuses will be heard like they took
the car without permission.

If you kill someone's family or an innocent person while drunk behind the wheel the 3 strikes your
out pertains automatically and your privilege to drive in Pennsylvania is no more.

Erase the first time offender from the O.L.L license (Occupational Limited License) to even consider
getting it back under a hardship clause. They will remain suspended until that 90 to whatever days
the courts feel that they should have their license back. If the offender is caught driving without
a license the vehicle will be confiscated and they will automatically go to the 3 strike rule and
lose their privilege to drive in the Commonwealth permanently.

Assure the public that it is not about the consumption of alcohol but it is about the combination of
alcohol and driving which do not belong together. And this law will also be observed on any
motorized vehicle such as planes, boats while operating them.

No where in the Constitution of the United States does it give you the right to consume alcohol and
drive a motorized vehicle. The Constitution does give law enforcement the ability to detain you and
search your vehicle under what is called Probable Cause. Probable Cause could be weaving,
observation of someone drinking a beer while driving, cutting in and out of traffic, no turn signal,
improper lane changing, or anything that could endanger yourself or the public.

No A.R.D. program, no rehabilitation after three times convicted. I find it appalling to see someone
still able to drive after 10 to 20 convictions for d.u.i. and still getting arrested.

Make sure that the public knows that this is not about prohibition but about getting behind the
wheel drunk.

The taking of a life no matter what fancy name you may give it like vehicular homicide is still
considered murder. The intent of the drunk driver is also made clear in order to get drunk they must
drive to and from that place. That key of that vehicle was turned on while they still were sober and
that decision was made. At the bar or party also decisions were made for that driver. So therefore
the fines and penalties of drunk behind the wheel should also increase. Jail times should also
increase and if you murder someone the appropriate jail time should be at least 25 years to
whatever. I find 4.8 years in jail a small sum to pay for murder today. And then giving them back
that privilege to drive is also a slap across the face to the victim's families..

Getting rid of the drunk driver in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not mean interlock systems
or ankle bracelets or any device to keep that drunk driver behind the wheel. It relies on clear
thinking and appropriate measures and the appropriate mandatory actions for all. It relies on
pulling that privilege to drive. Confiscation of Vehicles, more enforcement, support and funding for
the Dram Shop Act, Sting Operations, A better communication center in our Bureau of Motor Vehicles
and Transportation division. It also relies on the constant tracking of problem areas in
Pennsylvania and the correct measures to solve them.

Do not bother sending this letter to my Representative or Senator because this letter has already
been sent to them. The letter is one for every Representative and every Senator. Because drunk
driving is not only in the district that I reside in but yours also.

A man recently in Scranton, Pennsylvania was arrested after he smashed into a parked car. He had
blood alcohol content in his system of .24. He was unhurt but very intoxicated. The man arrested is
a District Judge and he states on the news that he plead guilty to all charges. He wants to go
through the A.R.D. program so that once again he could keep his job. He wants that slate wiped clean
of his decisions. Are we as citizens to believe that when he goes through the A.R.D. program and
gets his title back that he will be remorseful of his judgments? Or when he gets to be judge again
will he show some sort of vengeance on all law enforcement for him being arrested that night? Will
he show considerable leniency to every drunk driver that appears in front of him in court? A judge
has to be respected and trusted for he is the final man to have his say in any court proceedings and
he also hands down the punishment for the crimes against the many victims of these crimes.

William H. Canfield another man but just the opposite of the judge. William joined the United States
Air Force during the time that the Vietnam War was in full swing. After serving his country William
married and had 4 children. William was a avid hunter and loved the great outdoors and he loved his
family and his job at G.A.F. William was my half-brother whom I grew up with and had games of touch
football and tackle football. He loved the Giants and always rooted for them. William was also proud
to the fact that his one son is following his foot steps and he also joined the United States Air
Force and is serving his country today now for 23 years stationed in Panama City, Florida. Twenty
years ago a page was wrote in my brother and his family's life. My brother and his wife and one of
his sons were traveling back to their home from our church. A drunk driver just was sent away from a
bar and he was what you would call passing out drunk. It was also closing time for the bar. This man
met my brother and his family in front of the New Milford Cemetery. The drunk driver hit my
brother's car head on at an incredible speed. My brother's head was wrapped in between the door
posts of his car. My brother passed away three times before they could transport him to the hospital
and brought back to life. William H. Canfield was alive but in a deep coma. His wife Nancy had to
have pins and rods put in place to hold a shattered arm back together. Her ruptured spleen also had
to be removed immediately or she would die. Their son David had a badly bruised spleen and we waited
to see if his spleen would also have to be removed. The drunk driver not a scratch on him. He went
to court and served 1 week in the county jail and served a 100 hours of community service. In 6
months time he was driving again and arrested for drunk driving once again. Another slap on the
wrist and release. William woke up from his coma and he was sent to different rehabs to learn how to
walk and feed himself and take care of himself. The brother I once knew was no more. His personality
was gone. His likes and dislikes also changed. He did not even know his wife. He was left with a
severely damaged brain. He would tell you that it was a beautiful day in Florida with plenty of
sunshine. And it would be pouring rain outside. He would also laugh for no reason or cry for no
reason. That chapter in his life and family was written by many. There were no B.A.C. levels,
nothing on drunk driving or drug driving. No mandatory sentencing. No M.A.D.D., but there was the
Dram Shop Act and even back then it was not supported or funded. Absolutely no policies on drunk or
drugged driving.

The final chapter in my Brother William H. Canfield Sr.'s life. A brother I once knew and loved
and did not know after the accident. On Wednesday the 23rd of July 2008 I received a phone call from
Panama City from Master Sergeant William H. Canfield Jr. His phone call was of grave importance as
he informed me that his father my brother had passed away. Apparently from heart failure and even
though my brother survived the incident ( because I refuse to call drunk driving an accident,
because it most assuredly is preventable) from 20 years ago it left him and his family no quality of
normal life.

March 17th 2006 Megan Madeline Thomas just turned 5 years of age that year. A drunk driver at or
around 7:00 p.m. rammed his truck in back of a van that my wife was driving. The drunk driver passed
another car on the two laned road and rammed the van in the rear going at least 70 to 80 m.p.h. The
police report states 55 because of the simple fact that there is no money to properly investigate
every accident that happens in Pennsylvania so 55 is wrote in the speed section. My wife received 7
to 8 staples in her head to close a gaping wound. Megan was found lying under the van and not one
cut or bruise was on her face. Her one leg was mangled and the skin pulled back to reveal bone but
no other marks present. She was alive and my wife held her on the bank waiting for the ambulance to
arrive. She was speaking to my wife and conscious. Her last words to my wife before she was scooped
away by the ambulance crew were "Grammy I can not breathe". Megan Madeline Thomas my only
grand-daughter, died from massive internal injuries in a med-vac helicopter on the way to the
hospital. Her final chapter in the book of life was also written by the same policies we have today.
She also had rights. Rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that were ended and her
final chapter in her life closed.

The drunk driver had a bump on his head and after getting out of his now damaged truck to survey the
damage that he had caused in front of our churches driveway just seconds to safety for Megan. He got
in his damaged truck and drove away. Not to be found until the next morning and still above the
legal limit of alcohol in his system. The man himself a repeat offender of d.u.i. and in his
possession the O.L.L. license. The truck he was driving was a deceased member of his family. He had
no car insurance on any vehicle but he had an O.L.L. license to drive. Before he was sentenced to
4.8 years in the State Penitentiary he was out again drinking and drunk but no one can testify that
he was also driving again. He was out on bail while he enjoyed getting plastered again. And yet
after he serves his time he will be able to drive once again because of these same policies that we

Yes not much really has changed on drunk driving during the past 20 years, the penalties are little
or nothing, M.A.D.D. is in, the drunk driver feels the entitlement of being drunk behind the wheel
because of some unknown rights, Policies that are enacted so that the drunk driver can get that
privilege to drive back under a Hardship Clause. The A.R.D. program, No fault insurance and Tort,
B.A.C. levels that mean nothing to them, lawyers claiming breathalyzers when given by the police as
being false and a invasion on their clients rights, The Dram Shop Act still not properly funded or
supported and the cutting back on the enforcement against drunk driving.

Ankle Bracelets, Interlock systems, Lower B.A.C. levels, Rehabilitation of the drunk driver without
the follow-up that is necessary, driver schools, point systems, court intervention, family
intervention, penalties and fines and yet drunk driving continues.

Yes policies need to be changed and some of you also state that to me in your letters that they
should be changed. Policies that you can only change with the necessary support and funding.
Policies that you need to change not only for future victims but just maybe your own families that
the drunk driver will write a chapter in your lives if they are not. The Tough Love Outline that I
lay before you is just merely and outline of things that need changing. Our own Department Of
Transportation needs revamping and also our own Department Of Motor Vehicles where they can keep
track of repeat offenders and vehicles owned by them. Insurances that should not be dropped on any
vehicle without that vehicle license being pulled. Inspection stations that do not report stolen
inspection stickers, and the list goes on. And before you write me back or phone me do not tell me
about the recent changes that you passed 3 or 4 years ago that are ineffective. Because some of you
also state to me in your letters. That We Have Tried Everything! ( Really?)

The last words that I give you come from a famous person and they are these. "THE DEAD CAN NOT CRY

I do thank you for your time and patience for reading my letter to you.

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