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Deadly weapons

Our family attended the memorial service for Cassie Schley-May, killed at the age of 22 by a drunk driver. The loss of this vibrant young person seriously injured an entire community – which now grieves deeply – along with the loved ones of another victim who died a few days later.

I asked a Mexican friend whether drunk driving is as common there as it is here in Nevada County. He thought that it probably is. But, he said, it results in one-car accidents: Mexican drunks drive off the road and kill themselves, not often others.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it made me wonder how much DUI manslaughter in America is caused by emotionally disabled people who drink and drive to express their anger. In fact, legislators have occasionally proposed redefining DUI manslaughter as a more serious felony, assault with a deadly weapon.



I’m not convinced that would lower our rate of tragedy. Maybe we’d make a difference by considering cars to be not only vehicles but also deadly weapons, and if, before turning the ignition key, we asked ourselves what kind of shape we’re in and how we value our neighbors.

Jeff Kane




Nevada City


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