Friday, May 25, 2007

Josh Hancock and the blame game

Definitely don't drive after one of these

In the aftermath of pitcher Josh Hancock's death, his family filed a lawsuit against essentially every person who was alive in Illinois or Missouri the night of his fatal car accident. Autopsy toxicology reports revealed that Hancock was two times over the legal limit when he plowed his SUV into a tow truck that had stopped on the left side of the road to assist a motorist.

Among the people being sued are the bar that overseved Hancock, the tow truck driver, the driver of the broken down vehicle and the tow truck company. More defendants may be added later.

What really gets me about this is how it relates to the issue of overserving. At some point, adult people have to take responsibility for how much they drink. If you want to get technical about it, any restaurant or bar shouldn't serve anyone more than two drinks, since that puts a good portion of the population at or near the legal limit. Instead, Hancock's family is blaming everyone except who they should be blaming: Josh Hancock.

People have made attempts to blame the clubhouse culture in baseball in general, and the St. Louis Cardinals in particular for allowing drinking in the clubhouse, and not noticing that this guy needed help.

Our culture is the one to blame. One of the most popular and least effective programs to quit drinking, AA, begins with the alcoholic admitting they are powerless to control their disease. This perception that alcoholics are not capable of making sound decisions is lame. We blame drug users, people with AIDs, children of the poor, minorities, immigrants for things that they actually cannot control, but when it comes to alcoholics, we throw a huge pity party because they can't stop drinking.

We can debate whether or not alcoholism is a disease or not, but if you believe it is, the alcoholic is still to blame is many cases for not seeking treatment. You want to say it's a disease? Fine. But, then would you feel sorry for someone with AIDs who didn't get any treatment? That person would be vilified. Time and time again when alcoholics fail to complete treatment or relapse, we blame the disease.

That lack of accountability is what killed Josh Hancock.


CampBlood said...

Fuck that shit!!! Was it the bartender's fault that I drank too many shots? Was it the bartender's fault that I made an ass out of myself? Was it the bartender's fault that I fucked the varsity team on the school bus? Was it the bartender's fault that I overdosed on pills & became a media sensation?
All LOL aside... Was it the bartender's fault that I had a drink in the first place?
As a drinker (those of you who know me can vouch for that...) I believe you have to take responsibility for your actions. I understand that alcoholism & drug addiction are sicknesses, but when it comes down to it all, you make a choice. And trust me, I know about those choices.
Everybody please be safe & make good choices!!!

Josh Hancock ~ RIP

Miles said...

When someone dies, its easy to try to point the finger and look for ways to have prevented that person's death. No matter what the restaurant did, the tow truck driver did, the stalled passenger did, they could not have forseen that their actions would have directly or indirectly led to someone's death. The only one who should have forseen it, was the one who put the keys in the ignition, knowing that they had too much to drink. If I were the tow truck driver or the stranded driver, I would be counter-suing in a New York Minute for damanges inflicted by a drunk driver and infliction of emotional distress. If Hancock had lived and killed the tow truck driver or stranded driver, and had that kind of BAC and weed in his car, his ass would be charged with manslaughter.

Personal Responsibility has gone the way of the Dinosaur.

ptg said...

When my liver failed, the staff at the hospital worked overtime to get me to start AA. Even though I had already quit drinking on my own before I was symptomatic of cirrhosis.

The more I learn about AA, the better I feel about not following their advice. I'd probably be dead now if I had joined a roomful of 'powerless blame shifters' every day.

Excellent post, Ryan.