Day by Day

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ordered to drink

A post over at Snowflakes in Hell brought forth a memory lodged in the back of my brain. Back in the day, when I was an MP at Ft. Riley, all the MP's had to take a course on DUI/DWI Detection. The course included instructions on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, which are of course needed to indicated probable cause for the Breathalyzer test to be used. Now, in order to adequately instruct on the FST's, you need some drunk people to test on. It's all well and good to say "look for this response, look for these indicators", but until you see them when your very eyes, it just doesn't sink in.

So, the NCOIC of the traffic section would find some troops who were already certified in DUI detection, and have them drink for the class. The class would then use the intoxicated MP's as test subjects. I was asked to be one of the test subjects, since I was already certified. Of course I said yes. Back then I was a bit of a lush, and the thought of getting my drink on during Army time appealed to me.

One of the things that has to happen is that you are constantly given a Breathalyzer test, so that not only can you be monitored for health reasons but so that the students can be told how drunk you really are after they run the tests on you. Someone who's learned how to do the FST's has a damn good chance of nailing your BAC within a few points, without the Breathalyzer. So the instructors keep tabs on all the test subjects, and at the end of the course announce to the students what our BAC was while we were being tested.

Now, as I've stated, this was back during my heavy drinking days. I was allowed to bring my own booze, and I chose Southern Comfort 101. I did thirteen shots of it in three hours, or roughly four and a third shots every hour. All on an empty stomach. And I was schnookered, folks. When they tested my BAC, it was at .133, and fell to .113 by the time the students had finished running the FST's on me. Thirteen shots of 101 proof alcohol in three hours, and I was at a .133 BAC.

So now, keeping that in mind, think of just how much someone has to drink to get to the level described in Sebastian's post:

Comer is pictured below in a 2006 mug shot snapped after a prior drunk driving arrest. In that case, her BAC was recorded in the relatively minor .3 range. In November, another Oregon woman, Meagan Harper, was nabbed for drunk driving with an extreme BAC. In her case, Harper’s BAC was measured at .55. Comer’s .72 edges out what TSG has previously identified as the highest BAC we’ve ever seen. That fallen record (.69) was held by Willard Ashley III, an Indiana man who was busted in October 2003. (3 pages)

Great Googly Moogly! That level of intoxication would kill the average joe, yours truly included. The standard rule of thumb when dealing with your average person is this: .1 BAC is drunk. .2 is completely blitzed. .3 is comatose, and .4 is dead. I personally have never seen anything higher than a .45, and that was with a hard core alcoholic who'd been drinking a fifth of Jack Daniels every day for the past ten years.

As an aside, I was never asked to do the drinking again due to a slight *ahem* incident I had with an NCO. There was a certain Staff Sergeant who didn't like me at all, and always took pleasure in tormenting me when he could, no matter how petty the torment was. However, I had been told to get drunk by the Army, so I did. When I was sober, I could just shrug off any comments this SSG made, or deal with whatever order he gave. But under the influence, I didn't have my normal inhibitions.

So SSG Dickhead wandered up to me while I was performing the tests for the students. I was a bit loud, and SSG Dickhead decided to play his normal games. He had already prodded me a few times that day, so I wasn't in a very pleasant mood to deal with him. He interrupted the students, stuck a finger in my face, and said:

"Soldier, you need to shut the hell up!"

To which I promptly replied (and I've tried to spell it just like it sounded):

"Shergeant, you need ta go fuck yourshelf!"
SSG Dickhead tried to press UCMJ charges against me, but due to the fact that I was inebriated on the orders of the Army, nothing could be done. Ah well. I've found through my experience that there is always a certain percentage of law enforcement personnel who enjoy bossing people around, throwing their weight around and generally making other folks miserable for their own personal enjoyment. SSG Dickhead was probably one of those people, but it could have been that he just didn't like me. I don't know, and I don't care. Anyways, it's time to go mow the lawn. See you all later.

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