Friday, March 1, 2013

Will McVay's DUI

First things first:  Will McVay is a friend of mine.

And Will's also the political gadfly who drives pretty much everybody (including a lot of Libertarians) nuts with party hopping while playing as fast and loose as possible with Delaware's ridiculous election laws.

And Will just pleaded guilty (entering the First Offender Program) to a DUI for marijuana in an incident back in October when he skidded his truck off the road.  He also had a couple of Xanax anti-anxiety pills that hadn't been prescribed to him and a bowl packed with weed.

So let's unpack that bowl and the whole case for just a few minutes.

It is fascinating the Delaware Online has given Will's DUI conviction more space than I think it has given to pretty much all of his campaigns for office.  As a matter of fact, the WNJ gave Will's conviction more space (I'm pretty sure) than it gave to all Libertarian candidates in last year's election combined, even though thousands of Delaware citizens voted for them.

And--to be sure--there are a few very vocal Libertarians out there who dislike Will who are wetting themselves in enthusiasm to get the story out.  Yeah, Jack, you know who you are, and so do about four other people.

But what does it all mean?

First off, I'm Libertarian, although people (most of whom are not Libertarians) sometimes tell me I'm not really a very good one.  But I'm a Libertarian and I muster no moral outrage for the Xanax or the bowl of weed in Will's possession because I think those things ought to be legal for any adult.  So if you expect me to criticize Will for that, about all I can muster is, "You know, you should have been more careful not to get caught."

DUI for marijuana?  Nope, I don't condone impaired driving, but I don't actually know that Will was impaired.  You see, unlike alcohol, ANY level of marijuana in your blood is automatically considered sufficient for conviction.  But, unlike alcohol there is no reliable correlation of impairment based on a positive blood test.  All you can actually tell from a blood test is that the individual smoked weed within the past several hours--not how much or how long ago.  According to the blood tests that law enforcement uses, Will McVay could have taken a single hit up to 5-6 hours before he got in his truck, or he could have been blitzed out of his mind while he was driving.

Furthermore, even a recent National Institute of Health (read "government") study admitted that we're not actually certain that marijuana is anywhere near as dangerous in drivers as booze:
Epidemiological studies have been inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use causes an increased risk of accidents; in contrast, unanimity exists that alcohol use increases crash risk.
So, to be honest, just the fact that Will tested positive for THC doesn't actually tell us anything.  (I do note in the available court documents that I do not see any mention of his failing a roadside test, and I suspect that he ended up getting a blood test more because he had the bowl in the car than because he appeared impaired.)

But OK it was a f--king stupid thing to do, Will.  Dangerous and all that, although I am probably madder at you for what you've put your parents through than anything else.

What does this mean for Will's personal future, or for his future as a Libertarian, or for the Libertarian Party of Delaware?

I'll answer those seriatem:

1.  It means that Will spends some time picking up the pieces, and hopefully does the soul-searching bit to insure that his recreational cannabis use is not becoming dangerous to himself and his friends.

2.  It means that, as a Libertarian, Will needs to have some honest conversations with the rest of us in the party about his role going forward.  We are a pretty anarchistic group (is that an oxymoron?) and I personally have no more intention of distancing myself from Will than I ever distanced myself from Tyler Nixon when the Powers That Be decided to victimize him for purely personal behaviors.

3.  What does it mean for the Libertarian Party of Delaware?  Not too damn much, really.  Even if Will had kept his truck out of the ditch on October 6, we'd still be struggling to suggest to people that freedom is a workable plan of life and government, and to get more than a few thousand people in the fifth most liberal state in the nation to vote for it.  But please remember, even though I am New Castle County Chair for the Libertarian Party of Delaware, I don't speak in this regard for anybody but me.  The old saying goes:  put three Libertarians in a room and you will not only get five opinions, but each of them will explain to you why those others aren't really Libertarians.

But we come back now to where I started:  Will McVay is a friend of mine; Jess and Mary Pat McVay are friends of mine, and so I won't be neutral or fail to speak up when something like this happens.


Scott Gesty said...

Maria and my thoughts are with Will and his family.

kavips said...

The first offender program is a good program and anyone who gets in should take it seriously. Listen and learn. It consists of very practical knowledge which can be used for life lessons, not only for himself, but those around him who may later seek his wisdom.

It does not have to be the end of a political career. If used properly, it can be the beginning of great changes.

Nancy Willing said...

ugh, I work up last night from dreaming that I took a turn in the road too quickly and ended up wondering if I'd survive the skidded crash into a woods.

I am a former weed smoker and have a few ancient DUIs on my record for both pot and alcohol.

I also didn't pursue political office knowing I had such public past offenses haunting me. But then, I would have ran as a DEM.

I certainly agree with Steve's notion that this can be the beginning of great changes.

Anonymous said...

This should show why William McVay should not be elected to office. He shows lack of intelligence and poor judgement.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what's up with these candidates and ex candidates grom the 32nd district and DUI? Funny thing is Steve that you left out that William was also drinking. According to my Sources.

Steve Newton said...

@Anon I used what was in the court record; if Will was drinking (and whoever the hell your sources might be) it wasn't in sufficient amount to show up in a blood test, so screw off with your little implications.

Anonymous said...

@steve what's with the attitude? You seem to be Very offensive And threatening. you're not very professional.

Anonymous said...

I have read the comments and have come to the conclusion that W,Mcvay is liablefor his irrational behavior. But the way that Steve Newton Responded Was very Unprofessional and sounds like a right winger.

Steve Newton said...

Jim, if you are going to respond here, have the courage to post under your own name.

As for the other anon? I really don't care what you think. I wrote what I wrote--you on the other hand sneak around like a coward afraid to post under your own name, too.

Both of you get one more shot and then you're done, because--yes--I own this blog and I will cut you off just because I damn well please.

Steve Newton said...

As I think about it, Jim, you are both Anons. So you're gone for being a complete coward.

Steve Newton said...

I've closed the comments here, primarily because I'm tired of one individual who has become boring as well as annoying. Sucks for everybody else, I guess, but hey that's life.