Peta Kills Beer Buzz

NORFOLK, Va.–An animal rights group on Thursday pulled its “Got Beer?” ad campaign, which anti-drunken driving activists had criticized as a misguided promotion of underage drinking. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals unveiled the campaign on college campuses this week. The Norfolk-based group contends that milk cows and their calves suffer on factory farms and that the fat and cholesterol in milk make drinking beer look good by comparison.

PETA said it stopped the ads out of respect for concerns raised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “MADD got their message out; we got our message out,” said Bruce Friedrich of PETA. “As spring break and St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, we hope we helped save lives and prevented injuries due to underage drinking and impaired driving by speaking out against the campaign,” MADD spokeswoman Teresa Hardt said.

The animal rights group now plans an ad showing a calf modeled after the pictures of missing children on milk cartons. The “Got Beer?” campaign was a parody of the dairy industry’s “Got Milk?” spots.

Nutritionists said PETA’s health comparison between beer and milk was oversimplified, because milk contains many nutrients and nonfat milk eliminates the drawbacks of whole milk.

Drunk Drivers on Death Row?

North Carolina Supreme Court Considers Landmark Case

According to court documents, on Sept. 4, 1996, Jones had been driving after drinking beer and taking prescription painkillers when he rammed into another vehicle. Jones then allegedly fled the scene at high speed, drove on the wrong side of the road and hit the car carrying the students.

Two young women died in the crash – Maia Witzl and Julie Hansen, both 19 – and four others were injured, three seriously. Prosecutors charged Jones with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and two counts of first-degree murder.

The “deadly weapon” was Jones’ car.

The case was prosecuted under the state’s felony murder rule, which mandates that if you commit a felony using a deadly weapon and somebody dies, you can be convicted of first-degree murder and eligible for the death penalty.

Because the killings occurred during the felonies – the assaults with a deadly weapon – the felony murder rule should apply, the state argues.

But Jones’ lawyer, David Freedman, argues that since Jones had no intention of killing his victims, the felony murder rule should not apply to him. The state argues that intent was established by Jones’ purposefully reckless and criminally negligent actions.

“If the defendant wishes to create a special exemption for drunks who commit felony murder,” the state’s court brief reads, “he should seek redress at the Legislature, not this Court.”

Punishment for homicides resulting from drunken driving has grown more severe over the last two decades. North Carolina prosecutors say the shift represents a growing public disgust with drunken driving.

Despite the grim details of the crash and Jones’ prior DUI conviction and pending DUI charge, Freedman says the penalty is too severe. But worse, Freedman says, if the conviction is upheld, the felony murder rule could be applied to any motorist who intentionally violates a safety standard and unintentionally kills in the process.

“The danger is when you create a law like this, it opens Pandora’s box,” Freedman said. “The possibilities for abuse are huge, because you could apply it to almost any accident case.”

Regardless of the state Supreme Court’s decision, the legislature could rework the law. Freedman says that if he loses this round, he could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but thinks the high court won’t likely agree to hear such a case until an impaired motorist is sentenced to death. If Jones does lose this appeal, Freedman says, it is only a matter of time before a drunken driver lands on death row.

Teens in Gibbon, Nebraska to take breath tests before prom

GIBBON, Nebraska – As in many small Nebraska communities, underage drinking is a problem in the town of Gibbon.

This is why parents and teachers there are taking action to make sure the upcoming senior prom isn’t marred by alcohol.

Students will have to take breath tests before they are allowed attend the prom. The plan was finalized at a school board meeting last night. It’s one that has majority approval from teachers, parents and the students.

“Everyone entering the prom and the post-prom will be given the breathalyzer test before they will be allowed to come in,” Dr. Dale Kruse, superintendent, said.

“I think it’s a good idea because it will prevent the kids from drinking and driving and getting into a possible accident. But, I also think it might have an affect on the atmosphere at the prom. We get all dressed up to go to prom and then were made to take the breathalyzer test when we come in,” Niki Nichols, student council president, sail

More than 75 percent agreed to adopt the zero tolerance alcohol policy at the meeting. Parents will be called to come pick up their kids if they test positive for booze.

“We’re not just trying to put another rule on them. We’re doing this because we care and we want to prevent tragedies plus the roomers that go around. This way everyone knows for sure. This way, we as parents can’t deal with things we don’t know,” Jeanie Engel, mother of a junior, said.

Breathalyzers will also be used at a parent sponsored post-prom event as well.

Nichols says that most students feel the policy is a good idea, although she wishes they had more input into the decision. But, she knows the adults just want to prevent a repeat of recent problems. “At the dance there was some suspicion of some kids being drunk there. Also, we’ve already had an accident that involved kids drinking and driving. We were lucky that no one was killed or seriously injured. We just want to prevent that from happening,” she said.

“It’ll prevent a lot of stupidity at the prom. I mean people come to prom drunk and then they don’t remember what happens at prom, where others remember the stupid things that they did,” Dawna Nichols, senior, said.

If a student’s date tests positive for alcohol and the student does not, neither students will be allowed into the prom.