22 December 2009

What has the world come to when binge drinkers are called martyrs?

A police chief in China has claimed that one of his officers, who died after a drinking session with him at a banquet, is a martyr because he died in the line of duty.

Lo escandaloso – what a scandal! The police chief made the claim so that the man’s relatives would be eligible for more compensation. They would apparently be entitled to $95,000 if their dead relative was hailed a martyr.

It’s a sad fact that alcohol poisoning in China is not uncommon. What’s more, there have been several instances reported of similar deaths at other government-funded banquets. Nevertheless, I believe that it is entirely wrong for the authorities to call a man a martyr after dying in such circumstances, however sad or awful. Surely that is not only condoning drinking while on duty, but glamorising it as well?

I personally never drink while on duty, nor while riding my horse, Gonzo - and would urge others to follow my example. Apparently, there are 50 times more deaths every year from drinking in the UK than there are from illegal drugs. Drink-driving is also a particular problem at this time of year.

Por favor mi amigos – enjoy your sangria in moderation and take responsibility for your actions. And if you know someone who’s a drink-driver – contact Crimestoppers anonymously before they hurt themselves or someone else.

Feliz Navidad – Merry Christmas my friends and be safe.

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