Thursday, February 14, 2008

Vomiting in Public Declared Unlawful

With flu season mercifully coming to a close, it's not too late for me to warn the local population (and particularly the residents of Isla Vista, California) that, yes indeed, the act of vomiting in public is likely to get you detained if not arrested, and I'm dead serious. No, vomiting, though thoroughly unpleasant for everyone in the near vicinity of it, is not actually illegal. For one thing, it is usually involuntary. In fact, often times, you can't stop it if you try. Yes, of course, alcohol abuse is a common cause of vomiting. But vomiting, as a physician recently explained to me, is a disease. Vomiting, per se, is not an act as much as it is a symptom of indigestion and it knows many causes. Alcoholic beverages can be, and often are, a contributing factor, but common experience teaches us that there are many other factors (e.g., allergies, bad food, influenza, excessive ingestion of any substance, exercise, being around others who are vomitting, and gory/disgusting images, sounds and/or odors). The union of alcohol consumption and one or more of these other factors may lead to vomit, and that doesn't mean that a crime has been committed.
I am calling on the local population that drinks alcohol to slow down. I am also asking the local police to slow down on arresting people simply because they vomited and they suspect (or know) alcohol was involved. What's wrong with giving them a rub on the back, a towel to wipe off their mouth and maybe a ride home? This is how we would treat a friend or family member in their hour of need, would we not? In this same regard, I will continue to call upon the powers that be to install a sobering center in Isla Vista; as much as that may reduce my earnings as a lawyer with a number of clients facing public intoxication misdemeanor charges. It's the right thing to do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea! As a Santa Barbara resident, taxpayer, voter, mother, and lawyer (I'm all of those) I am 100% in support your call for a sobering center in Isla Vista.

And I also love your suggestion that the police should treat the local population with even just a wee bit of compassion, rather than slapping the cuffs on at each and every opportunity. Whatever happened to the police motto of "protect and serve"? I fear that our local law enforcement are simply trying to boost their stats by finding "crime" and making arrests, when the public would be much better served by the officers just offering the poor sick kid a ride home -- especially in cases where he/she has someone who can stay with them to take care of them, in the instances where the person is so sick that he/she shouldn't be left alone. It's time for a change in policy.