Lee Cataluna Drink, drive, get arrested and bear the mark forever By Lee Cataluna April 1, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. When a local politician gets arrested for DUI, doesn’t your mind instantly go down the list of all the others in that category, all the other lawmakers who have DUI arrests in their past? Human nature does a head count and an instant compare/contrast of who was drunker, who was dumber, who did more damage. The same holds true for other groups: local entertainers, prominent attorneys, athletes. … An arrest dredges up all similar sins and sinners. Meanwhile, all the politicians with DUIs in their past cringe to see if their names end up on the list of shame attached to stories of the new incident. For most, DUI really never goes away. The crime has rightfully become a lasting burden, like a bad mark on a permanent personal file. In generations past, it may have been laughed off, like Cary Grant’s slapstick DUI court scene in "North by Northwest," but over the years the public has gotten their perception in line with reality and we don’t think it’s funny or harmless or hapless anymore. A past conviction for something like embezzlement or check kiting or campaign finance violations gets diluted over time when the details are hard to remember and the back story is hard to tell succinctly. But "DUI" conveys a whole collection of bad decisions, lack of self-control and murderous potential wrapped up in those three letters. There are no assumptions of extenuating circumstances when you hear "DUI." The entire story is clear: Someone drank too much and got behind the wheel. Shame on them. They could have — or too often did — kill someone. Not that the community doesn’t hold out hope for redemption. The intense shame of a DUI arrest proved too much for the HPD online mug shots. Those raw, humiliating pictures of people looking their absolute wretched worst didn’t stay online long, partly because the Internet eternity of those images didn’t allow for the suspects to ever fully redeem themselves. The stigma of a DUI arrest extends well beyond the person who got a bleary-eyed mug shot taken down at the police station. Everyone around the suspect faces scrutiny: Who was with him? Why did you let her drink so much? Why did you let him get in the car? Why didn’t you stop her? What are you going to do now? The recent arrest of a UH football player for suspicion of driving under the influence is such an unwelcome harbinger over what is otherwise shaping up to be a fresh start for the team. The incident brings up thoughts of previous troubles, and is the first such test that the new coaching team will face. DUI is not an internal problem like bad grades or trashing a dorm room; it is a very public crime with potentially horrific consequences. A lot of meaning will be attached to how the new coaching staff handles the incident. ——— Reach Lee Cataluna at email@example.com. Previous Story Beloved isle pediatrician lives on in Kapiolani fund Next Story Alleged peeper's photo shows mark of 'Hilo justice'