Originally Posted by Ztalker
Knowingly risking the lifes of others who trust you should be punished severely.
But how do we define "knowingly"? There are many people who "get away" with crimes of passion because their brain literally stopped working logically for a while. There are people who get away with crimes because they have no memory of it, because they've been injured and forgotten who they are, or because their brain does not always function properly.
Should "knowingly" be "we know you did it." Or should "knowingly" be that the person charged with the crime willfully did it, fully understanding the risks and the rules they were breaking? You know, IMO, I think we shouldn't get in the habit of assuming every person has a complete understanding of the rules and risks of every situation.
To that you might say "well if he didn't understand the risks!", but that's exactly my point, Alcohol abuse damages the brain in the long-term, and severely impairs(with increasing severity the more consumed) it in the sort term. He "didn't understand" because he couldn't, alcohol had impaired his mental faculties to the point where he didn't realize what the risks were, much less that there even were risks.
So, personally, I think when we accuse someone of "knowingly", "willfully" or "purposefully" having done something, I'd like to be sure that they really did know, and understand what they were doing.