Don't Judge Car Crash Mom; Judge Alcoholism

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2009 2:57 PM CDT
Diane and Daniel Schuler with their children Bryan, 5, and Erin, 2.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – It’s easy to condemn Diane Schuler—the mom who drove drunk and stoned the wrong way on a highway and killed herself, four children, and three others—writes Susan Cheever on Salon. But “for those of us who have ever driven a car after having a few beers, and for mothers who have driven in cars with too many small children, the story is more complicated." The real evil is alcoholism, writes Cheever, herself a former alcoholic, and judging one person won’t help a bit.

Cheever imagines Schuler feeling stressed about the long drive with 5 clamoring kids and, using an alcoholic's logic, steeling herself by drinking. "Perhaps to fortify herself for the drive, Schuler reached for vodka and pot, substances she had probably used in the past. It may not seem obvious to someone who has never had a drinking problem, but for a woman whose most reliable support had become alcohol, it could make a kind of sad, twisted sense."  Mourn for those Schuler killed, Cheever writes, but let’s also “redouble our energy toward saving some of the 36 innocents who will be killed by drunk driving today and every other day.”