Violent drunkards are walking bombs
We often call out-of-control drunks “drunken dogs” as their behavior can resemble that of animals at the height of their drinking sessions. Recently, I read that a drunken woman bit a policeman. But I didn’t judge the woman. I only thought about how not long ago I was in danger of becoming a dog as well.
When I plan to drink, I usually leave my car in Gyeonggi and ride the subway to Seoul. One day, I had a few drinks before taking the Jungang line. I got off at Deokso to transfer but fell asleep on a bench while waiting for the next train. Fortunately, my husband called me just in time and I managed to return home. I remember keeping a tight grip on my handbag but don’t recall much else.
The incident really got to me, though, and I have learned my lesson. I no longer drink more than I can stand. But making such a decision is not easy in a society such as ours, which has deep historical ties to drinking.
Take for instance the poem created by Jeong Cheol, a minister during the reign of King Seonjo in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
“Let’s have a drink, and let’s have another,” it reads. “Pick a flower for every drink, and drink as much as you can. When I die, I’ll be tied up with a rope and loaded onto a carrier to the grave. In the thick forest of oaks and poplars, who will offer me a drink?”
The piece of writing embraces indulgence in alcohol as much as it does nihilism and appreciation of the arts.
Yet our history is no excuse for excessive alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is poisonous to the body and causes trouble for others.
Violence caused by alcohol consumption is not limited to kicking doors or throwing objects. There are murders and serious assaults committed in drunken stupors. On Wednesday, a drunken man locked up his wife and murdered her. He was caught after neighbors called the police. The husband said that he was so drunk he could not remember what happened, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a murderous animal.
In the month of June, more than 100 people were caught in a police crackdown on violence caused by alcohol consumption. In the past, these drunkards would be released with just a warning, but they certainly deserve more severe punishments.
As we say, drunken drivers and violent drunkards are walking bombs. Those who cannot control themselves under the influence of alcohol are explosive. So people with these tendencies should take precautions when drinking or not drink at all. In the end, it’s all up to you. Make the right choice.
*The author is a guest columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Eom Eul-soon