It’s time we admit that drunks are shameful
It's the bloody pointlessness of it. A man, allegedly drunk, runs down seven children in a Sydney street and kills four.
What can any of us can say to make sense of something so horrible? So bloody, bloody pointless.
What comfort, consolation or meaning can we offer the parents, especially the Abdallah parents, who on Saturday lost three of their children to a man who allegedly blew 0.150?
There's nothing. We can offer them our hearts, but all they want is their children.
We can pretend to offer comfort, but there is none. Even the Bible of the Maronite Catholic Abdallahs knows this: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
No, this accident is what sheer stupidity looks like at its worst, and we know the stupid will always be with us, because stupid is too often inside us, too.
We'll never end stupidity, but can I offer a probably pointless protest?
First, let's please add to that list of things we say to friends and ourselves: "Yes, but what if."
Yes, you might get away with driving home drunk, or fiddling with your phone, but what if you hit someone? How could you ever live with the shame?
Then there's the booze.
Look, I'm not hardcore about this. Yes, I had a drink, too, and then drove home on the night the Abdallah children died. But just one beer, and half another.
But let me say something about drunks.
From my teenage years I've been at parties and dinners where I've seen people get drunk, and I just don't get it.
Now that I'm 60 I get it even less. What is there about getting drunk that's good?
Don't drunks know how boring they are? How unfunny? How sad and stupid they often seem? And what a menace they can be?
Ask any drunk: how often have you done things drunk that you're proud of?
How often have you had to say sorry instead?
And how many times will sorry never be enough?
Yes, I sound like a prude in a country where drunkenness is often no social sin.
But maybe it's time not to care about seeming prudish and to say it straight: drunks are shameful.
Or is this pointless, too?