Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hitting bottom

There was a time when Don Cannon was one of the most popular television personalities in Pittsburgh. The longtime news anchor, whose tenure here was marked by troubles with alcohol, is in hot water again. Cannon was a longtime newsman at WTAE before an embarrassing onscreen meltdown in the mid-90s ended his career there. He relocated to Philadelphia but returned to Pittsburgh a few years later to work as an anchor and reporter at KDKA before losing that job a couple of years ago following a pair of drunken-driving arrests in the South Hills. Cannon subsequently relocated to California, where he was supposed to serve his house arrest and probation sentences for convictions on the two Western Pennsylvania DUI charges. But Allegheny County authorities say he failed to do so, and Cannon was picked up Tuesday by police in the San Diego area. He also reportedly faces a new DUI charge in California. I understand that some people have problems with alcohol that they can’t control, but those people are well aware of their problems, and some of them still make a conscious decision to drink and get behind the wheel of a car. In Cannon’s case, he did it multiple times. I can sympathize with a person who makes a one-time mistake, gets pulled over and blows a .08. And I give young people a little bit of slack, because I remember (barely) being a young and irresponsible kid, myself. I don't mean that young people should not be held responsible if they violate the law, but I have some understanding of their actions. However, I don't understand it when a 69-year-old man doesn't have the good sense to drink at home.

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Blogger PRIguy said...

I thought that every state had some sort of repeat offender statute that should have held Cannon in check at some point. I say lock him up for one full year per violation. By then he might have sobered up.

November 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Who keeps enabling this man to have an automobile?

November 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad fact is that there are probably plenty of others like Cannon who we never hear about. Alcoholism isn't something you "get over": it's a continuing fight to extarct yourself from the disease. I don't know if Cannon has sought help and relapsed or if he and those close to him try to ignore the problem.

November 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous cast the first stone said...

God bless Don Cannon and his problem. I will pray for him not to die a drunk. Alcohol grabs some people, and they can't let go. Then alcohol is important than your kids, husband and marriage. Hope it never happens to your sister!

November 19, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I don't mean to suggest that alcoholism is not a terrible affliction. It is. But there's nothing that compels an alcoholic to get drunk and then drive around. A person with a drinking problem is perfectly capable of staying out of bars and doing their drinking at home, or of making arrangements for transportation that does not involve them getting behind the wheel.

November 19, 2009 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Mr. L. Miller said...

But there's nothing that compels an alcoholic to get drunk and then drive around.

Sure, i've watched people buy a 12 pack drink it then want to drive to the store. So what compels them is the next drink...

You are right, it's foolish to drink and drive. No doubt. A drunk will spend his last dime on a beer rather than food.

November 19, 2009 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

You make a good point, L. There was a guy I knew of who already had his license suspended for a DUI when, one night, he was stewed to the gills at home and heard that his ex-girlfriend was at some bar and decided to drive there and confront her/try to win her back. Got caught again and ended up doing jail time. Sometimes there's a lot of plain old dumbness that goes into getting a DUI.

November 19, 2009 at 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our nation is yet to be serious about drunken driving. It is just another ho-hum story, and the Don Cannon situation is one more example.

Every year, 17,000 people die from drunken driving, another 40,000 are injured. The cost in terms of loss of productivity and medical bills is staggering. Despite knowing all this, the problem just continues to be ignored to a large extent. We get really excited if some food stuff may be tainted, and millions of pounds of food is discarded because somebody might get sick. Meanwhile, couple of hundred people die from drunken driving every day.

Drunk driving is solely wrapped up in selfishness, "do what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it." It is all about "I" without regard to others. Nobody can explain why people want to engage in actions that produce mind-altering effects. Consider all the drug use. Consider all the interest in making marijuana more easily available. (Recall that 50% of the applicants at the DISH call center -- now closing because of lack of workforce -- could not pass a drug test). Alcohol is another way to alter natural mind. Excessive use produces unreasonable outcomes. Nobody needs blue-ribbon panels, congressional hearings, new laws, or anything. People need to stop being selfish, and take responsibility for themselves living in a society with others.

Suggest: First offense, impound the vehicle for three months. Second: impound the vehicle for six months. Third: impound for a year. Sorry -- not going to listen to sob stories about needing a vehicle to get the family around, get to work, etc. Individuals would know the consequences before engaging in selfish behavior. I would much rather support taxpayer funded impound yards that pay the society price of loss of life, bodily injury, and loss of productivity. Impound yards are cheap.

November 20, 2009 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Good take, anonymous. Would you happen to have a link to more info about the drug use among the Dish call center workers. That's amazing.

November 20, 2009 at 7:06 AM  
Anonymous NIPs said...

anon @ November 20, 2009 6:51 AM

So if I take my horse to the store and I'm drunk, you want to take that too?

How about when Grandpaw sneaks off on the lawn tractor to get some beer. Pull him over and take his Lawn tractor?

How about the guy on the bike. Do we take his bicycle away?

November 20, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

You forgot to mention motorized bar stools.

November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KDKA story about the DISH call center:

I think PG also had a story, but I can't find it right now. I also saw TV news stories, other than KDKA, that spoke about the 50% failure rate for applicants.

From what I read and saw, DISH had hundreds of openings on a continuing basis, but just couldn't fill them. Perhaps McKeesport was too small to support a facility of this size. But, to see that half of the applicants couldn't pass the drug test is simply amazing. The people in the area had a gold mine in their backyard, and let it slip away. I also think $27M of taxpayer money went into the project to get it off the ground.

November 20, 2009 at 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can't expect a drunk person to act in a logical manner, and I imagine an alcoholic tells him/herself when they go to a bar that they're going to have "just one" which then becomes many more drinks. It's called denial.

November 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


November 24, 2009 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still can't help but chuckle when I remember the night Don Cannon was soused on Channel 4. It was simply unbelievable television.

I hope he someday overcomes this demon, but the odds are not with him.

November 25, 2009 at 12:49 AM  

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