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The dangers of repeat DWI offenders

Throw together a crowd of protestors blocking a city intersection and a 5-time DWI offender driving with no license and you have the recipe for a tragedy. Late Sunday, Nicholas Kraus, driving without a license after five DWI convictions, approached the intersection that had been blocked off by demonstrators protesting the shooting of Winston Boogie Smith, Jr., killed by U.S. Marshals on June 3. Kraus told officers he saw a car blocking the intersection and thought he had to speed up to “jump” the barricade. Instead, he smashed into the car, knocking it into Deona Knadjek, killing her and injuring others.

Wednesday, Kraus was charged with intentional second-degree murder.

We can argue about whether protestors blocking off intersections, or marching down freeways, are “peaceably assembled,” but one thing is clear — people who can’t put down the bottle should not be picking up car keys.

Our society has a problem dealing with people who break the law time after time, who get drunk and think they are perfectly OK to drive, who don’t care that their license was revoked, or that they have no insurance, or that they could kill someone if they don’t stop what they are doing.

In this case, someone did get killed. Kraus, if convicted, should be put away for a long time. At least he’ll be off the street.

But will other repeat DWI offenders take notice? Will they learn from Kraus’ mistake? It doesn’t usually happen that way. Those who are drunk enough and stupid enough to keep getting DWIs should be taken off the street much sooner — before they kill someone.

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