DUI American Knocks Out German Gun 100 Years Too Late

virginia-dui-wwi-posterWorld War I was pretty rough, but it’s well and truly over. That’s what makes it so startling that a German gun emplacement was stormed and damaged not back in 1917, when the US joined the allied forces fighting in Europe, but this September in Roanoke, Virginia. The one who drove into the cannon was recently sentenced in court for drunk driving.

The German 77mm field gun stands on a street corner in Salem, Virginia. A man named Skylan Chambers drove into the cannon, damaging it. He pleaded no contest to the drunk driving charge, and as a result, will have to pay damages and also spend 70 days in jail.

Finally, Chambers will be ordered to install an ignition interlock. Virginia DUI laws mandate ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

All in all, the system worked as it should. The cannon will be fixed, and the driver will be prevented by the technology from reoffending.

But it’s worth noting that the cannon is not there to function as a weapon of war. It is a reminder of war and those who risk their lives for their country in wartime. But the man who damaged it was risking his own life – and those of others – for no good reason at all.

Cannons guard against military attacks. But you can’t guard against a Virginia DUI driver once he or she is behind the wheel. All you can do is prevent them from getting behind the wheel.

Maybe Salem should bronze an ignition interlock and exhibit it on another corner. We’d be happy to donate one.