At a client's this morning listening to him commiserate with his neighbor about the money the neighbor's latest DUI is costing him. He refinanced his house 2 years ago for $20,000 for lawyer fees because the ambulance chaser guaranteed him he'd get the charge reduced and keep him out of jail. Two years have passed and he now wants $15,000 more. Seems the state passed tougher laws and made them retroactive which now included the neighbor's incident. Of course, both the lawyer and the state are the problem here. Of course they are.
The neighbor is looking at 5 years in jail because this particular DUI was his 4th or 5th. He was telling my client that his wife will lose everything because she won't be able to keep any of it without his income. He owns his own auto repair business, it runs out of the garage next to his house. This set up was made possible thanks to a very large insurance settlement she got from the death of her first husband. She hasn't a dime of it left.
I kept leaving the room in an attempt not to hear this man whine. My eyes were beginning to hurt from all the rolling they did and my tongue was pretty near to the bleeding point from the biting of it. They are in this mess because they made the choice to be there.
She had a million dollars from that settlement. She spent every damn penny of it on toys, booze and cocaine. He's not even a good auto mechanic since he drinks from the time he opens for business every day. He's the one who chose to drive drunk all the times he got caught. He's the responsible party here, not the state or the lawyer.
After the neighbor left, my client continued to speak about the situation. His thoughts on the subject exactly paralleled those of the neighbor. The problem wasn't that the neighbor made a choice to break a law, it was the problem of the lawyer and the state. His sympathy for the mess the neighbor is in has outweighed his ability to judge who is ultimately responsible.
I found myself asking my client how he would see the situation if the neighbor had injured or killed someone while he was driving drunk, for the 4th or 5th time? His response was: "Oh, well, that's not what happened", and he proceeded to continue to sputter about lawyers only interested in money and the state trying to take away a man's livelihood. I didn't say anything more since I am aware that in another 20 years, if I should live that long, this could be me.
What happens to the brain as we age is a mystery. Some people suffering from dementia have short term memory loss, mood swings and behave in a manner that suggests they need a parent. For others the mind seems to stay sharp but there are these lapses in judgement. There doesn't seem to be any way to predict which form an older person will suffer from. One good thing I've learned over the past few years is once they get to that point, there is absolutely 0 chance of changing their minds.