If you haven’t seen it already, you will surely soon see a lot of officer-involved arrest stories in the news about police arresting celebrities – probably largely sports celebrities and performing arts celebrities -- in the state of California for driving a car under the influence of marijuana (or in its other aliases, cannabis, hash, or hemp) This is because of two reasons.  There are more sports celebrities and performing arts celebrities in California than in any other place in America.  The second reason is that as of this past January 1, California became the largest market for legal marijuana in the nation.

Understandingly, the new marijuana market is likely to make its mark on our roads and freeways. Marijuana has an effect of slowing everything a person does, including that user’s thinking and that person’s reaction to a car slowing in front of him.  Rear end collisions are already the cause of the most multi-car accidents on the freeway, and it is anticipated that when marijuana gets a chance to go out on our roads the way alcohol has been doing, there is going to be a whole new dynamic of multi-rear-end collisions caused by the drugged reaction of drivers to cars that are slowing in front of them.

It is not hard to see why then that the state of California has been advertising heavily to warn that stoned drivers will be treated when caught just as with the DUI crowd – they will be arrested, jailed, treated to a solid day of humiliation at the jail, arraigned, and if guilty jailed some more in addition to losing the almighty driver’s license and be fined enough to cancel out at least a week of hard professional work.

Of course, not even all that stops our ongoing parade of drunken drivers on the road, does it?  But at least by arresting as many as possible and taking away their drivers’ licenses, fewer people are going to be killed by these drunk and stoned drivers.

All this is being written and talked about in California in light of the new state laws that give some new freedoms of taking marijuana in the privacy of a home.  Smoking marihuana in public however will continue to be prohibited.

So okay, we have the state now on the lookout for both drunk and stoned idiots on the road, my only problem with this is that there is yet another idiot on the road that we need to harness in as well.

That would be the angry idiot driving a car.  That angry driver that is kindling all the criminal road rage on California roads and freeways today.

Let us then also have some contemplative time to think of all the Americans that have now been killed by American road rage drivers.  There are increasing numbers of these, some of them more recognizable than others.

For example, there is a former USC running back named Joe McKnight, who just over a half dozen years ago was considered one of the main reasons for Pete Carroll’s winning ways for the Trojans.  McKnight was shot to death by a road rage driver in New Orleans.  Less famously on a national level but as valuable as anyone on a local level was a beloved 70-year-old deputy sheriff in San Bernardino named Larry Falce, beaten to death by a blow on the head after yet another road rage incident in Southern California (Southern California is getting as famous for road rage as it is for hits-and-runs.

I may be sure than I am even at this minute writing to people who have had California road rage aimed against them at one time or another – after some land change that the road rage idiot disproved of, let’s say, and all of a sudden he is tailgating you wherever you drive – that is a typical scenario that has all too often led to the lane-changer ending up getting killed by the road-rage idiot.

Yet from my own experience of car-pooling in California, from inside a car I have witnessed a perfectly gentlemanly Dr. Jekyll at the wheel of his car when something happening on the road he is sharing turns him into a foul-mouthed and dangerous Mr. Hyde.  It reminds me that such a powerful and lethal weapon as a car in Dr. Jekyll’s hands can turn him into Mr. Hyde as surely as can a gun.

I would prefer that this kind of split personality – for our sake as well as well as his sake – start taking more public transportation.

Chris Sharp- Commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.