Suppose you’re at a rollicking pub. An obviously very-drunk man is staggering about, brandishing his car-keys. From what you can understand from his slurred speech, his intention is to shortly drive home.
(a) try to gently talk him out of it? (even at the risk of fruitlessly consuming a good chunk of your social night)
(b) bundle him into a taxi? (some low-level physical wrangling will be required, plus searching through the guy’s wallet for the fare)
(c) call the police anonymously, and have him arrested for attempted culpable driving? (the logic behind him being charged with a more serious offence than ordinary drink driving is that the latter, by definition, hasn’t caused death but the former could cause death. NOTE: the offence of “attempted culpable driving” is made-up here, but please assume that, as is generally the case, its penalties are on the same scale as for actual culpable driving)
(d) do nothing? (this could be for principled reasons to do with inchoate offences being necessarily outside the reach of the law until they crystallise into something firmer, or equally because you can’t be bothered)
If you answered (a), then you’re a left-liberal WASP, unreconstructed since pre-1979. Which means: seriously, you’re kidding yourself go back and answer (b), (c) or (d).
If you answered (b), then nice try, too. It’s definitely more realistic in 2005 than (a), but common-sense legal short-cuts and citizen self-help are out, out, out. September 11 would have only, at worst, been four planes crashing into nothing-in-particular, otherwise. And the type of low-wage, couldn’t-give-a-fuck-bots who manned US airport security on September 11, 2001 are all the more plentiful four years on, of course. Being the “muscle” is their job, isn’t it? That is, even common-sense, low-level wrangling is best left to the “professionals” (sic).
If you answered (c), then congratulations. (And now that you’re feeling so chuffed and snug-as-a-bug-in-a-security-blanket, why don’t you go park your car in urban France. That’ll show’em!)
If you answered (d), then you have fundamentally misread the situation, and hence are now in big trouble. Your high-principled/social-life-first mindset has resulted in a glaring blind-spot YOU are also in that pub dangling around keys/swizzle-sticks/whatever, albeit unconsciously, but in a manner that looks glaringly criminal to everyone but you (and the very-drunk other guy, whom you are now of course going to join in Goulburn SuperMax).