Actor Rip Torn was arrested Friday night after police found him inside a Connecticut bank with a loaded handgun. Torn, who police say was intoxicated, has been charged with burglary and firearms violations. Last year Torn was given probation on a drunken driving conviction, and allowed to enter an alcohol education program. He has two previous drunken driving arrests on his record.

What do you want to bet that this clod walks away from his latest transgression with no more than a slap on the wrist? If he were a blue collar guy, do you think he’d be treated the same way? I doubt it.

Justice in America may be blind, but she sure can detect the smell of money and celebrity cologne. All you have to do is open a newspaper or read an online news post to know that there is a different standard for the rich and famous.

If my wife and I got into an argument that ended up with smashed windows on our van, and me crashing it into a tree, do you think the police who responded would allow me to give them a runaround and decide when and if I was going to let them interview me? That may work for Tiger Woods, but Bad Nick would be sharing a cell with Sweaty Eddy if he tried that nonsense.

Actress Nicole Richie may have only served 23 minutes of her five day jail sentence for DUI, but if she were Joyce the hairdresser, I think she’d spend a lot longer in a cell, don’t you?

We’ve seen it over and over, where Hollywood celebrities, athletic stars, and politicians break the law, then thumb their nose at the system and go back to their lives, with little or no punishment.

You don’t even have to be rich and famous to get preferential treatment in this country. In my career publishing small town newspapers, I saw the good old boy system at work so many times it made me sick, including a high school principal who was busted for selling drugs on campus, but never charged because, as the County Attorney said “He’s a really good guy who just made a mistake.” The man was not even suspended from his job!

 There was also the grandfather who was charged with giving his fourteen year old granddaughter a sexually transmitted disease. As the case progressed, it came out that he had molested his daughters and several granddaughters. But the same County Attorney refused to prosecute the case because, at age 65, he was “too frail to handle the rigors of a trial.” 

I have also seen several cases where high school jocks were busted for things like DUI, assault and battery, even sexual assault, and their cases went nowhere. Do you think a black kid from a poorer neighborhood would get away with the same thing?

I’ve been on the favored side of things myself. If you run a small town newspaper and are very vocal about your opinions, people either love you or hate you, and sometimes you become something of a local celebrity. And if you make no secret that you support the police in doing their difficult job, they remember it.

That’s why when one of my kids got busted for a curfew violation one night, the other two teenagers in the car were sentenced to several hours of community service, while my kid was given a pass. When the Chief of Police told me that, I insisted that my kid do the same time as the others. What’s appropriate for one should be appropriate for all.

That should apply no matter what you do for a living, or who your parents are, or how high priced an attorney you can afford. I just wish it worked that way in the real world.

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9 Comments on A Different Standard

  1. Jim says:

    Agreed Nick. Take a look at the players of the NFL, NBA, and MLB and see how many of them are given a pat on the wrist when they transgress.
    We here near Canton, Ohio sometimes refer to the NFL Hal of Fame as the National Felony League HOF. It of couse houses the busts of a murderer (OJ) and drug thugs (Lawrence Tatlor) to name just a couple. Ah yes, greenbacks at work.
    Plaxico Burress must have had a lousy lawyer as he now sits in jail for shooting himself in the leg while in that famous no-gun state called New York.

  2. Tom in Ohio says:

    Rich/famous? Have money or power? Drive drunk/wreck and kill someone? No need to worry..your special so we can cover you. After all your not the average Joe or Jane like the masses. Your better/smarter/beautiful people. I can tell by your media appearences that most of you feel we should be grateful to even be on the same planet with you. As a current TV commerical sez..”Horse Pucky”. Ever notice that when they lose their star status they seem like Joe and Jane and want us to understand that its tough out here?

  3. John & Doni says:

    I have often said….We have the best justice system money can buy. Poor people go to jail, rich people go to rehab.

  4. Bill Auld says:

    Money buys power and power breeds cronyism. Just think what goes on with the powers to be that pull the strings of the politicians.

  5. concerned in Texas says:

    My son worked as a general contractor for a store build-out in a mall. The store is a national chain. When it came time for him to be paid the final and major payment, the company hired by the national chain declared bankruptcy. They have done this repeatedly at every store and the national chain continues to hire these crooks. My son lost about $20,000. Local police not interested. But try selling a $5 joint and the police will be all over that.

  6. Joe says:

    “”Do you think a black kid from a poorer neighborhood would get away with the same thing?””

    If he/she was on the football/basketball team you know they would!!!!

  7. don says:

    I remember being young and hopeful that the world would become something closer to what it might be; now that I’m old it just sickens me all over again. The same crap goes on now that went on when I was a kid and went on probably two thousand years ago. Now the Hollywood star gets the easy road; in Roman times it was the Senator’s son.

  8. Marie Weber says:

    All these street rats need to be shot. That is what they have earned. I once thought that they are people too. But these people deserve what they get. A shot to the head.

  9. Marie Weber says:

    Sorry, posted my comment on the wrong page. Give me time and I will catch on. Oh well.

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