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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