Friday, June 8, 2007

It Shouldn't be About This: MADD Statement

Update 1 (Oct. 6, 2007 @ 11:23pm)

I've been avoiding this video but, for some reason, I had to watch it tonight. Maybe that feeling of watching someone of privlege get roasted even for a bit of time was something I needed to see? Eh, I'll sort it out in therapy.

Anyway, here is the Letterman interview from late Sept. where he wouldn't lay off the jail questions.

She handled it well.


Dammit! I'm so angry. I'll frequently go to sleep with CNN on the TV simply because I'm so busy right now that I think even news while I sleeping is better than no news.

Anyway, EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE knows that poor Paris Hilton has been sent back to jail. If someone doesn't know, they either live in a cave or under a rock somewhere. However, this shouldn't be about a crying heiress who can afford to hire a driver. What it should be about is summed up by a statement from MADD which I've quoted below.

This is an heiress to chose to get behind the wheel of her car drunk. This is an heiress who chose to violate the terms of her parole and drive without a license. This is an heiress who couldn't even be courteous to the court and show up on time, I believe.

I'm not one to use Al Sharpton as a source, but I will this time. I heard that he said on CNN that had Ms. Hilton been a daughter of a poor white coal miner or the daughter of a rich Black rapper, she would still be in jail.

Speak...speak Reverend Sharpton!

This is bullshit because we know if it was me in jail having a nervous breakdown they'd pull my crying diabetic ass off the floor, check my blood sugar and give me an insulin shot, maybe they'd give me an asprin and a few days in the medical ward, but I wouldn't be going anywhere.

Also, there is an article on that hit it right on the head. If you don't know, Fox is a US news network on the conservative side of the fence, so to have them saying it and agreeing with Sharpton makes it worth quoting.

Al Sharpton Is Right About Paris Hilton by John Gibson

Al Sharpton is right.

Today when Paris Hilton got sprung from jail 20 days early — from a sentence that was just half of what was originally imposed — the story turned out to be that Paris' shrink went to the jailers and said she was about to have a nervous breakdown. So they let her go home early with an ankle bracelet. Sharpton immediately said there may have been racism involved here.

Look, when he's right he's right. No matter what you think of Rev. Al, it is hard to imagine that anywhere in America a black woman is getting out of jail today because her shrink says she's about to have a nervous breakdown. He says it wouldn't happen, and I agree.

It shouldn't happen either. It shouldn't happen with "little miss just anybody," whether she's African-American or white or Asian or Hispanic or anything. And it shouldn't have happened with Paris Hilton.

Was it because she's white? Maybe just a bit, but more likely it happened because she's rich and her parents can make lawyers and shrinks work round the clock to move mountains. In fact, when this little rich white girl gets her way by throwing a hissy fit it illustrates that celebrities and rich people can make things happen that others cannot.

During the O.J. trail we used to say it wasn't so much black and white in play but green. O.J. had money, so he could hire the best and fight back. Many white people have that advantage, while with African-Americans, not so much.

Somewhere in America there must be a young African-American girl in jail who should get what Paris Hilton got today: a pass. Is it going to happen? Unless she's got a rich daddy and a high-priced shrink and a slick lawyer, probably not.

I don't know if I'd call that situation racism per se, but it is rich white privilege in action, that is for sure. So give Rev. Al one. He's right about this.

That's My Word.
I know, I know, I know. Stars get breaks all the time. I know that even lessor offenders get a break in the L.A. system to make room for the murders and rapists. However, people are quick to point out that it's unfair because if she wasn't who she was no one would have noticed. I don't disagree.

However, what should have been clear was letting her out early without support from or, at least, notice to all sides was going to start a pissing contest. That's what we've got now between the judge and the sheriff.

Plus, there is a perception, right or wrong, that when people say "life's not fair" that Paris has been on the side benefits when life isn't fair for someone else and the "not fair" applies to someone else. It's not fair that she gets a harder sentence. It is fair, however, that she is punished.

People are finding house arrest in a luxurious home in the Hollywood Hills to be a far stretch from punishment. Basically, she can't leave home. I'm sorry. Sometimes when I'm on vacation, I prefer to stay at home because I LIKE my home. If they had Pink Dot in Seoul, I might stay in too much during my two month vacations. Don't worry, I'm not a shut in, I've got a fair number of visas in my passport to prove it, but I also love being able to stay at home.

However, I'll switch my vent mode off now because this is what it should be about.

MADD has released a statement that I will quote in full because I know that the news media won't.

High Profile Drunk Driving Arrests Deserve Interlocks
June 7, 2007

Statement of Attribution: Glynn R. Birch, MADD National President

Paris Hilton and the number of many other high profile celebrities and sports figures committing drunk driving offenses are alarming and this problem needs to stop. Hilton has not been responsible in using her celebrity during this time. She did not acknowledge how much she drank before getting behind the wheel, she drove on a suspended drivers’ license and then appealed to the Governor for leniency in her sentence for that offense and continues to not take accountability for her actions. We continue to believe that she should accept full responsibility for her actions, and her conduct during this time should be much more responsible given the vast young audience watching her every move.

After house arrest, she should receive an ignition interlock. We know that interlocks help stop the revolving door on repeat offenses, so why doesn’t every state in America mandate them for all convicted drunk drivers? We believe many courts across the country are too lenient on those who drive on suspended licenses due to drunk driving. In addition to jail and fines and other sanctions, MADD would like to see at least a one-year interlock provision for those who drive on suspended licenses. Armed with new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing drunk driving is higher than it has been in 15 years, MADD’s National Board is meeting with Congressional leaders this week asking for increased focus on drunk driving across the nation and support for MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The Campaign calls for ignition interlocks on all convicted drunk driver vehicles, the exploration of new technologies to prevent a vehicle from being driven by someone who is drunk, increased enforcement and public support.

MADD is calling on Hollywood and all pro sports teams to clean up their acts and for leaders in those industries to send a strong statement: drunk driving will not be tolerated. MADD will pursue meetings with these leaders to share information about MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and to ask for support. Meantime, let’s stop the public displays of drunk driving (and, of course, all drunk driving) that not only sends an irresponsible and potentially deadly message, but have become a bad reality show that needs to have the plug pulled.

Additionally, if high-profile celebrities and athletes can afford alternative transportation, MADD wants to know why aren’t they using it? It should not be a rite of passage in Hollywood to have a drunk driving arrest, but based on recent media accounts, MADD’s beginning to wonder if this is not the case.

Drunk driving kills nearly 14,000 people annually and injures countless others. There are 1.4 million arrests for drunk driving every year. MADD wants every person convicted of drunk driving to be sent a clear message: this will not be tolerated.

We, as a nation, cannot afford to go backwards. We expect our families, friends and loved ones to be safe on the roadways, but until the nation’s leaders pass interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers and commit to stepped up enforcement, America will continue to see drunk driving deaths. We are also wondering why the 1.4 million drunk driving arrests every year in this country do not receive the same kind of outrage and media attention they deserve. If all of the passion for this issue by the public and the media were focused on solutions, such as mandating ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, our currently rising drunk driving deaths would be a thing of the past because the public wouldn’t stand for it.

More links:

YouTube: At least I can laugh: Paris Hilton Goes Back to Jail
Time Paris Tale: Schadenfreude, Then Shame

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