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Friday, September 17, 2010

I'll be joining you later to sniff coke. I won't be long, it's only a DWI.

DWI victims spun in their graves this week when former WHAM! singer, George Michael, was only sentenced to eight weeks in jail for driving under the influence of drugs. The remaining fourteen weeks will be spent under the supervision of the probation service. Considering that he has a prior offence for lewd behaviour and a laundry list of other drug-related offences (The List), one must again wonder whether judges are too lenient on some people when they commit serious offenses—especially when they are repeat offenders.

Paris Hilton is one of the best examples of a repeat offender. The spoiled heiress to the Hilton hotel chain and renowned sex-video superstar, was arrested in September 2006 for a DWI. She was sentenced to 36 months probation and fined $1500. Since her blood alcohol level was 0.08%, she was left with a suspended licence. As though that wasn’t enough to teach her a lesson, less than a year later in January 2007, she was pulled over for driving with a suspended licence, and yet again a month later for driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone. Oh yeah, did I mention that she still had a suspended licence? Her sentence was forty five days in jail. However due to a "Phantom" medical condit
Mug shot of Paris Hilton.Image via Wikipediaion she was released two days later. She was then re-sentenced to 40 days home confinement with an electronic monitoring device (2).

Here we are in 2010 and her ass has been arrested again. The charge: cocaine possession. Her defence? “It’s not my purse.” The latest report is that she’s been offered the chance of a plea bargain. Although specifics were not disclosed, a spokeswoman for the Clarke County District Attorney’s Office said: “Possession of a controlled substance is a felony punishable by a minimum term of one year and a maximum of four years. (Hilton) may be fined up to $5000. This charge is probationable so the court could sentence her to a term of probation, rather than prison time.” (

Both Michael and Hilton displayed inexcusable behaviour where the consequences could have ended with in serious injury or even death—either to themselves or to others. The fact that Hilton`s in trouble with the law again illustrates that she did not learn from her previous arrests. Maybe if she’d get off her high horse and start doing some real work for a change—likeDrunk Drivers Dent ThingsImage by ballookey via Flickr the rest of us normal taxpayers—she’d be too busy being productive that she wouldn’t have time to be so stupid.

As for Michael’s eight-week prison term, it’s both a joke and an insult. It was reported recently that he’s being kept in solitary confinement since he’s in the same unit as pedophiles and rapists. However a snitch disclosed that George is being treated like a king and that his cell is dubbed The Ritz. This is because his cell comes complete with duvets, cushions, and even its own digital TV box (4). I could hear the gnashing of teeth from the fine citizens of the UK, as they learn where some of their tax dollars are being spent. This ought to leave one to wonder whether reports of George Michael crying like a bitch is nothing more than an act to make us feel sorry for him, thus tricking the judge into reducing his sentence.

Guess what, George? I’m not falling for it. Your DWI is no less a crime than the DWIs that ruin scores of lives every year—even scarring the lives such as that of my friend, whose girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. As long as the courts keep going easy on drunk drivers, one day judges will only have themselves to blame if the next victim of an impaired driver is one of their loved ones. On a positive note, a real prison term for George Michael would do him some good. Give him a few pens and a lot of paper so he could write music, which is what many of us have grown to love him for. By the same token, he’d be taking responsibility for his actions. After all, isn’t that one of the characteristics of being a Father Figure?

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Available Fall 2010.

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