The last twelve months have exposed a lot of problems in our society. I am not talking about our political problems either. In the last twelve months, we have seen certain people in our society get away with just about everything including vehicular homicide.
A drunk rich kid driving under the influence was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of someone. His lawyer argued that he was suffering from a made-up infection called “affluenza” and was therefore not responsible for his actions. The judge actually fell for this nonsense and he is spending no jail time for killing a human being while he was driving drunk.
At the end of last year when a football player (the star quarterback of the team) at a university had been accused of raping a student nothing was done about it. Reports even stated that local police told the woman that her life would be hell if she went ahead with the charges because of whom she was accusing.
Then there was a rash of NFL players who were accused of domestic violence. One of the players pled “no contest” to child abuse charges in order to avoid a trial that might have put him in jail. The NFL announced that he would be suspended for the remainder the season. He announced that he would immediately appeal the suspension since he has missed all of the season so far. But, he has been paid for his time off.
A star NBA player was recently accused of child abuse but Florida decided not to do anything even though the doctor who examined the child stated that there was bruising on the child because he was beaten with the buckle end of a belt. The player’s lawyer immediately accused the players estranged spouse of “making it all up” because of a very ugly custody battle. In the meantime, the state of Georgia has announced it will look into the matter.
A New Jersey High School suspended the entire football season over allegations of abuse by some players on others. Normally, this is called hazing. But, the hazing went way beyond the lines of decency and some of the players are now facing criminal charges. Yet, many in the community say the High School went too far, not the players.
Recently two more football players (both starters on the same team as the rape accusation) were reportedly involved in a traffic accident. The accident resulted in the totaling of both vehicles involved, and reports indicate the accident was the fault of the football player. Reportedly the player was driving on a suspended license and fled the scene on foot. Instead of being charged with “hit and run” he was simply given two tickets and was never tested or even asked if he had used drugs or alcohol.
Bill Cosby has been accused by 14 women of being a serial rapist. All of the women accused him of drugging them and raping them. The first accusation came out about 20 years ago. Again, nothing was done. In one case, Mr. Cosby settled out of court so nothing else came of it.
The one thing all of these cases have in common is that the accused is a “personality” in public life. Most of them are sports stars and one is a TV/Movie star. In all cases, the victims involved are the ones who are being questioned about their “honesty”. In the Cosby case, even Whoopi Goldberg said she has a lot of questions for the accuser. Why doesn’t she have a lot of questions for Cosby instead?
In rape cases, victim blaming is a simple game that the accused plays all of the time. Now, as we see, victim blaming is something that goes even beyond rape. It has infected our justice system to a point where victims are becoming more and more afraid to come out with their story.
Or, in some cases we see where law enforcement is willing to turn a blind eye to the behavior just because the person being accused is some sort of celebrity. You will probably tell me that this type of thing has been going on for years. That may be true. But, isn’t it time for it to stop?
Quite frankly, I never read the “entertainment” section of newspapers. I really don’t care about the lives of celebrities. I don’t care how rich people, movie stars, sports stars, or any other celebrity lives. They can afford to live however they want. But, I do care when they are involved in criminal activity and get away with it simply because they are celebrities.
I get even more irritated when people defend their behavior and put blame on the victims. Or try to brush it off as “boys will be boys” stupidity. The over-militarization of our police forces is a real problem that has led to tragedy across the nation. However, the complicity of law enforcement in helping these celebrities get away with crimes is even more troublesome.
We have seen way too many times when law enforcement has turned a blind eye to celebrity misbehavior. The victims have been hurt. In some cases people have died. Yet, they seem to get away with whatever they have been accused of doing.
With this kind of reaction whenever someone with a public name gets in trouble we have to ask ourselves just how balanced our justice system really is. In some states if you are caught with a bag of marijuana you get at least 10 years in jail. If you are a college football player who flees from the scene of an accident, you get “well that’s okay”.
If you are a star running back in the NFL and beat your then fiancé you get paid 5 million dollars to sit out a season and then cry foul when an actual suspension comes down for your behavior. And, you get the union to back you up on the matter.
If you are a star quarterback on a college football team and get accused of rape, the police tell the victim that she will go through hell if she continues with the complaint. Then, when there is a scheduled hearing to determine if you broke university conduct policy, you get the hearing put off until after the football season so you can continue to play.
If you are a star comedian who is accused of being a serial rapist over the last 20 years by as many as 14 women, your friends “have questions for the accuser” instead of you. Forget the large number of women accusing you, they must all be liars.
I don’t know if everyone who has been involved in these cases are guilty or not. I am not making an assumption of guilt. I am questioning how these cases have been handled. These cases show clearly that our judicial system may indeed be broken. In most of them it clearly shows a lack of interest by law enforcement to fully investigate cases involving “celebrities”.
Cynics have claimed for years that guilt and innocence is determined more by how much money you have rather than the actual facts of the case. When we continuously see these kinds of behavior towards celebrities, maybe the cynics are correct. As a result maybe the Statue of Justice should not be blind folded and holding a scale, maybe she should have one eye open looking at the bag of money she is holding.
But then, we are all to blame for this mess. If we continue to believe the accused simply because they are celebrities, nothing will change for the better.