What Can We Learn from the Paris Hilton Fiasco?

As the mainstream media fuels class envy and schadenfreude in the proletariat over Miss Hilton’s hysterics, I have yet to hear anyone point out what a foolish waste jail sentences are for petty crime. They do little to ‘correct’ people, do little to protect the public safety, are expensive, inefficient, and unnecessary due to technological advances.

Can’t judges be creative? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make Paris shovel shit at the police horse stables? Maybe she could do something useful like give old men sponge baths at a local nursing home. Serving 45 days in an overcrowded LA county jail for driving without a license clearly limits space needed for dangerous criminals.

How wasteful to fill our jails with petty criminals, when we can easily put them on house arrest using an ankle bracelet GPS.

The reverend Al Sharpton, who made it a racial issue, asks that Miss Hilton be treated the same way poor minorities are treated when they are sentenced for petty crimes. But, instead shouldn’t he be asking that poor minorities be treated like Miss Hilton? Instead of asking the authorities to bring the hammer down on her, shouldn’t he be asking our leaders to quit hammering poor young people for petty offenses? How does a Billionaire’s presence in the LA County pokey benefit the millions of poor people rotting in jail cells across our nation?

If this situation causes us to question why we keep throwing young people into these hellholes for minor rebellion, then it does serve a purpose, but if few ask that question, it serves no purpose other than to strengthen the police state.

Demanding fairness in sentencing rarely results in improvements for the poor. Such demands have resulted in mandatory minimums, sending our prison population to record levels.

In a 1990 landmark case in Minnesota, Judge Pamela Alexander (Word File) found that mandatory sentences for possession of crack cocaine were three times as harsh for 1/3 as much powdered cocaine. Since 90% of defendants for crack cocaine possession were black and 90% of defendants for powder cocaine possession were white, she found the sentencing guideline racist. I agree with Judge Pamela Alexander. But, how did the legislature remedy this injustice? Did they reduce the sentence for crack cocaine? No, they increased the sentence for powdered cocaine sending our prison population soaring. Did the poor benefit? No. Her victory did nothing to reduce the numbers of minority offenders sentenced to prison.

So what is my point?

Instead of taking glee in Paris Hilton’s misery, shouldn’t we use this as an example of why we should end this stupidity for everyone – rich and poor… and why we should ask for reduced sentences for all non-violent crimes – for all people – regardless of race or economic class. This – “Ha, good, the rich tramp deserves it. Lock her up” – thinking is how we got to this point – a point where we have millions of people behind bars.

Not only is the war on drugs and the war on terror erasing our civil liberties, there is also a war on young people, and Paris Hilton is simply the latest casualty. The propaganda machine just couldn’t resist.

9 thoughts on “What Can We Learn from the Paris Hilton Fiasco?”

  1. The issue is not that she was driving on a suspended license. She was on probation for Drinking and Driving and had her license revoked as part of the Probation agreement.

    She was then pulled over in January and nothing happened.

    She was pulled over again in February and nothing happened.

    She was then pulled over in May and that takes us to where we are now.

    Some thoughts:

    How bad do you have to be driving to get pulled over 3 times in 5 months?

    Drunk Driving (the original offense), while overhyped IMHO, demands some penalty. That she violated her probation with additional vehicular offenses seems like a pattern to me.

    If you or I were caught violating terms of our probation, would we be allowed to go?

    At what point do we as a society say that when someone is in a pattern of harmful behavior (harmful to society, not harmful to her) that enough is enough?

  2. i totally agree with you. i think with paris going to jail, it could potentially raise some concerns and even spark prison reform. right now our jails are overcrowded, staph is becoming a huge issue, and it’s draining out tax dollars. paris mentions she’s going to be a changed woman after this ordeal (as i’m sure one must be after the series of events) and vows she’s no longer going to act dumb. it’d be “hot” if she were to take up some political/social welfare cases. she’s a criminal, and yet a hilton.

    in a lighter note: check out http://www.hollywoodzombies.com (the same people who brought you garbage pail kids) and their new trading cards that showcase the hollywood undead. i work with them, so i’m just spreading the good word. imagine paris hellton with a face full of maggots.

    that’s hot, right?

  3. Hugh,

    Most previous generations did the things she did with impunity. I’m not saying she should have no consequences. I am saying jail should be an absolute last resort for lost causes. Locking people up has become the rallying cry of intellectual laziness. What else can we do?

    Think about it. if the baby boom generation came of age under the laws we have today, half of them would still be in prison.

  4. Hugh,

    One other thing…
    I realize there is little luck my opinion will resonate far on this one. The liberal types, that may agree with reducing sentences, but they hate Paris Hilton because she is rich, and the more conservative types probably wonder what I’m smoking. Nevertheless, in all honesty, I think locking her (and most other petty criminals) up is a waste. Make them do something productive with thier time, sitting in a concete cell is just so… medievel.

  5. Perhaps if the defendant was not visible to the Judge or Jury than we would not know anything but the crime and what was done. Shouldn’t Justice be blind? Maybe then we would see if the racial, ethnic, or economic status of the defendant had any bearing.

    Maybe we could use body-doubles. They stand in for the defendant.

    In any case – she deserves what she got. As CK said,”Where is MADD?” Where is Senator Kennedy, oh wait, he would rather not discuss drunk driving….

  6. Roger,
    That is an interesting take… the invisible defendant. Justice should be blind.

    Just compare this to what happened to Vince Neil in 1984. He severely injured two people and killed a third while driving drunk. He was sentenced to 30 days, which was stayed. The judge justified it saying he it was better if he remained out of prison and worked PSAs on MTV.

    Hilton didn’t hurt anyone and got more time in jail. Mel Gibson will never get this amount of time. Paris got 45 days because she is rebellious and young, and today… the system is so afraid they won’t tolerate it. Just my opinion – and I know… it’s an unpopular one.

    I think she got stopped so many times without a license not because she is a bad driver, but because she is high profile. I can’t believe she didn’t hire someone to drive her around.

  7. “What Can We Learn from the Paris Hilton Fiasco?”

    Just that when the corporate-owned mainstream media claim that the reason they broadcast/print/”report” this trash is because the public wants it, they are only half right.

    AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS…

    Americans are dumb.

    “How dumb are they?”

    Dumb as a box of rocks.

    WE NOW RETURN YOU TO THE RANT ALREADY IN PROGRESS.

    That the viewing public can remain glued to the boob tube (indeed) when mention of this rich-through-no-fault-of-her-own white trash or similar nonsense is made bodes poorly for the future of what seems less and less like a democracy with each passing Oval Office Executive Order. And yet, in between commercials for useless crap that further erodes the personal savings rate thereby obscenely increasing personal debt, the so-called elected leaders continue to prostitute themselves for their corporate pimps who purposefully seminate such distractions in order to keep the masses dumb as a, well, you know.

    But, then again, I could be wrong.

    Suppose we were to ask the men and women of the Armed Forces (and increasing number of “weekend warrior” National Guard units), who haven’t been killed/maimed or turned into basket cases FIGHTING an illegal WAR overseas, what their take is on America’s distract-, er, I mean fascinations.

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