One drug is legal, one drug is not, and as a result one very very old man is now behind bars, and two very young and very rich women, not only using but also using and driving while intoxicated, are free to drink and drive again.
Durham North Carolina police got a dangerous offender off the streets this week…93 year old William C. Tinnen, arrested on cocaine trafficking charges, and held under $200 000 bond in jail awaiting trial. Also this week, repeat drunken driving stars Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie served a collective one day and 86 minutes in jail for a total of four DUI arrests.
What is going on???
Firstly, in defense of the justice system, the 93 year old arrestee did also have firearms in the house, and he may well have been the meanest predator in the neighborhood, I just don’t know; and secondly, although people have been quick to blast prosecutors for preferential treatment in the DUI offences of the young Hollywood starlets, legal professionals assure the public that the sentences as issued were very much in line with customary sentencing for DUI’s within the county’s overworked justice system.
Both the police and the courts have by all accounts acted within the confines of the laws and the realities of the overcrowded jail and justice system, and you can’t fault them for following the laws they’re sworn to uphold; but when you compare the punishments meted out, it seems as though those at greatest risk to do harm to others are free, and the man hard to see as a threat lingers behind bars.
I’ve known a lot of drug dealers in my time, and these guys were all small time, dealing primarily as a means to support their own habits…not a great risk to anyone but themselves; and arresting and locking up these small fry dealers certainly does nothing to curtail the flow of drugs into the community. I’ve also seen first hand the devastation and despair of a drunken driving accident fatality, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the pain of that DUI far eclipsed the combined efforts of all the drug dealers I’ve ever known.
Why is a 93 year old man living in a slum and dealing cocaine? Doesn’t sound like he was saving up for a mansion on the hill or a new yacht; and shouldn’t we take a better look at how we in the richest nation in the world can allow for environments that force a very desperate very senior citizen to sell drugs, and to now reside behind bars where any sentence is almost certainly a life sentence?
Drug enforcement is an abysmal failure by any measures of social betterment, and all we seem to be doing is enriching rarely arrested criminal leaders, fueling inner city violence, and imprisoning those lowly and desperate souls all to often suffering the dual despair of addiction themselves.
Take every dollar away from enforcement and imprisonment of non violent drug offenders and build hundreds of rehab facilities. Get those people that need it help, and send those people who repeatedly break DUI laws to 90 day or greater rehabs (not Hollywood resort facilities…real honest rehabs).
Change the climate that allows 93 year old seniors to remain behind bars and drunken repeat offenders loosed to endanger the streets again.