15 Dec 2000
Robert Downey, Jr. has more legal problems, but it is really the the same old legal problem. In case you haven't heard, Downey was arrested in his hotel room for possession of controlled substances. The police found cocaine and Valium in the room--no heroin. There are several interesting elements to this story--all of them disturbing.
Disturbing Element 1: No Guns
The police reportedly got an anonymous phone call (via 911) from a person claiming that there were guns and drugs in Downey's room. The police arrived, but found no guns. Why did the caller think there were guns? Was this just a compelling excuse for the police to bother Downey who seems not to have been disturbing anyone? Was there even an anonymous phone caller at all?
Disturbing Element 2: No Heroin
Of course it bothers us that Downey is doing coke and speed rather than heroin, given how much more dangerous these drugs are. But from Downey's perspective, this is probably a good step. Heroin is a physically addicting drug--the hardest one to walk away from. He is undoubtedly showing restraint and a certain level of control by not doing heroin.
What is most disturbing about this is the fact that no one has commented about the absence of heroin in the confiscated drugs. This is no doubt due to our collective belief that only complete abstinence is praiseworthy for a person with a drug "problem". So no one says, "At least he's managing to stay off heroin." And you can bet that his judge would be unimpressed should Downey mention his change in drug use. What this says to people who really do have a hard time staying off drugs is, "Give up."
Disturbing Element 3: Childcare
At some time before the arrest, Downey reportedly left his child with his assistant while he went out to score some drugs. This story has caused his ex-wife to refuse Downey visitation with the child. It is also being used to further vilify the man. But I can't help but wonder if all of this fuss would be made if he had gone out to buy some beer instead of illegal drugs.
Downey showed good judgment in my opinion. He didn't take the child along with him to score. He didn't leave the child alone or in the care of an unreliable person. What is the problem then? That Downey was going to get high? Once again we return to the old argument that any use of an illegal drug is abuse. Downey is wrong because he was doing illegal drugs. We don't know what drugs he was going to get. We don't know how much of those drugs he eventually used.
This recent run-in with the law proves the Robert Downey, Jr. will not be left alone. He is now a target for law enforcement. He only has two options now: he can live a squeaky clean life (and even this may not work) or he can leave the country. I used to hate seeing the best and the brightest of America leaving their homeland. Now, I see it simply as what America deserves. If he were alive today, I'm sure that Thomas Paine would leave this country.