5 May 2001
Not again! You couldn't go anywhere on the web on 25 April without seeing Robert Downey's newest mug shot. The AP had the gall to ask if Downey's career was over. Overall, it was the usual media feeding frenzy over the pain of another person. And of course there is no one quite so delicious as Downey because of the public's opposing feelings of sympathy for Downey's "disease" and anger for his "immorality".
Just a Misdemeanor
This time, Downey was arrested in Culver City. It appears the he was looking to score some drugs. A search of him showed that he was not in possession of any drugs. The officer arrested him anyway, however, for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance--speed most likely. After giving a urine sample, Downey was released and checked into a rehab hospital for three days. Following this, he was sent to a live-in drug treatment center for an unspecified amount of time--a six month minimum, however.
California's Ridiculous Laws
In California, these laws regarding public intoxication are a complete sham. The state needn't prove the defendant was truly under the influence--only that he had drugs in his body. The situation is particularly bad for drugs like marijuana which can stay in the body at detectable levels for weeks. So a guy might smoke a joint Saturday night, be pulled over and tested the following Thursday, and be found guilty of a DUI. Ridiculous!
Of course, Downey probably was high. But this begs the question: why is it against the law to be walking around high? With alcohol, the situation is clearly ridiculous. We have bars. We allow people to get high in those bars. But we don't allow them to drive while high and we don't allow them to walk the street high. How are they to get from the bar to their homes? Technically, they can't. We set up a situation where police can arrest anyone they dislike and ignore millions of others who break the law in the same way.
Wishing for a Reasonable Society
In a reasonable society, Downey would just have been given a ride home from the officer so he could straighten out safely. But we don't live in a reasonable society. Not only was Downey arrested, he was fired from his job on "Ally McBeal"--indicating that the producers of that show don't buy in to that silly and old-fashioned idea that a man is innocent until proven guilty.
People keep talking about how self-destructive Robert Downey, Jr. is. It appears much more clearly that it is society that is self-destructive. Don't we have bigger issues to deal with than worrying about what drugs this young actor prefers?