I had an algebra teacher in college who wanted us to look at subtraction differently so as to better handle some of the algebra problems. He told us not to look at subtraction as "take away" as we were taught in elementary school. "Addition and subtraction are the same thing. Addition is the adding of positive numbers, while subtraction is the adding of negative numbers. It's the same thing."
I can apply the same idea to role models.
The way I see it there are no good or bad role models. People can either be good examples on how to behave in civilized society or they can be good examples on how not to behave in civilized society. We grown-ups have choices to make in life. Paris Hilton made some bad choices. Paris Hilton was arrested Hollywood on Sept. 7, 2006 and charged with driving under the influence. She blew a .08 (In California, driving with a .08 blood alcohol level is the minimum level for DUI). She pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to 36 months probation, alcohol education, and $1,500 in fines.
On Jan. 15 she was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol. When she was informed that her license was suspended, Paris signed a document acknowledging she was not to drive. Then, on Feb. 27, when she was pulled over a third time, a judge sentenced Paris to 45 days in county jail for violating her probation.
Being a resident of Hollywood (where Paris was first arrested) and having lost a friend to a drunk driver, I was very disturbed when I heard that Paris Hilton was released because of an unspecified medical condition.
Do the jails not have medical facilities? Paris, like many others arrested for drunk driving, seemed more interested getting out of trouble then showing any sort of remorse. Paris did do an anti-drunk driving ad in Seventeen Magazine, but my cynicism tells me that was a PR move. Then again, getting arrested is a good PR move for Paris Hilton because she lives in a world where there is no such thing as bad press. As a celebrity – and I use that word loosely – Paris gets invited to do a P.S.A. as a way to work off her sentence. She also gets VIP treatment in our justice system. Now she will be under confinement in her 2,700-square-foot Hollywood Hills home, wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, for the remaining 40 days of her sentence. As I’m writing this I see on the news that she got some of her favorite cupcakes delivered to the house for free. Paris should be a good role model on how not to behave in civilized society. Instead she reaffirmed a long-standing belief that if you are rich and good looking you can get away with anything. Soon Paris will make money off of this situation. I see books, designer orange jump suits, and official Paris Hilton jewel-encrusted ankle bracelets.
Looking at the big picture I also see a problem that our society refuses to acknowledge and that is that drunk driving is a huge problem in this country, which you can see by taking a look at some of Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s general statistics. With that in mind I would like to give my closing quote to MADD’s National President Glynn R. Birch:
This is not hot. MADD is disappointed that Paris Hilton is not accepting the consequences for her serious actions. MADD believes everyone convicted of drunk driving should be held accountable and receive an alcohol ignition interlock device on their vehicle. A person typically drives drunk nearly 100 times before they are arrested, so being lenient with "first-time" drunk drivers does society more danger in the long run. A 5000-pound vehicle in the hands of a drunk driver is a weapon.
Stay tuned and stay safe.
PS: It’s not over yet.