On the 8th season of Law and Order: SVU, in an episode entitled “Responsible”, a young high school student attends a party where there was alcohol. She overdoses on the alcohol and dies because no one calls for medical help. The dead girl’s father immediately makes charges against the organizers of the party, they themselves, high school students.
The kids are the initially charged with negligent homicide but the judge lets them off only for that very night to be arrested again because they are having a drinking party.
End of the show, two of the kids end up dead in a drunk-driving accident.
I was like, “What?!”
Three million things are running in my head.
Issue number one
The party was held in the house of couple who were out of town and had no connection to the kids. Charge: Trespassing.
It’s like that silly kid’s story: Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some blonde girl (aged 8-10: I think) finds a house in the woods and decides to go snooping. She eats their food, messes up their house under the guise of looking for comfortable furniture to sleep in and rubs her sweaty self all over their beddings because she could not find a comfortable bed to sleep in, in the house she was not invited into. I cannot remember how the story ended but I remember as a kid putting myself in her shoes and knowing for a fact that if someone had come to my house to report that I had come into their house, rummaged through three pots of soup like a random goat, rearranged their furniture and to then top it up, they found me in the master bedroom, snoozing and drooling on the parent’s pillowcase; my mother would have beaten me into a coma so that indeed, if it was sleep that was the motivation in my break-in-and-entry, I would have a permanent slumber.
But no, these kids, same race as Goldilocks, are released on their own recognizance. Their highly paid lawyer reels off a list of academic achievements-- which by the way, I have since come to reconsider. For one, just because you have all As does not mean that your academic load is taxing. I would have As too if I took a class on how to set the dinner table or how to properly order caviar-- and the judge nods in admiration.
Kai! If only I could reach into the TV and smack someone
Issue Number Two
All the kids were underage, from affluent WHITE families whose parents spent their time travelling exotic world locations, leaving their errant teenage kids without supervision and lots of money to spend.
My issue: please tell me the judge would have been lenient on a couple of black or other-ethnic kids. In one scene, the judge states that she does not want to ruin their careers for doing something stupid and that the punishment should fit the crime. Errrrr, what was the name of that black boy that went to jail for having sex with his white sixteen year old classmate when he was nineteen or something? Two barely-legals’ do the nasty, black boy ends up in jail until he is past twenty one. Wow… punishment fit that crime on one serious note.
Sometimes, I am amazed at the blatant double standards. At least in my country, whether the kids are rich or not, at their initial arrest, the police would have dished out equal amounts of ass whooping before anyone could summon the lawyer
Issue Number 3
It is revealed that one child has been drinking for a long time, aided in part by her mother who after catching her drinking, began instead to purchase the booze for her so she could do her drinking at home, where it was "safe". Two years later, the fifteen year old has the innards of a forty year old and a shortened lifespan because her mother wanted to be cool.
So I thought about my own mother. And had a vision of...
My Adopted Child: Mummy, why have you no ears?
Me ( many years from now): Well, my child. One day, your grandmother...
My Adopted Child: You mean, Grandma in Lagos (or wherever she is)
Me: Yup...the very one...she caught me stealing alcohol from the cabinet and she stared at me with her laser eyes and burnt my ears off.
My Adopted Child: Wha....aaat?!
Me: Yes, and I will do the same to you if you ever try it. In fact, I will carve the map of Africa across your face.
My Adopted Child: Daddy!!!!
Oh, wait, I am the only one laughing?
I love American TV