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Forget the Whales: Save Robert Downey Jr.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
May 2, 2001


"Only a fool is astonished by the foolishness of humankind." — Edward Abbey

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the absurdity of American priorities, in this the beginning of the 21st century. As a culture we are obsessed with telling others how to live their lives while demanding complete autonomy regarding our own. Adding to this hypocrisy is a police state getting fat off of victimless crime while turning its back on crimes against the environment, humanity, and common sense.

The latest outrage in the ongoing vilification of Robert Downey Jr. is his arrest for investigation of being under the influence of a controlled substance. In a nutshell he was picked up in Culver City Alley for appearing to be on drugs. Did he have drugs on him? No. Was he in the process of selling or buying drugs? No. Who the hell cares anyway?

Do I think the gifted actor does drugs? Hell yes. So does the Pope, George W. Bush, and yours truly. Granted they are more than likely different drugs, but they are drugs still the same. Let's face it folks America is addicted to drugs. There are pharmaceuticals for everything. Overweight? Take a pill. Trouble sleeping? Take a pill. Depressed? Shy? Overactive bladder? Underactive libido? Take a pill.

When I was a child the medical establishment convinced my parents that it was vital to my well-being, and their piece of mind, for me to take Ritalin four times a day. In other words the best way to deal with my hyperactivity was to keep me sedated for a decade. The whole time I was being forced to take medication, I was also being preached to about the horrors of drugs. Does anyone else see the inconsistency here? Kids today have it no better.

Turn on the television and you're assaulted with a barrage of commercials hawking the latest drug de jour. Legal drugs are the ones you can't grow in your backyard, or cook up in the basement. Need a mood enhancer? Since marijuana is illegal all you need do is ask your doctor for a prescription for Prozac, you can then rest safe in the knowledge that your drug of choice is socially acceptable. Don't even get me started on alcohol, America's drug of choice.

The point I am trying to make here is the hypocrisy of the so called war on drugs, which is nothing more than a campaign of smoke and mirrors aimed at distracting Americans from things that actually matter. All the money that goes into fighting a hopeless cause that impinges on personal freedoms, while supporting a bloated industrial prison system, could be better used to fund prenatal programs, education, and environmental clean up.

Until humans can find it in themselves to let others live their lives as they see fit, it is insane to think other species will ever be safe from the misguided hierarchal thinking that allows people to judge others according to their own limited vision. Robert Downey Jr. was hurting nobody when he was arrested.

Granted others would claim he was hurting himself, I would suggest only he is in the position to make the claim. Even that is questionable considering he is a successful actor, at the top of his game. Who knows, perhaps drugs are just one way he taps into his creative potential. And then again how often does one consult law enforcement when seeking creative input.

Drug use has only hurt Robert Downey Jr. as a result of other lack of tolerance for it. And to think the cop who arrested him could have been actually doing something to protect the innocent, such as stopping a man from beating his wife to death, or a drunk driver from taking out a family of four. Carjacking is not a victimless crime, neither are muggings, rape, burglary, robbery, stalking, or poisoning entire communities with industrial pollution. But hey, here is a man trying to expand his mind. Call out the cops this fiend must be stopped.

If I seem jaded in my perspective it is only because I am. In fact I think America would be a much better place to live if more people did recreational drugs, God knows traffic congestion would be a lot easier to deal with. The current energy crisis could be easily ignored if everyone was high, as would the state of the worlds oceans, forests, and endangered species. I sorry if I can't get worked up about a respected professional doing drugs, I just realize there are a lot more things to be worried about.

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