Daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and ex-wife of NYS governor Andrew Cuomo Kerry Kennedy has landed herself in hot water after being acquitted of a Westchester County DWI charge last week. Kennedy was arrested in July 2012 after she swerved her Lexus into a tractor-trailer on the I-684. Kennedy’s counsel, with the help of medical professionals, argued that the accident was the result of a “zombie” state caused by Ambien, a popular anti-anxiety and sleep medication that Kennedy is known to have been taking.
After Acquittal, Kennedy Assaults NYS Policy on National TV
Following her acquittal, Ms. Kennedy has drawn a lot of flack from the American public, particularly those who have lost loved ones as a result of drunk or drug-impaired driving. She appeared on NBC’s popular morning show “Today” last week, explaining to host Matt Lauer how New York State’s system of pursuing DWI offenders is a “terrible policy.”
In her interview with Lauer, Kennedy explained that “whether the police think the person’s innocent, whether the DA thinks they’re innocent,” that law enforcement has to prosecute, regardless of the likelihood of their guilt. While there is an argument to be made here, Kennedy’s comments came off as yet another affluent American looking to play the victim.
Kennedy Demonstrates an Ignorance of the Facts
The biggest problem with Kennedy’s comments, perhaps, is that they ostensibly demonstrate her ignorance over the facts. Estimates from Forbes show that the average American will get in an accident once every 17.9 years. However, if they consistently get behind the wheel, they’re chances of injuring or killing themselves and others skyrockets.
According to the most recently available statistics, impaired drivers cause over 10,000 deaths per year, or just about one-third of all deaths caused by traffic accidents in the U.S. annually. Kennedy’s insinuation that people who are suspected of DWI shouldn’t be investigated is preposterous, simply because of the possibility of the damage they can do. Consider, driving under the influence makes drivers as much as 48-times more likely to be involved in an accident than their sober counterparts. It’s too bad that one of the American elite found herself caught up in a negative side-effect of her medication, but that doesn’t give her the right to cry “victim,” especially when thousands of Americans are mourning their loved ones each year. If it means helping avoid more death and loss, isn’t it better to investigate all suspects?
Another Case of “Affluenza?”
Of course, we’d be remiss to ignore Ms. Kennedy’s status as fuel for the fire. In an America that is increasing engulfed in a war against the one-percent, Kennedy is just another rich white person managing to escape a system that supposedly guarantees justice for all. Kennedy’s case comes a little over a month after Ethan Couch, an affluent white teenager from Texas, was sent to a residential rehab facility after killing four people and severely injuring two others in an auto-accident. A mental health professional cited “affluenza,” a disease that exists in the land of unicorns and dragons, explaining that the super rich have no concept of cause and effect. Regardless of whether or not Ms. Kennedy meant to make herself a victim in her interview with “Today’s” Lauer, she’s being lumped in with Couch and his ilk.
Like all of us, Kerry Kennedy is entitled to a fair trial, and she’s further entitled to go on with her life without impediment after being acquitted. However, having the weight of status and affluence behind her doesn’t excuse her remarks. In a country where 44% of the citizenry can barely get from paycheck to paycheck, Kennedy’s words are just one more reminder of the ignorance of the ruling class.