Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rip Torn Is Guilty

Let me preface my remarks by saying I think Rip Torn is a great actor, and he has left a lasting legacy in the movie industry. In fact, I like him so much that I will watch a bad movie just because I know he's in it. But being a great actor, even one with a distinguished career, should not be a defense in a criminal trial.

In January, the 79 year-old Torn was arrested inside a Connecticut bank hours after the bank had closed. He was stinking drunk and was in possession of a gun for which he did not have a permit. He was taken to jail and released on $100,000 bond (with the stipulation that he not drink any alcohol). Supposedly, he was so drunk that he thought he had broken into his own home.

Since then, he has been going to "rehabilitation" -- first in an inpatient program, and now on an outpatient basis (probably on the advice of his attorney). I imagine the attorney is planning to try to get him off using his alcoholism as an excuse. Personally, I'm sick of actors, athletes and other celebrities getting away with crimes by doing a little "rehabilitation", just because they're rich enough to hire a top-notch attorney.

Torn says, "I'm not a bank robber." Well, he's not accused of that. He has been charged with Burglary, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespass, Carrying a Gun Without a Permit, and Carrying a Gun While Intoxicated. The conditions surrounding his arrest show he is clearly guilty of all of those charges.

Neither his career, his age, his being drunk nor his attendance at rehabilitation are valid excuses for the crimes he committed. They wouldn't excuse these crimes if a poor person had done them, and therefore they shouldn't excuse the actions of someone rich and famous. In fact, these crimes make even less sense when done by someone rich -- because the rich can afford a driver, aide or bodyguard to keep them from screwing up like this.

Mr. Torn has pled not guilty and is due back in court on April 27th. He is guilty and should be punished for what he did. And I think that punishment should involve at least some jail time, because that's what would happen to someone without his money and fame.


  1. Did he hurt anybody? He clearly has issues, what would prison accomplish?

    Neither Rip nor a poor person deserve jail time for something like this, they deserve mental help. Just because a poor person would receive jail time, doesn't make it right. Solve the underlying problem, jail time for victimless crimes.

    Prison is often a waste of money and causes more harm than good.

  2. Chris-
    I just can't agree with you. I think getting drunk, carrying an unlicensed firearm and breaking into a bank constitutes some very serious behavior. You say this wasn't a violent crime, but what if there had been a guard or night watchman? Would the gun have been used? It's very possible.

    I also have a couple of other reasons to oppose letting him off with just some "rehabilitation". First, not everyone can afford to run to a rehab program to get out of punishment for a crime, and punishment should be equal across all stratas of society.

    Also, I have discovered through my work that while nearly any rehab program will work for someone ready to change, there is no program that will work for someone who's not ready - someone who is virtually or actually forced to enter the program.

    Rehab is just not a good option for a serious crime.

  3. The man is old and crazy.

    Breaking into a bank drunk carrying an unlicensed (oh my) firearm is a weird, illogical, clearly messed up in the head crime.

    I'm not suggesting voluntary rehab. I'm talking about a government run program for crazy people. Prison as it stands now (the horrible one where people are routinely sodomized) should be reserved for people that intentionally commit crimes against others.

    Even if there had been a night watchmen, it still wouldn't change the fact that this guy needs mental help, not the help of bubba in a shared room. If he can be cured, great. If not, I guess they can study him for a while.


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