Good paraprofessionals are hard to find these days, but a number of years ago, my small elementary school lucked onto one of the best. Elsa was an outspoken young woman going to college, just married, and always with the appropriate solution to any problem.
She’d give you a smile or a respectful kick in the rear, whichever would best help get “her” teachers and friends through any particular day. She adored kids, and agonized when she found out she and her new husband were having twins—she wanted to be a perfect mother.
Elsa quit working to be a mom, and from what those who occasionally ran into her said, for four years—she was the perfect mother of the twins and the sister who came after. Devoted, loving, and there.
Until the night a drunk, driving in the wrong lane on a suspended license, killed her.
Elsa the mother, the wife, the friend and the helper, died in a tangled mess of steel.
And Paris suffers from emotional distress because she might be punished for not following the laws meant to protect the Elsas, and you, and me from drunks driving on suspended licenses?
I have absolutely no use for Paris, and I’ll admit that up front.
I also have absolutely no resentment that she’s rich; I fell equally strong about any person driving a car drunk or drugged. I believe someone who drives when intoxicated and injures or kills someone, should be charged with the most serious of possible crimes, including vehicular homicide. Anyone who drives drunk or drugged makes a choice to break laws and displays complete disregard for human life. I don’t believe in excuses, and I don’t think it’s okay the first time, let alone the second, third, or 43rd.
While reports don’t indicate that Paris was drunk on the last time she was stopped, her insistence that others were at fault shows utter contempt for any possible damage she could have inflicted on others. And while her public hoots and hollers in her defense and analysts claim she’s gotten too little or too much jail time, thousands of children, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers and friends weep for the Elsas of this world.
The man who killed Elsa also died that night—otherwise, she might not have been his last victim. Drunk and drugged drivers never see themselves as perpetrators; they’re always the victims of others’ lack of understanding, support, or whatever.
Shame on Paris and her lawyer for deciding that police were hanging on her every movement to bust her on trumped-up charges. Can’t a girl buy a break? She only broke a teeny little law, anyway.
Boo hoo, Paris. If I tear up, forgive me. It isn’t for you. It’s for Elsa.