Friday, May 30, 2014

An Accident In The Privileged Land

She said her parents were pressuring her. That's what parents do in the land of privilege. They push their children to succeed, to excel, to stand out and prepare for the future in which the children, in turn, will pressure their children.

If her parents had not been pushing her to get better grades, to work harder and be more, Carly Rousso would not have taken to inhaling chemicals to get high and escape her troubles.

In the land of privilege, it is someone else's fault.

The product of Chicago's well-heeled North Shore suburbs got high because her parents made her do it, then she got behind the wheel of a car. She passed out while driving, lost control of the Lexus (the car of the privileged) and plowed into a family out walking on the sidewalk.

The family that was struck by the car was not privileged. They were part of the unseen world that makes the land of privilege operate with such comfort for those with the money to pay someone else to clean their house, mow their lawn, or mind their children. They were walking because they could not afford a car, the sort of people you see all the time in Chicago neighborhoods where everyone walks or takes the bus because it's all they can afford.

There was no question that Carly Rousso was driving the car that struck the mother and three children. There was no question that she was high on canned air. The case, as they say, was open and shut. But in the land of privilege, things are not always so black and white.

Ms. Rousso's attorney argued a technicality because that is all she had to argue. That she was guilty of killing a small child and injuring the others was not in question. What mattered at trial was how severe a sentence she might receive, and in the land of privilege, prison is unimaginable.

The Mayor of Highland Park, where the accident took place, has said that she hopes this trial's conclusion puts the matter to rest. The Hispanic community of underprivileged was outraged when it happened, with Ms. Rousso granted bail and allowed to go home after she killed a child with her father's car.

They, however, will be watching the sentencing hearing to see how much jail time Ms. Rousso gets for running over a child while running from responsibility for her own behavior. The potential sentence drove Ms. Rousso's attorney to argue on a technicality to gain a conviction on lesser grounds, to possibly see her sentenced to nothing more than probation.

The story is not yet finished. The ending remains to be told, and only then will Mayor Rotering know if the matter is at rest, or resurrected.

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