Colorado State Rep. Laura Bradford was pulled over by a cop on Jan. 25 after he says he observed her driving erratically. The cop stated he smelled alcohol – and that Bradford admitted to drinking. What do you suppose happened next? Do you suppose that Bradford was ordered out of her vehicle and told she must either submit to a Breathalyzer or blood draw or be arrested on the spot?
That’s what would happen to you or me or any other Ordinary. But it is not what happened to Bradford. She is lawgiver, you see – and so different laws apply. Hence, she was released – that is, allowed to drive away – despite the fact that she admitted to drinking and was seen (so the cop stated) to be driving erratically, an indication that she’d had more than just a little to drink.
“She said she had been drinking. The officer smelled alcohol and we gave her roadside tests that gave us indications that we should test her further,” Denver Police Lt. Matt Murray told local media. But she wasn’t tested further. She was instead issued a minor citation (not for DUI, which isn’t minor anywhere) and sent on her way.
It is inconceivable that such courtesy would be extended to an Ordinary. But then, Ordinaries do not have pull. And Bradford, a Republican lawmaker, does. According to the cops, Bradford can drive erratically, smelling of booze – admitting she’s been drinking booze – and there’s nothing the cops can do because, you see, Bradford’s Binge was protected by Article V, section 16 of the Colorado Constitution – which exempts lawmakers from arrest when they are traveling to or from the legislative assembly.
It does not matter, apparently, that Bradford was more probably traveling to or from a bar as it was around 10 P.M. and long after the legislature had closed for the day… but shortly after a fiesta hosted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, at which the hootch flowed freely.
Nor that vehicular manslaughter is a felony.
Granted, Bradford didn’t actually kill anyone. Luckily. But can you imagine the results if you or I or any other Ordinary had been given leave to drive away from a traffic stop despite our erratic driving, despite reeking of booze and despite admitting to drinking – and 30 minutes later, we blew through a light and killed a minivan full of kids? The truth is that even the faintest whiff of alcohol, the merest suspicion that we’d had anything to drink, would be sufficient excuse to throw us over the hood of the squad car and forcibly draw our blood. We’d be arrested at minimum for declining – and quite likely, Tasered for “resisting.”
Ah, but that it us – and we are talking about them.
Bradford, of course, denies asserting her special status – but such sophistry is as transparent as a new sheet of Plexiglass. She presented her credentials to the cop – and the cop understood. It was not necessary to discuss the matter. She was (is) one of them. Wink, nod. Have a nice day, ma’am.
Interestingly – but not surprisingly – Bradford is a law n’ order fambly values Republican who touts “conservative leadership you can trust.” She is all for limited government – for herself.
But not so much you and I and other Ordinaries.
She is a law n’ order gal who has voted in favor of mandatory DNA sampling upon felony arrest (note, not conviction) but doubtless would not have been pleased had she been subjected to DNA sampling – had she, of course, even been arrested.
I am certain she is “tough” on drunk driving, too. Except when it comes to her drunk driving.
After the story broke, Bradford was suspended from her position as chair of the Colorado House Local Government Committee – and went on air to apologize for her (wait for it) “poor judgment” and – well, you know the rest. Mea culpa, mea culpa.
One hopes – but should not expect – that this experience will give Bradford pause to reflect on how things might have played out for her had she not been able to invoked “diplomatic immunity.” That is, had she been one of us rather than one of them.
To be clear: I am not defending drunk or otherwise impaired driving. I am trying to call attention to the hypocrisy that exists – and which has its origins in the different lives lead by us as opposed to them.
They are treated with deference – and given the benefit of every doubt. We are presumed criminal – and treated accordingly. Since they are not treated as presumptive criminals, subjected to probable cause-free stop n’ frisks, denied basic due process and all the rest of it – then such things do not exist and are not to be fretted. What is desperately needed is more shoe-on-the-other-foot. It is good to see Bradford held up to public ridicule. It would be even better to see Bradford, et al. subjected to the same treatment they so routinely mete out to us.
Have you noticed, parenthetically, how upset most cops get when we record them? Sauce for the goose… .
Bradford, to her credit, has voted for less government and more equitable treatment of us Ordinaries. She is not as loathsome as, for example, a personage like NY’s Chuck Schumer or Michael Bloomberg – who would have you or me or any other Ordinary tossed in prison for years merely for possessing a gun yet surround themselves with heavily armed bodyguards. The Chuck Schumers and Michael Bloombergs – and Newties and Romneys – are beyond the reach of reason or even simple empathy for the Other.
But perhaps Bradford will experience an Awakening – and begin to think more about what it’s like to be one of us vs. one of them.
Throw it in the Woods?