Robert F. “Bobby’’ Kennedy Jr., 60, called me the other day to plead for compassion for his misunderstood sister, a lawyer and professional human-rights activist born Mary Kerry Kennedy.
“Kerry’s been instrumental in freeing political prisoners and dissidents from around the globe from imprisonment and torture,” Bobby told me.
He argued that political agitators all over the world could be locked up and tortured if his sister, 54, is convicted in Westchester County for being hell on wheels. Africans might be tormented or killed for being gay.
If convicted of driving while ability impaired by drugs — a misdemeanor — she fears she’ll be barred from entering countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and thus be unable to perform her important work.
Last month, Kerry was on her way to meet her brother, a lawyer and environmental activist; their documentary filmmaker sister Rory, 45; and Bobby’s actress gal pal, Cheryl Hines, 48, at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah when she made an abrupt, globe-trotting U-turn.
Kerry received an urgent call from South African social-rights activist Desmond Tutu, who asked her to fly to Africa immediately. At Kerry’s request, the retired Anglican bishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner had set up a meeting between Kerry and the president of the African nation of Uganda, who supposedly was about to sign into law the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill.
So Kerry instead boarded a plane at JFK Airport and high-tailed it to Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, where, the story goes, she succeeded in saving the gays.
“You’ve changed my mind. We can’t go on executing people because they were born that way,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told Kerry, according to a friend of hers.
Isn’t that sweet? And oh so moving? (UPDATE: Publius reports that President Museveni signed the anti-gay bill into law today, doubtless because Kennedy was in White Plains Superior Court, rather than by his side. Oh, the humanity!)
Kerry initially told an officer that she might have mistakenly taken Ambien instead of her thyroid medication. Then, four days later, she stood outside the tiny Town of North Castle Justice Court in Armonk — the case has since moved to roomier quarters in White Plains — and announced that her doctors believed she suffered a “complex partial seizure” at the time of the wreck, caused by an earlier head injury.
Toxicology test results revealed that Kerry had ingested zolpidem tartrate, the generic term for Ambien. Her lawyers now contend that she innocently mixed up her pills.
“Mixed up her pills”? Her lawyers also argued at that time, “no one would take sleeping pills to drive”. Wrong.
The high is similar to drinking a large amount of alcohol because you feel completely relaxed and you might lose control of your body.
Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem, and it works in a similar way to any other hypnotic. When you take Ambien correctly, it can make you feel relaxed, comfortable and sleepy. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency classifies the prescription drug Ambien as a Schedule IV drug because it is similar to benzodiazepines. This means that you cannot possess or use the drug without a prescription from a doctor. Those caught with the drug can receive a hefty fine or jail time. The reason that the Drug Enforcement Agency regulates this drug is because it’s potentially dangerous. While a large number of users take Ambien without any side effects, the drug can cause dependence or other issues in those who take the drug for a longer period of time.
I have complete sympathy for people suffering from drug addiction, whether alcohol, ambient or any other substance. But society is well within its rights to demand that addicts take responsibility for their actions, especially if they create a danger to others by driving on our highways. The first step to recovery is usually thought to be an admission that one has a problem; demanding immunity because of your famous family name and your important duties as the goddess of world peace is not a recommended approach.
Maybe she can go to rehab in Venezuela.