In high school and college, I used to have three friends who were the sons of very wealthy families. They were all incredibly arrogant, and all shared a common feeling that they should be, or were, above the law. They all routinely used their fathers’ money to purchase expensive radar detectors, buy their way out of traffic tickets, illegally modify their expensive cars, etc.
One of them collected guns. He had dozens. Eventually all three of them had lots of guns, and one of them, my room mate for a little while in college, once told me, “Chicks love it when I carry this.” It was a .41 magnum, and of course, he didn’t have a concealed carry permit.
They all got high, and thought they were entitled to get high if they wanted. They all littered as much as they could. One of them hated pennies so much that if he got pennies in his change, he would throw them on the ground, or in the trash.
Their favorite thing to do on a Saturday night was piss off cops and run from them, their expensive Swiss stereo systems blaring. Once, one of these guys left his car in a tow-away zone, with a loaded pistol in the front seat. It was towed, and the gun was confiscated. The next day – the very next day – his father got the car out of impound, and managed to get the pistol returned. That same guy thought he shouldn’t have to use unleaded gasoline, so he illegally used premium leaded gas.
I confess, it took me a long time to realize what a bunch of d!ckwads these guys were. We are all arrogant when we’re young, but these guys never seemed to grow up. I say that with a sense of irony, since one of them shot himself in the head when he was 19. I was 18 at the time, and saw his suicide with some wonder and sympathy, but in the last 20 years or so I have opened my eyes and seen it for what it was: a petulant, spoiled, rich a$$hole throwing his life away in a tantrum.
As adults, these are the people who live in gated communities, taking their vacations in the Bahamas, and hosting cocktail parties for important guests, meaning wealthy ones. I don’t ever see their kind on the trail. I see all races, faiths, and walks of life in the wilderness, with the exception of the filthy rich.
This kind of wealth corrupting lives is ultimately manifested in heads of state who also think they are above the very law they are charged with governing. From political corruption in its purest form, like Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, to personal indiscretions like Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky mess, all the way to the George Bush father-and-son war dynasty, which sacrifices the blood of honorable soldiers not for the people, but in the end to keep the rich rich.
Sidebar: I was incredulous that Bill Clinton was actually impeached for the Lewinsky fiasco. He may have lied about his relations with her, but come on, people. Are we really so sexually infantile that it’s more important to us that a man lied about having sex versus a man who led us into a war in which we lost thousands of soldiers? Are you freaking kidding me?