'Ice...would suffice'

Dateline: Thu 16 Dec 2010

Maybe it's naivety or romantic idealism, but, like Peter Pan in the James Barrie classic, I am sometimes struck afresh at a betrayal. How COULD Captain Hook have lied to the lad?

Fast forward to Indianapolis, where GOP kingmaker (of yore)/furniture heir James Kittle and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer David Bisard, a member of the proud K-9 unit, both stand accused of driving while drunk.

Let's pause for a moment's thanks to former President Bill Clinton, whose behavior re: Monica Lewinsky helped explain how the brain -- especially the traditional male brain -- is capable of compartmentalizing. OK, got a problem, but I'm just gonna put it in this tight little unit here, and make that off limits. No exam of conscience for that area of life!

Hence Bisard and Kittle, two men who in theory and in practice hold, or did hold, the trust of the community, have betrayed not only themselves but all of us. Kittle, 67, according to the Indianapolis Star's Robert Annis, "... was taken to the Hamilton County Jail and preliminarily charged with operating while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level under .15 percent, both C misdemeanors. Bond was set at $2,500....According to Carmel Police Lt. Jeff Horner, Kittle was driving left of the center line near 126th Street and Rangeline Road (in Carmel) before midnight Tuesday. He later blew a .10 on a portable breath test, slightly above the state legal limit."

Bisard, as everyone knows, killed someone, allegedly due to driving drunk while on duty. He injured others, physically and emotionally, when he plowed his vehicle into motorcyclists stopped at a light (due to his high-speed approach in his police car). His actions have resulted in the biggest crisis in recent memory for our police force -- morale, leadership, direction, you name it.

I wish they taught Dante in school today, although I know it's not P.C.

Still, I often go back to the Nine Circles Dante described in the Inferno, to keep my sins and head straight. Lust, gluttony -- eh, not so awful-terrible.  Anger, heresy and violence are on a much more slippery slope.

But get into No. 8 -- fraud -- and the biggie, No. 9 -- treachery -- and you're in major malfunction mode.

From Wiki, regarding those who betray us:

"The ninth circle is ringed by classical and Biblical giants, who perhaps symbolize the pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery.[50] The giants are standing on a ledge above the ninth circle of Hell,[51] so that from the Malebolge they are visible from the waist up....

"The traitors are distinguished from the 'merely' fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying a special relationship of some kind. There are four concentric zones (or 'rounds') of traitors, corresponding, in order of seriousness, to betrayal of family ties, betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of liege lords. In contrast to the popular image of Hell as fiery, the traitors are frozen in a lake of ice ... with each group encased in ice to progressively greater depths."

OK, Bernie Madoff has no known ties to Indianapolis, but put him down as a top contender for that 9th Circle. Shakespeare would have loved the guy; he's got it all...greed, arrogance, hypocrisy, a huge fall and now the stain of the death of his son on his shoulders. Oy.

The good news is: these guys are all still among the living. They may yet redeem themselves...


Oh, and perhaps Robert Frost did study Dante.  At least, he knows about hate and alienation. Poem for the day, "Fire and Ice":

"Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice."





Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Kittle and Bisard.

Dumb and Dumber.

2010-12-16 11:16:54

hendy [Member] said:

Bisard killed because of his drunken stupidity. Kittle didn't. To those in the audience that never drank and drove, my hats off to you. You two can now sit down.

Should Kittle resign something? Like that's going to do much. Bisard deserves the book thrown at him; arguably Kittle does, too, having allegedly committed the same crime.

In 1988, I decided not to drink and drive, ever. Others still do. Should we knock down all who are convicted of Class C Misdemeanors? Should consensual sex between a sitting US president and his intern be grounds for impeachment? In Bisard's case, there was a victim to his crime. In Kittle's case, the victim was the sense of propriety among the citizens of the land. Far be it from me to defend him, rather, our judicial system makes no variation in drink-driving. Manslaughter, however, is something Bisard appears to be additionally guilty of. One might even imply murder. Kittle only murdered the truth.

2010-12-16 12:18:32

Duke Young [unverified] said:

Entertaining article. I don't disapprove of the arrest, but wonder why so much is made of it. This is the misdemeanor arrest of a 67 year old who appears to have retired from the furniture business and his leadership position in the GOP. Unless he has Some Undisclosed power in Hamilton County or elsewhere he should face justice and the media should leave him alone. Or is it just a matter of schadenfreude?

2010-12-16 14:52:38

ruthholl [Member] said:

Good questions, observations, Duke Young and Hendy.
Scuttlebutt is that Mr. Kittle has a long-standing alcohol abuse problem, so maybe it's a sense of "justice is finally being served."
I'm not trying to be self-righteous; anybody who drinks (in theory, in a moment's loss of judgment) has the potential to get behind the wheel under less than optimal conditions. But let's face it: drunk drivers have killed plenty of people, and there is a justifiable intolerance for this behavior -- it is not socially acceptable, ever ever ever. Kittle did not kill anyone, but it's conceivable he could have.
My main argument is that he is a person of prominence in this community, even tho he may not be "active" in any role right now....we deserve better from our power brokers.
Plus, there's been a rash of this behavior lately, w/school officials. I am really not picking on Kittle, because this could have been written about so many.
OK, retraction: I AM picking on KIttle, but he's certainly not alone in his socially maladjusted behavior.
I admit: I do not get it. Taxi cabs, hello? Call a friend? Don't drive if you have been drinking...

2010-12-16 15:50:06

hendy [Member] said:

Addicts know they don't have a problem. Everyone else does. Yet Kittle joins many on the other side of the aisle in drinking themselves into a stupor. Drunk knows no politic. Some drunks are 'better' than others, yet some aren't actually alcoholics, rather, bad drinkers.

Some kill. Alcohol is no excuse when you're dealing with manslaughter or murder-- but it once was.

2010-12-16 16:16:41

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

There but for chance go I. And many of you as well. When we were young we thought we were invincible and could hold our water but as we age we presumably grow wiser, which is why Kittle's example begs less sympathy: how come he didn't know better at his age? (Possible answer: because he got away with it for so long?)

Kittle's case is completely different from Bisard's. Kittle was terribly underqualified to be state GOP chairman, and I expect schadenfreude is not out of the question

2010-12-16 19:07:43

ruthholl [Member] said:

OK, I concede; bad comparison.

2010-12-16 20:12:53

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Oh, Ruthie, this is a bad few days for the drunk-driving thing...

I've known Kittle a long time. If he has a drinking "problem," I wasn't aware. We don't have lunch together every day. I wouldn't clal myself a close friend. But I've been around him hundreds of times, in all kinds of settings.

He enjoys a good stiff belt. He is wrong on most political issues, as was his John Birch Society father, but he is a good businessman, father and, from what I can tell a loyal partisan.

His employees regularly gush about his level of care for them and their families. (Now watch some disgruntled former employee preach otherwise).

I'm going to guess, for now, that this was a momentary lack of judgment on the way home from a holiday party. I know Jim to be a stand-up guy. He'll likely take his punishment "like a man," and not demand any special favors.

If the news accounts are correct, his full-night in jail proves that. Overnight in jail is tough regardless where it is. Even in Hamilton County. Justice is strange north of 96th St., though...but that's another topic.

Tough week Ruthie. Tough week.

2010-12-17 07:48:15

Jason [unverified] said:

One observation I think you alluded to without trying: IMHO there is no other crime that is simultaneously more stigmatized but at the same time committed by a greater cross-section of the entire population. It doesn't matter whether you're black, white, rich, poor, urban, rural, an alcoholic without two nickels to rub together, or a multimillionaire. Darn near everybody who drinks has had a few too many at one time or other.

And if I'm not mistaken, next to child molestation, it has the highest rate of recidivism as well. Whether or not the comparison was good or bad, it was worth making and certainly worth reading. Thanks.

2010-12-18 00:35:55

nicmart [Member] said:

Judging by the number of female K-12 teachers having sex with their students, compartmentalizing isn't a distinctly male trait.

2010-12-21 16:08:14

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