Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Monday, June 30, 1997

Kealoha could learn
from wise women

THE coincidence was too compelling to ignore. On the same day that Gabriel Kealoha was denied bail for the manslaughter death of HPD Sgt. Arthur Miller, a calendar called "Women's Wisdom: The World's Greatest Quotes from Women" ended up in my office.

Sure enough, on flipping through its pages, some of the sage sayings and witticisms made by assorted female luminaries seemed fitting for Kealoha to ponder ("To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else." -- Bernadette Devlin).

He'll have more time to think, that's for sure.

On Friday, Judge Darryl Choy ruled that the 1997 Kamehameha Schools graduate could not be released from the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility early -- after serving only two months of a 10-month sentence -- so that he could attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa this week.

Significantly, Choy made his decision after finally opening up the files and the usually closed Family Court proceedings to the press because of the highly visible nature of this case ("What is not recorded is not remembered." -- Benazir Bhutto).

Behind the edict was some compelling rationale:

Kealoha was described as the aggressor when he and Miller scuffled in the deadly Oct. 27 dispute on the H-1, according to prosecution witnesses. Kealoha had been involved in at least one similar traffic confrontation before ("People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes." -- Abigail Van Buren).

Despite telling a psychiatrist that he was remorseful over Miller's death and that it would change his life, Kealoha's aggressiveness did not wane. He argued with and threatened his girlfriend and teachers at school ("The only measure of what you believe is what you do. If you want to know what people believe, don't read what they write, don't ask them what they believe, just observe what they do." -- Ashley Montagu).

The diagnostic team that twice recommended early release for Kealoha to attend college had only heard the self-defense version of the incident ("There is no truth, there are only points of view." -- Edith Sitwell).

Kealoha had not received treatment in anger-management ("Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose." -- Billie Holiday) while incarcerated at the youth correctional facility, even though Choy had strongly recommended it at sentencing.

Relatives and friends of the defendant continue to be in severe denial, rationalizing Kealoha's anti-social behavior and blaming the victim for his own fate ("When so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?" -- Jane Austen).

PERSPECTIVE is a powerful thing. To me, the new calendar on my desk was a collection of inspirational quotes to live, grow and learn by. It contained philosophy from some of the wisest and most famous women in history. It offered one profound perception ("It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot) for every day of the year.

But unless Gabriel Kealoha comes to grips with the severity of his crime and the possibility that something terrible could happen again unless he gets help, my calendar was just a bunch of pages to tear off, one by one ("If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." -- Catherine Aird), until eventual freedom.

Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at, or by fax at 523-7863.

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