Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bad boys, bad boys

With guns drawn and a battering ram in tow, members of the Capital District Drug Task Force barreled into a Glens Falls apartment with the force of a barreling freight train and all the bravado of an episode of Miami Vice.

After splintering no less than one door and bashing the living hell out of a combination safe, the bullet-proof vest-clad brigade of no less than six mid- to high-ranking cops emerged with the pay-dirt: a half-pound of marijuana and some books about growing weed.

streets so Yes, another bad guy taken down by the cops. Another stain of scum eradicated from thethat John Q. Public won’t have to contend with a bunch of bongo-playing hippies strutting around his neighborhood stinking up the place with the pungent aroma of cannabis. Keep the streets clean, boys. And if these dope-smoking free-living fiends think they can escape the law, then pull out your equalizers and squeeze off a few rounds into their backs as they flee in terror; that’ll teach those deadbeat potheads.

To chronicle this spectacle last week was the Post Star’s long-time cops and courts reporter, who penned an ingratiating first-hand-account about the bust. Of course, the writer buried the real news at the bottom of the article: despite all the theatrics of the raid, the suspected marijuana grower was charged with one misdemeanor charge and later released without bail.

In other words, the true story is this so-called ‘task-force’ wasted a ridiculous amount of taxpayer money to go on a raid that yielded absolutely nothing of substance, save for a small-time grower. But what is more startling about this account is that the neither the Post Star nor the drug task force seem to consider this bust as much. In fact, the impression one gets by reading this article is that such storm trooper tactics are a needed, if not necessary tool to wage the so-called war against drugs.

Obviously, they didn’t read about the drug bust in Schenectady last month. Similarly, a brigade of overzealous cops battered down the door of a city residence and then charged in shouting with guns drawn. They then pepper sprayed a sleeping 12-year-old girl, beat up her 11-year-old brother and filled the family dog full of lead.

And the result? The arrest of an 18-year-old on two misdemeanor charges of selling marijuana and a violation for possession of a “small amount” of weed, which likely means they found several grams. Despite this public relations disaster, Schenectady’s stalwart police chief had the gall to support the raid as something significant, noting that “selling drugs out of your residence is not minor."

After a pronounced period of drug war Glastnost during the nineties –most significantly the decriminalization of marijuana –police agencies seem to have renewed this furtive Reagan-era battle with zeal. Of course, cops during the original War on Drugs at least had the sensibility to bust people proliferating hard drugs, such as cocaine and opiate derivatives.

Today, cops are seeking out anything, including small-time marijuana operations, and using a boat-load of public dollars to do it. Problem is, they no longer have the draconian laws on the books to lock pot-heads away in jail like they used to. There is even a fundamental shift in thinking among their own ranks that suggests such bogus raids are probably not the solution this society needs to get a leg up on drugs. Rather, it’s more likely they’re just another part of the problem.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horatio,

How else do you think these governmental agencies can justify their bloated budgets if not with shows of shock and awe, full of sound and fury (and, oh, incidentally, signifying nothing)? It reminds me of the mendacity I used to see in academia, where profs with grants would buy software and consulting services that weren't really needed for their projects just to ensure they didn't get a funding cut when the grant was up for renewal. The same happens in government agencies. I sell software, and I always find that sales surge right before the end of the fiscal year as managers scramble to use up last year's funds to guarantee that they'll receive at least as much next year.

The War on Drugs is akin to the War on Terror. Our government is trying to solve both "problems" with programs, instead of addressing the root causes, like why do so many people want to smoke pot, or why are there people who would die for their cause in the process of killing innocent people? When these programs fail, governments think the solution is throw more money at the programs! This is the insanity that needs to be arrested.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that there is also a more nefarious plot happening here as well. The previous commentator is right in suggesting that the "shock and awe" tactics make for great publicity in the war on drugs...but the truth is that drug dealing is a protected racket from the highest ranks, and some of these so called busts kill two birds with one stone. One is to remind the public that something is being done about drugs so we don't stop funding the police/DEA, and the other is to warn any new person (a.k.a.---the new small time dealer) not to even try moving into a protected market. The small time dealers and the gang bangers in the cities are the ones getting killed and serving time. The mafia and government agencies (who feign ignorance when looking into the higher levels of trafficking) are the ones making the major profits and aren't suffering the risks. In May 20th, of 2001 the NY Times reported "American narcotics experts have concluded that the Taliban's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year." It is interesting how things have changed since we have invaded Afghanistan. It was recently reported in the NY Times on September 2nd "Afghanistan’s opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year." Heroin is showing up in Bagdad, were it never was before. The war on drugs is a major joke, and people at the highest levels are making money on this. The small time dealers, and even the overzealous raids, aren't the real story here. And it may be interesting to ask why so many people are using drugs in this day and age, but the tougher question is how come drugs are so easy to get...and who is the Walmart sized entity importing and distributing these narcotics? Follow that money trail...

4:00 AM  

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