Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you

I recently blogged about a PG County SWAT team that burst into the home of the Berwyn Heights mayor and shot his two dogs because a package of marijuana was delivered to his home. We find out in this Sun article how the package came to be delivered in the first place, and the mayor and his family had no knowledge whatsoever of its contents:

Police officials in Arizona first intercepted the package when a drug-sniffing dog alerted them to the presence of marijuana. It was addressed to Tomsic [the mayor's wife]. An undercover officer in Prince George's delivered the package near 6 p.m. and was told by Calvo's mother-in-law to leave it on the porch, according to Calvo's attorney, Timothy Maloney.

Prince George's County police arrested two men involved in a scheme to transport marijuana. Once packages were dropped off by a deliveryman, a suspect would pick them up -- with the addressee oblivious to the plot. Police seized a half-dozen packages that contained about 417 pounds of marijuana, including the 32 pounds delivered to Tomsic, the Associated Press reported.

I find this story very disturbing for two reasons:

1. it shows how mindlessly stupid drug laws are and

2. it reminds us of the unpleasant fact that law enforcement officers have a tremendous amount of power which they sometimes abuse.

This atrocity is one of the many non-financial costs of making drugs illegal. And what good has come from the ban on drugs, really? The war on drugs has created a very lucrative business for the most dangerous and unethical people in society. I remember watching an anti-drug commercial a few years ago that said something like "if you use marijuana, then you are supporting Al Qaeda", the reason being that Al Qaeda profits from the drug trade. However, Al Quada profits from the drug trade precisely because drugs are illegal!!! We could fix that tomorrow by legalizing drugs, and farmers would have at least one new agricultural crop to grow. We know how much the government loves to support agriculture. And who are drug users hurting? No one, except maybe themselves. We seem to have no problem allowing people to harm themselves with alcohol, and drugs are not fundamentally different.

The mayor echoed an anonymous commenter on my last post about this by reminding us that this was not the first time the PG police have used excessive force on family pets for absolutely no reason:

Calvo said he wants federal officials to examine policies that he said have led Prince George's police officials to serve warrants on wrong addresses and kill family pets before.

In once such case, Prince George's sheriff's deputies executed a warrant on the home of Frank and Pamela Myers of Accokeek in November. The Myers told sheriffs that they had the wrong address as their dog began barking from the yard. The couple asked if they could retrieve their dog, but deputies refused. Minutes later, two shots were fired and the dog was killed, according to a notice of a tort claims filed by attorney Michael J. Winkelman. The Myers were never charged and nothing was seized from their house.

"This has happened before, and without oversight, it will happen again," Calvo said.


Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike having some drugs illegal, I haven't heard any way of making them legal that also doesn't cause problems. How do you go about it?

Need a prescription? That would have the same effect as making them illegal. There would still be a market for people to get them without the prescription.

Anyone can sell them to anyone (with or without age limits)? Then why do I have to have a prescription for something as harmless as allergy or blood pressure medication?

Freemarket said...

Good question. I think the best way to do it is to treat drugs just like alcohol, with similar or the same age restrictions. Of course some people abuse alchohol and create problems, but in no way are those problems worse than what occured under prohibition in the 1920's. The same is true with other drugs as well.

Anonymous said...

PG County police don't need illegal drugs for an excuse to kill people. For them, all they need is a day that ends in a "y".

Anonymous said...

Think about what making drugs legal would do to our overcrowded prisons. Maybe if they let out all the drug addicts they wouldn't have to give early parole to violent offenders. And I for one am sick of my tax dollars going to house drug addicts that should be in rehab, but instead are in jail on mandatory minimum sentences and come out of prison worse than they went in.

Zinzindor said...

In response to anonymous: The principle problem with making drugs illegal is that it causes the price to skyrocket. Once they are legal (even if a prescription is needed), the black market is deflated.