The Narc Who Got High: What In The Heck Is The Big Deal?

Narc Who Got High WEB2 1009.jpg

From Robert Arthur's blog, Narco Polo.

An excerpt from The New Prohibition: Voices of Dissent Challenge the Drug War, the book that includes Richard Mack's story:

Ted and I were different. He smoked, he drank, at times he used marijuana, and his morals were not in line with my Mormon background. But he was a good man. He cared about his children, and he was a hard worker. He was loyal and understanding, and he had a great sense of humor .... Why were we arresting people, some really decent people, for smoking marijuana? Should we arrest all the "Teds" in the country? Take his sports car, ruin his career, give him an arrest record and some jail time, and maybe overall just teach him a lesson? (pp. 13-14)
The Narc Who Got High: What In The Heck Is The Big Deal?

36

  1. Should we arrest all the “Teds” in the country? Take his sports car, ruin his career, give him an arrest record and some jail time, and maybe overall just teach him a lesson?

    If Ted were in Massachusetts and he’d probably get a 100 dollar civil fine.

    1. Most of the time they don’t even bother enforcing it because they can’t technically search or require ID because it’s not a criminal offense – so there’s not much stopping people from giving an officer writing a ticket a fake name, much of the same reason they don’t enforce other small laws like jaywalking.

      Hopefully legislators realize that Massachusetts and the other states that have decriminalized it haven’t fallen into a state of corruption and disarray and are influenced by the example.

  2. Frankly I’m surprised Boing Boing hasn’t picked up on the current Alan Johnson vs David Nutt Cannabis argument.

    That’s “the Home Secretary vs the(recently fired)Chairman of the Government’s Drug Advisory Body” to all you non-English Boingers

    1. Two more advisors have resigned

      I still don’t get the point of hiring expert advisers if you just ignore them.

      1. Well, what else are you going to do with them if those uppity unpaid advisers refuse to retro-fit your decisions with the correct advice?

      2. To appear as though you have thoughtfully weighed the opinions of experts but decided that their narrow understanding of chemistry blinded them to the dangers to which are children are exposed. Who else is going to think of the children?

        1. Are you kidding me? Drug dealers don’t target kids. Kids don’t have money. How stupid can you be? “Think of the children.” Well, if you don’t want your children doing drugs, then YOU do something about it. I’m sick of this misconception that shady guys just hang out in the playground waiting to sell your kid marijuana. Here’s a clue, if you don’t want them buying drugs, don’t give them the money to do so! Once again a case of failed parenting, “It’s not my fault my kid’s a crackhead, it’s the guy he buys from.” Get over yourself.

        2. To appear as though you have thoughtfully weighed the opinions of experts but decided that their narrow understanding of chemistry blinded them to the dangers to which are children are exposed. Who else is going to think of the children?

          well actualy they did think of oure children in holland.In the the 60`s/70`s the dutch governement did think about the children and they actualy listened to cientific advisors.
          This is what the advisors had to say.
          When children get into puberty they have two main goals “adventure” and “checking one`s parental education” and the greatest fear the parents have are the things that most likely will be found “bulshit” by these kids.
          So they looked for a way to take away the adventure bit in it and to take away as much of the fear the parents have about it.
          Ofcourse the easye way would be to legalize it.
          But the downsize of that would have been sending out a mesage that it is completly harmless,wich is,also,is not the right thing to do.So they opted for tolerance.In short”If it does no harm we do nothing and if it goes bad we still have the law(using cannabis is against the law in the netherlands).The netherlands have as a result one of the lowest number of cannabis(and other drugs) users of europe and one of the lowest drug related crime figures as well.
          The combination “tolerate it” and the abilety to use the law if it goes wrong gives the officials the means to give educational signals to children who are in their puberty.Kids in puberty don`t want to be TOLD they are growing up and want to be reasoned with.You have to start treating them as adults ,so just telling them it`s bad doesn`t work.Even worse it just makes it more adventurous and a prime way to stick up youre finger to youre parents.
          It is ofcourse a hard thing to tell a parent that his fears about drugs actualy is a main force driving oure children to use drugs,but evidence(more represion>more drug users/less represion>less drug users)points to it.They are growing up so reasoning with them and being reasonable is a better way of handeling the use or abuse of drugs.

          w2

      3. Just because you have an advisor, doesn’t mean you need to take their advice. However, if you fire or punish advisors or demand their resignations when you don’t like what they say, that’s ridiculous.

        Perhaps, at least some of the time, what’s happening is that people in positions of power or responsibility don’t really want the advice. They want to be able to have an expert tell everyone that their decisions and policies are well-founded, regardless of whether that’s true.

  3. The existence of our society relies on the rule of law.

    Having a law that isn’t enforced is a bad thing, because it foments disrespect for all law. If citizens don’t want a particular law enforced, citizens should change or repeal that law.

    But if it’s on the books, enforce it.

    1. Yes, because God knows, the current drug laws and their uneven application haven’t fomented disrespect for the law.

      So if something is the law it is beyond question? Dred Scott? German blood purity laws? Anti-miscegenation laws?

      “I was only following orders” didn’t cut it at Nuremburg, bub.

      1. I back you on this. Marijuana does not have to be a bad thing. Do it safely as a recreation and there should be little problem. Hopefully the mainly symbolic gestures Obama has issued are one day realized as fully backed legislation legalizing a drug that was wrongly banned.

    2. Obeying the law only because it is the law is mindless servitude. The same argument comes from the religious. It is true because God said it is true. There is no logical reasoning going on here. If a law is unjust or just plain stupid and you aren’t harming anyone else then I say if you can get away with it, ignore the law and live your life.

      If you want to be a slave to government and laws then be my guest, but you should think a bit about why you are so eager to obey your masters.

    3. I tend to agree with the idea that flouting existing laws, even if they are stupid, can be hazardous to the social contract and society.

      But there are numerous examples of civil disobedience, and open defiance of an unjust law was a powerful and even necessary tool for causing those laws to be changed.

      Ask Rosa Parks. Or anyone who participated in a sit-in during the civil rights movement in the US.

  4. drug and alcohol use is not a a moral issue. it’s an adult choice.

    drug and alcohol addiction is a not a moral issue. it is a medical problem.

  5. wow, thank you for allowing me to hear Alex Grey talk about one of my favorite works.(my desktop, even!)

  6. Much as the current situation in the UK annoys me, you have to love the headline “Nutt gets the sack”

  7. Having a law that isn’t enforced is a bad thing, because it foments disrespect for all law. If citizens don’t want a particular law enforced, citizens should change or repeal that law.

    Having a law that criminalises what most people consider to be a private enjoyment is nothing short of idiocy. That law will be flouted, and anyone attempting to enforce it will be seen not as a protector of the public peace, but as a bullying petty tyrant.

    Did a decade of Prohibition teach America’s lawmakers nothing?

    1. Having a law that criminalises what most people consider to be a private enjoyment is nothing short of idiocy. That law will be flouted, and anyone attempting to enforce it will be seen not as a protector of the public peace, but as a bullying petty tyrant.

      See, that’s what I mean- if someone dismisses police enforcement of drug laws as unjust, and implies that it’s acceptable to “flout” them, what other inconvenient laws might they choose to ignore?

      The law should reflect the values of society. Don’t like the law? Change it. The system allows it. If “most people” feel this way, it should be pretty straightforward.

      1. This is a slippery slope argument. “If we ignore a stupid and harmful law just because we don’t agree with it, what’s next? Flouting the laws against rape and murder?”

  8. this period of time will be looked back upon by future generations who will all be completely bewildered at our ass-backwards society, much in the same vein that we look back and scoff at how long slavery was tolerated. they won’t have a context for it, it will seem completely insane and oppressive, it will be remembered as an unjust war with huge fiscal and social consequences that fly in the face of compassion and reason – which is to say, it will be seen as it is.

  9. The primary problem that I have with the war on drugs isn’t necessarily that it punishes people who aren’t doing anything to hurt anyone (although it does, and that’s a problem) or even the amount of government resources that are wasted to accomplish pretty much nothing (although it is pretty staggering). What a lot of people don’t realize is that drug prohibition and laws against prostitution are the primary reason that gangs and gang violence exist. Selling drugs and prostituting women are how the vast majority of gangs finance their continued existence, and they would not exist if those funding sources were not available. I find it interesting that the politicians that campaign on a platform of morality and the importance of law and order support drug policy that is directly responsible for the sort of things that they’re supposedly trying to prevent. Why?

    1. “I find it interesting that the politicians that campaign on a platform of morality and the importance of law and order support drug policy that is directly responsible for the sort of things that they’re supposedly trying to prevent. Why?”

      Policies evolve, and perhaps this one has been evolutionarily successful precisely because it encourages the behavior it is trying to prevent.

      The logic would go something like this:
      1) There is some immorality / criminality associated with people who use drugs (eg traffic accidents caused by drunk driving).
      2) These immoral criminals are perceived by some as a direct or indirect personal danger, so they vote for policies that strongly discourage them, and the simplest is the criminalization of drugs.
      3) Some people still want to use drugs, and in doing so support the criminal networks that now provide them.
      4) Increased profits in criminal networks leads to more criminality than before.
      5) Back to 1).

      The policy “Reduce drug-related crime by making drugs illegal” seems at first glance to be logical. It fails because some people still want to use drugs, and the vast majority of people who use drugs do not present any moral or criminal danger to themselves or anyone else. There is therefore no social gain from stopping most people using drugs. Making drugs illegal instead turns these happy, friendly, productive and law-abiding citizens into bankrollers for organized crime.

      So perhaps these policies are not the perfectly designed counterproductive cynical creations them seem, but are just oversimplified horribly damaging unfortunate historical artifacts. Perhaps…

      1. Hey, thanks for making that apparent. We are too quick to look for someone to blame, too quick to infer agency when in truth our imperfect policies are the product of an imperfect system.

        But on the other hand, Noam Chomsky makes a brilliant argument for the perspective that the War on Drugs is well wrought propaganda used to justify our foreign policies.

  10. “Criminalizing pot is very stupid and bad public policy,” is a belief of most of the police I know.

  11. Also,

    “There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

    -Martin Luther King

  12. My friend was a huge pothead, but motivated. He pursued a degree in criminal justice, funding his education by selling pot. He eventually became a police officer–no, wait… Oh yeah, he dropped out of college, moved to Hawaii, worked in a kitchen and routinely took heaps of drugs. Last thing he ever said to me was “I hope an alligator doesn’t shit on your head”. I don’t think he meant it, though. It sounded more like a threat.

Comments are closed.