Pubdate: Thu, 10 Mar 2005
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: G.D. Maxwell


I'm at a loss. Confused, saddened, outraged, impotent, and thoroughly,
utterly pissed off. The parade's movin' at warp speed and I just don't
know which bandwagon to jump onto.

In a country where so few violent murders are committed each year we
couldn't produce even a single deck of Scumbag Murderers playing
cards, four Mounties are gunned down in a single incident by a lone
town bully from Deliverance, Alberta.

In a country where the only thing more maddening, time-consuming and
bureaucratically drawn-out than getting a permit to buy a hunting
rifle is waiting in line for an MRI, a nutbar with a long history of
arrests, threatening behaviour, and weapons violations has an arsenal
on his farm in Deliverance because the police, criminal justice system
and his don't-touch-our-guns neighbours just can't figure out a way to
deal with him, despite the federal government having burned through a
billion tax dollars to institute a scandalously ineffective gun registry.

In a country that prides itself on Good Government, two generations of
political leaders -- those firmly and deeply ensconced in the trough
and those whose greatest dream is to join them -- mindlessly and
opportunistically cry out for longer, tougher penalties for grow ops
because the lone town bully from Deliverance was found to be growing
20 pot plants. Why no plaintive wail for longer, tougher jail
sentences for people who default on their truck payments?

And in a country whose national police force enjoys a long, glorious
history of always getting their man, it's beginning to seem more and
more like what started as backup to a civil seizure against a known,
dangerous, town bully and certifiable head case was being
choreographed by Mack Sennett instead of Sgt. Preston.

So many bandwagons; so little time.

I am saddened beyond my feeble ability to describe sadness at the
deaths of Constables Tony Gordon, Brock Myrol, Peter Schiemann and Leo
Johnston. If ever it can be said four RCMP constables, good and true,
died for nothing, they did. I honour their memory. But no spin, no
politically correct words of comfort, no lies or cover-up will change
the fact their deaths were both needless and purposeless. Whatever
comfort can be taken from the inevitable lessons the force and the
country can learn from their deaths will be the only value received
for their four young lives. It's a pity.

I'm saddened by the knee-jerk, opportunistic way spokesmen for the
RCMP initially chose to describe this horrible event as the result of
busting a marijuana grow op. I'm even more saddened the national press
swallowed this whopper hook, line and sinker and took more than 48
hours to begin reporting the facts about what really happened in
Deliverance last Thursday.

And I'm saddened by police and politicians who ruthlessly and
mindlessly exploit this fabrication to pound away at their enduring
myths that the very real social problems wrought by their miserably
failed war on drugs cry out for tougher penalties, more prison time,
mandatory sentences and, duh, harsher policing.

When will we grow up? When will we start acting like rational,
thinking, evolving adults?

When faced with an intractable problem, most rational, thinking people
take a close look at the genesis of the problem, the methods
previously used to solve it, the culture grown up around it and the
lessons learned from failed, past attempts to solve it. Most rational,
thinking people do not then decide the best way of solving the problem
is to mindlessly just continue pursuing the failed remedies of the

So why is it the best and brightest, the leaders of our country, the
people we've entrusted to envision a better Canada, look at the
problem of illegal drug use and decide the best way to deal with it is
trotting out the same, miserably failed strategies that have been
failing for the past seven decades?

Wake up people! The war on drugs is over -- drugs won!

Four young, stalwart policemen weren't killed in Alberta by a druggie,
dealer and cultivator. They were killed by an antisocial, paranoid,
loser, a petty thief and violent paedophile who doesn't even seem to
have used drugs.

So why is Anne McLellan, Public Safety Harpy and blindly loyal
mouthpiece for whomever occupies the Prime Minister's chair at the
moment, warning -- WARNING! -- judges to take marijuana laws seriously
and telling them they'll be held to account if jail terms aren't
imposed on people running grow ops. Whatever happened to the
presumption of an independent judiciary, an integral element in the
system of checks and balances so necessary to make democratic
governments remain democratic?

Annie wants stiffer penalties, more jail time, dark holes of
confinement built. So does Tony Cannavino, prez of the Canadian
Professional Police Association. Tony says, and I'm not making this
up, "We need (mandatory) minimum sentencing. That would have a
deterrent effect."

Wake up Tony! Take a look south of the border. Notice the deterrent
effect jail time has? Hell, the only effect it has is making prison
construction a boom industry and prison guarding the biggest new job
creator going.

How many "studies" do we need before we finally believe the data that
says, and has said since social scientists began studying the problem,
prison has no deterrent effect whatsoever? How long do we keep
following the same failed strategy?

The Liberals want to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts
of pot. But within the very same bill, they want to increase penalties
for cultivation. Yes, these are the same Einsteins who decided to
allow medicinal use of marijuana provided the approved sick got their
pot from government sources  then couldn't figure out how to grow
the stuff.

Hell, they might as well rename that bill the Grow-Op Operators
Guaranteed Retirement Law. By decriminalizing possession and cracking
down harder on cultivation, all they've accomplished is ensuring
organized crime will continue to find the profits from growing pot so
attractive they'll never give the business up. Remember

And don't look to the future for hope. The Young Liberals, at the
party's convention last weekend, adopted motions to legalize
prostitution and pot. But passed a motion to toughen penalties for
growing pot. We have seen the future and it is just as dumb as the

In the ultimate irony, it was Conservative MP Bradley Trost who
pointed out to the Libs that decriminalizing possession and cracking
down on cultivation is only going to make profits higher and risks
more worth the running. A Conservative!

So in 2005 this is the state of affairs. The long ignored Senate
report calling for the legalization of pot is long forgotten. We're
going to decriminalize possession, further daemonize cultivation,
ensure organized crime stays in cultivation and reaps windfall
profits, ignore the tax revenue we might tap by legalizing what
amounts to a $7 billion a year industry in B.C. alone, spend
bazillions trying to police the impossible, up the odds of
increasingly violent clashes between real growers and cops, keep our
heads buried in the sand, hope for a miracle, re-elect gormless
politicians with no brains, no balls and no vision and put off the
inevitable for a few more generations.

Where's my lighter?
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MAP posted-by: Derek