Pubdate: Sun, 15 Mar 2009
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Mark Tonner


I doubt local lawyer Sheldon Goldberg started the week intending to
lighten my mood. Hearing the case against alleged gangster Gordon
Taylor labeled "Copaganda" kept me smiling.

Nonsensical labels are fun. If my favourite, "Copophobe," ever made it
to the dictionary, it would benefit from a picture of Mr. Goldberg.
The man has actually claimed to be too frightened of armed officers to
ask questions of them in court.

I'll just assume no one is too afraid of an officer with a keyboard to
keep reading, so let's do drugs next. I'm convinced pot proponents
will hang their hats on anything. Gang violence could be resolved
overnight, they insist, if the herb was legalized.

I can't say I care much, but there are some awkward realities. Pot
won't be legalized in the U.S.A., so it will continue to be of great
value to smugglers.

Commercial transport of legitimate B.C. Bud would be hazardous beyond
belief. Gangsters not hijacking tractor-trailers would stay just as
busy growing dope in secret. It's unlikely private cultivation would
be legalized in the same stroke, considering how closely governments
guard tax revenue.

So, yeah. They'd raid each other's grows and keep shooting. Liquor
stores would need military-grade protection, if that's where the dope
was kept. Guards with reflective vests and cellphones might as well
stay home.

I'm not too rectangular to hear both sides. If there was revenue loss
for gangsters in the pro-pot equation, I might applaud.

The point isn't worth contesting. Gangsters are killing each other for
the right to market cocaine, heroin, meth and more. Even if weed could
be taken from the menu, they'd continue. They're bad people who enjoy
being bad.

These days, agonizing over right and wrong is seen as pointless, even
obstructive. Law students are encouraged to disconnect from moral
wrangling, to offer clients a vigorous defence, regardless of their
crimes. Judges were all practising lawyers, with decades spent in a
world of disconnect.

In academia, it's said police spend too much time in the fight; that
we disconnect intellectually and philosophically. We lose sight of the
need for gentle prompting and development among the criminal populace.

It feels like clarity from this end. I'd like nothing more than to be
a judge, after retiring from the blue. The only way that could happen
is by election, of course, but I'd be worth voting for.

Not everyone would get life-without-hope in my room. Even so, I can
guarantee you that killer bodyguard Shane Richard, who was given life
for a gang-related murder this week, would not be up for parole in 16
years. I'd probably go with never.

Most of the gangsters I meet have records black enough they should
already be behind bars. There's your solution, whether or not you'd
vote this boy into the judiciary.

Crying for legalization of marijuana is about as helpful as raising
chickens on your patio.

Sgt. Mark Tonner is a VPD officer. His opinions aren't necessarily
those of the city's police department or board.
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