Wednesday, May 25, 2011
THAT INFERNAL HERB!
Jack Webb. What a jerk! He seems like three middle school principles all combined into one. He seems like a Drill Instructor from Parris Island (without the hitting). He gave many a stern lecture about “pot, weed, herb, Mary Jane, joints, wacky weed, etc. The scourge of the planet. According to Jack, as well as the police officers who brought the stuff into our 6th grade health class, it is a “gateway drug”, eventually leading to LSD or heroin. Someone who smokes that stuff could eventually have “flashbacks”, or space out and jump off a cliff. Weird! I don’t know what’s weirder: the weird things pot is supposed to do, the weirdness of so many people refusing to look at facts rather than hearsay, or law enforcement establishment’s obsession with it. Oh yeah, here is another weirdy….some hippy types, are obsessed with making it legal, like it is a big crusade, akin to the civil rights movement or universal suffrage.
Let’s look at some paradigms:
#1) Pot is a scourge, and a symbol of all that is wrong with America’s moral degeneration.
#2) It’s no big deal.
Here is MY paradigm: Let’s not focus on pot, per se. LET’S FOCUS ON PRIORITIES. America is so many things. People are multifaceted. People LOVE simplistic solutions. That way, their life can be orderly, and they are not burdened by the anxiety that comes from not having a firm grasp of their world.
Instead, let us look at ALL the issues facing us in our world. Let us examine ALL the ills that plague our world. We cannot possibly list them all. The first and foremost problem is sin. All other problems stem from this. Sin manifests itself in many ways: greed, lust, dishonesty, addictions (which enslave), poverty, ignorance, a lack of love, etc.
Somewhere on this list we would eventually come to “marijuana”.
I have NEVER smoked marijuana. Honest Injun. When I was in junior high, these guys came on the bus, wearing jean jackets, and stinking. I asked the kid sitting next to me, “What’s that smell”. Answer: “marijuana”. The marijuana users I knew were not my friends. They always acted like they were “burned out”. They would say things like, “Heey Maaan…..(nothing to follow. Just a foggy, distant look”. I thought it was some kind of physiological brain damage phenomenon. Now, I realize it was an act, perhaps of self-delusion. They were playing a role. Nonetheless, they got bad grades and spent time in detention, so I did not want to smoke pot and become one of them. Besides, it was sometimes made clear to me as a child, that I was worthless and a real screw-up (authority figures). I was bound and determined to NOT let that be prophetic. Nah, I just studied and kept my nose clean. Anyway, whether I smoked it or not is rather immaterial.
As I said, two police officers came to our school with a glass case chalked full of all kinds of drugs, like pot, heroin, amphetamines, whatever. We saw what a joint and a hash pipe look like. I did not live in an urban area, and would probably have gone through my entire 1970s childhood never giving that stuff another thought, outside of the latest Starsky and Hutch episode. Now, this demonstration, for some kids, was like putting gasoline on a fire. They thought it was cool, and fantasized about maybe actually trying it. Exercise in ignorance.
There was a scene in Dragnet where a baby drowned in a bathtub, while the mom was high on pot. The thought is actually morbid. But…have you ever read in the paper about someone smoking pot, then beating their wife, or getting into a fight and killing someone? How about people with emphysema or cancer, caused by pot? Do you know someone who smokes 3 packs of joints a day? Is it possible? Yet, alcohol-related deaths are common, whether by accident or scirosis of the liver. People become violent and kill other people, or crash vehicles. Cigarettes kill people regularly, on a large scale.
On the other hand, I see no redeeming value in using non medicinal substances. I think pot is NOT a good thing. However, I want to tell you about Robert McNamara. In case you do not know, he was the president of Ford Motor Company, and later Secretary of Defense. Under his leadership, “cost-benefit analysis” became the flavor of the day. The concept is simple. It is the old techniques where someone makes two columns, plus and minus. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of each option and make a decision. McNamara is now vilified by many. He is responsible for the methodology that resulted in many Ford Pinto deaths. Bottom line: Ford decided the burden of spending an additional 11 dollars per car, to install a safety device to keep fuel tanks from exploding, exceeded the value of the human lives that could statistically be lost by the explosions. Also, he applied the infamous “body count” as a measure of success in Vietnam (a tremendous military success, nonetheless). However, the cost-benefit of Marijuana enforcement is worth looking at.
Statistics are very malleable, but every estimate I have found, indicates tens of billions of dollars spent annually in the U.S., to fight a war on marijuana.
Our border is porous. We are fighting a prolonged, HUGELY expensive war overseas. We are printing money at unfathomable rates, because we do not REALLY have it. We have urban violence, murders, hardcore drug proliferation, white collar crimes, and prison overcrowding…blah, blah, blah. We have a limited pie, a finite amount of money to spend. We need to decide HOW MUCH we want to spend, and WHAT programs we want to take the money from, because we must be realistic, money spent somewhere means it cannot be spent somewhere else.
In some states, medicinal marijuana is legal, while it is illegal under federal law. A lot of incongruities exist. There are SO many issues…juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, lack of respect for the law, moral degradation and the collapse of the nuclear family. Also, there are the issues of wisely spending finite law enforcement dollars, gaining tax revenue, regulating the quality of what is ingested, etc.
Laws against marijuana are a mid-twentieth century phenomenon. Traditionally, it has been legal, and was used as far back as the 19th century American West. We are kind of in limbo, and I don’t like limbo. I hope our society will make a decision either way, with pot, and then move on with it already! Stop the confusion and inconsistency under the law. As believers, we are to follow the law, regardless, but it would be nice to know what message our government is giving.
My paradigm: Cost-benefit analysis. What are we going do with our law enforcement dollars that will give us the most benefit? Marijuana is one of many sub-issues within that greater question.