|Can this stop crook bullets?|
There were three victims in the marijuana section of the War On Drugs.
One was the smoker, who has been persecuted, jailed, obliged to become immersed in the black market and sometimes killed.
Victim #2 was the taxpayer. They were pouring money into a war on a substance that wasn't doing that much harm (the prohibition of marijuana did more harm than the drug itself did), eventually realizing that they never got the marauding hordes of killers or mindless zombies that the War On Drugs propaganda promised.
Victim #3? The police! They wasted a lot of time, effort and blood chasing marijuana around. They got to lock horns with the recipients of that soon-to-be-taxed drug money, and they kind of got walloped in the long-term fracas.They now have to totally revamp their Marijuana M.O. to fit the new reality imposed upon them by the will of the voters.
Victim 1 gets his payback with legal weed. There you go, Stoney, don't drop that ball.
Victim(s) 2 get their payback when marijuana gets taxed, and the money starts flowing into the coffers. This is sort of leading in to Victim 3.
I am led to believe that the cops will get some funding from marijuana sales taxes... whenever our pols stop trying to subvert the stated will of the voters and open up the marijuana shops. That money will be fed into the bureaucracy, and little will go to the cop-on-the-street. I think those street cops are owed more, and that they should get more.
I have an odd belief about policing as a task, and I'm not even sure that it is practical. Make no mistake, this is more of a Me Floating An Idea Out There article than a This Is What Must Be Done article. A few insightful comments from some of our more Blue readers might sway me mightily on this topic. Just a short bit of research on this topic shows me that cops rightfully view a non-cop going "This is what cops should do" as a special sort of fool. I just think that the idea merits mention, and I'd hate to have this forum without beating one of my favorite drums.
Anyhow, here goes...
I think that,in 100 years and maybe much less, people will look back at today's policing and say "They sent them out there in cotton shirts???? Where's the armor? Who the f*** would take that job???" It'd be like playing NFL football without a helmet, with the added variable of people shooting guns at you.
Right about when they start saying "What brave people they must have been," someone slides a cop-casualty list from our era into the mix. Then, instead of getting amazed at the cop, a thinking man would probably start to get angry at the people who sent them out into the streets in a blouse.
I was an advocate for marijuana reform laws in this state, and based that advocacy on Getting Modern. In the interest of being Post-Modern, I am an advocate for heavily armoring police. I have trouble seeing the other side of the issue, aside from very valid "It's harder to chase people in plate mail" arguments.
I don't put a lot of stock in They'll Be Too Intimidating complaints. I got popped in Hyannis just the other day, and the cop who did it- a very nice guy, by the way- was wearing a gun, a nightstick/tonfa thingy, a can of pepper spray, prob'bly had a Tazer handy, had a shotgun in the car, had a radio that he could summon a gang o' cops with and a uniform that would establish him instantly as the good guy to any passerby who might decide to intervene if we started fighting.
I'm always polite when I get pulled over, so it never came to that. If we did fight, he's a battle-tested cop and I'm some geek journalist... and if he didn't kick my ass himself, his fellow officers would eventually have gotten the better of me.
The point I'm making here is that we're already very used to having police interacting with us who are capable of inflicting great harm upon us. Armoring cops would make them no more dangerous. The outcome of my Me Interacting With The Barnstable Police story is going to have the same Winner almost every time, and the only question is how difficult I make it.
That sword cuts both ways. If I waited until he was out of the car and came out shooting... that cop would have had nothing between him and the Great Answer except his jersey, his quick-draw skills and whatever good luck he'd accumulated during his tenure on this third stone from the sun.
As near as I can tell, the present scenario paints a bleak picture of "Well, that cop will die, but we'll catch the shooter eventually." Military historians call that strategy "attrition," and it is almost always bloody when it is put into practice.
I think that's wrong, that it's a problem, and that we should solve it immediately.
Yes, cynical reader, there is a self-centered element of "Efforts to re-criminalize marijuana will take away armor funding, thus putting bullets into cops, thus making re-criminalizing it more difficult with voters" to my motivation for this article. There is also an element of "towns that refuse to have marijuana shops will have cops who are far less safer than the cops in towns with shops are." I don't feel badly about this, as I like to have my ass covered... like Napoleon once said, "Kneel before Popes, as long as their hands are tied."
The questions I have involve:
1) Can They Police Effectively When Heavily Armored?
2) How To Pay For It?
I don't know the answer to the first one, although I may rephrase it as How Heavily Armored Can They Be Without Sacrificing Effectiveness, and might even sneak "Much" in front of "Effectiveness." That's a question to be solved by cops, and I'd be wasting your time and mine if I started hacking away at it with whatever knowledge I could glean off of the Wikipedia. Feel free to use our Comments feature to weigh in on the matter.
If armored cops are too intimidating to operate effectively, make the armor pink or whatever color the shrinks say is least threatening. I wouldn't worry about a loss of respect. The line to laugh at the badass, invulnerable pink guy with all the weaponry starts at the left.... and, by Golly, it looks like you're the first guy in it!
I think that an invulnerable cop would be a friendlier cop. Imagine how much calmer Ferguson, MO would have been if Michael Brown punched a cop, broke his hand on the armor, and- instead of shooting him- the cop just laughed and said "Nice try, son.... now, weren't you 'bout to go back and pay the little Korean store owner guy for those blunt wraps?"
I have an idea for the second question. Why not use the sales tax money from the legalization of marijuana to drape cops in armor?
Sure, there will be a lot of hands reaching out for that money. Some will have good reasons of their own. Hospitals, while not exactly swarmed with weed OD cases, still had to sew up many people who got shot out in the prohibition-birthed black market. Schools had disinterested. distracted stoners long before Jeff Spicoli made an archetype out of it. Community groups might argue that a new teen center would help keep kids off the drugs.
They can all get in line. I think that we should armor cops with that money before anyone else gets a nickel of it. They earned their drug-funded armor just as much as the formerly persecuted stoner earned his legal weed.
It's funny, because I was on the other side of the drug war from the cops for most of my life. Now, with the battle won, I feel nothing but magnanimity. Much like General Grant, I have no desire to break their sword over my knee. Much like General Chamberlain, I view armoring cops with marijuana money as "honor meeting honor."
I can think of no better ending to the Marijuana part of the drug war than this scenario:
I'm walking down Main Street. My weed falls out of my pocket, and I fail to notice it. An invulnerable policeman sees it, and goes "Hey, Buddha.... you dropped your marijuana." I pick it up, pocket it, and say "Thank you, officer." The cop smiles (I don't see the smile, because he has a helmet on that could stop a carbine shot, but I sense it), pats his impregnable body armor, and just says "No... thank YOU."