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At Big Thicket National Preserve, a Combative Drug Dealer Changes His Mind When Ranger Stafford Shows Him His Taser

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Model X26 Taser making an electrical arc between its two electrodes.
Taser photo via Wikipedia.

On Tuesday, September 2, Big Thicket National Preserve rangers Josh Clemons and Johnny Stafford were in a day use area conducting an assessment of possible hurricane damage (remember Hurricane Gustav?) when they came upon five men and a women doing a drug transaction. One of the men tried to resist arrest, but abruptly quit struggling with Clemmons when he got a look at the Taser that Stafford was holding.

Ranger Stafford had removed the Taser’s cartridge, which powers the two dart-like electrodes that deliver the powerful electroshock for which the Taser is famous. He only displayed the spark, which was quite enough to convince the perp that it just wasn’t his day. He quit struggling and submitted to handcuffing.

While frisking the group the rangers found a number of bags of marijuana and Vicodin pills. Charges are pending for possession, distribution, and resisting arrest.

Comments

Brandon -

Well said!

Most readers of this site have never been to the Big Thicket, and it's therefore hard for them to grasp the difficult situation rangers there often face. Many parks have similar issues with inadequate staff and backup for rangers, but they seem to be amplified at the Thicket for a lot of reasons related to the local culture and the surprisingly remote nature of much of the park.


I think the main topic of the story has only been briefly touched on. These offenders were on National park service property, property that tax payers pay for in order to hike, canoe and share time at the beach with their family and friends. Law Enforcement rangers make sure that the park remains a place where people want to bring their families. Individuals doing drugs are not part of this plan. Meth addicts that have pitched a tent on the NP beach and are consuming are not part of the plan. Groups of canoeists that break and sink thousands of bottles a year in the river are not part of the plan. They would take over these tax payer properties if it were not for LE rangers. Severely underfunded and understaffed, park rangers deal with a lot and don't always get the support they need from state and local enforcement. Someone replied they should have called headquarters for backup. Well, guess what, there is no backup, so when a drug user starts struggling with the ranger, he's lucky the ranger had a cool head and used deceit rather than force.


What an ingenious thing to do! It looks like we don't need sophisticated techniques to compete with drug dealers, they can be tricked just like little kids. If only this would be true in all cases perhaps my little brother wouldn't be now in a drug treatment center recovering from drug addiction.


I don't think legalizing marijuana will make problems go away any more than currently legal alcohol has reduced drunk driving deaths and alcoholism.

Also, there is a difference between an officer tossing some kid's joint into the creek, and letting 5 individuals with large amounts of weed and pills waltz off into the woods to live happily ever after.


Just a point of clarification here. Removing the cartridge from a Taser doesn't incapacitate it. The sole function of the cartridge -- a container of compressed nitrogen -- is to allow the Taser to fire the two electrodes through the air (about 21 feet, I'm told) so the officer doesn't need to get dangerously close to the individual being subdued. With the cartridge removed, you can still press the electrodes against an individual and get the desired effect. I asked a police chief of my acquaintance if a Taser with the cartridge removed was a potent device for subduing somebody. He replied, and this is a direct quote: "Oh, yes indeedy."


d-2,

Bob Janiskee has recently conspicuously reveled in "satire", even at the risk (in fact, "cost") of flak from the relatively clueless and overly stiff among his readership. He continues to hone his literary artistry, in this very post.

Bob describes how one Ranger made gestures;

"... to convince the perp that it just wasn’t his day."

This, d-2 et al, is an "Allusion" to the famous line "Go ahead, punk; make my day" [s]used by[/s] snarled by the Dirty Harry character played by Clint Eastwood, and this literary device is the centerpiece of Bob's post.

The very title of Bob's post contains the 'tongue in cheek' phrase, "... Shows Him His Taser". Law officers do not deal with unruly suspects by "showing" a weapon. The carrying & deployment of weapons by officers is a matter of specific protocol. One does not (professionally) pull a weapon and indicate to an opponent, 'See? I have a weapon...'. Bob further reinforces this dramatic device in the body of his post.

Indeed, Bob Janiskee did set a facetious & witty tone in his original post.

Lastly, it is categorically improper for law enforcement to expose themselves to a context that might require the use of a disabled weapon. The Ranger who deployed the taser knew the cartridge had been removed and the weapon was incapacitated. Furthermore, good officers are indeed expected to evaluate a situation and modulate their response to events in view of the facts. Calling for reinforcement or to check with Headquarters for guidance is the mark of good training.

These two Rangers managed to make the arrest, but I expect the debriefing was not all pats on the back & attaboys. Not if someone in the local unit is an actual professional.


I've never heard of a pot-head maxing out credit cards and ravaging bank accounts to support their habit. Crack, coke, junk, PCP, meth, even opiates, yes. But you can't smoke enough pot to clear out your bank account or credit line, unless you have a $500 limit. You'll go broke faster due to alcoholism that due to weed.

Cigarette black markets have existed for years, especially in the prison system and states bordering Indiana. Partisanism is also nothing new. Creation of ANOTHER federal overlord? Not at all required, it already exists. (Hint: three letters......F...D...A) Our government already controls the market price of tobacco by taxation, on the national, state, city, county and local levels. The layering of taxes on tobacco, and alcohol for that matter, is enough to make you ill. How would taxing pot be any different you ask? Absolutely not at all, which is the total intent. The profits derived from sales of such products are what are funneled to the government, and in this example, the source of funding directed to the NPS. The higher the taxes the better as far as I'm concerned. Why turn a blind eye to a ready-made source of income?

I started lobbying for this on the local, state and federal levels with representatives of my own state back in the 80's. Not surprisingly, I was almost immediately targeted for investigation on a variety of levels. Pissed them off when they didn't find anything to charge me with, although I was certain some bogus allegations would surface. Anyway, I stand not to profit from this endeavor, nor do I sanction public displays of usage. But there are laws already in place to safe-guard things "between consenting adults" and other issues that occur "on private property", or in the "confines of one's residence". I really don't see where this legalization would be detrimental to society, and if by chance some good were to be able to be harnessed from this movement, I'm all for it.


I've never heard of a pot-head maxing out credit cards and ravaging bank accounts to support their habit. Crack, coke, junk, PCP, meth, even opiates, yes. But you can't smoke enough pot to clear out your bank account or credit line, unless you have a $500 limit. You'll go broke faster due to alcoholism that due to weed.

Cigarette black markets have existed for years, especially in the prison system and states bordering Indiana. Partisanism is also nothing new. Creation of ANOTHER federal overlord? Not at all required, it already exists. (Hint: three letters......F...D...A) Our government already controls the market price of tobacco by taxation, on the national, state, city, county and local levels. The layering of taxes on tobacco, and alcohol for that matter, is enough to make you ill. How would taxing pot be any different you ask? Absolutely not at all, which is the total intent. The profits derived from sales of such products are what are funneled to the government, and in this example, the source of funding directed to the NPS. The higher the taxes the better as far as I'm concerned. Why turn a blind eye to a ready-made source of income?

I started lobbying for this on the local, state and federal levels with representatives of my own state back in the 80's. Not surprisingly, I was almost immediately targeted for investigation on a variety of levels. Pissed them off when they didn't find anything to charge me with, although I was certain some bogus allegations would surface. Anyway, I stand not to profit from this endeavor, nor do I sanction public displays of usage. But there are laws already in place to safe-guard things "between consenting adults" and other issues that occur "on private property", or in the "confines of one's residence". I really don't see where this legalization would be detrimental to society, and if by chance some good were to be able to be harnessed from this movement, I'm all for it.


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