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


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.


I, too, read about this in the Morning Report. The report lists "a number of bags of marijuana and Vicodin pills", but doesn't specify how much. My reaction upon reading the story was, "What a waste of federal time and money." The war on drugs is the older cousin of the war on terror. Wars against ideologies or addictions can't be won. Looks like there might be another "five men and a women" in our already overcrowded jails with as many as 50% of the incarcerated there for drug-related charges. What a waste of money!


I tend to agree with you that our "war on drugs" is not winnable and, therefore, the country needs to devise a different strategy. But, until that new strategy is in place, law enforcement people like the rangers involved here can't just walk away from an incident. The topic, however, is so toxic that no politician will ever be the first to propose a new approach. It will have to come from us, the voters.

Rick Smith

Police used to walk away from all kinds of penny ante stuff, maybe by giving a warning or throwing the illegal contraband into a nearby creek and telling the miscreants to beat it. That happened to me in college and the point was well taken and indeed quite powerful without the need to ruin my life and plunder my savings.

There are all kinds of ways to achieve positive results short of putting someone into the penal system for minor victimless infractions but invariably the modern cop is welded to the use of handcuffs, tasers and immediate incarceration.

The prison industry is very large and growing in our country and every drug user that is put behind bars means more government payroll jobs. Meanwhile I can buy a case of Johnny Walker Red from the government and the man behind the counter doesn't even blink as I load the dangerous poison into my trunk. They got their cut why should they care?

Beamis, I agree with the general thrust of your argument, but I take issue with two specifics. First, Johnny Walker Red is cheap and popular (the world's best selling whiskey), but you really should expand your horizons and develop your sophisticated side. Try a couple of bottles of JW Black Label (but not on the same day). Secondly, dealing in illicit drugs is not a victimless crime. That said, I believe that the war on drugs has been lost, and I share your disgust with the continuing massive waste of law enforcement resources. BTW, I have three close relatives in law enforcement, including both of my brothers.

If all drugs were legal there would be no violence associated with their purchase and use. I know that irks many people who are champions of the nanny state and want every aspect of human behavior controlled and regulated by government but the truth of the matter is that the prohibition of alcohol unleashed the greatest wave of organized criminality in U.S. history. Once it was repealed the violence and crime ended almost immediately. The same is true of so called "illicit" drugs, take away the heavy hand of prohibition and the violence and crime will subside as well.

It is not the business of the government to determine what I want to put into my body. Not now, not ever! I think Wal-Mart should sell marijuana seed packs in the spring right along with tomato, corn and asparagus. If I want to buy cocaine tablets in the pharmacy section that should be my right. If I want to take ephedra for a cold it should not concern Big Brother one iota. The drug war is a very efficient way to keep the criminal cartels in business and the law enforcement establishment fat and happy. In that way and in no other the War on Drugs has been a smashing success.

I've got the answer to all the park service's woes, but I bet you won't like it........

Legalize pot. Have the government not only subsidize the growers like they do the tobacco industry, put use the same taxation formula for pot products. The immediate impact would be measured in the BILLIONS of dollars annually. Any and all revenues generated get funneled directly to the NPS, including "user fees" collected from pot growers sponsorship of NASCAR, MLB, NFL and especially the NBA. Advertise it everywhere and the proceeds from billboard, print and internet ads also go to bail out the parks. Within 24 months, all the maintenance backlog is eliminated, and the windfall of excess funds can be utilized to purchase additional lands, hire and retain a higher quality of employee, market the product, whatever floats your boat. As an added bonus, you simultaneously put the screws to the cartels in Mexico, and somewhat the same in Columbia. It serves to free up jail space, court backlogs, and the current waste of time spend by law enforcement across the nation, saving additional countless millions of dollars and man hours, thereby making each more efficient in their daily operations.

Practical, yes. Doable? Again, yes. Chances of it actually happening in our lifetimes? ZERO.

Lone Hiker, I already made this suggestion on NPT long ago, and Beamis disagreed. At the time, I thought taxation and regulation would be a great revenue stream to help the parks. But then I realized, even in the remote chance of that passing, there would be so much parasitism around the revenue that it would not be worth it. First, a federal bureaucracy would need to be established, or maybe the ATF could become the ATFC (adding "C" for "cannabis"). Either way, more bureaucrats will need to be hired to come up with rules, regulations (can't buy it on a Sunday! No sir-e-bub, not on the "Lord's Day"!), enforcement, etc, etc, until the amount of taxes being collected from regulation increases as the bloated bureaucracy clamors for more food--er, I mean taxes--to try to satiate its leviathan appetite for growth and management.

After months of study and investigation, I see what would happen under regulation. Take tobacco. I was in a Kansas City laundry mat (don't ask) when a guy ran out of the adjacent convenience/liquor store with armfuls of cigarette cases. The market price for tobacco is probably pretty low, but the government has stepped in with taxes, pricing the lower income brackets out of the market and forcing them to crime to sustain their medical condition (addiction). How would regulating (taxing) Mary Jane be any different?

I do appreciate Rick's input and find that we have much in common. However, I side with Beamis about enforcement. Make people break their bowls, take their stashes (and smoke it later around the campfire), and tell them not to deal in the park again. That's enough punishment until freedom of choice can be restored.

I agree that it is most assuredly not a victimless crime. The substance abUSERS are not the only ones that hit rock bottom. Before that happens, families are ravaged. Abusers get high, get into debt (max out [cash advances, too] credit cards off the charts), empty bank accounts, come close to or actually lose jobs, lie, steal & whatever it takes. Then they have black outs & don't remember anything. Although rehab is a good thing, it doesn't help all habitual substance abusers. If not for the grace of God, families would be torn apart irrepairably. They come to the point of total brokenness. Only by a miracle through Jesus, the substance abuser's delivered from drugs, forgiven & redeemed:-D And the family restored!!! However, the consequences are still there. Day by day with the help of God, one doesn't simply exist but lives a full life. "The thief comes to steal, kill & destroy but Jesus came to give us a full life." John 10:10 That is reality...practical, doable & happening in our lifetime ( & eternity). Trust me, there couldn't be a better high than the abundant life;-) Sincerely,

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