Monday, March 07, 2005

It's the Guns stupid.... and the criminal background too.

Colby Cosh has been nearly unflappable over at the Shotgun (a.k.a the echo chamber) and at his own site,, following the fall-out that has attended the killing of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. An incredible conflation of the facts has been committed by Socon's (social conservatives) jumping, self-righteously, on the word marijuana as though it were alone the causa effectiva. Socon’s have neglected the fact that Mr. Roszko was "running a chop-shop for stolen cars", and handling something to the order of 20 grams of marijuana—hardly the type of weight worthy of being called a grow-op.

Even more, reactionaries from both ends of the political spectrum are eliding the body of evidence that is Mr. Roszko criminal record, which is indicative of his deviant pathology rather than reflective of the putative lax criminal penalties for operators of "grow-ops"—as if this incident were actually that one-dimensional.

Interestingly enough, Cosh is indefatigably burnishing his libertarian cred while dispensing forth on the merits of not only decriminalizing marijuana but legalizing and controlling the distribution of it—as it would deracinate the criminal-cartels from the process and prove fiscally salubrious for revenue strapped governments. Cosh draws the usual historical parallels between the flourishing of criminal syndicates during prohibition to the current state of our drug enforcement policy—the War on drugs, and whatnot—which is apt and instructive in light of the Mayerthorpe tragedy: criminal actors had an incredible economic incentive to bootleg alcohol since its criminalization both created a black market and inflated its price.

No doubt more ink will be spilled on the advantages and disadvantages of a more intelligent and contextually practicable drug (marijuana) policy. But the real issue, I think, that may avoid sober analysis is whether the four RCMP officers were prepared for what was to befall them that night? And, in a similar vain, whether people with the unsavory criminal background of a Mr. Roszko should register their weapons to a, let’s say, national gun registry —let alone own them.

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