Tag Archives: law enforcement

Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

We’ve all been driving and had to take a double look at a car to make sure it’s not a cop car. When I see a sketchy-looking black Dodge Charger parked somewhere, I often tap my breaks and scan the car for signs that it may be a police car. Although these under-cover police cars are a useful tool to catch speeders and stalk dangerous criminals, they can cause confusion to the public.

Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex
Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex

In my perfect world, I would like to see police cars be marked very clearly. Although this may partly be because I would love to see a police car in case I’m feeling the need for speed, the primary reason is I believe that police are supposed to be protectors. Brightly colored police vehicles would make it much easier for civilians to locate police officers if they’re in need. Under-cover cop cars are sending the wrong message to the public and may be part of why police officers have gotten such a bad reputation.

Recently, there has been little trust put into police officers. With the situation in Ferguson, many are arguing that this country has become a police state. I’ve seen police officers behaving inappropriately myself, but it’s not uncommon to hear about an officer of the law abusing his or her power. Many argue that police should go back to the “serve and protect” days of the past.

It may be easy to point fingers at an officer who abuses their power, but we must look at the bigger picture. Police are required to give out a certain number of tickets and are rewarded for the more perpetrators they ticket or catch. In order to climb the ladder, many police may abuse their power and give unnecessary tickets, obviously causing a lot of distress to the person on the receiving end.

Back in the day if someone was drunk stumbling home, they’d typically be able to get a ride with an officer. I realize that cops aren’t supposed to be babysitters for the publicly drunk, but if they’re just drunk and not causing any harm to anyone, there’s no reason they should be punished. I believe the shame of waking up in the drunk tank would be punishment enough.

Overall I think cops have been steadily getting a worse reputation. Many police officers sincerely enjoy their job and helping others, but for some it’s just a source of income and they only do what’s required of them. I’ve witnessed many police officers doing good, but I’ve also heard some horror stories of officers abusing their power just to meet their quota. We should be able to trust police and not be terrified of them. Their job is to serve and protect the public, not give them a police record for minor infractions.

Marijuana and the media

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen several articles appearing on my Facebook news feed from my home town and its surrounding areas about marijuana growers being caught. But living near West Virginia, there are a lot of bigger issues than pot. Meth and prescription drugs are very often the reason crimes are committed.

As many of us young adults can agree, marijuana is pretty much harmless. Meth on the other hand, not so much. I can recall several stories where a meth user completely demolished their life while high. One story in particular, a mother in Texas got so high on meth she put her baby in a clothes washer. The worst thing a pot smoker has ever done is clean out his entire pantry in one sitting.

The comment sections on these articles prove that locals also believe these growers are completely harmless. Many comments are filled with sarcasm, with people “thanking” officers for taking these “dangerous” criminals off the streets.

“As many of us young adults can agree, marijuana is pretty much harmless. Meth on the other hand, not so much…The worst thing a pot smoker has ever done is clean out his entire pantry in one sitting.”

The worst part of these articles are the photos that come with them. One photo shows an officer knelt down next to several very small marijuana plants, smiling proudly. Although by his precincts standards this may have been a very big bust, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve forgotten our area’s history. Several years ago, Richlands, Virginia (about 45 minutes from my home town) was the Oxycontin capital of the world. Although the situation isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, there are still a lot of other drugs that are being overlooked.

Not only do the officers look silly in this situation, but the reporters are making me question my choice of major. One reported stated that officers had found $15 million worth of marijuana. The officers were praised for collecting some plants up to 15 feet in height. As anyone who has done very basic research on marijuana would know, any marijuana plant that is growing that tall is going to be a male sativa plant. Male plants are useful for fertilizing the females, but that’s it. They have little street value because they’re hemp. They’re used to make rope and comfy fabric.

Also, how did these officers calculate the worth of these plants?  I noticed there is another number–$4 million in street value. So where did the first number come from? Media personnel need to take the time to do the extra research and inform the public of the technicalities before reporting these things.

I may be beating a dead horse here, but I will go ahead and say this: it’s time we legalize marijuana. With so many hardcore drugs out there that are actually taking lives, why are we wasting so much time and money on drug that is virtually non-addictive and as far as research can tell, causes little to no bodily harm? I’m much more worried about drugs like ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and even alcohol which is more addictive and harmful. Alcohol inhibits decision making and even impulse control, while THC simply blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter so that dopamine is released into the brain.

Although marijuana can affect decision making and awareness, how often do we hear about people getting in severe enough accidents  to kill someone while stoned? Now compare that to the amount of drunk driving accidents that take lives every day. It’s time we use our common sense. If alcohol is legal, why isn’t marijuana?


Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

I will be plain: I don’t like Quadfest. People come from all over Virginia to party in our little college town for a weekend and then leave. In their wake, they leave behind broken windows, damaged property, burned dumpsters and a soiled reputation. Those who are willing (or gullible) enough to open their houses to social activities find their homes quickly flooded by people they don’t know and soon after they are answering a knock on the door from the cops.

I’m not against partying and having a good time, but what irks me about Quadfest is that the point isn’t inter-collegiate interaction or camaraderie, but a school versus school drinking match. Inevitably this leads to masses of out-of-town kids wandering our streets drunk out of their minds. The police write hundreds of tickets, a lot of people spend the night in the drunk tank and the pictures of the aftermath make Radford University look horrible. Continue reading Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

Kill your kids or die trying

Smoking tobacco has always been something I’ve felt very strongly about. It’s one of those topics that gets me really fired up and makes me want to have a debate. Why tobacco is even legal in the first place is beyond me, so when I heard that Virginia was trying to pass a law that would make it illegal for anyone to smoke in the car when someone under the age of 15 is with them I was ecstatic. “About damn time” was the first thing I thought, followed quickly by, “Why the hell didn’t they think of that sooner?” Continue reading Kill your kids or die trying

If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager

Getting pulled over isn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination. No one enjoys getting a ticket, and no one wants to deal with the excruciating process of going to court. While I agree, being an experienced speeder and ticket-receiver, that getting pulled over and receiving a ticket can put quite the damper on a day, the mindset that most people have today about the police is immature at best. Continue reading If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager