Some Basic Truths About Drugs: Part Deux; The Sequel
A write-up by Contributing Writer J. Ellis Millsaps
Special to the Chronicles
This part was in my original conception intended to be a separate piece. Then I decided to do a segue, then a continuation. Whatever. Here's the rest:
I was sitting outside the coffee shop in Porterdale, a place where the baristas wear guns, and a cop car pulled up and for the first time (I'm so dense sometimes) it dawned on me that their windows are tinted much darker than us regular peons are allowed to have. So I asked him about it.
He was very nice.
He said, "yes, they are," and there's probably a real good reason for that, I said. Something about how the Citizenry wouldn't know which ones of us the govt. agents were observing; I was just making conversation.
He said he didn't think so. At the last place he worked, the Chief apparently didn't want that. He wanted his government employees to be totally engaged with the People (Ed.note: who's that guy? Let's get him involved here close to home!). And so, that started me thinking...
~ We Have Perverted the Role of Law Enforcement ~
If you're as old as me (63), you likely grew up thinking the police were your friends - and back in Fannin Co. that would have included both the two deputies (Barney & Gomer).
That changed by the time I rocked college in 1969. The fact that weed was illegal made it more glamorous. W were outlaws that were sticking it to an establishment that was sending many of us to die in the jungles of what is now almost universally conceded as a pointless war.
For the next generation this fear of the police started in our middle schools and high schools, but back in the early and mid-sixties, the policeman was truly Officer Friendly. They rode in powerful and superior vehicles of course, but they didn't look like humvees and your could actually see them in there and you could wave to them.
Now, even though I know many cops, I have no idea who is behind the wheel.
Things didn't really get bad until the government allowed police departments to keep the money and cars they seized (I've written a novel, "Good Cop, Bad Cop," which somewhat addresses this; a few chapters of which will be appearing in this space soon).
It was then that the true para-militarization of the police kicked into high gear. The black windows, and the assault vehicles came. Special operations units were funded to spy on and harass citizens. Informants and many others were gotten on the payroll.
Before this started, the State Troopers patrolled the interstate highways alone and local police were happy not to have the responsibility, but once the seizure of private property was allowed, every jurisdiction with a police force and an interstate running through them - no matter how small - was out there looking for loot and revenue from procedural stops.
In fact, the city of Social Circle, GA a few years back incorporated a few hundred yards of I-20 so it could get its piece of the People's pie.
And so it continues, Officer Friendly is now your unfriendly Revenuer.
Ellis is an attorney by trade but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...