Archive for January 23rd, 2010
If your quest were to convince the people of your city to legalize a highly demonized drug which was entirely safe, how would you run your campaign? At the recently concluded True Spin Conference in Denver, I had the opportunity to listen to an animated yet highly focused Mason Tvert describing for the audience how he and his small and not-well-funded organization (“SAFER”) convinced the people of Denver to legalize marijuana in 2005, with 51% of the people voting in favor. He also spearheaded a 2006 campaign to legalize marijuana throughout Colorado. Although that latter measure failed, an astounding 41% of the people of Colorado voted in favor.
In case you’re thinking that I’m promoting the use of marijuana, I am not, but neither would I attempt to prohibit any other adult from using it. I’ve never used marijuana (even though I once worked as a musician and the opportunities were ubiquitous. Millions of gainfully employed and otherwise law abiding people do like to use marijuana, but they are paying dearly for their attempts to feel good and seek stress relief. I am for the legalization of marijuana because that our country arrests more than 750,000 people each year for possessing or using an extremely safe drug that successfully makes people feel good. This destructive and expensive waste of government law enforcement is absolutely shameful. The number of people arrested each year is more than the entire population of South Dakota. and these users include many people you know and respect.
There is rank hypocrisy in the air, given that marijuana inexpensively offers the harmless escape that most of us seek much of the time (in one way or another), without any serious side effects and without the expense of many other methods of escape. If there were no such thing as marijuana, when it was finally invented by a pharmaceutical company, we would hail it as a miracle drug (Big Pharma wouldn’t need to lie about its efficacy or safety, as it does for many other drugs). Governments would allow it to be sold at drugs stores and they would happily tax it.
I was mulling around the Lincoln Park Zoo today with a friend when a man stepped on me. He was filming a Siberian tiger with a high-end digital video camera, which he held on an expensive mounting. He was fidgeting with all of the camera’s features, backing up to get the perfect shot, and he stepped all over my feet. The foot-stomping didn’t bother me so much as the man’s intent focus on something other than his present surroundings. A beautiful creature stood before him, but his attention was directed at the camera and the filming of the tiger more than it was the tiger itself.
Not much later, something similar occurred in the Tropical Birds House. As I was watching the bleeding-heart pigeons, a man, family in tow, came around the corner with a massive video camera. He also had it placed on an expensive mount. Obliviously, he nudged forward until his lens nearly leaned on the display’s glass. He fiddled and fidgeted. He zoomed on the critters for a moment, and left.
“Do you think he’ll ever watch that footage?” my friend asked.
“No,” I guessed. Without much thought I noted, “It isn’t about the footage. He probably just bought that camera, and is filming because he wants to play with it.”
“So the actual footage is useless,” he observed in return.
I intuited that the man’s camera was a new purchase because I’ve done the exact same thing with a fresh ‘toy’.