Raising kids never was and never will be easy. Some concerns have been around since the dawn of time and our modern society in the digital age has ushered in a whole new set of worries. Yet there remains one universal truth, kids are gonna do dumb stuff. The last thing that parents should have to worry about on top of everything else is protecting their children from the very institution whose purpose it is to ‘protect and serve’. Yet this is what it has come to.
Recently a teenage kid I have known and loved since the day he was born was pulled over. Not for a traffic violation, not for suspicion of being under the influence, but because he had a magnet on his car. That’s right – a magnet that measured a whopping 3×4 inches.
This magnet was an upside down American flag, a symbol for a country in distress, with an anarchist ‘A’ drawn on it. So desecration of the flag was enough for the officer to pull him over. He found it worthy to note in his report that the passenger had his hat on backwards, like that has any bearing on any thing. And apparently the passenger leaning over because he dropped his cell phone was enough to make the officer ‘nervous’ enough that he had to call in a two car backup and gave him probable cause to search the vehicle.
During the search the officer found some paraphernalia and a couple of roaches. So the kid was arrested for possession of marijuana, not the desecration of the flag which was the reported reason for pulling him over in the first place. This selective pulling over for an expression of free speech is a topic all on its own. Seems to be a blatant violation of his civil rights and should have never happened in the first place, but the core issue here is the arrest. Who exactly is the victim here? He hurt no one, including him self.
We’ve been assured that any decent attorney will be able to make this go away which begs the question why is it happening in the first place. What good is there in terrorizing a teenager over something as benign as a marijuana offence? What good is it to waste tax payer dollars and the courts time for a charge that will likely go nowhere. And, god forbid, they do follow through with the charge, how is it helping society to saddle a young man with a burden that will negatively impact his life for the rest of his life?
Over the last few days I’ve watched my best friend go from despair to rage and back again multiple times. Who can blame her. Who wants to have to take their child in to get fingerprinted, apply for and hope to get a decent public attorney that will make this a bad memory, lose time from work and deal with all the turmoil and stigma an arrest brings with it? For what?
This debate has been raging for a very long time. Right here in PA 40 years ago there was legislation to end this madness but there was no ground swelling of public support to push it through. 40 years ago there were multiple federal commissions recommending an end to the madness and endless pushing of otherwise innocent people though the criminal justice system. All of which were ignored. And the government and law enforcement continue to scratch their heads and wonder why they have lost all public respect. How many decades must people suffer injustice before common sense prevails?
I’ve been involved in reform for a few years now. It was just over two years ago when I gave my first speech. Part of which described my resentment at being labeled a criminal and how as a parent myself have decided to teach my children the truth about marijuana.
I’ve watched in awe over the past year and a half how PA’s Mama Bears have pushed medical marijuana legislation further than anyone believed possible in this backwards state of ours. But the truth is, you don’t have to be a parent of a sick child to be a Mama Bear. All mothers have the instinct to protect their child come hell or high water. It truly is a sad state of affairs when its law enforcement that we need to protect our children from. We indeed are a nation in distress. Its time for ALL Mama Bears (and Papa Bears and everyday people with a heart) to come together and help end the insanity. Don’t wait until its your child or loved one. It is already too late once it hits so close to home.
My best friend told me just today she never really got it before, never really understood why I’m so passionate about changing these archaic laws. After all, I don’t have a sick child in need of medical cannabis. I have never personally been arrested.
Well, unfortunately, now she gets it.
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