Saturday, May 01, 2010

Today's Distraction

Olympia Soap Box Derby. Right under my balcony.


Maybe Her Tunic Was Torn in the Struggle

Virginia, my home state before Arizona and Washington, has always had its share of hateful wingnuttery so this is no surprise. On the other hand it's more silly than serious. Not on a same par with Arizona these days but certainly indicative of a narrow mind.

FYI, here's what the Virginia state seal has always looked like to me. Definitely more interesting than Washington's and not as insanely busy or nakedly mercantile as Arizona's . Arizona does have the best flag of the three, though.

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What's Your Profile?

In all the hoo-ha about the Arizona immigration status inquiry law, I was heartened to see that some Arizonans are preparing an initiative to repeal the law. That action and the Phoenix and Tucson police officers who filed lawsuits remind me that many sane people reside in Arizona. Hell, I know many personally. Of course, nothing guarantees that that a majority of Arizonans are sane enough to repeal a truly noxious law. After all, Arizona is a state that voted down a Martin Luther King Day before a national boycott forced a change of mind, if not heart, in 1992. (Disclosure: I voted in favor of the holiday each time. So did most everyone I know but we were the minority voice until Arizona business began hurting. Money talks.)

Yesterday'spolice shooting between Phoenix and Tucson won't help matters. Arizonans certainly have a right to be angry that their state has become a war zone. But that's a Drug War problem, not an immigration problem. The drug cartels use violence to protect routes to their market. Immigration, even illegal immigration, is not inherently violent. Drug smuggling is violent, especially given the high profits to be made. The drug trade always needs willing carriers and will no doubt find some among the many willing to enter the US illegally. But illegal immigration is an aspect of the violence, not the prime cause.

America could reduce the violence and close one route for illegal entry by legalizing marijuana. A half decade of research and experience has shown it to be far less of a health and social threat than alcohol and tobacco. Like those other wars we are fighting, the Drug War actually make things worse. Ending a failed drug war would do far more to limit the violence than hunting down economic refugees. Our border policy would certainly benefit from a rational drug policy.

Back in Pinal County, Arizona, "A massive hunt of 100 square miles that included helicopters with night-vision equipment and more than 200 officers, including SWAT teams, from 13 agencies was still pursuing the shooters late Friday" Meanwhile, Pinal County Lt. Tami Villar describes the shooters as Hispanic men who "appear to be undocumented.". The wounded deputy no doubt described his assailants as such. But how does "one appear to be undocumented"? These guys are still on the run. The statement would be more accurate as "we suspect/have reason to believe they are undocumented." A police officer making judgment based on appearance rather than evidence bothers me. Especially in Arizona.

Especially, too, when I see in the Pinal County incident command center, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, vowing to fight illegal drugs and people. Sheriff Joke is never a sane addition to any public policy issue but always there nonetheless.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Procession

Photos from The Olympian.