/ Law /
Driving up to Sugarloaf for a Saturday’s skiing in 1968 I had three skier-students hitching along. I was pleased to believe at first that their freedom of conversation before me meant that they recognized me as a liberal, a smart guy, a teacher you could say anything around. The opinion that clamored among the majority that morning was that pot should be legalized. Yesterday when I arrived at my girl’s house she was watching a show on the legalized marketing of cannabis in Colorado.
(And my darling told me the funniest story: once in Carbondale she, an SIU faculty wife, was at a party. A roach was being passed, not that she knew what it was. It came to her, it was burned way down. Jan didn’t know what it was or what to do with it. What is this: a really ugly, ill-made cigarette? So she put it out!! People looked at her: aghast. And here’s the best part: she didn’t know why!)
I’ve told elsewhere how I ticked my riders off that morning with what I said. I said that these girls were privileged at our college: the local police generally staid away from the campus unless invited by the administration (or unless a crime was alleged by a resident). Behavior that the townsfolk regarded as sinful (men and women in the same dorm, eg) was blinked at by the police. Hands off the precious privileged! I said that if the police ever did get into the habit of raiding the campus, every resident would quickly become familiar with the inside of a jail cell. The college regarded its own position as in loco parentis: and the cops went along with the pretense: children, privileged children: stay away: mama institution might get its back up. I said that students should be aware that they’re on a raft, but should avoid the error of believing that the raft is stable. The good citizens of Waterville could arrive with lynch ropes, tar and feathers at any moment (not to mention a quorum of Salem judges) following one provocation too many.
On other occasions I quoted my office mate’s terse last word on the subject:
It’s a felony!
You want an update? Read Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. He tells what the law was until yesterday, still is the law in many a place.
My student riders answered points of law that morning with repetitions that they thought that smoking pot should be legalized! OK. Except that I’d already heard them, already knew that opinion. (As to my own opinion, I’m an anarchist: I don’t believe the humans of competent to legislated anything: it’s all a shoving match, pretending to be reasonable.) (Point is, anarchist opinions, like student opinions, are invisible in the society.)
Now: imagine one of these students toking grass in public, getting detained, and saying to the judge, “I believe that pot smoking should be legalized”.
|Now: imagine murdering your roommate, getting dragged before the judge, saying “I don’t believe that murder is wrong: I believe that Jenny needed killing, I think you should pin me with a star.”|
No. None of the students confused private opinions on killing with the practice of the state’s laws. But all of the students, those three and most others, did confuse opinion with practice on the subject of toking dope.
What the law was was confused with opinions of what the law should be.
more to tell and say but i’ll put up what I’ve got first, this Easter noon.