Friday Question of the Day

Not the most original question but I thought for sure we need to discuss it. A couple of days ago the Examiner reported that: “D.C. police will seal off entire neighborhoods, set up checkpoints and kick out strangers under a new program that D.C. officials hope will help them rescue the city from its out-of-control violence.” So everyone and their sister has been talking about this but I’m still interested in the Green Line perspective. For we have faced our share of crime and have often cried out, understandably, for solutions. Today we learned from the Post that “When D.C. police begin stopping cars at a “checkpoint” this weekend in the Trinidad neighborhood, they will record all license plate numbers, verify residents’ addresses and ask others for phone numbers of those they are visiting, according to a directive issued by Chief Cathy L. Lanier.” So the question is very simple: Is this insane? Or do the police need to do whatever they need to do to curtail violence? As my good friend Pearlman always says – I’m not sure this passes the sniff test… But do radical times not call for radical solutions? If there were 5 shootings over the weekend on Kenyon Street would you not want a “checkpoint”? Anyway, insane or not? If like I suspect many people do think this is insane what is an alternative for MPD?

64 Comment

  • It’s insane. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. For Pete’s sake, the Post article said that the police would TURN AWAY anyone who did not have a “legitimate reason” to be in the neighborhood. Do you really want to live in a country where the police officially decide who can be in what neighborhood?

    Cops love checkpoints. They’re safe, easy, and comfortable (not to mention a good opportunity for overtime pay).

    Cops hate foot patrol. It’s less safe for them. It’s sweaty, physical work. Tough. The cops need to get their overweight butts out of the cruisers and walk the streets, especially the trouble spots. Take those dozen cops who’d be socializing at a checkpoint, and fan them out around Trinidad, and tell me THAT wouldn’t take a real bite out of crime.

  • Yes, it’s insane. Citizens from every neighborhood in the District need to take to the streets of Trinidad over this, and remind Chief Lanier exactly who owns these streets.

  • Let’s see: We had a couple of walk-by shooting at the end of last year. (In escape alley 13th/14th/harvard/columbia) I am certain that stopping people in cars, but not pedestrians, will be a great security theater to stop walk-by shootings.

  • I suppose it might have some effect on the drug trade, if they are trying to target people driving in from the suburbs to buy drugs (like they totally do in Petworth).

    I agree with Expat that foot patrols would be a good thing, although I don’t see how the checkpoints can be called unconstitutional.

    I’ll bet if they pulled over everyone who ran a red light or rolled through a stop sign, they’d find a whole lot of unsavory stuff, though.

  • Lets face some facts.

    D.C. is one of the most violent cities in one of the top most violent countries in the world.
    As far as freedoms in this country, people have been steadily giving up their rights for irrational fears so why does it come as a surprise that something like this is used to combat a legitimate threat.

    Lets take a look at some numbers.
    Terrorism has been a big thing for people. We spend billions (if not trillions) of dollars on a war on terror, give up privacy, allow ourselves to be humiliated, walking barefoot through airports carrying miniturized packages of shampoo and toothpaste etc…

    Since the 1960’s, the average death toll per year WORLDWIDE is less than 1000 fatalities. Now by no means am I trying to lessen the severity of human life lost but think about that one. You know what else kills about 1000 people per year? Lightning. Statistically, you have about as much chance getting struck by lightning as you have getting killed by a terrrorist attack.

    Now compare that to just this one little city. How many homicides are there in D.C. per year? 200? 300? Thats just one city of about 600,000 people.

    Looking at it this way, I don’t see why people would blindly swallow the erosion of their civil rights in the name of protection from terror but when it comes to a problem that is a real threat everyone gets up in arms about a new approach.

  • Generally I have no problems with it – as long as it does not impede on civil liberties and as long as due process is maintained. As far as impact, I am skeptical. Maybe it will force some behavioral changes that will cause some of these thugs to make a mistake, but I don’t think these guys are dumb enough to drive through a check point and get caught.

  • I would like to hear what the residents of the Trinidad neighborhood say, the grandmothers raising kids, the law-abiding, job-holding citizens who go to work every day, whose own children can’t play outside for fear that they’ll got shot by some drug dealing low life.

  • I think its great…I am not familiar with the trinidad neighborhood, but i think about my block and all the cars that roll through, music blaring, stopping in the middle of the street to holla at the guys hanging on the corner, not giving a f*ck about the people who actually live in the houses there… PLEASR stop those jerks, arrest if they deserve it (drugs, weapons, whatever) or shoo them along to their own hoods if they dont… i hate that people are complaining about civil liberties being taken away by the cops doing this sort of thing.. you know what takes away my liberties? the fear that i feel when im outside in MY yard or on MY porch, and i catch a wiff of marijuana smoke on the 10 dudes thatre strolling my way, cursing, being jerks, looking at me like theyd rather kick my ass then say hello…i think the cops should stop cars, pedestrians, squirrels, blowing leaves, anything that moves and might not belong (or have no good reason to be) in the neighborhood theyre loittering in…

  • As others have noted, most of the criminals in Columbia Heights & Petworth seem to walk to work. This is also true in other areas, like the nameless neighborhood east of Capitol Hill.

    Sin nombre, if you would like to hear from the residents of Trinidad, go there! Just be sure to stop at the check point, show your driver’s license to the armed government employees, let them record your license plates, tell them your reasons for entering the neighborhood, and get their permission to proceed. If the police don’t let you proceed, you can take that as a sign that the residents of Trinidad don’t want you there asking questions or meddling

    Seriously, it’s difficult to see this as other than a punishment for the whole neighborhood.

  • After the recent shooting on Randolph at 10th St. the police set up a check point the next evening. Not sure if it did any good, but I didn’t mind it. The City can try any tactic they would like, It is never going to change. I am moving out of this city. I have given it the old college try, but I can’t take the violence anymore. Sorry to give up on everyone, but really, there will always be crime and violence in DC. I have lived here for 15 years and have been listening to the same old tune from police chiefs, council members, mayors and church leaders. Nothing changes

  • It is and isn’t constitutional… I believe this falls under the case MICHIGAN v. SITZ which legitimized Sobriety Checkpoints. The state supreme court found that roadblocks/checkpoints were an unconstitutional seizure of our 4th amendment rights. However, the US Supreme Court reversed the lower courts ruling in a 6-3 decision. The court found that while these police actions constituted a slight seizure the means of unprovoked stops met the ends of preventing violent crime. Where our situation gets hairy is that the police aren’t just looking for drunk drivers, they are also looking for ‘suspicious behaviour’ & ‘legitimate purposes’ which reeks of racial profiling.

    – Police will search cars if they suspect the presence of guns or drugs, and will arrest people who do not cooperate, under a charge of failure to obey a police officer, officials said

    – The plan, announced by Lanier and Fenty at a news conference in March, called for police to go door-to-door in crime-ridden areas and ask residents whether they could go inside and search for guns.

    – Another plan, to arm hundreds of patrol officers with semiautomatic rifles, starting this summer, also got mixed reviews from residents.

    – Starting on Saturday, officers will check drivers’ identification and ask whether they have a “legitimate purpose” to be in the Trinidad area, such as going to a doctor or church or visiting friends or relatives. If not, the drivers will be turned away.

    Something tells me that as a well dressed white person in a nice car I will have much less problems than some of my neighbors regardless of my car’s contents or my purpose for being there, legitimate or not. Footwork and community outreach would be far more effective than this tourniquet of our 4th amendment rights; This is unacceptable… I hope the ALCU has a field day.

  • I agree with anonymous.

  • They used to have checkpoints all over Petworth, and regularly on the intersection where I live. In fact, when I was under contract to buy my house 3 yrs ago, the very first night I took friends over to show them where I was moving, we got stuck in a checkpoint with police officers shining flashlights in our faces. I was mortified.

    I think checkpoints are mostly about intimidating people…not sure what they accomplish. In the case of my block, it was all about a drug house everyone knew about. The officers shouldn’t have been on the corner, they should have been checking the ID of everyone coming in and out of that house. Anyway flash forward 3 years: the drug house is vacant. There’s no more need for checkpoints. The sketchy dudes who used to continuously head around the corner are gone. But I’m not sure checkpoints had anything to do with it–why not just target the known criminals in the neighborhood instead of harassing everyone who drives by??

  • In my neighborhood the drug dealers lost most of their houses to gentrification, now on friday and saturday nights I see them on the corner, drugs presumably stashed in cars with Maryland license plates, all meeting other cars with Maryland license plates.

    I have concerns about civil liberties, but you know what, I’m MUCH MORE ANGRY at Maryland drug dealers driving into DC.

    I spend how many nights on the phone with the MD State Troopers about this? I want DC to set up roadblocks between Eastern Ave and screen every car coming in from PG County…

  • @Anonymous,

    I hear what you’re saying, but to me this is bigger than the police force and their reactionary tactics. I liken the police to the American government’s policies in Iraq and those designed to fight terrorism in general. We spend billions of dollars per year to protect ourselves from a problem (terrorism) that’s already metasticized. Same with the DC government, only on a smaller financial scale. I think we should, as some suggest as a solution to violence in the Middle East, try to look at the problem in a more preventative light. Why do people often perpatrate violence, whether in Baghdad or in DC? Because, often, they have no hope of a better future because they don’t understand how to succeed in the template of the more affluent society. No one has taught them how to work hard and prosper.

    People, even if they’re dirt poor and have only a fifth grade education, are still smart — if they want to shoot someone, they’ll figure out a way to get around blockades and do it. We need to concentrate on improving the DC school system and on providing people with a way out that’s not stigmatized as being “too white.” I know I’m being vague, but it seems to me that stopping people at checkpoints is the reactionary, lazy way out. And to check out my CARTOONS click on my name link.

  • We’re getting closer to a Hamsterdam solution in here, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I think that this policy is window dressing and that it will not have a tangible effect on violent crime in Trinidad, though. Almost all of these shootings are drug-related, and in most instances I think the turf-battles are intra-neighborhood…meaning someone who has one part of Trinidad coming at someone who has another set of corners in Trinidad. I could be wrong and maybe the police know that the recent violence is a result of one set of dealers trying to move in to Trinidad. If that’s true, then the check-point seems pretty reasonable.

    Increased police presence is a good thing, and maybe just showing the citizens that something is being tried will make Trinidad residents feel just a little safer in their homes.

  • Flipflopirate, err..

    “they are also looking for ’suspicious behaviour’ & ‘legitimate purposes’ which reeks of racial profiling. ”

    Maybe I am naive but what _exactly_ leads you to the “reeks of racial profiling” conclusion for _this particular_ tactic?

  • I agree with checkpoints in situations such as these – a rash of murders in one area.

    However, I totally don’t agree with the whole “you must have legitimate business” part of it. Why can’t talking an evening drive around the city be legitimate business? Maybe I’m just looking for houses for sale because I’m a developer.

    If cops want to stop me, ask me how I’m doing, check drivers license/registration/insurance, smell the car for booze or weed, that’s fine with me. But once I pass those tests, let me go wherever I want.

  • Crime is a community problem. Violent crime is a community problem. It will take every nook and cranny of the community to solve the problems. Police checkpoints don’t make sense by themselves, regardless of whether they are Constitutional or not.

    Now, if you combined sporadic checkpoints with community policing AND widespread involvement from everyone else, including you, me and every other property owner/renter on the block, you’d get somewhere. How many of us tutor an at-risk kid after school? Or go next store to your single mom working mom neighbor and ask if you can help out in any way with the kids? Or go to the local public high schools and volunteer to mentor or talk about our jobs and how to get those jobs?

    Or do a lot of us do what I tend to do, enjoy my home and the neighborhood shops and eateries and bars, go to work everyday, exchange pleasantries with my neighbors, and complain about the crime and the police?

    Some no doubt will react to this with the sentiment that it’s not somebody else’s responsibility to raise a kid or deal with crime or what have you. They’ll say something like, “I work hard everyday at my own job, taking care of my own kids, my own family, my own shit. It’s the cops and teachers and moms and dads of these gangbangers’ responsibility to take care of this.”

    Well, maybe they’re right, but they’re not collectively living up to that responsibility, and therefore the rest of the community has to collectively help out with the task. So far, we don’t do that, and the result is rampant violent crime. One day, the community, as a whole, will work together to become more of a place where everyone cares about eachother enough not to kill eachother, or simply stand by and watch and complain while we kill eachother. I hope.

    End of rant.

  • cristobal: Maybe if you smoked a little of that herb, you wouldn’t be so offended by it. Seriously, you need to chill out a little bit and try to relax. Jesus.

  • And were you there to see what those guys looked like and behaved? You herb lovers also need to get of your high horse of thinking that every weed smoker is the “peace and love, pink roses and butterflies” kind. Jesus. Actually, f jesus too.

  • oh totally dude, i should roll a righteous fatty and get high as a kite… that will totally help me chill out and forget all about the violence and danger that surround a group of drugged out thugs cruising my streets..oh im so totally stoked about this solution, like totally thanks so much mad clamor for gettin me right….

    my apologies if my street lingo isnt up to par… i have a real life and a real job that doesnt allow me to ‘chill out’, so im not sure what all you cool kids are saying these days. my problem isnt with the pot (in your own house, not on the street) but rather the thought of a small gang of *obviously f-ed up* shady looking guys that frequent the house on the corner, with no censoring of their actions or words when they roll out, passing kids, families, actual residents of houses on the street…

  • @GforGood
    It reeks of racial profiling when a suburban white kid in his father’s Lexus rolls through Trinidad with blow just scored from the hood (which is fueling this fire) uninhibited under the guise of ‘soccer practice’ or ‘group project meeting’ or some nonsense while local residents, people employed nearby or on the way through Trinidad, or even as simple as the occasional Rock & Roll Hotel patron get held up unnecessarily due to outward appearances. I’m not saying that the area doesn’t require policing, I’m saying this is an incredibly shortsighted and inherantly flawed method of doing so.

  • Meanwhile, we don’t have it that bad.

    Did anyone else see the story in the Post this morning about the Congo? Families were abducted, the wives were forced to kill their husbands with machetes (under threat that if they didn’t their kids would be murdered), then after they did that, they were raped by 100 “soldiers.” Then they were left in the forest to die.

    What the fuck kind of world do we live in?

  • I would argue that a white kid in a lexus in Trinidad would likely be turned away by the Police in this case. The Police are not stupid either.

    Again, I am not sure why this particular tactic in your view is more prone to racial profiling than any other.

  • My, my, my PoP – you stirred up a hornet’s nest. The big problem is the racial tension everywhere in the city. No matter what the issues, everyone brings it all back to race. It is not always about race. Common decency is what is needed, not matter what your race.

    Decency =conformity with moral standards: behavior or an attitude that conforms to the commonly accepted standards of what is right and respectable

  • Two points here. First, it is a shame that we have to resort to this level of policing to get black men to stop killing,shooting, and selling drugs. Just a damn shame. Yet, noone speaks on that.

    Second, most of these killings will continue as long as drugs are illegal. Selling drugs on street corners is a lazy man’s business. As long as their are perceived illicit profits to be made from selling drugs, there will always be someone willing to try and exploit the profit potential. It happened with alcohol. It even happens with cigarettes in NYC.

    Now much work needs to be done to address the bankrupt culture running through the black community. I am speaking from experience when I say that there is a segment of black men that glamorize selling drugs. For them it isn’t about making money as much as it is about hustlin’, being a thug or a hustler. Removing the financial incentive of selling drugs will have little incentive on them

    As for the drugs themselves, we tend to scapegoat that. Less than 100 years ago, people felt the same way about alcohol, which is man made.. Thanks to an effective liquor lobby, alcohol is everywhere. Marijuana is a natural plant. It should be no more illegal to smoke marijuana as it is to smoke parsley or the grass in your front lawn.

  • right on GforGood! These potheads walk up and down our street all day long, hang out on the corner in big groups smoking weed right on the street. I have watched them throw trash in other people’s yards and hollar at every woman who walks past. They don’t live in the neighborhood and they don’t deserve to be in it if they are going to bring it down the way they do. They stay out all day and late at night screaming at each other and racing way too fast up and down our street in their cars. They blast their music when they are parked in front of our houses with their doors open as if they were doing a public service and providing us with a free concert.

    Wouldn’t just having an increase of presence in the neighborhood help? Having more cops drive around more often through the neighborhoods, stopping occassionally just to talk to people, anyone, about anything. Just knowing that a cop car isn’t going to just roll on through and ignore the people on the streets would make me feel safer. Its like in retail, to disuade theft, sales people are told they must walk around and walk up to every person in the store to offer help. It is more about making the shoppers aware that we know you are there and we are around watching. It gives people that want help a chance to ask for it, but it also scares the people who were thinking about doing something wrong into thinking twice about it at that time. Often they end up walking out of the store. Sure it would not solve all crime issues, people still get away with stealing all the time but it does reduce theft a lot. The factors really come down to, how big the area is, how many people you have patrolling, and how proactive the patroller is.

  • There used to be checkpoints on my block all of the time. Every so often I would see someone getting busted for unknown reasons. Police usually let me through quickly since I lived on the block, except for the time I was given a warning for having something hanging from my rearview mirror. That cop was an ass though. After the checkpoints, the drug houses were back to normal operating procedure. Not until the houses were raided did the problems go away. I still see some of the dealers roaming the streets these days, but nothing like the traffic we used to have.

    My problem with the checkpoint in Trinidad is that it is widely announced. Wouldn’t it be more effective if they didn’t announce it? Won’t people just avoid the area this weekend? I understand this would be a shock to the neighborhood if it was not announced, but I would imagine that the people who are currently afraid to go outdoors would be happy if the checkpoint netted some results rather than just scare people away for the weekend. The checkpoints in Petworth were never announced and they never bothered me – probably because I am not in a gang or dealing drugs.

    Also, as far as being offended by possibly being turned away from going to Trinidad this weekend……….is there anything in Trinidad that gives you a reason to drive around the neighborhood? Personally, I never had the desire to do that – just like I never had the desire to drive around Petworth in the mid-90s.

  • I would argue that rotating on-the-ground Police work allows the police to interact with the surrounding community in a positive manner and prevent incidents on sidewalks, alleys, and other niches that aren’t specifically monitored by a stationary system of road blocks. In addition, having additional police patrols on foot, bike, and squad cars rather than check points doesn’t require the surrounding areas to adapt to a intentionally backed up traffic pattern. Finally, when individuals are put into a position where they must analyze and legally act upon another individual after relatively short exposure (road block) its much easier to fall back on preconceived perceptions and stereotypes than it is when a person is given to chance actively observe their surrounds and act accordingly to disturbances (patrols).

  • flipfloppirate, you really think that a white kid in a lexus is going to go through trinidad for ‘soccer practice’? and if he does, you really think the popo will just waive him on, no worries, just because hes white? i cant be sure, but i think this sort of idea on how things work in reality might be a bit *racist*

  • Nate for President!

  • @Cristobal
    I drive through Trinidad to get to rugby games on the other side of the city I don’t see why anyone else wouldn’t drive through the neighborhood for similar purposes. Yes I do believe our hypothetical coke-buying white kid would have less problems being waved through than your average minority, and of course its racist.. that’s one of the more poignant problems. I didn’t come up with it, I try not to perpetuate it, but I’ve certainly observed it in our neighborhood and others.

  • “These potheads walk up and down our street all day long, hang out on the corner in big groups smoking weed right on the street. I have watched them throw trash in other people’s yards and hollar at every woman who walks past. ”

    Would if make you feel better if the weedheads that throw trash in your yard were smoking cigarettes instead? This is what I mean when people scapegoat marijuana instead of addressing the real issue. I hate the smell of cigarettes. Much moreso than marijuana. But if someone is smoking cigarettes and throws trash on the ground, I don’t blame the cigarettes.

  • Well Said Nate.

  • well, cigarettes dont fuck you up… i agree that pot should be legal, more so than alcohol and cigarettes, but i dont think were saying that pot/drugs are the problem, although it is def a factor, in my opinion. if they were wasted, smelling like booze on the corner, then they descriptives would be different, but not to any different end..the point is, these guys get fucked up and do nothing short of terrorize the neighborhood.. if someone littered my yard while i was watching, and i said ‘hey asshole, pick that up’, i feel that the outcome would be different based on their level of sobriety… the sober person, i think, would be less scary and moire compliant, where as the less sober person, i think, would be much ‘braver’ and try to be a tough guy

  • @madclamour at 10:22. That is such a mature answer/response to cristobal. Really nice. Ok, yes, lets all smoke pot and all of our city’s troubles will just simply disappear. Please tell me you have a more intelligent answer/response…if not why even bother posting a comment.

  • Frankly, I’d prefer that all of you smokestacks, regardless of your preferred plant, didn’t stink up and litter the street at all. Just sayin’.

    But, as as resident of Ward 5, I definitely have mixed feelings on this. It doesn’t really pass the constitutional sniff test, and I don’t think it’ll do a lick of good. But, I am also sick of the crime. I’m sick of the thugs who loiter on the streets, sick of them mugging nuns (seriously, who does that?), and sick of the violence. More than that, I am sick of this casual acceptance of crime as being part and parcel of the DC experience. All the police checkpoints and All Hands on Deck bs won’t change a neighborhood that refuses to police itself internally and keep its own house clean. But I can’t fault the effort, and I doubt you’ll find many people in Trinidad who are against this in theory.

  • I am not scapegoating pot. The fact that it is pot makes it different than cigarettes because it is illegal. Once you have someone blatently doing illegal acts like smoking pot in public it puts them in a mentality that other illegal activities are ok.

    And fine nate and flipflopirate, if you want people coming into your neighborhoods to buy drugs than go on and advocate the selling and using of illegal drugs.

  • Before we have a right to not be searched or disrupted by roadside checkpoints, we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we could ask the 8 people who were shot over the weekend if they feel DC gave them the peace and security to live, they would say obviously not.
    We have to regain that peace and the only way to do this is through the temporary use of random checks. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. You can say a lot of things about the DC police, but being aggressive just isn’t one of them. We don’t have many allegations of brutallity here, or unjust search and seizures. I’ve lived her 21 years. It doesn’t happen. So let’s give the police a chance. I’m a Petworth resident and have multiple shootings on my block in the last 6 months. We need to keep those bent on selling drugs and committing crimes on their toes and make them feel unwelcomed at the very least.

  • I don’t believe I ever advocated the sale or use of illegal drugs, in fact I believe I mentioned earlier that the drug trade was fueling the violence and thus the police action in Trinidad. However, nate made a good observation in pointing out that there is a difference between responsible use and violent action. I’m aware the two sometimes intersect due to current laws and the black market that make them a valuable commodity however I don’t believe that pot is inherantly evil or begats evil actions by evil people, to suggest such places you firmly within the realm of slipperly sloped arguments of gateway drugs and nazi’s riding dinosaurs.

  • responsible use of drugs does not entail doing it on the street corner, 20 feet away from little kids playing in their yard.. responsible drug use probably doesnt involve driving around with smoke blowing out of your windows either, as a responsible drug user woudlnt operate a vehicle while impaired… when someone laments the use of drugs by the potheads on the corner, theyre not thinking about the doctor chilling in his den with a bong, or the teacher in her apt after a long day with the kids in her 1st grade… i think checkpoints on public streets are a good start to leveling a slippery slope.. dont do drugs in a public place, dont worry about it… its not liek the police are kicking in the doors in trinidad.. and also, if youre not doing anything illegal when going through the checkpoint, then why worry about it?

  • I understand the police tactic of arresting people for misdemeanors has a big impact on higher-level crime. For some reason, it correlates very closely. So stop the checkpoints, and use those resources to get moving around the neighborhood. Ticket for misdemeanors and let them know they have an eye on them. And I guess I will have to stop jaywalking….

  • “I am not scapegoating pot. The fact that it is pot makes it different than cigarettes because it is illegal. Once you have someone blatently doing illegal acts like smoking pot in public it puts them in a mentality that other illegal activities are ok.

    And fine nate and flipflopirate, if you want people coming into your neighborhoods to buy drugs than go on and advocate the selling and using of illegal drugs.

    I never advocated having people come into my hood selling drugs. In fact, just the opposite. Don’t jump to an extreme. I am not for anyone selling weed on the street. Nor am I for people selling black & milds on the street. But I can tell you with certainty that these killings will go on forever as long as marijuana is illegal.

    That is just simple economics. It is very naive to think that noone is going to take the chance to extract the potential profits by selling drugs. Nor is demand going away. And since the gov’t hasn’t been and will never be able to stop the flow of drugs into this country, the only other option is to control it. Look at how effective the gov’t has been in controlling alcohol and cigs, two of the most lethal drugs.

    I walk around DC all the time and see liquor, beer, and cigarette butts. Yet, noone complains about cigarette heads.

  • Did you not just jump on Nate’s bandwagon defending pot from being a scapegoat? I think so. Nate did not talk about the difference between responsible use and violent action…he was comparing Pot smokers doing one act vs Cigarette smokers doing the same act. To defend the fact that Pot was not a problem. By defending pot you are pretty much advocating its use. To use it is illegal. To use it you have to buy it or grow it, both illegal and the person selling it, illegal. Makes for a lot of illegal activity that becomes a normal not so wrong act in the people’s minds who do it. Makes it much easier to do other illegal activity when you are already doing it. Sure this does not mean everyone who smokes pot is doing this, but the ones cristobal and I were talking about are. I never said pot was evil, I said it was illegal. I think doing illegal activities begets more illegal activities. So in this case Pot is a problem.

    And throwing in a comparison between gateway drugs and nazi’s riding dinasaurs is a cheap shock tactic to throw off the topic with something stupid so that you don’t have to even try to refute something you probably refuse to believe because you don’t like what you hear.

  • Well I also don’t care for people smoking cigarettes in my face or throwing them on the ground either. But other than the cigarette litterers the ones that are smoking cigarettes aren’t driving in from MD to buy them on my block and then hang out all day being loud and inconsiderate. Sure legalize Pot, but then what, legalize all drugs? Crack and Meth over the counter at your local CVS?

  • Kalia,
    If you want to stop people from coming into your neighborhood from selling pot, you have two choices. 1) Stop it from being grown. Good luck with that. Or 2) control the distribution. How many MD plates do you see coming into your neighborhood to buy cigarettes/alcohol?
    And another thing, I think you overstate the volume of people coming into DC from MD to buy weed. MD has enough weed to supply its residents. A major highway runs through MD and it has a major port fully capable of supplying much of the drugs to the MidAtlantic.

  • I for one am willing to give up a small amount of civil liberties for safer streets. The reality is that the law-abiding average citizen doesn’t give up anything other than a moment of time.

    It is actually amazing how many idiots are caught at simple traffic stops. It might make an impact. If nothing else it will look like police presence which is a deterrent to some.

  • kalia, nate..i think youre arguing the same side basically, and beating it half to death honestly… i think most people on this forum would agree with legalizing pot, but how soon before thats a reality? IN THE MEAN TIME, while its still illegal, how do we stop violent crimes from happening? obviously kalia (and myself) think that being messed up (legal or not) contributes, and it seems like nate and flip flop pirate dissagree? im loving this discussion, but i would love it even more out of the theoretical realm and back into the present here and now…

  • I was just picking up from the other comments about the MD people coming in. Really I honestly was never trying to scapegoat weed or potheads. Just describing some problem people in our neighborhood who are a problem because they smoke weed on the corner in public, among other things, because they are loud and bring the immediate vacinity down just by them being there. I honestly do think Pot should be legalized, however that is where I do feel it is a slippery slope with the other drugs because I do think that Pot is a gateway drug. My point was just that pot is not legal now, so people doing pot are more likely to push other limits and break other laws. I mean we were basically agreeing that because of its being illegal it creates these issues. I just did not appreciate having my shit jumped because I said “potheads” to describe a small group of a whole group when you had totally thrown out there the line about getting black men to stop killing and shooting each other. I mean aren’t you getting on me for something you just did about an entire race of people?

  • And no, I am not trying to insinuate that you are a racist. So please don’t read it that way.

  • If you want to stop people from coming into your neighborhood from selling pot, you have two choices.

    Actually Nate, a sane person would know there are about 100 choices. Methinks your synapses aren’t all firing. If you had all your faculties [cough, burnout cough] you’d know there were about 100 different choices and your two are pretty dumb ideas from someone who wants to paint pot smoking as inevitable. You remind me of a rich frat boy I once knew.

  • We are all racist whether you are black or white or any other race. Once we accept that fact and move on then things will improve. And please, to say that you(not directed towards anyone) are not racist, you would just be lying to yourself. We must be able to talk about about differences, our prejudices and our racist thoughts so that the discussions are open, honest and productive.

  • Amen, In between, Amen.

  • Can’t we all just get along?

  • But I can tell you with certainty that these killings will go on forever as long as marijuana is illegal.


    Are you suggesting that legalizing marijuana sales would remove the murders and encourage responsible behavior? After prohibition did the people who made moonshine suddenly stop making moonshine or in the 30s and 40s did it become serious organized crime in North Carolina? After gambling was legalized in Atlantic City, did organized crime leave that city or did life stay just as bad? What you suggest has historic evidence that it doesn’t work at all. There is already massive historic evidence that the removal of alcohol from organized crime sources did nothing to dent organized crime from continuing to provide marijuana, cocaine, laudenum, prostitution and gambling. I had friends who came back from Amsterdam puzzled and angry at the amount of crime they saw, but didn’t expect, that surrounded the legal marijuana coffee shops- like drug sales and pickpockets.

  • Not all murders would go away. Just as there was a murder recently in baltimore over ONE cigarette. But a large number of the murders would go away.

    While people still make moonshine long after prohibition, there are few killings around the sale and distribution of alcohol. The death due to alcohol comes more from the misuse. I think the same would occur if marijuana was legal. I am curious to know why you think marijuana would be so different?

    Same can be said for gambling. There are still murders due to gambling. Most of them now are due to illegal unregulated street gambling (dice games, etc). Few people have been killed in casinos over gambling debts.

  • I noticed that someone again used the word “sketchy” — someone had asked about it on an earlier post, to which I gave a brilliant reply (ahem), but I’m sure it will be lost now that this post has taken off. With your indulgence, let me copy it here. I just never considered it a “bad” word, although I think some might be taking it that way:

    >>Here’s my thoughts on the term “sketchy” that someone asked about. I don’t think it has anything to do with race or color. We used the term growing up (70s, 80s, 90s and still going) in a city that was 99% white (I’m guessing) and, hence, only directed at people there who were also white or areas inhabited with whites, no race or even class connotations whatsoever. We used it simply to mean something was not quite right, or slightly suspicious, or possibly wrong/criminal/evil but unprovable, or even just “icky.” Examples: “That run down building looks pretty sketchy to me.” “I wouldn’t want to work for him. He seems kinda sketchy.”
    If the word has deeper meaning or baser origins, it was lost on me and most of my peers.

    Now, to whom the term is directed and why — that’s another story.

  • My point was, and remains, that the association between pot-smoking and harmful behavior is a false one, and only distracts from our ability to deal with real issues by placing our attention on fake ones.

  • “So the question is very simple: Is this insane?”

    YES. It’s insane and unconstitutional. I was around back when DC was called Dodge City.
    When it was the MURDER capital, no one thought to do this.

    Now, that it’s being gentrified however, the police have decided to infringe on people’s rights, to the keep the going the same way?

    Get out of here. That’s some old B.S.

  • Not all murders would go away. Just as there was a murder recently in baltimore over ONE cigarette. But a large number of the murders would go away.


    Nope. History has proven you wrong. You bought into the propaganda, sucker. Visit Las Vegas and Atlantic City and tell me that organized crime doesn’t exist once corporations took over gambling. Seriously. The proof is out there but you have blinders on, because you like to smoke doobie like 14 yr old.

    Did legal gambling remove organized crime from the city when they took over and legalized the numbers racket? no.

  • My point was, and remains, that the association between pot-smoking and harmful behavior is a false one


    My point, at age 40, is that I’ve seen too much evidence that proves you wrong to listen to your lies. You like to get high and are rationalizing your contribution to violence. You can not run away from your behavior and how much it hurts our city. Some day, like all but one of my friends has, you will wake up and say, “My god, all this time I put money into the hands of drug dealers and I sat on my couch eating chips and playing videogames while my friends got married, had kids, and fixed up their houses. Now I live in a run-down house in a job I hate and the only thing I have to look forward to at night is pot, just like my dad looked forward to drinking until he passed out! My life is wasted.” And like my friends who hit 30 or 35 or 40 you will eliminate all that from your life and call me up and apologize for awful behavior as part of a 12 step program and slowly but surely you’ll have a life again.

    tell me I’m wrong.

    I’ve been through this all before. Anything that deadens the senses like pot does is bad news for everyone.

  • As with checkpoints to bust drunk drivers, this program would be offensive (and illegal) to the extent the police only stopped certain people–but if every car is checked–I have no problem with it.

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