A Duffel Bag Full of Marijuana

One man is dead and another arrested in an officer-involved shooting in downtown Atlanta:

The incident began when an officer patrolling downtown Atlanta saw a Jeep driving the wrong way, Atlanta police Maj. Adam Lee III told news outlets. When the officer attempted to stop the Jeep it sped up, struck a shuttle bus and then struck a pole. Two men jumped from the vehicle and ran.

The driver was arrested almost immediately, Lee said. The passenger ran behind a hotel and exchanged gunfire with officers. He was found dead behind a trash bin, Lee said.

Police found a duffel bag full of marijuana in the Jeep. They also found two guns in the vehicle, and one with the deceased man.

Now, of course, anyone who exchanges gunfire with officers is a clear and present danger, and shooting him doesn’t fall under the now-popular (and for good reason) discourse of police abuses of authority. This wasn’t a black kid with a toy gun or just some random unarmed black guy: whatever the dead man’s race, he wasn’t innocent the minute he started shooting. So, this officer will be vindicated, and let us hope gets therapy or other consolation that will enable him to deal with the consequences.

But it’s the motive that I’m concerned with here. These guys are driving with several pounds of cannabis, which means that if they get caught, they’re going to prison for a long time, because cannabis is BAD and people who sell it need to be punished way more severely than, say, executives who ship jobs overseas or defraud their customers. So the minute they do the oopsie of driving the wrong way on a one-way street, which is an easy mistake to make downtown, the cops bluelight them for a traffic offense. Normally, no big deal, get a ticket, grumble, pay.

Because the car is full of weed, however, that traffic ticket becomes a life-or-death situation for these guys. They, quite understandably, don’t want to go to prison for most of the rest of their adult lives, so they bolt, wreck the car, get in a desperate gunfight and die. In some sense, they HAD to shoot at the cops, because the alternative is so draconian. Just imagine if a bystander was killed: what do you say to their family? “Oh, too bad, but some cannabis is off the street now.” Not for long: it’s a dang weed. I’ve been to both Colorado and Washington this year, on business, and they seem to do just fine. The “drug war” has no winners—except drugs, of course.

I don’t like writing drug crime stories, because it bothers me that drugs are illegal. But this one, though it’s a stub instead of a regular news article, makes me think I ought to.

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