The Oakland Paradox: Obama, Weed and Guns

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The front page of Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times contains two articles that say a lot about priorities in this country. Those two articles both deal with incidents at universities in the same California city: Oakland.

One reports on the Obama Administration sending federal agents, backed by Oakland police, in raids of facilities associated with Oaksterdam University, an outfit that provides medical cannabis services and related courses.

In the other, a former student with “anger management issues” entered Oikos University, a small Christian school, and mowed down seven people in one of the worst shooting incidents in California history.

The lead article, “Raid on Pot College Stuns Activists,” explains that, as the search warrants are sealed, the reason for the raids are unknown. However, the background centers on interpretations of California law permitting the dispensing of marijuana for purposes of treating illnesses—under certain circumstances. It appears that there is some dispute over whether, under that law or those of other states, it is permissible for those in the cannabis trade to earn a profit.

What is more interesting than the rationale for the raids is the overall strategic decisions being arrived at by the Obama Administration. For, whether or not for-profit medical cannabis operations are justified, they are essentially providing services that the law says serve a legitimate public interest—mitigating the pain and suffering of chronic illness. And they are not “criminal” in any real sense. Richard Lee, the man behind Oaksterdam University and a related dispensary, has been in a wheelchair since a spinal injury in 1990 and uses marijuana to treat muscle spasticity.

Yet Obama has clearly made harassing those serving ill Americans with medical marijuana a law enforcement priority. Since he took office, federal agents have conducted more than 170 raids of medical marijuana operations nationally. And since October, the feds have sent 300 letters to landlords of marijuana dispensaries, threatening them if they do not evict their tenants.

Clearly, this is intended to send a message, but to whom?  If law-abiding providers like Richard Lee are forced out of business, unquestionably public access to medical cannabis treatment will be constrained. And whom does that serve?

One can only think of two beneficiaries of these raids. One is the pharmaceutical industry, which is deeply worried about ways in which natural substances like cannabis could cut into their sales of more conventional cures. Interestingly, the industry has shown interest in cannabis, but on terms that benefit it—seeing huge profits in a market of FDA-approved, by-prescription, cannabinoid medicines. Outfits like Oaksterdam University are competition.

Big Pharma is an important player in elections. During the 2008 election, it dumped $16 million into federal elections, almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.  Last year it spent $150 million on lobbying in Washington. Significantly, Obama received almost $1.2 million from the industry in 2008, which is four times what it gave his opponent, John McCain.

To check out the revolving door between the pharmaceutical industry and the Obama administration, go here.  On that page, scroll down to Department of Justice, the lead entity harassing medical marijuana providers. Look at, for example, the first name, Lanny Breuer. He goes in and out of Democratic administrations, having worked in both the Clinton and Obama White Houses, and is currently at the Justice Department, where he is Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division. When he is not in government, he works for the lobbying firm of Covington & Burling, where more than half of his business comes from….the pharmaceutical industry. Breuer is just an example—there are plenty more.

The other beneficiary of the raids is Obama’s political image. By authorizing high-profile raids (and we can reasonably assume nothing like this would be undertaken without the president’s approval) the president is staking out the “law and order” ground crucial to victory in November. He can easily sacrifice the votes of those for whom this issue is of paramount importance. They really have no viable alternative candidate. And states such as California will be firmly in the Democratic column no matter what Obama does. But he telegraphs a message of toughness on drugs and crime that will appeal to crucial voters in swing states. To believe that major decisions are not undertaken with an eye to political consequences is to exhibit extraordinary naiveté, especially when they come in the year prior to the presidential election.

Guns Don’t Kill People, Medical Marijuana Kills People [um…NOT]

By contrast, let’s consider the crux of the issue in the article right next to it: “7 Shot Dead in Oakland Campus Rampage.”   Senseless gun violence, a fair amount of it committed by people with legal weapons, occurs with numbing regularity. Almost every day, it seems, someone shoots up a college, a workplace, a church, a social event. And yet it is just ignored. Although the massive coverage of the Trayvon Martin case has focused principally on racism, the case most certainly is also about guns, because, irrespective of George Zimmerman’s motivations, if he did not have a gun, Trayvon would be alive.

Zimmerman possessed a legal firearm. So did the gunman in Oakland. Yet few public officials, and certainly not Obama, dare take on the power of the NRA or even challenge routine gun-ownership arguments that more guns on the street make us all safer. Those who advocate America’s growing descent into a nation of frontier saloonkeepers and Old West gunslingers are on slippery ground when every day innocent people are mowed down. Yet in a sign that this country is hamstrung about the problem, nothing is being seriously proposed by our government.

Apparently, people would rather let these daily tragedies unfold than abandon the largely illusory sense of personal safety they get by keeping weapons in their homes. Gun advocates like to point to the rare instance in which someone successfully protected their life against an intruder, while ignoring each loss of innocent life.

In fact, in 2009 (the most recent year I could find for such compiled statistics), of 13,636 Americans murdered that year (the vast majority with guns), only 215 were classified by law enforcement as justifiable homicide by private citizens, with just 165 of those being handgun self-defense. That’s about one and a half percent of all gun deaths attributable to handgun owners staving off credible threats. Not very impressive in the self-defense category, or in terms of public safety!

The reality in a country where the ratio of guns to people is about 1:1, is that we all should feel terrified every time we encounter someone with a bad temper, with road rage, anyone who may think we looked at them in the wrong way or that we trespassed (however accidentally) on their property.

The idea that bad guys will think twice if they know everyone around them is armed is patently nonsensical in the case of deranged shooters like the Oakland gunman. And does anyone think there will be fewer victims if shooters get into gun battles with armed citizens in schoolrooms, bars or churches?

Yet nothing gets done. The Obama administration does not have the political will to tackle the issue—and no wonder.  Things are so out of whack that the best the Administration can do is to require gun store owners in Southwest border states to merely report when customers buy multiple high-powered rifles—within five days of the purchase. It’s a wonder they didn’t add, “when the purchaser is over 90 years old.”  No matter—the firearms industry predictably opposed this toothless measure.

***

The “Oakland Paradox,” in which the government clamps down on a legitimate medical use for marijuana while skirting a serious life-or-death issue, offers a perfect opportunity for America to have a candid conversation about common sense and political corruption—and getting it right about what is good for us, and what isn’t.

A president in a tight re-election campaign isn’t likely to lead such a discussion. But the rest of us can push for one to begin.

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54 responses to “The Oakland Paradox: Obama, Weed and Guns”

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  3. Belimee says:

    Read Erik Nelsons Comment Below. THIS ARTICLE IS REDICULOUS. I cant believe your article showed up on infowars.com today! … also I agree the raids are not right.

  4. Guest says:

    Obama lied to us in California!

     Big Pharma and the DOJ are behind this. DOJ wants the money they confiscate, and Big Pharma just wants to corner the market on any cannabis meds they can produce. It’s not fair. Keeping pot as a Schedule 1 illegal drug is more insane than most things I can think of right now. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Romney sucks, but hard to vote for someone (Obama) who lies to their biggest supporters isn’t it?

  5. enlson983 says:

    If I turn my guns in will the criminals running our government turn in theirs? Will the local gangbangers turn in theirs? If someone breaks into my house intending harm will the police arrive on time to save me or just in time to take pictures of my corpse?
    Trusting the government to protect you is about as stupid as trusting an alcoholic to guard your liquor cabinet.

    • Russ Baker says:

       This is the typical level of superficial and poorly thought out reasoning of gun people–exactly why we should fear them–they’re not very rational. For one thing, even if you do have a gun, a repressive government will get you in a nanosecond. Your having a weapon will actually increase the risk that some policeman or soldier will take you out.

      If repressive government is your concern, then find a way to halt our slide intro repression. There are many constructive ways to do so, and my experience is that the folks who complain the loudest about government actually do the least. Second, “local gangbangers” tend, overwhelmingly, to shoot each other. The vast majority of crimes involving inner city youth target other inner city youth. The crimes that actually threaten most of us involve people LIKE US losing their cool or harboring grudges or getting drunk or wanting revenge or acccidentally discharging a firearm.

      The number of us who successfully repel break-ins with guns is very, very small, actually minuscule. I realize you think you will be the incredibly rare one who does, but then you probably also buy lottery tickets thinking you will be a big winner.

    • zcopley says:

      For one thing, even if you do have a gun, a repressive government will get you in a nanosecond. Your having a weapon will actually increase the risk that some policeman or soldier will take you out.

      No, this is an example of poorly thought-out reasoning by gun control advocates. What evidence do you have to support that position? It defies common sense. Which type of citizen would a policeman rather arrest? An unarmed one, or someone capable of defending him/herself with deadly force?

      Historically, disarming citizens has been one of the steps to establish tyrannical control.

    • Russ Baker says:

       I guess you must be referring to the resistance at Ruby Ridge (NOT)

    • zcopley says:

      Yeah, so let me get the story straight. The state was so afraid of one family with a few guns that multiple law enforcement agencies, including the local sheriff, US Marshal, ATF and FBI, staked the Weaver place out for months, and eventually launched a sneak attack/ambush against them, ultimately killing the family with a hail of gunfire from machine guns and high-powered sniper rifles. Yet, the Weavers still managed to kill one the US Marshal.

      Yeah, that’s going to scale.

    • Russ Baker says:

       citizens with weapons who resist are not “arrested.” They are taken out.

    • zcopley says:

      Have you ever heard the term “The Thin Blue Line”? (Comes from “The Thin Red Line”.)

      The police have a force advantage as long as we’re talking about single individuals vs. the police.

      But imagine if 1/2 of 1% of citizens possessing guns (~ nearly two million people) resisted. Would the police be able to take them all out?

  6. zcopley says:

    Russ, I agree with your suggestion that the marijuana raid in Oakland is about election posturing. However, isn’t 1.2 million in campaign donations peanuts compared to the money at stake to the prison industrial complex, various federal agencies, government contractors and the other vested interests in the “War on Drugs.” The vast majority of drug interdiction money goes towards battling Marijuana, so legalization is also a big threat to that sector of the economy. I’m guessing Obama has more than just the pharmaceutical industry to worry about when it comes to his record on enforcing federal drug laws.

    But your anti-gun arguments seem silly.

    Those who advocate America’s growing descent into a nation of frontier saloonkeepers and Old West gunslingers are on slippery ground when every day innocent people are mowed down.

    Seriously? Who is advocating for that? Frontier saloonkeepers? What?

    The idea that bad guys will think twice if they know everyone around them is armed is patently nonsensical in the case of deranged shooters like the Oakland gunman.

    I suppose, but deranged individuals will use knives, bombs, vehicles and even their bare hands to kill people.

    See:

    http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2012/03/15/news/doc4f60dfda6242a780618632.txt
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka_school_massacre
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akihabara_massacre
    https://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/03/01/134143818/driver-plows-through-critical-mass-ride-claims-self-defense

    Google will bring up dozens of others similar incidents.

    We don’t know whether the Oakland shooter would have thought twice about his shooting spree if everyone had been armed, however we do know he could be relatively sure he would not encounter any armed resistance. California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country and Oikos University, like most universities, is a “gun-free zone,” which just means sane, law-abiding citizens aren’t allowed to carry guns anywhere on campus.

    And does anyone think there will be fewer victims if shooters get into gun battles with armed citizens in schoolrooms, bars or churches?

    Well, yes. But it doesn’t always have to come to a “gun battle.” Often the mere presence of a firearm is enough to make an attacker think twice or stop an attack altogether. Absent from the statistics you quote is the number of “justifiable homicides” defused or stopped due to the presence of firearms in the hands of a potential victims.

    Here’s a recent story about that happening in a church:

    http://www.necn.com/03/26/12/Sheriff-Concealed-weapon-may-have-saved-/landing_politics.html?&apID=b16d84474c7e4afc849092e11a97db8e

    More than one school shooting has been stopped in-progress by a “private citizen.” For example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_School_of_Law_shooting

    • A. Benway says:

      It was Burroughs who said, approximately, “every time somebody goes on a shooting spree they blame the guys who didn’t do it. “

    • Russ Baker says:

       Every day–every day–innocent people are killed with handguns in cases involving rage. You can say as much as you like, but statistically, average Americans are at much greater danger from previously law-abiding people who lose their cool or go nuts than we are from drug gangs that battle each other. No one can convince those who lost family members to the daily rage syndrome that gun ownership is anything other than singularly American irrationality unless they first deal squarely with all these random shootings of innocent people–by “non-criminals”. I notice that every one of these folks who just want guns because either their brains are hard-wired for the fear impulse or they’re just a little bit deranged themselves refuse to actually discuss the particulars of real, daily shootings by “non-criminals” of “non-criminals.” If you actually have an answer that will stop the carnage, absent the usual “threaten to fry them” then lets hear it.  Otherwise, just admit that you have a gun, and so you’re inclined to justify yourself. Period.

    • zcopley says:

      I love your reporting and the WhoWhatWhy project. But I think you are not living up to your goal of being “neither partisan nor ideological.” I’m a kinda disappointed that you put up an inflammatory op-ed piece chastising Obama for not pushing for more gun control but then in your comments section deride everyone who disagrees with you as irrational, idiotic or deranged. You haven’t even bothered to make a solid case that “random shootings of innocent people by non-criminals due to ‘daily rage syndrome'” is a problem meriting presidential action. Contrast the statistics you site with yearly deaths and murders involving alcohol! Bee stings kill about of 50 people per year. You cite 13,636 murders in 2009 — the vast majority involving guns — but you don’t say how many of those guns were legally owned (do you know?). My guess is, not many. Unless you can establish the majority of those non-justifiable homicides — the ones involving guns — were actually committed with legally owned firearms by non-criminals — i.e.: legal gun owners — who suddenly become afflicted with “daily rage syndrome,” you are simply spreading FUD and pushing your own gun control agenda.

    • Russ Baker says:

       
      * In D.C. v Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court
      ruling striking down Washington’s D.C.’s
      handgun ban, Justice Stephen Breyer authored
      a dissenting opinion that was joined by
      Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter,
      and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The opinion states:

       

      First, consider the facts as the legislature
      saw them when it adopted the District
      statute. As stated by the local council
      committee that recommended its adoption, the
      major substantive goal of the District’s
      handgun restriction is “to reduce the
      potentiality for gun-related crimes and
      gun-related deaths from occurring within the
      District of Columbia.” …
       

      … [A]ccording to the committee, “[f]or
      every intruder stopped by a homeowner with a
      firearm, there are 4 gun-related accidents
      within the home.”[128]

    • zcopley says:

      Can we get some fact checking around here, Russ? Justice Breyer never cited any source for that statistic. I say it’s just more FUD.

      You have to put things into perspective. The number of firearm accidents resulting in death, is dwarfed by car accidents, bicycle accidents, and even people just falling down. Your average person is more likely to accidentally stab or poison themselves than die from an accidental firearm discharge (see attached chart).

      Edit: I made a better chart: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/7110990181/

    • Jmaner says:

      So you don’t believe in one’s right to defend their life, their family, and their property?  Do you just naively rely on the police to protect you.  I hope you don’t have a wife and children.  I would be ashamed if I was unable or unwilling to protect my family. I live in an area  with no police– only county sheriff’s deputies– and it might take up to an hour for them to respond to a call.  More cops with guns is not the answer.  And no amount of money could get me to move back into the city.  Between the liberal yuppies, the homeless, and the gangs I see city life as a version of hell on earth.   

      I don’t care if you want to own a gun or not.  I also don’t care if you spend more time doing your hair and shopping for clothes than a woman does….  but leave my rights alone.  What part of “shall not infringe” do you not understand.  Liberals always think of themselves as intellectual superiors to all— yet you are always so wrong about everything. 

    • Russ Baker says:

      “I also don’t care if you spend more time doing your hair and shopping for clothes than a woman does… ”  — that about says it all for this person. I have yet to hear from an unscary, civilized, thoughtful person advocating for guns. There surely are a few, but i honestly wouldnt like to run into any of these gun advocates on a walk, in a bar, or anywhere, else, knowing who is “packing” heat

  7. Age of Wisdom says:

    With the number of people killed everyday by automobiles, why haven’t we outlowed them?

  8. BladeMcCool says:

    Dear Oakland cops: you just lost more legitimacy. Oh btw, you know your pension is a lie right? There is no pension.

  9. Bbcarpenter says:

    They are both life and death issues, you’re not going to get rid of all the guns just like you’re not going to get rid of all the pot so it’s not one or the other. We need to have guns to defend ourselves against the very state who takes away our freedom to have pot. take away the guns and they’ll run right over us without stopping. we need to call out the Obama adminstration for taking away our liberties more than any other American leader has since the beginning of this country. They can’t win if you don’t give in, Liberty or Death!

  10. axlsavage says:

    What a bullsh!t article. The writer throws out a stastitic, Trying to link all murders to guns but then backtracks all in the same breath! “In fact, in 2009 (the most recent year I could find for such compiled statistics),
    of 13,636 Americans murdered that year (the vast majority with guns),
    only 215 were classified by law enforcement as justifiable homicide by
    private citizens (just 165 involved handguns.)”
    The vast majority……what a bunch of crap! And I bet if you break it down even further, I bet there is a certain minority in this country that  are killing each other on a daily basis. Maybe they should be banned from owning guns. Lets see how that fly’s……

    • Russ Baker says:

       We’ll fix that to clarify–point is that there were just 165 incidents in which a handgun owner killed someone in what was considered self-defense. All the others were not self-defense, but most involved guns.

    • axlsavage says:

       Then you prove my point. The vast majority of Law Abiding Gun Owners RARELY  use their guns because lets face it…..they know better. Furthermore criminals will always have guns no matter what laws you impose on law abiding gun owners.  A huge percentage of the rest of the gun deaths are minority on minority murders. So lets go to the real heart of the problem, ban minority gun ownership in inner-cities and the murder rate will go down….right!?!?! Yeah right bro…lets see who gets called a racist then!

    • man says:

      you should compare to other countries to show what happens in state where citizen do not own as many guns. I’m sure it won’t convince them, but it would make an even more solid case

  11. Canamjay says:

    hypocrisy, duplicity, idiocy… I honestly cannot support our president for another term.. I realize not voting could result in a disastrous repug slide… but I just cannot get involved in re-electing someone who completely ignores his constituencies and the rhetoric he so blithely expounded. I am disappointed and confounded by this and will with-hold my vote this time around.  We are doomed folks. We have no leadership to admire.

    • Kim says:

      I agree Jay, but Romney would be 10 times worse.  If we do not get the money out of politics we are doomed!

    • Josh Davis says:

       So you’re going to vote for Obama, Kim?  Doesn’t that justify the cynical political calculus described in the piece?  You’re right about the need to get money out of politics, but I’ve yet to see a good answer to people like Jay.  Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.  If we agree that voting for evil is a bad idea, what then do we do, as a practical matter?  I don’t have the solution, but voting for the Con man from your side of the political spectrum is surely not it.  Maybe we try to get everyone who is unhappy with both Romney and Obama (which seems to be everyone, left, right and center) to boycott the election?

    • GUEST says:

      RON PAUL 

    • enlson983 says:

      Ron Paul gets my vote even if I have to write his name in.

  12. Alan K says:

    Russ                                                                                                                                        I like many of the things that you write about, but like lots of left of center folks, I own, and enjoy guns.  I have not killed an animal of any type since the 60’s.  Target shooting is enjoyable for myself and millions of others.  I have been an independent for close to 40 years.  I don;t tell you how to live your life, so what is your problem?  It would seem that if someone uses a gun in a crime, they go down for a minum 10-15 yearsis.  None of this 6 months to a  year first offence 6 nonsense.  I won’t delete you, just disagree with you.                                                                           

    • Russ Baker says:

       Like nearly all the gun owners, you unfortunately cannot get beyond your own immediate self-interest or personal pleasures. Just because you can’t find another hobby is not a good reason that the rest of us should be made to endure daily shootings at beauty salons, churches, on the street, etc. Dont you follow the news? Do none of these tragedies matter to you more than having fun with target practice? Sad.

    • Susan says:

       Well, I don’t like guns myself, and I must say that in a fairly long life I have many times had guns pointed at me in a threatening manner. However the people aiming these guns were always cops… I have never been arrested though… So the question for me is, do I want to live in a country where only the cops have guns?

    • Cwm1111 says:

      Sorry, Susan, but although I agree that police will at times misuse their weapons, your gun will be no defense against them. If you attempt to defend yourself against an officer by pulling out your gun, you have just provided the officer with the reason to shoot first to kill you. Suicide by cop. And if there were far fewer guns around, officers would have fewer reasons to reach for their weapons first. No officer wants to gain honor by death in the line of duty.

    • Susan says:

      Oh! Cwm111 – you’ve misunderstood. I don’t have a gun and, if I did, I’d get rid of it and I would never make the slightest attempt to resist a cop. I simply think that a world where only cops have guns is a stupid idea. When cops don’t have guns then, well, then nobody will have guns…

    • Josh Davis says:

       There needs to be some compromise.  If you are saying that ALL guns should be banned (except for the authority’s, of course), then your argument will always be a non-starter for most of the population in states like mine (Montana).  I grew up poor and had lots of poor friends.  We hunted for our meet because beef was expensive.  You cannot tell Montanans that they must give up their guns and expect to get any kind of hearing because a good number of us depend on our rifles for our subsistence. 

      Bans on handguns and assault weapons and much stricter regulation of gun sales are issues that can gain some traction, but an outright ban is not.  I support banning assault weapons (for everyone, authorities included) and very tight hand-gun regs, but any law that will require me to turn over my .270 is not something that I will go along with.(Hunting also plays a necessary and vital role in wildlife management.  Pretty sure the Fish and Game boys (and girls) would poop a brick if all of a sudden rifle-hunting were outlawed.)

      Agreed that Obama’s priorities are badly out of whack, but be warned that many people will tune out entirely if they think you are advocating for an outright gun ban. 

    • Crooklyncat619 says:

      Hurry, get rid of the guns!!! Yeah, that’s the ticket!!! Do you MOMO’s actually think criminals won’t get their hands on steel if they banned guns??? REALLY?? They’re still getting weapons from the fukin DOJ!!!! Stupid sheeple are the only ones who say we should ban weapons! And some of you morons who label certain guns as “assault weapons” are even DUMBER!!!! I could have any sharp object in my hands and use it as an “assault weapon.” if there was someone armed when these incidents went down there would be ALOT more innocents alive. Stop relying on Mr. Piggy law enforcement to come save you, save YOURSELVES!!!! If most citizens carried conceal, crime WOULD go down. The only tragedy is our own govt is hypnotizing fools of Amerikkka that they should leave everything up to them regarding your own personal safety. DO YOU REALLY THINK OBAMA GIVES A FUK ABOUT ANY OF YOU???? lol, GET REAL!

      All you daisy footed pansies are soon to see what your beloved politicians have in store for, that is…….the ones who follow these goons to your own demise. Let the great govt lead you to the cliff only to step aside at the last second and watch it’s flock walk over to it’s own death. NO WONDER THE ELITE HATE US, the comments on this board about guns and weed are so child-like, it’s hard not to be irritated at COMPLETE FOOLS!!!

  13. moxaman says:

    I think it is more than just the pharma industry that wants cannabis kept illegal.  Drug cartels certainly want this as does the prison industry and DEA.  They make billons from interdiction and incarceration. 

    • Josh Davis says:

       Not to mention the CIA which funds a lot of operations with drug money (it seems safe to imply).  Black markets provide the ability to raise funds with no oversight, which is important when you’re engage in widespread illegal activity.

  14. jimmmmmy says:

    Obama is a Chicago School of economics Friedman accolyte . In choosing a potus thats all one really needed to know.

    • JackNauti says:

      Obama is a follower of Friedman?? Are you KIDDING me? You did not, could not have just said that.

    • jimmmmmy says:

      I simple vetting of his economic advisors will prove my point

    • JackNauti says:

      Friedman was one of the strongest proponents ever of free-market economics. Obama is anything but. Friedman would barf on Obama’s policies.

    • Guest says:

      What planet aree you living on . Mr Friedman would be well pleased with what Barry has done. Mr. Friedmans big idea was that a middleclass anywhere was a needless expense.

  15. jimmmmmy says:

    Great article . I’m looking for stats on deaths justified by the Fla. style gun laws Evidently 23 states have these laws.  I’d like to know how many people are getting shot  in numbers per state, but I can’t afford data base time. Any suggestions where to look would be appreciated.

  16. Yochrismc says:

    Every three days someone is murdered in Oakland. This is an insane, illegal federal priority to shut down legal dispensaries. How can the feds tax marijuana profits by the medical marijuana dispensaries, then shut them down? You can’t have it both ways.

  17. damspam says:

    This is exactly on the mark. It is sad, disturbing, and true that Big Pharma and presidential politics are why the papers, badges, and guns of the government are being used to destroy lives, inflict suffering on vulnerable patients, and threaten legislators in the performance of their elected duty.  If this substance has been safely used as medicine for three thousand years (up until the prohibitionists ran amok 80 years ago), why can’t it be used as medicine today? Are we less than our ancestors? Do we need this money-wasting, thuggish behavior to protect us from ourselves?

  18. John_king says:

    Russ, your anti-gun, anti-2nd Amendment arguments  are from the same, worn-out leftist template that has been factually disproven time and time again.  Are you a Kalifornian???  That would explain a lot.  Anyhow, I will not be back.  I have deleted the bookmark in my browser.  Go ahead and delete this comment if you wish.  I know leftists don’t tolerate alternative opinions, anyhow.  

    You are in fine company, though– Mao, Stalin, and Hitler believed in gun control, too.  I’m sure your miserable failure of a president will attempt to do more about guns if he is re-elected and he has more “flexibility.”

    • Russ Baker says:

      Please note that this man ignores the central point about real discharges of handguns and who is made safer by them, preferring hostile rhetoric.  One interesting thing about gun enthusiasts–they’re actually pretty easy to scare off!

    • Thomas says:

      You should consider writing about the growing phenomenon of paid sock puppets hired by extreme right wing organisations to control discourse through comments on news articles and blog pieces. The idea is that people who might be influenced to change their thinking on a topic will see in the comments that the writer is a “Kalifornian” or “worn-out leftist” and dismiss the article outright.

      These jobs are paid blogging jobs that have been posted on Craigslist and other places. It’s sinister but I suppose predictable. The money probably comes from non profit foundations funded by the usual suspects.

    • Survivor says:

      Laughable.  Alinsky much?  The media matters, George Soros machine is providing the paid trolls to disrupt the right wing sites.   You leftists have become so predictable it is actually becoming fun to watch it all play out.

  19. Guest says:

    Because the Oppressident Is A Gunslinging OUTLAW who sadistically desires to keep US terrorized and Miserably DEPRE$$ED (sans drug relief) for his Bushist patrons.