Saturday, February 14, 2009

Public Enemy #1: Michael Phelps

I'm a bit late to this story, mostly because its lessons seem too obvious: (1) Michael Phelps is a 23 year old who makes his living by swimming in a pool, a set of facts which makes it barely credible that anyone could be surprised that he would take the occasional bong hit, (2) responsible marijuana use is not harmful -- and certainly not debilitating -- as evidenced by the fact that a user can be the most successful athlete in the 100+ year history of the Olympics, (3) it is a colossal waste of resources to investigate and punish marijuana users, and (4) marijuana should be legal.

Obvious, right? Well, not to everyone, apparently:

1. Not obvious to George Vescey, who utilizes his valuable real estate at the New York Times to condemn Michael Phelps, do a bit of name-calling (Phelps is "callow", "dopey", "gangly", and "uneducated"), suggest some additional punishments, and generally act like a self-righteous asshole spewing trite moralisms about pot-smoking before leaving his desk and heading out to the local tavern where he undoubtedly will soak his internal organs in gin and fill his lungs with tobacco smoke.

2. Not obvious to Kellogg, which terminated Phelps' endorsement deal, saying Phelps' actions are "not consistent with the image of Kellogg." Ah yes, the "image of Kellogg". This would be a company founded by a person who campaigned for racial segregation and argued that children should be prevented from masturbating by various forms of torture, including (for boys) affixing "patented cages" around their genitals and (for girls) pouring acid on the clitoris.

3. Not obvious to USA Swimming, which suspended Phelps for 3 months and issued a pompous statement in which it chided him for his irresponsibility and sternly ordered him to "earn back our trust." Please. You asshats run a fucking swimming federation. Keep the algae out of the pools and shut the fuck up.

4. Not obvious to Michael Phelps himself, because he capitulated to all of this bullying by issuing a fake apology and acted oh-so-remorseful for his tragic (Tragic!) lapse in judgment. C'mon, Mike! Show a little backbone, dude.

5. And above all, not obvious to a man named Leon Lott. Mr. Lott is the sheriff of the county where Michael Phelps took the bong hit. He has now issued a fatwah against Phelps and all the local college stoners. In the ensuing jihad to make the world safe for clean-living folks everywhere (with the small side benefit of making himself a national media celebrity), he has ordered his swat team to go around, weapons drawn, kicking down doors and seizing "small amounts of marijuana" from hungover college students in the midst of putting for eagle on the Xbox version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008.

Here's Sheriff Lott, posing with his posse of drug warriors, after conning some federal bureaucrat into funneling several million dollars to finance his Miami Vice fantasies:

Yes, that is an armored personnel carrier with a belt-fed 50 caliber machine gun. Quite appropriate for use in assaults against mortar emplacements or a column of Taliban insurgents. Or, you know, a small-time pot dealer sitting on his couch watching The Price is Right.

Oh, and here's Sheriff Lott posing in his Don Johnson get-up with a Porsche that he confiscated to use as his personal vehicle:

This guy is a piece of work. According to the local newsrag: "Dirty Harry and Sonny Crockett were personas Lott once wore with relish during high-flying days when he drove seized Porsches, sported an 18-carat Rolex, worked choice undercover cases with federal agents in Florida and postured for cameras." There's apparently a long history of Sherrif Lott abusing his position in a similar fashion, including:
a blistering order from a federal judge over the seizure of a new, black BMW convertible during a drug bust.

Judge Clyde Hamilton ordered the car returned to its owner and blasted the U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI and then-Capt. Lott of the sheriff's office. The judge cited "many irregularities" and "questionable motivations" for taking the BMW.

"Captain Lott's testimony raised the possibility that he had sought forfeiture ... for an improper purpose, specifically to serve as his private vehicle," the judge's ruling said. It appeared, Hamilton said, that Lott wanted to drive the care to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
In law school we learned about this type of thing: our professors called it "grand theft", "armed robbery", or "carjacking"; I believe it is normally a serious felony -- unless, I guess, you are a police officer, in which case it is evidence of being a "tough-on-crime" do-gooder -- a valiant and courageous protector of the American way of life.


Mr. Gleemonex said...

I'm all for this asshat busting these college kids. Now the next douche that snaps a pic and tries to sell it to a tabloid will think twice.

Gleemonex said...

Ha! Good point, Mr. G ... but still.

Holy BALLS, this is crazy. This is one of my favorite posts ever. You are WIN.

Kingfish said...