By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
If life was a movie.
Opening Scene for “A LEAP of Faith”
A green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle is cruising a primitive road along the international border between Mexico and California, It throws up plumes of dust as the occupants scan the horizon. The sun at high noon is an angry ball in a clear azure sky. Stretches of dirt turn into occasional strips of blacktop melting in the extreme heat. The patrol car disappears in a cloud of dust.
Dialogue inside the car:
1st Agent: “I wonder how long we’ll have to enforce this useless prohibition of pot? We know it‘s a farce, and the public knows it, too.”
2nd Agent: “Better watch who is around when you say things like that, Pete.”
1st Agent: “I know…it makes me sick. Last month they called Charlie into Border Patrol Headquarters in Washington and fired him because of his personal views on this losing war against marijuana.”
2nd Agent: “How did they hear about Charlie’s views anyway?”
1st Agent: “He was talking about LEAP during lunch with some guys from the night shift. Someone probably passed his words along to his supervisor.”
2nd Agent: “LEAP?”
1st Agent: “That’s right. It stands for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.”
2nd Agent: “ Tell me more about them…”
Next Scene a week later:
People fill the streets from LA to New York in support of members of LEAP. New demonstrations pop up daily across the nation as the common man demands justice. The media is filled with promises of support from politicians who see the writing on the wall. Law enforcement agencies countrywide rally to end prohibition against marijuana. Pot is decriminalized!
Agents and officers who lost their jobs while supporting LEAP have their jobs restored with raises for their bravery. News stories and talking heads publicly thank those who stood up for their rights as Americans and protested a bad policy.
Strains of “America” play as the movie comes to a close with a long shot of fields of amber grain swaying in a gentle breeze.
Back to the real world.
There is an organization called LEAP. Too many people don’t know who they are and what they represent. They are current and former law enforcement officials who are against the prohibition of marijuana. People who have seen it’s ramifications first hand and know they are waging a losing war.
Border patrol agents like Bryan Gonzalez, who was fired for speaking in support of LEAP, do exist. Real people standing up for what’s right. Law enforcement officials who lose their jobs for questioning the war on drugs and fighting back in the courts.
In Arizona, Joe Miller, a probation officer in Mohave County, near the California border, filed suit recently in Federal District Court. He was dismissed for adding his name to a letter by LEAP, which is based in Medford, Mass., and known for its support of the decriminalization of marijuana.
Miller was one of 32 members of LEAP who signed the letter in support of a California ballot measure that would have permitted recreational marijuana use. The measure failed.
Most of the signers were retired members of law enforcement agencies, who could speak their minds without fear of action by their bosses. Miller and a handful of others who are still on the job — including Paul Gallegos, District Attorney for Humboldt County. He signed, too.
How can this support from the very people who have to enforce the draconian pot laws be ignored? They certainly know more about what’s going on behind the scenes than most American’s. They see the futility and the deaths.
The war against marijuana persists like an old prizefighter unwilling to retire. It continues to take lives and taxpayer’s hard earned money and to stifle the free speech of those charged with enforcing laws they believe are wrong.
LEAP’s views must be heard. If you would, take a moment and go to their website at http://www.leap.cc/ and read up on the group. Hopefully, you’ll consider supporting these officers of the law and their freedom of speech.
As It Stands, I want to thank Tom Angell, LEAP Media Relations Director, for always keeping me informed on the organization’s actions. If you’d like to contact him, phone: (415) 488-6615 or (202) 557-4979. You can also e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Websites carrying this column:
Comments from Anonymous' LEAP blog, some of which bring optimism:
“Despite my current silence, I believe a paradigm shift regarding the drug war is quietly occurring in every law enforcement agency in this country, thanks in large part to the efforts of LEAP. This paradigm shift is palpable— I can see it, feel it, and on occasion I hear it slip out from fellow officers and even supervisors once in a blue moon. I firmly believe things are about to change in this country, and when they do, those within law enforcement will be jumping off this drug war rat ship like it was on fire. And the jumpers will proclaim that they knew the drug war was wrong the whole time. But alas, I am not here to judge or point fingers at those wearing badges—I wear one too. I too am riding on that drug war rat ship. Gladly, I will be jumping off that rat ship with everyone else. In the meantime, I can point no fingers, except at myself.”