Oklahoma's past 20 years have had one enduring, yet dubious legacy; the resolve to "Get tough on crime!" . But not many Oklahomans believe our statutes reflect that we are "smart on crime". We've become hell-bent on changing hearts, yet we have just pushed many people further into crime, for life.
When we don't offer an attainable way out of a stupid decision, those who did have a desire for change will believe their life is beyond saving. We have become the setting for Les Miserables'. Where the state creates an exploited mass of hungry and suffering common class of society, then squeezes them beyond decency.
When the Federal Reserve quits pumping billions into our stock market and buying our nation's debt, there will be some dire economic consequences. If hyper inflation hits (or should I say "when" it hits), we will see massive new theft felonies. Not necessarily more crime, but more petty misdemeanors inflated up to felony status because we've set a hard dollar amount as our distinguishing definition of what a felony is. State Question 780 simply puts a one-time adjustment in place. Oklahoma needs reforms which annually adjusts the dollar amount wherein a prosecutor calls for a felony charge
Let me share a family story... A distant relative of mine was at a community festival event in a city park, in another state. He had too many beers and the few porta-potties had long lines. He walked into the forested area, far away from the crowd, and relieved his bladder. A cop came by and arrested him for public exposure. He is now labeled "sex offender" in all 50 states... for life.
We have to differentiate the serious, repetitive, and violent sexual predators; but leave the rest off of our lifetime ban lists. We have created "leper colonies through our excessive zoning restrictions. When a guy or gal gets busted for peeing behind a bush, then has to live in the very limited zones where there is NOT a park, school, or daycare within 1/3 mile; The ramifications are devastating. We have grandmas on this list! We must not accept every other state's sex offender list without comparing the facts to see if the person would get the same justice if the violation happened in our state.
Oklahoma needs to study the Colorado policy on Marijuana, instead of filing federal lawsuits against them. A massive cartel has raped our economy of billions of untaxed dollars in marijuana trafficking. The product is less lethal than liquor, but unregulated in potency. When Colorado changed course and regulated the product, it became safer than booze and resulted in less DUI problems. Potheads don't exhibit the same risk-taking behavior that drunken drivers do.
Oklahoma retained liquor prohibition 25 years longer than the rest of the nation. I hope we don't have to wait 25 more years to figure out that this is not felony conduct. I'm a teetotaler, but I and getting robbed of tax dollars because our state assumes that anyone possessing pot... is a felon.
I could go into the many medicinal arguments, but that's a side issue. Let me just say this; I don't mind if my neighbor takes a shot of brandy at bedtime, to help him sleep better. And I don't mind if my other neighbor, the veteran from 3 tours in Iraq, smokes a joint at bedtime, to help him overcome the night terrors that PTSD has produced.
The associated crime environment connected to pot commerce is primarily because the pot commerce participants could not report a theft or burglary, since they would be sent to prison, themselves. They protect their property and themselves without calling upon law enforcement. This crime element would all but evaporate with a regulated industry. Health standards and potency issues would be established and labeled.
The massive influx of new revenues, along with the curbed expense in policing pot as equal to LSD, can be redirected to truly important objectives like maintaining public safety and preventing child exploitation. I discussed this matter with Tulsa DA, Steve Kunzweiler. He obviously disagrees. He claims he is doing a convict a big favor by prosecuting him. Kunzweiler assumes every person accused of possession is in fact a die-hard addict. He believes punishment is the best thing for the addict because it's a real rehab treatment.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...