If You Aren't Growing Tomatoes, You Have Nothing to Worry About

Unbelievable:

A Pullman landlord notified police about a grow lamp in a closet, and police got a search warrant for a drug raid.


Eight officers with guns drawn surprised three roommates in the apartment last weekend and discovered they were growing tomatoes.

More, from the Daily Evergreen, the Washington State student newspaper:

Just three hours earlier, two people, who Barry said were there on behalf of the landlord, were reviewing the apartment when they noticed a growth lamp in a hall closet.

Pullman Police met the two citizens when they went to the police station soon after leaving the apartment to report a suspected growth.

The two people also mentioned to the officer that the roommates appeared nervous while they were in the apartment, and said it smelled like burnt marijuana.

Roommate Jacin Davis, a senior business administration major, said he was sitting on the couch watching television and did not understand how he could have come across as nervous nor how they would have smelled marijuana.

[...]

Much to their surprise, when the police came to the apartment with guns drawn, they found tomato plants growing in Barry’s closet.

“They went straight to the closet and saw tomatoes,” Barry said. “They regrouped for a second and then searched the rest of the apartment visually.” Barry said the officers found nothing and even threatened to bring dogs back to search the apartment further.

“They must have felt stupid by then,” he said.

So a growth lamp (which can be used to grow just about anything indoors), "appearing nervous," and a secondhand claim of smelling burnt marijuana is enough for the police to storm into your house with their guns drawn.

I feel like a broken record on this stuff. But this isn't the first time people have had their homes raided over misidentified plants. Hell, it's not even the first time it's happened with tomatoes. I've also found several home invasion raids after a citizen or police officer mistook hibiscus plants for marijuana. There was the time that police in Bel Aire, Kansas raided the home of the town's former mayor after mistaking a sunflower plant for marijuana (the sunflower is also the state flower of Kansas). In 2002, police in Travis County, Texas brought a helicopter to raid the home of Sandra Smith, during which they awoke her and her roommates to the sight of guns pointed at their heads. The marijuana they were after turned out to be ragweed. And there's Ed and Jan Carden, an Orlando couple raided when police mistook elderberry bushes for marijuana.

Then there is the long history of people wrongly raided for the crime of merely owning plant growing equipment or, even worse, merely shopping at stores that sell plant growing equipment that could be used to grow marijuana (of, for that matter, just about anything else). Here's just one example. Here's another.

These military-ish attacks on small-time marijuana offenders, and the mistaken raids that go with them, have been going on for 20 years.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Let\'s call the whole thing of||

    For a campus newspaper named The Daily Evergreen...

  • uncle sam||

    And so many...almost everyone, believes that political government is the establisher and perserver of civilization.

  • Grrrr||

    I hate drugs, I think taking drugs recreationally is stupid (yes including booze and caffeine), but these stories make me want to take a bit of something illegal just because of the gross injustice here. Yet I won't, because I want to be sober to fight back. Somehow.

    Pass me an aspirin.

    No, don't.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Hey, I'm totally against the drug war, but, come on, a kid in a college town growing a tomato plant in his closet. That doesn't add up. Obviously, a decoy.

  • ||

    Maybe it like a marijuana-tomato hybrid. Like tomacco.

    Marijuato?
    Tojuana?

  • highnumber||

    My wife has a cousin named Marijuato who lives in Tojuana.

  • Nyuk Nyuk||

    Tojuana Braulee?

  • ||

    Don't vote for another candidate who isn't pledged to end the Drug War/prohibition. As Steve Kubby says, it's not about drugs, it's about control. Do we have control over our government? Stories like this indicate that the answer is "no." We need to get that control back. The Drug War is one of the key mechanisms by which we lost our control, and we must simply end it. Even Bob Barr seems to be coming around on that point. The people must "just say no" to prohibition. Scream it as we teach even our kids to do: "No means no! You are not my mommy!"

  • ||

    From the article:

    They were interviewed in-depth to see if they had been in the residence legally and knew what a marijuana growth looked like



    I'm not sure, but I think I have one of those growths coming out of my back, right beneath one of my shoulder blades.

  • ||

    Just in case "juanita" is taking the weekend off, I will point out that those good citizens of Narc Nation deserve medals. And if those cops hadn't been such a bunch of pussies (i.e., by leaving people alive to dispute their version of the facts), this could have been another grand triumph in our nation's campaign to save the People from themselves.

    If those hick cops from Pullman were up to speed on this stuff, they could have surreptitiously entered the apartment and replaced the tomato plants with the Real Thing, and then brought a camera crew from COPS in to get it all on tape. They need more Law Enforcement Block Grants. And some APCs and stuff, and maybe a bazooka for in case the door is locked, or if somebody inside is armed with some kind of deadly weapon, like a mechanical pencil or a frying pan.

  • ||

    Radley Balko: "I feel like a broken record on this stuff."

    You sound like a broken record on this stuff.

    There's more to making an compelling argument than assembling a collection of anecdotes.

  • Steve in CLearwater||

    PBROOKS, obviously more cops need to learn the Mightiness of YouTube and where it can take your careers.

    MEANWHILE....

    I've been known to spend time under a "growth lamp" prior to donning my swimsuit.

    Appearance Is Everything

  • Steve in Clearwater||

    And no, a growth lamp was not involved with inflating my previous post's name tag to an upper case "L".

  • ||

    Funny, I'm planning to sell my grow light in the next few months (250W HPS). I'm wondering if I'll get any "visits" once the ad goes up. They'll find nothing, of course, but it looks like police can come into your house for any reason, or for no reason.

  • ||

    Steve, the best thing you can do before going to the beach is put a potato in your swim trunks. Just remember to put it in the front...

  • ||

    I won't comment on the drug raids. They're a moot point, and working to fix these raids, or to get "medical marijuana" legal is too much of a compromise. There is no scientific or medical reason why marijuana should not be 100% legal today. None. Zilch.

  • ||

    Russ R, haven't you ever heard the old statisticians' maxim?

    The plural of anecdote is data.

    I wish Rex Stout were still alive to write a story about drug cops hassling Nero Wolfe about his orchid growing.

    Kevin

  • ||

    Above maxim was the work of Raymond Wolfinger, BTW.

    Kevin

  • LarryA||

    Next thing you know they'll have growth lamps behind the counter where you have to sign for them. Or get a prescription.

    There's more to making an compelling argument than assembling a collection of anecdotes.

    You mean like graphing them on a map? Writing editorials about them? That kind of stuff?

  • ||

    "Russ R, haven't you ever heard the old statisticians' maxim?

    The plural of anecdote is data."


    Actually, "data" is the plural of "datum"; the plural of "anecdote" remains "anecdotes".

    And for every anecdote Mr. Balko provides about a house that was raided, one could counter with an anecdote about a house that wasn't raided. Which side will run out of anecdotes first?

    Anecdotes are not how cases are made or how arguments are won. It takes a bit more than that.

    "You mean like graphing them on a map? Writing editorials about them? That kind of stuff?"

    Only if preaching to a choir. A more demanding audience might expect Mr. Balko to provide some evidence to support his argument that raids increase the risk to public safety, but the crowd here is willing to accept his assertion without proof because it ties in nicely with what they would like to believe.

  • wsdave||

    "A more demanding audience might expect Mr. Balko to provide some evidence to support his argument that raids increase the risk to public safety..."

    Say, for example, a list of people killed when no drugs (and sometimes no weapons) were present? The ability to carry out a raid on the thinnest of evidence (whether real or not)? Do you mean THAT kind of risk to public safety?

  • ||

    And for every anecdote Mr. Balko provides about a house that was raided, one could counter with an anecdote about a house that wasn't raided. Which side will run out of anecdotes first?


    How does an anecdote about someone's house not being raided counter the point that Balko is trying to make?

    There were some Jews that the Nazis were unable to exterminate, do anecdotes about them disprove that the Nazis were trying to do just that?

  • ||

    Russ, you are a moron

    As kevrob pointed out, the statement "The plural of anecdote is data" is a maxim, not a direct definition.

    If there was a statistician out there counting how many times homes were broken into on mistaken drug raids and publishing numbers, I'm sure Mr. Balko would love those numbers, though undoubtedly the credibility of those numbers would be challenged by drug warriors in any case. Anecdotes provide real, factual experience that can be judged each on the merits of the report rather than anonymously combined into statistics.

    Yes, the point is the drug war is harmful and he's preaching to the choir here, but at the same time he shows us a new instance of police abuse, he's collecting yet another example with which to present en masse to those that matter at some future point. The fact is, police have been given too much power in general over the years and it needs curtailing.

    Here's another maxim for you

    "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" and the more power police are given, the more corruption they will suffer from and the more citizens will be hurt by it.

  • ||

    haha, there was supposed to be "" around "Russ you are a moron". The site must believe that is a real tag.

  • highnumber||

    Actually, "data" is the plural of "datum"; the plural of "anecdote" remains "anecdotes".

    [Zooooooooooop!]

    Did you hear that?
    Do you know what that was?
    That was kevrob's comment sailing way over Russ R's head.

  • ||

    "Say, for example, a list of people killed when no drugs (and sometimes no weapons) were present?"

    The number of deaths/injuries to innocent people resulting from raids is a useful fact, but it's incomplete as an argument without comparing it to the increase in safety* attributable to real criminals being apprehended / convicted / incarcerated via raids.

    "The ability to carry out a raid on the thinnest of evidence (whether real or not)? Do you mean THAT kind of risk to public safety?"

    And what kind of risk to public safety would that be? It's certainly an invasion of privacy, but calling it a safety issue is a stretch.

    * This assumes that the incarceration of criminals improves public safety, directly by removing offenders from the population, and indirectly by serving to deter potential offenders. I acknowledge that the public safety implications of both of the above factors are difficult to quantify.

  • ||

    "How does an anecdote about someone's house not being raided counter the point that Balko is trying to make?"

    You missed my point that anecdotes are not sufficient as an argument, (except as disproof of a universal assertion, and nobody's been making those).

  • ||

    Lost_In_Translation: "Russ, you are a moron...

    ...the drug war is harmful... police have been given too much power... it needs curtailing...
    "Absolute power corrupts absolutely"


    Actually, I agree with everything you've written (except that first point).

    I'm just skpetical of the specific argument that raids increase the risk to public safety. I'm skeptical becuase nobody has presented evidence to demonstrate that point.

    Anecdotes shouldn't be confused with evidence... it leads to flawed reasoning.

    e.g. "x number of people died in plane crashes... therefore, air travel increases the risk to public safety." Presenting more gory anecdotes of plane crash victims doesn't help to improve the argument.

  • ||

    Russ R, you obviously have no poetry in your soul. Wolfinger's remark is well known to those who do survey research, because behind every number is some human being's report of something that happened. Sociology, political science, psychology or any of the "social sciences" are not math or engineering. Just as data sets in the physical sciences are dependent on their production by good laboratory technique and good experimental design, so too can social science data be criticized for its collection technique - typically interviews with people who have had particular experiences. This is as true for crime statistics as for any other kind of social science research.

    The public safety isn't the only criteria for the legitimacy of police searches, by warrant or otherwise. The Fourth Amendment requires that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. If and when the constables present the magistrate with inaccurate descriptions of the suspected contraband, the 4th A is being abused. You may not consider constitutional violations important, as long as nobody is physically harmed. I might even posit that eroding respect for the constitution actually harms public safety, as citizens become less likely to cooperate with an untrustworthy police power.

    Randy had given plenty of examples of police misconduct that have resulted in much worse harm than the Evergreen article reported, even the death of innocent people. You can't just brush that away. Could you guarantee that some hyper SWAT-squaddie could never have confused a remote control in the hand of that TV-watching student for a handgun, and plugged him? Besides the constitutional problem, there's a real danger of tragedy resulting from these raids in force.

    high#: Zooooooooooooop, indeed!

    Kevin

  • Dr.Greenthumb||

    The old emergency "tomato switch". The only reason I have tomato plants in my living room!That way they can't take your equipment or fertilizer.

  • The Cat||

    e.g. "x number of people died in plane crashes... therefore, air travel increases the risk to public safety." Presenting more gory anecdotes of plane crash victims doesn't help to improve the argument.

    Considering airline travel is the safest form of travel, how many people have been saved from dying in automobile/bus accidents?

  • thoreau||

    Basic gun safety says that you shouldn't be pointing guns unless you have a reason to point them at something. Any time you point a gun you take a risk.

    What? Pointing guns isn't risky? Well, would you want to stand in front of somebody pointing a gun?

    If they don't have a good reason to go in with guns pointed, then they shouldn't. And dubious suspicions of drug possession are simply not enough reason to go in with guns drawn. Unless they have reason to believe that a person is in danger, there's no reason to go around pointing guns.

  • ||

    thoreau's comments about gun safety are spot on. Consider the mindset that produces the kind of "accidents" we fear from these types of searches.

    Some precinct captain gets bad info that leads him to believe that Subject X is growing contraband. Grabbing a few stalks of Toledo Windowbox isn't going to make for much of a splash in the press, so the presumption that dealing is going on is made. That allows Captain Narco to assume that the suspects must have weapons, `cause everybody knows that drug dealers settle their disputes violently. So out comes the Army Surplus gear the feds donated when the boys in Iraq got their last upgrade, and whatever toys were bought with the anti-terrorism funds appropriated to East Podunk after 9/11, (instead of being spent upgrading security at our actual ports of entry ) and it's door-busting time! Find one stray seed, and Our Noble Heroes chalk up another victory in the WoSD. Maybe if they are lucky, there'll be a dog to shoot.

    Idiots.

    Kevin

  • ||

    kevrob...

    This isn't about poetry, my point is about safety, or more specifically, the still unsubstantiated claim that raids increase safety risks.

    I agree that safety isn't the only issue, and I just happen to agree with all of your points regarding all of the other issues (4th Amendment, privacy, the need for constraints on police authority, the errors that have been made). Yes, the police need some serious sorting out, they bust down doors way too frequently, they use too much force even for non-violent offenders, and I'd be only to happy if the Controlled Substances Act was repealed. Amen.

    Now, let me make my position here absolutely, crystal clear, and it relates specifically and only to the issue of safety surrounding raids:

    One cannot say that SWAT raids increase the risk to public safety by presenting graphic stories of botched raids, any more than one can say that air travel increases the risk to public safety by presenting graphic images of crash victims.

    Such anecdotal arguments fail to weigh the risks relative to the alternatives, and are nearly useless* in decision-making (which necessarily involves choosing among alternatives).

    With data from a true comparative analysis measuring risks (probability of injuries or deaths to innocent parties, suspects and police, across various circumstances and types of arrests), I'd expect to see that SWAT raids increase total risks when apprehending non-violent offenders, but decrease total risks when applied to armed and violent offenders.

    With such data, the argument to reduce SWAT raids would be a lot more compelling to policy-makers than a list of anecdotes.

    *Yes, anecdotes make for good emotional arguments, and in our political and media-driven society, I concede that there is some value to be derived there. However, the site is called "Reason", and I like to think that all of us here are capable of exercising it.

  • ||

    And congress has decided to ban the 'global war on terror', apparently even in their own backyards.

  • ||

    Russ R, my initial reaction to your responses is that you are exhibiting invincible ignorance.

    Look, your point about air safety would make sense, except that when we accumulate anecdotes (along with physical evidence) about air crashes, air fatalities, near misses, dangerous landings, etc. we create a numerator, with the person-trips or air miles flown as the denominator. The problem with judging the incidence of police abuses of the type that Radley discusses is how to set up the ratio. What's the proper denominator? All the search warrants served? Just the the ones where forced entry is used? All police contacts at peoples' residences or businesses? Like I said before, your choice of survey design determines your results.

    Of course abuse by the police elicits an emotional response. Just because this magazine is called Reason doesn't mean we have to all be Vulcans. Abuse of the citizenry's rights ought to engender strong emotion, especially when it's done with guns drawn.

    Your assertion that enforcing the drug "laws" somehow makes us safer is what hasn't been supported by evidence. Nearly a century after the Harrison Act was passed, and the "scourge" still hasn't been stamped out. Get a clue. It never will be, not as long as we retain even a vestige of the habits of a free people. Give it up.

    Kevin

  • ktc2||

    I smell bacon.

  • biologist||

    I think we can conclude that accurate plant identification is harder than you guys thought it was :)

  • ||

    kevrob: "Your assertion that enforcing the drug "laws" somehow makes us safer is what hasn't been supported by evidence."

    Did you even read what I wrote? Not once have I ever asserted such a thing. Stop putting words into my mouth.

    Let me make it clear that I would love to see drug prohibition laws repealed. Not only are they're unconstitutional, it's any free person's right to put whatever substance desired into his/her own bodies, and by extension to possess, produce, buy, sell, or transport said substances.

    I'm making one very simple point about SWAT teams and safety... but you insist on ignoring in and bringing in every other issue possible.

    "What's the proper denominator?"

    Numerator: Casualties.
    Denominator: Warrants served.
    What could be more simple?

  • ||

    This is the kind of thing that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and just start screaming. It also makes me want to cry at how people will just accept this kind of thing happening without even questioning why it's necessary.

    Personally, I don't care if SWAT raids increase or decrease public safety, although my personal opinion is that they cause harm to each and every one of us. One innocent person getting killed or injured, one innocent person being terrorized, one innocent person's possessions being destroyed in the name of this idiotic drug war is too much, and should cause us to completely overhaul the system. Yet we just go on letting this kind of crap happen.

    I truly do weep for this country's future. This is only going to get worse.

  • VM||

    biolgist:

    indeed (sorry for yesterday - you were right. no - you were being charitable. I appreciate that)

  • von Laue||

    Pullman police are bored douchebags. That town is virtually crime-free except for college-kid hijinks. I didn't lock a car door (and usually apartment door) for years. I'm not at all surprised that they pulled guns on someone for a grow lamp.

  • ||

    I lived in Idaho not far from Pullman for many years. Of all the places I have lived, that part of the inland northwest is by far the most tight-assed anti-grass group of narrow minded bigots I've ever seen. I had a friend years ago that stepped outside a tavern to smoke a J. He was beat within inches of death and ended up in the hospital for weeks by four of the local rednecks. It was their way of just saying no to drugs. No legal action was taken by the police.
    Incidentally, it also had the highest rate of alcohol inspired spousal abuse and child molestation of anywhere I have lived.

    Idaho, where alcohol abuse is a sport and duct tape is foreplay.

  • ||

    Russ R.

    I did miss this:

    I agree that safety isn't the only issue, and I just happen to agree with all of your points regarding all of the other issues (4th Amendment, privacy, the need for constraints on police authority, the errors that have been made). Yes, the police need some serious sorting out, they bust down doors way too frequently, they use too much force even for non-violent offenders, and I'd be only to happy if the Controlled Substances Act was repealed. Amen.



    Mea culpa. I somehow got the idea that the "real criminals" you mentioned in an early post included drug "violators."

    Not all warrants have to be served with guns drawn, even if the deputies or officers sent out to deliver the paper are armed. Your "simple" isn't, so much.

    Kevin

  • CompleteAndTotalSuccess||

    An attorney friend who used to be a public defender told me a few years back that he had a client who was arrested by police, charged with possession of crack cocaine, and had his car seized because the cops thought he had crack cocaine in a baggie on the front seat of his car, in plain sight, when he was stopped for speeding. They guy told the cops that the contents of the bag were macadamia nuts. They sent them to the lab, sure enough, they were macadamia nuts. I bet those cops felt really stupid, too.

  • ktc2||

    Yeah, so stupid they probably kept his car, auctioned it off and got a percentage anyway.

  • Nobody Important||

    Russ R | April 7, 2007, 7:45pm
    "What's the proper denominator?"
    Numerator: Casualties.
    Denominator: Warrants served.

    What could be more simple?



    Do you believe that fatalities are the only cost of these raids?

  • thoreau||

    Russ, I generally agree with the point that an argument is most convincing when it can be shown that the concrete harm is statistically significant. However, I don't see it as the only convincing method of argument, especially here.

    In this case, what I find most disturbing, aside from raw numbers of victims, is the growing use of really bad methods. Although I am certainly not going to claim to be an expert on tactics (I'm not the sort of gun owner who poses as a badass in internet forums), I know that as a rule you shouldn't be pointing a gun unless you have a damn good reason to be pointing a gun. You can't possibly shoot a person that a gun isn't pointed at, so don't point the damn thing at a person unless you have a damn good reason to do so. Seeing more and more raids with cops charging in, guns drawn, creating chaotic and confusing situations, disturbs me. Good judgement is not being exercised, and even if the harm is not statistically significant yet, an increasing lack of good judgement seems like the sort of thing that should be countered before it becomes statistically significant.

  • ||

    "I hate drugs, I think taking drugs recreationally is stupid (yes including booze and caffeine),"

    This is why I'm a breathatarian. When I realized that everything I could ingest had some sort of biochemical effect on the body, I gave up eating and drinking altogether.

  • Fluffy||

    "The number of deaths/injuries to innocent people resulting from raids is a useful fact, but it's incomplete as an argument without comparing it to the increase in safety* attributable to real criminals being apprehended / convicted / incarcerated via raids."

    Russ, the reason this can't be separated from discussion of propriety of the drug laws is because if I don't think the drug laws are valid, then the increase to my "safety" from ALL successful drug raids is zero.

    That means that even a trivial or minor decrease in my safety as a result of my increased chance of being injured in a botched or mistaken raid means that the raids harm my safety.

  • Xmas||

    Russ,

    How many deaths of presumed innocent people is appropriate?

    As for anecdotes. Here's Pullman's crime statistics:

    http://www.idcide.com/citydata/wa/pullman.htm

    It's a city of 25,000 people.

    Violent crime in Pullman

    Crime events per 100,000 people: 143
    Murder, man-slaughter: 0
    Forcible rape: 16
    Robbery: 4
    Aggravated assault: 16

    So you can divide all those numbers by 4. 0 Murders, 4 rapes, 1, ONE! violent robbery, 4 Aggravated assault.

    This is not a city were you expect violent, gun-wielding, drug dealers.

  • ||

    Russ,

    Your assertions about the statistical validity of anecdotes is spot on, and in a situation where there are trade offs, like the uses and misuses of personal firearms, that is the more compelling rule of thumb.

    My issue with your arguments, and I realize that you are not a drug warrior, is that there is no evidence supporting that drug raids actually improve public safety in any demonstrable way. They not only don't have data, they don't even have anecdotes.

    So, any evidence that they harm public safety, even an anecdote, is more than is being provided by the other side of this argument.

    On the other hand, pretending that there actually is a trade off here between the benefits of violent drug raids and the costs, we as private citizens are explicitly prevented by the necessarily secretive nature of police operations from being able to assemble accurate data on this subject. In the absence of an ability to assemble data, an accumulation of anecdotes is really the best you can do to show that there is a problem. The plural of anecdote might not really be data, but the rule of large numbers still applies statistically speaking, and Balko has assembled an arguably large number of anecdotes of clear harm to public safety by violent drug raids.

    By the way, thanks for sticking with the discussion.

  • ||

    Maybe it like a marijuana-tomato hybrid. Like tomacco.

    I'm glad I took the time to read the comments. I was about to embarrass myself by saying the same thing and claim it as original.

    Marijuato?
    Tojuana?


    I like "tomajuana" myself.

  • Robert||

    "Pullman police are bored douchebags. That town is virtually crime-free except for college-kid hijinks. I didn't lock a car door (and usually apartment door) for years. I'm not at all surprised that they pulled guns on someone for a grow lamp."

    I do have the impression that low-crime areas are more dangerous for victimless criminals, for that reason. Any of you feel safer in higher crime areas for that reason?

  • biologist||

    VM

    no worries. relax and have a happy Easter.

  • Adam Selene||

    Russ:

    "What's the proper denominator?"
    Numerator: Casualties.
    Denominator: Warrants served.

    What could be more simple?



    It doesn't capture the dimensions of the problem. You have agreed on those dimensions:

    - Violation of fundamental rights to life, liberty and property
    - Violating Constitutional guarantees of those rights
    - Erosion of trust in the exercise of the state's monopoly on deadly force
    - Erosion of belief in the rule of law
    - Death of innocent citizens who would otherwise not have died (please note that this is true, regardless of "public safety" arguments)

    So, given that, I would argue that it is more important to use this equation:

    numerator - number of no knock warrants issued
    denominator - number of warrants issued

    Now, graph that equation over time and then compare it to a graph of number of deaths in police searches of private property. See if there is a correlation. I'm sure there are surveys of public trust in the government. Plot that graph over time, see if there is a correlation to the no knock equation. And so forth.

  • ||

    This might seem to be a silly police mistake, but then again we won't be laughing when Congress bans tomatoes in the wake of the Great Tomato War, will we?

  • ||

    Watch out, maybe this is just staged viral marketing for the upcoming Reno 911 movie.

    I grew up in Moscow across the border but also spent time in Pullman. von Laue nails it:

    Pullman police are bored douchebags.

    Police there don't have anything to do except bust underage drinking, noisy parties, drunk drivers, high school kids vandalizing lawn displays, etc.

    I don't know where brotherben's hatin' comes from. Maybe he was living in Deary.

  • Grotius||

    In quite a number of cases it really sucks to be the "anecdote."

  • Anarchist||

    - Erosion of trust in the exercise of the state's monopoly on deadly force
    - Erosion of belief in the rule of law


    Great results, lousy method.

  • ||

    Lewiston, Grangeville, St. Maries

    and BTW Deary is lovely this time of year.

  • ||

    Yeah, I shouldn't have picked on Deary. I'd definitely rank it better than Troy or Bovill. I can see why you had a negative impression of the region. Moscow/Pullman have the universities, which significantly alter the atmosphere from the surrounding farming/logging towns. I wouldn't light up a joint outside a tavern in any of those towns you mention. I am sorry for your friend.

  • ||

    More money growing tomatoes, bigger marketing audience, too.

  • ||

    But how much should we blame the landlord for reporting the lamp, and the two other people for saying they smelled marijuana smoke?

    I am not excusing the bursting in with guns drawn, but it seems to me the landlord had it in for these kids for some reason. Maybe to get them out to rent the place to someone else?

  • ||

    Russ,

    What I don't understand is:

    Why is it EVER safe to use force (a counter to violence) against what you described as non-violent offenders?

    I'm still moving to Ireland when Hilary gets elected. Luckily, this just reminded me to search for tickets...

  • ||

    "numerator - number of no knock warrants issued
    denominator - number of warrants issued"

    I'd like to see the comparison of

    Death/injury to innocent persons per no-knock raid compared to death/injury to innocent persons per Yes(?)-knock raid

    Perhaps additional comparisons of "false alarms"(nothing is found and no one is arrested) per no-knock vs yes-knock raids.

  • Salvatore Culosi||

    Basic gun safety says that you shouldn't be pointing guns unless you have a reason to point them at something. Any time you point a gun you take a risk.

    Boy, ain't that the truth.

  • ||

    I'm glad to see that juanita *didn't* take the weekend off, but was posting under the pen name of Russ R.

    Hi, juanita! Happy Easter!

  • VM||

    Yar. (to quote Happy Tree Friend "Russell the Pirate")

    Chicago Sun Times

    Cops seize marijuana plants

    April 9, 2007
    BY FRANK MAIN fmain@suntimes.com
    Chicago Police arrested two men Sunday and seized about 200 marijuana plants from a Northwest Side home equipped with indoor growth lights and a ventilation system.

  • ||

    said he was sitting on the couch watching television and did not understand how he could have come across as nervous nor how they would have smelled marijuana.

    Just like Brad Pitt in True Romance?

    Were there any visible Honey Bear bottles?

  • Russ 2000||

    Anecdotes are not how cases are made or how arguments are won. It takes a bit more than that.

    But it is how bills are written and supported as law.

  • ||

    Russ R.

    "I'm just skpetical of the specific argument that raids increase the risk to public safety. I'm skeptical becuase nobody has presented evidence to demonstrate that point."

    "This isn't about poetry, my point is about safety, or more specifically, the still unsubstantiated claim that raids increase safety risks."

    Now, while the topic eventually turned into a discussion on how such raids increase the risk to public safety, it appears to me that the first time in this article that safety was mentioned was... oh... this:

    "A more demanding audience might expect Mr. Balko to provide some evidence to support his argument that raids increase the risk to public safety"

    I can't find where Mr. Balko claims any such thing. Am I missing something? Are you referring to comments made in previous threads?

  • cliff||

    Nobody expects the hydroponic inquisition.

  • lunchstealer||

    And for every anecdote Mr. Balko provides about a house that was raided, one could counter with an anecdote about a house that wasn't raided. Which side will run out of anecdotes first?

    Oh thank god. I was worried. I thought that if there were numerous instances across the country of police storming into peoples' homes with machineguns looking for harmless contraband, that might be a problem.

    But fortunately, as long as the number of raided houses is less than 50% of the total number of houses in the US, it's all just anecdotes.

    W00t! Problem solved! For shame Radley, for worrying about less than half the population!

  • ||

    And for every anecdote Mr. Balko provides about a house that was raided, one could counter with an anecdote about a house that wasn't raided. Which side will run out of anecdotes first?

    I'm not entirely sure but I think that might have been the stupidest coherent paragraph ever posted on Hit and Run.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement