Lock him up and throw away the key?

I just read an article on the Salisbury Post website about a guy who was arrested for growing pot.


I read the local news there in order to see what’s going on, but also for the entertaining comments with local flavor.  The stories I click most often are the ones most likely to produce chatter.

It’s all anonymous and unmonitored, so people who comment don’t give a damn.  You see some real jewels there.

Because Salisbury is a small town, if the story involves somebody everybody knows doing something he or she should not have done, the comments often get out of hand, deleted, and shut down.

As is the case in all media everywhere these days, there’s a large, loud chorus of commenters who rail against any and all government spending.

It really doesn’t matter what the government is doing, the response is fairly predictable:  if it costs money, they shouldn’t do it.

Yet, some of these same folks who seem to think schools should go without teachers and buildings and supplies because they represent “government spending,” made some suggestions regarding this marijuana grower:  “lock him up and throw away the key.”

Sorry, but this requires government spending, and a lot of it.

So I decided to Google the cost of prisons in North Carolina and register my own comment, there on the Salisbury Post site, and quoted here:

Just for the sake of discussion…

Lock him up and throw away the key?

The average cost of housing an inmate in North Carolina is over $27,000. This doesn’t count the cost of building the prison cell itself — which is over 100k for each cell.

So locking up anybody and throwing away the key involves some serious government spending with very little to show for the money after its spent.

The money it takes to lock this guy up for just a couple of years could pay for one of our many, decent, unemployed citizens to retrain and become a nurse — employed and contributing to society.

Whereas, keeping him in prison for growing pot will just prevent a few of his customers from watching too much TV and eating too many Cheetos.

I know “lock him up and throw away the key” is one emotion that many feel, but the economics of such practice — especially for victimless crimes — is rather silly.

A small wreck. One must count one's blessings.

Had a little wreck today.

And I mean little.

I’ve been delivering Coffee News for almost four years now — off and on — and this was my first bump on the job.

I pulled into a space in front of a Chinese Restaurant, ran in, delivered the papers, ran out, got in my car, put it in reverse, and hit a parked car.

Got out and took a look.

There was damage.  Very, very little.  I wiped most of it off with my finger, and a little scratch remained.  About the size of a lentil, maybe.  Looked more like a small smudge.

Problem is, the car belonged to the Sheriff’s Department.

I went in the restaurant.  Only one large table was occupied.  It was full of deputies.  About twenty of them.  They had just had training and were having lunch.  They were all talking.  All having a fun time.

I interrupted and told them what had happened.

The captain accompanied me to the scene of the crime and inspected the damage.  He called the local police department.

He asked me if I had been parked in the handicapped space.  I didn’t exactly lie.

I pointed to the space near the handicapped space and said I was parked “over there.”  Please know that there were three handicapped space — all empty — and I had in fact parked in one of them for about fifteen seconds.

He asked me if I had been wearing a seat belt.  I didn’t exactly lie.

I told him I had just delivered papers and gotten back in the car, and might not have been, couldn’t really remember — but if I had to answer the question definitively one way or the other, I guess I was wearing it.  My next stop was, in effect, on the other side of the parking lot — and I had not, in fact, been wearing the seat belt.

He wrote the report and informed me that this would not be reported to the state, since there was so little damage.  They would call me tomorrow.  The county has their own body shop and it might be something I could pay directly, so that my insurance wasn’t affected.

All this took about an hour.

Before he let me go, he thanked me for being honest.