Texas Hold ‘Em
I am looking at a home-made flyer, detailing the sad case of Chris, a father of two, who was being held in Mendocino County Jail, on a Texas felony warrant. Chris is accused of having in his possession, fourteen grams of marijuana, including some cannabis concentrate, and was returned recently to Texas, to stand trial in the case.
A little over four grams of what he had, was hash, made from marijuana, and this is evidently the nail that is going to seal his coffin. The presence of hash makes this an offense punishable by 5-99 years in a Texan prison, because it was deemed that he had it for sale.
What we have here is a failure to communicate. California and Texas represent two sides of a coin. On the one hand, both represent states in the greatest nation on earth, one which purports to be the land of the free. On the other hand, anyone over the age of seven knows that Texas and California are as different as the yin and the yang.
I am an open-minded person, and I want to view this mild political controversy with as much balance as possible. After all, Texas has no reason to treat Chris any differently than any other political prisoner, does it? I want to believe that Texas genuinely sees marijuana as evil, and that a person in possession of it deserves to be incarcerated for life. But the thought that Texas could be so medieval in its approach baffles me. Is Texas living in a vacuum? Are there not medical personnel in Texas to educate those in need, that medicine comes in many forms, and not all of them come from corporate America?
Texas is accusing Chris of having traveled from Texas to Mendocino County, for the purpose of bringing back “drugs” for sale. Texas evidently believes that it would have been lucrative for Chris to have made a round-trip journey in order to infuse the unwary Texan populace with four grams of hash, not even the exotically imported variety from Turkey, just the garden-variety type (no pun intended) grown right here in Mendocino County.
Chris has a legitimate, documented California medical cannabis prescription, to account for the presence of the herb in the first place. Unfortunately for Chris, the medical prescription has no validity in Texas, a state that the home-made flyer insists is “evil.” I don’t think of Texas as evil, so much as inept, a bumbling idiot, full of self-righteous bigotry, an image that puts Texas in a negative light. This is the twenty-first century; if I were Texas, I think I would rather be thought of as evil, than bumbling, or inept. Mighty Texas as a buffoon? This is not the image one might think Texas would embrace.
To compound the problem, Chris has suffered from asthma since age two, and requires constant medical attention. The flyer includes a statement from Chris’s doctor, stating simply that “Chris being sent to Texas is a death sentence.” The flyer went on to say that he was denied basic health needs and medical treatment in the Mendocino County jail, with not even a rescue inhaler on hand to contend with the rigors of his medical condition.
Why bigotry? The flyer states that the “Texas Highway Patrol admitted to profiling California license plates” in pulling Chris over in the first place. In essence, Chris is guilty of calling California home, and that merited a look-see by the constabulary. Yes, they found what they were looking for, and now two kids don’t have a dad in the home any longer, and there’s the real crime.
By inflicting a narrow and antiquated law on its citizens and those of different states, Texas demonstrates that it is impervious to what is normal and decent. “We’ll teach you people what happens when you bring 'drugs' into our state.” It’s like the parent saying to the child, “Why? Because I said so.” More pertinently, it’s like a dude shoplifting at a liquor store, and emerging with a pack of baseball cards. Only there are two children, and they are now without a father in the home. If there is a crime being committed here, it’s one being perpetrated by the law enforcement agencies of Texas.
As the cards are dealt, Texas holds all the aces, and Chris is a joker. The only problem is that the pot contains the ante of two children’s lives, and that is too steep a price to pay.