Entrapment, American Style

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In
the usual "soccer parent" rush I quickly ran into the
local convenience store to pick up a couple of bottles of water
before our oldest daughter, Sarah’s, senior soccer game and award
ceremony.  My attention was suddenly drawn to the young man
in front of me as he asked for a pack of cigarettes.

I
didn’t find this unusual until the cashier asked for his driver’s
license and then replied, “Sorry you are too young to buy cigarettes.”
Then suddenly, a short guy with a crew cut standing directly behind
the boy puffed his chest out, held up a badge and stated in a loud
voice to show his authority, “I’m with the u2018blankety-blankty' government
enforcement division. Ma’am, you did the right thing.”

I
was directly beside him making my purchase with the next cashier
and without
thinking I said far too loudly, “What a police-state we live in.
Does it give you a lot of job satisfaction to use underage kids
to entrap and harass minimum-wage store clerks for a living?” As
soon as I said it, I knew I’d made a mistake as he was a law enforcement
official of some type and my current drivers license expired back
on May 15, 1999.  The entire convenience store turned quiet
as everyone looked on and the petty bureaucrat in his harshest tone
warned, “You’d better mind your business, buddy.”

At
this point I was already late for the game and there was no way
I was going
to win this argument, so I quickly left as he followed me out the
door and
got into the car, even put on my seat belt, and drove off.

Entrapment
by federal and state officials takes place hundreds of times every
day across our great nation but this is the first time I’ve seen
it happen in person and it was disgusting. Hundreds of Americans
are entrapped into breaking the law regarding victimless crimes
from cigarettes, to alcohol, to marijuana, to prostitution by law
enforcement officials.  If we are going to have crazy laws,
there is nothing we can do about it, but this kind of entrapment
is more appropriate for a police state than our nation and it is
morally wrong.

Cicero
was right when he said, ”A bureaucrat is the most despicable
of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly
admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble.I have
yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless,
crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority
in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious
dog.Who can trust such creatures?”

May
12, 2003

Ron
Holland [send him mail]
is
an Asheville, NC, investment consultant and editor of Dixie
Daily News
.
His personal website is www.ronholland.com.


     

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