Ron Washington- Driving that train, high on cocaine

Texas Ranger’s Manager Ron Washington recently admitted that he used a little blow last year and that it was a one time deal. He’s really sorry and promises not to do it again.

At least one local sportstwriter calling for Ron’s immediate termination. That’s a position that can be debated. Baseball is entertainment and if the Rangers, a private business, want their employees to not use blow, so be it.

That argument aside we should all be grateful that Ron didn’t get arrested. Bosses and employers can be forgiving and understanding. The criminal justice machine, not so much.

If Ron had been arrested in Texas for possession of any amount of coke, he would have faced a state jail felony case for possession of a controlled substance, a sentence of 6 months-2 years in State jail (no parole), a fine of up to $10,000. Being a first time offender he would have been put on probation (Texas catches so many casual drug users we had to pass a law against incarcerating them, Onward Prohibition!).

What would purpose Ron’s arrest and felony prosecution have served? Would your family be safer right now if Ron had been thrown in jail and put on probation? The lie that is the foundation of our modern criminal justice system is that arresting, prosecution, and incarcerating a small random percentage of drug users somehow makes the country a better place. That we are “sending the right message” when we destroy the lives of some casual users while the vast majority of users never get caught. It’s nonsense in a way Shirley Jackson would appreciate. Our failed choice also fuels the bloody narco wars in Mexico.

The truth is that society is better off when we don’t arrest and destroy the majority of drug users. First, not all recreational drug users are created equal. In fact, some casual coke snorters end up as President of the United States (see Obama/W) or the manager of your favorite baseball team. Outside of Saying Yes by Jacob Sullum, little has been written on casual drug users who are not hopeless reprobates.

Debate the merits of firing Ron all you want, but we should all be glad that not one minute of law enforcement time, or one dollar of your taxes, were wasted on his prosecution. Terminating Ron Washington is a choice for his employer to make; the decision to not make felons out of future Ron Washingtons is up to the voters.

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