Yes, Humboldt County loves its outlaw self-image. We all enjoy doing our thing and flaunting it in The Man's face. We're the spiritual home of freaks and rebels and dropouts everywhere, and we like it that way. We've got hundreds of square miles of wilderness and four or five of the prettiest, most human towns in the state, along with a couple that may yet be redeemed. Partly by design and partly by accident, we've largely resisted the tidal wave of vapidity that has swallowed the landscape of almost every other part of the country. Let's raise our glasses and hope it stays that way for the next hundred years. I'm right there with you.
Still, it's long past time to do away with the soul-deadening hypocrisy that arises from our big cash cow -- marijuana prohibition. It's time for us to wholeheartedly lend our voices to a rapidly growing national movement demanding that the United States raise the white flag on the very stupidest front of the War on Drugs, a set of colossally idiotic and failed policies bequeathed to us by Ronald Reagan and his predecessors. Remember Peter Tosh? Remember that song, "Legalize It"? That should be Humboldt County's national anthem. They should play it before every Crabs game, and fans should rise and place hands on hearts.
I don't expect this to become official policy overnight. Why not? It's not that Humboldt County's tattered conservative establishment stands in the way -- the Good Ol' Boys of yesteryear have been out of the picture, politically speaking, for quite some time now. No. The Humboldt County residents who would most fiercely resist legalization today are the dope growers themselves. They're not making money off of marijuana, after all. They're making money off prohibition. With every step we take to ending this counterproductive war -- as with Prop. 215 -- they will make less and less. And yes, it's true -- all of us, we residents of Humboldt County, will make less and less.
Tough. We can live with a little less cash in the bank -- we're rebels, remember? -- but we can't continue to abide the damage that the drug war does to our soul and our spirits. Those who root for it to continue out of self-interest aren't real Humboldt County people, and they are welcome to haul their asses out of town.
On Monday night, 21-year-old local resident David Fields and a 19-year-old associate from the Bay Area arranged to buy a mass quantity of weed at a McKinleyville intersection. (Fields' city of residence was unavailable at press time.) When the deal was ready to go down, Fields and his associate allegedly drew guns on the sellers, forced them to lay down in the middle of the road and drove away firing shots into the air, 14 lbs. richer. The Sheriff's Office got a report and caught up with the assailants on Giuntoli Lane. A chase ensued, during which the assailants fired on sheriff's deputies and the CHP. Finally, after driving over a spike strip, their car veered off the road and went over an embankment. Somehow, both of them ended up with gunshot wounds to the head, though according to a press release law enforcement personnel never fired their weapons. Fields was dead, the associate survived.
This strange case is just the latest episode in a long series of murder, "disappearance," arson, accidental fire, diesel spillage, home invasion, etc., etc. that marijuana prohibition has inspired in Humboldt County. This is the fruit of our agricultural industry. This and the cash. There are people in our county who tell you to shut up about legalization, that it will blow their game. This -- Fields' stupid death, triggered by God knows what visions of escape -- is what they are arguing for. That and the murder of Reetpaul Rana, the murder of Sean Akselsen, the probable murder of Chris Giauque, the poisoning of Hacker Creek, and on and on.
What we have to understand is that too many of today's growers have nothing to do with our parent's age, when growing a cash crop out in the back field was a way of bringing on the Age of Aquarius. For all their goofiness, the original back-to-the-landers had some sense of purpose beyond driving a new car and buying vacation property in Costa Rica. There's a whole new crop of growers for whom American mass culture is their mother's milk. They simply do not give a shit. These are the thuggish types who boycott and slander the Arcata Eye for reporting the facts about grow houses in that town, and whine whenever this paper publishes anything that threatens to give away the big secret that people grow weed in Humboldt County. ("Thuggish," I say -- mercifully, their post-slacker lack of balls mostly prevents them being thugs in fact.)
Meanwhile, none other than Gov. Schwarzenegger -- like our last three presidents, an ex-toker -- is calling for an open debate about legalization. Let's take him up on it, and do him one better. This is Humboldt County, for fuck's sake.