That thing in New Braunfels

There are things that make me proud to be a Texan. To say the least, this isn’t one of them.

PoliceOne recently published this story (linking to the original article in the San Antonio Express-News) about the New Braunfels PD’s seizure of a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which they repainted and gave it a really lame name inspired by a certain toy and cartoon franchise recently turned movie franchise, which I will not reprint here because I believe it to be in poor taste.

My biggest objection is:

The conspicuous vehicle will be mostly used during community outreach events to excite youth about law enforcement, [New Braunfels Police Department spokesperson David] Ferguson said to [the San Antonio Express-News].

The drug problem would have been solved long ago by decriminalization. The only reason there is money in the drug trade is that it is illicit. The law is simply the wrong tool used to solve the drug problem. Not only are we losing the War on Some Drugs (as it has been called), I think it’s safe to say this war is in its endgame. In fact, if we are going to call it a war, I’d say it’s the law enforcement equivalent of Vietnam: not only is it lost, but our law enforcement agencies are still fighting it even though it’s been lost and there’s no hope of winning it this way.

Let’s look at an alternative reality where drug usage was decriminalized, and treated strictly as a social problem. The street price of most narcotics would drop back a lot closer to the cost of manufacture. The dealers would be doing good to afford something like an old station wagon or minivan to move their goods across town; a Corvette would be out of the question. The law enforcement agencies would no longer be able to rob drug dealers of their cars (and yes, were it not for the fact this was the government using means of legal process, the taking of this Corvette would qualify as robbery). Even if they somehow were still able to take the drug dealers’ vehicles, somehow painting up an old station wagon and sending it around town does not strike me as the kind of thing that will get kids saying they want to grow up to be cops.

So in essence, this is about a car thief showing off his ill-gotten ride to the world. Except, in this case, the car thief wears blue, carries a badge and gun, and worst of all gets paid for with our tax dollars.

Look, I get that kids will read about Darren Goforth and have second thoughts about a career in law enforcement, the same way they will likely read about Eric Cropp and reconsider becoming a pharmacist. (I draw the parallel here, because while Eric is a free man today, his career as a practicing pharmacist has likely ended.) But the kids have the right to know that from a certain perspective, that car is stolen property and the cops are no better than the drug dealers and drug users who will steal what they want.

Finally, I suggest a new name for this sports-car-turned-police-recruiting-tool: The New Braunfels Phallus-mobile. Because when it comes down to it, that’s really what it is: New Braunfels PD waving the equivalent of a huge dick at the world. Really, I think they should just put it back in their pants.