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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CA: Column: Sheriff Languishes In Eponymous Jail
Title:US CA: Column: Sheriff Languishes In Eponymous Jail
Published On:2011-12-05
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Fetched On:2011-12-10 06:02:49
SHERIFF LANGUISHES IN EPONYMOUS JAIL

This is such a sad story. Not exactly tragic, but capable of promoting
apparently deep thoughts about the meaning of life.

Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. is now 68. Before he retired, he was one of
the most decorated sheriffs in the nation. He was voted sheriff of the
year by the National Sheriffs' Association. He was praised in
Congress. He was a legend in Centennial, Colo.

On Tuesday, he was arrested in a case in which he was charged with
offering methamphetamine in exchange for sex with someone described as
"a male acquaintance." He was taken away and now resides in the
building named after him, the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

That is cold. Imagine sitting in a jail named after yourself,
wondering where, precisely, your life went wrong. Probably it went
wrong when the meth came into the picture, meth having that effect on
many lives. But who knows? The irony of it all is so cheap that he
should get a reduced sentence just for having to live with it.

Always assuming he gets convicted of anything. He could just get
counseling. He reportedly had two bags of meth on him when he was
arrested, each containing less than a gram. He wasn't a kingpin. He's
in his golden years.

And the first line of his obit has been rewritten. Sometimes that's a
good thing - your second Nobel Prize, for instance - but in this case,
not so fabulous.

Of course, maybe there's another explanation for the events as
reported by police. I am trying to think of what that explanation
might be, and failing, but that's what lawyers are for. Here's another
narrative strung with the same beads of fact; we hope you like this
one better.

But he had the bags of meth. He has a problem. Ordinary people do not
carry bags of meth. Meth heads have come up with interesting reasons
why this is not necessarily true, and denial is a river in Egypt. The
War on Some Drugs (WOSD) has not exactly gotten to the heart of the
meth problem.

Maybe because the people most affected by it are people who are not
likely to vote. Just a guess.

But the feds are really all over that marijuana thing. Despite
evidence and testimony from numerous people who know stuff, the
Justice Department of the Obama administration has decided to keep the
heat on marijuana growers and sellers, no matter what the local laws.
Marijuana growers are the one group that cannot be said to have
benefited from lobbying money.

Who knows why? Obama is a smart man; he knows the truth. A certain
prissiness pervades this White House, making Obama sort of the black
Calvin Coolidge. Maybe he just wants to prove to Republican voters
that he's darned tough on crime. I dunno. I don't think this is a
make-or-break issue with a lot of Republicans, and I bet the polling
on the legalization of marijuana is more party-neutral than one might
expect.

Why not just drop it? The Justice Department has so much on its plate
- - why, there are all those people on Wall Street who never got busted
for the whole mortgage-scam thing - why doesn't it just pull back? No
press release needed. Just do the fair thing while all of this is in
legal limbo; let the cases work through the courts.

And don't try too hard with the cases, either. That would be my
request.

Because I think of ex-Sheriff Sullivan sitting in a jail named after
him for a sordid and ordinary crime, and I think about the sellers of
pot sitting in jails named after other people for a crime that is
ordinary and unsordid. To whom do they represent a threat?

Of course, they've made new friends in jail. Joy.

Anyway, I imagine Sullivan put a few potheads behind bars in his time.
He was a tough law-and-order guy, firm but fair, given his standards.
He once rescued two of his deputies during a rampage by a gunman -
what the gunman was rampaging about is unknown to this correspondent -
by gunning his truck through a fence and covering them while they
boarded a vehicle.

One imagines that all did not end well for the rampaging gunman. It
rarely does.

So the camera moves out on the scene until we finally see an aerial
shot of the facility, with the sheriff, the other meth sellers and
then the pot sellers, all clearly identified, so a sense of proportion
is maintained, even in an atmosphere of cheap irony.

In which a ham-handed ironist of fate takes another victim, and we
speculate a little.
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