Friday, April 26, 2013

Arizona, Guns and Money

By W.T. Salisbury, M.D.

Arizona is a very strange place. In many ways it hasn't changed much from the old west, except there are far more golf courses now.

Oh yes these people love their golf and their dry heat, but most of all they love their guns.

Naturally, to protect those guns their state government passed two bills last week to make sure no one messes with them.

One of the bills bans Arizona police departments from destroying guns in their possession. It instead requires—in most cases—law enforcement to sell those weapons.

People in favor of the legislation have pointed out that destroying those weapons won't prevent crimes. That's true of course.

"It's not appropriate to tell taxpayers that they must subsidize, with their dollars, the destruction of useful property for no good reason, to accomplish nothing, other than make people feel good," Peoria Republican Rick Murphy said.

Fair enough sir. And it is with that reasoning that I propose that we make it illegal to destroy confiscated drugs once they're in police possession. 

There's no sense in destroying perfectly useful property just to make people feel better right? People will still be buying it out on the streets anyway, might as well make a little money for the state.

But drugs aren't legal you say. True, but the end of prohibition is nigh if we're trying to make money, "rules" be damned. Besides, if the justification of this law is that it's silly to destroy useful property then it's clear those in charge don't understand the value of drugs—outside of alcohol of course.

There's a mountain of statistical evidence that supports the reform of drug laws, but that's not what this particular column is aimed at discussing. We can tackle that some other time while I'm in the midst of a legally induced drunken stupor. 

No, today we're trying to make cash via the flimsy premise of "usefulness". 

Money is all we can talk about these days. Cut this, cut that, reduce spending but increase revenue! This idea of legal one-stop-shops for guns and drugs could rake in the cash and mitigate much of Arizona's $50 billion debt.

They could really help their economy here. Who wouldn't want to go to a police station to pick up a handgun—slightly used—and a bag of weed?

Tourists would flock from all over the country to Flagstaff, Tucson...Hell even Phoenix to hit up these fledgling one-stop-shops. Support small business!

I can see a burgeoning cottage industry here. 

"Get a gun! Get some drugs and see the Grand Canyon all in an afternoon!"

I'd even be willing to wager you'd see a sharp spike in attendance at Suns games and that's almost impossible. 

An Arizona bargain bin. 

The second measure passed prevents governments from creating a registry of gun owners and gun transactions involving federally licensed dealers. That is actually a perfectly reasonable idea and it's worth noting that it was something that was included in the legislation that failed to pass the senate at the congressional level in Washington on the same day.

That doesn't make it a a bad idea to pass similar legislation at the state level—especially given the incompetence of the senate—but people do like to complain an awful lot about redundancy in government...most of the time. 

Back to my initial point, if we're going to sell confiscated guns, the drugs should be treated the same. While you're there snag a cheap car or some of the other stolen property collecting dust in the evidence room. It's like Wal-Mart but more exciting.

I've got plenty of other ideas for the Arizona tourism board they may want to take under advisement in conjunction with these new laws. 

Apart from the canyon, there isn't a great reason to head to that state. It's mostly desert interspersed with strip malls and the elderly. 

There are also coyotes—of the mediocre hockey variety as well as the animal.  

These are dangerous creatures and if you live there they will end up in your backyard mauling the family pet. Visitors are not immune to this trouble.

Arizonans are big fans of fences, particularly if they signify some kind of border. Therefore, I would propose a series of protected fenced off parks for children and dogs to roam about in peace. It would also allow visitors a safe-haven where they could relax and soak up some of that famous "dry-heat".

But there are also terrifying and deadly snakes that slither about in packs with the hopes of murdering you once you're asleep. To combat this, all tourists should be given snake bashing sticks as soon as they get off the plane. 

It'll be just like receiving a lei upon arrival in Hawaii, but infinitely more practical. 

Oh I could go on and on, but I refuse to give out any more free tips to Arizona. I can of course consult with your government and tourist board as you see fit, however I will be charging four times my normal fee plus expenses. 

I have strong references from the Columbian and Cuban tourist  boards which you may find useful in justifying this arrangement. I assure you, my fees are more than worth it.   

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

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