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November 28, 2005

Michael and his Pipe

Yesterday, ESPN Analyst Michael Irvin was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges while driving through Plano, Texas. During a routine traffic stop, police searched Irvin's vehicle and found a "drug pipe". While the rest of the sports media gears up for the usual feeding frenzy, I want to be the first to stand up in defense of this gentle TV sports pundit. While nobody deserves to be arrested on trumped up pseudo-drug charges, Michael deserves it even less than most former NFL players.

Why am I so outraged? First of all, I believe drug paraphernalia laws are totally unjust. Sure, drugs are a terrible threat to America's youth... but I've never heard of anyone who's life was ruined by drug accessories. "I had a beautiful wife, a fulfilling job... and I threw it all away when I purchased this pipe off the internet - and I never even used it!" This makes no sense. And furthermore, the laws are written so vaguely, virtually anything could be considered "drug paraphernalia". I've been to college... I've seen people turn all sorts of crap into bongs: soda cans, sex toys, various fruits and vegetables. Next time you get pulled over for a lapsed registration, will they throw you in jail just for having a bag of groceries? They just might - especially if you own the Dallas Cowboys career pass receptions record (750)!

Also, drug paraphernalia laws aren't consistent with other laws in this country. Consider this: it would be illegal for me to own a nuclear warhead. And I'm mostly OK with that. But... if I happen to own a beautiful wool nuclear warhead cozy, knitted for me by my dear grandma - does that mean I should be put in jail? Of course not. So why should it be different with drug paraphernalia? As anyone will tell you, one need not smoke crack in order to appreciate the beauty of a finely crafted crack pipe. I own at least a dozen pipes and I don't smoke. I'm strictly into the needle drugs.

Even if these laws weren't absurd, the specifics of Irvin's situation are such that no ethical D.A. would ever charge him. After the incident, Irvin told the Associated Press that the pipe "belonged to a friend" who he had just driven to rehab. One might ask... why didn't he just throw it away? I would guess that he held onto it for the same reason I keep an ashtray in my apartment. I don't smoke, but I have friends who do - so it's just a common courtesy to keep an ashtray available for them when they come over. Michael Irvin doesn't (currently) smoke crack, but he keeps a pipe around, just in case one of his passengers needs to smoke a little crack. On the way to rehab. The only reason Irvin is in this situation is because he is a good friend.

I wish more of my friends were like Michael Irvin.

Posted by Joey at November 28, 2005 04:56 AM

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