My Old Daddy would be Offended
The reporting and photography of Vanessa Burnside of The Randolph Leader tells I think a very sad story. Felony charge for having (homemade from Foxfire books) the equipment to run off a little batch of shine seems draconian. A felony!
I could make an argument that any charges (for the still, shine, marijuana, etc.) ought not to result. The personal use of marijuana ought to be legal, and alcohol is certainly here in Randolph County with certain limitations, so at worst some slight consequences for Mr. Czik should result.
I fear that here in Randolph County they'll try to throw the book at Mr. Czik. What might make it worse is that it appears, from my reading of the coverage, that he was the victim of a crime or at least an accident. Although I can't exactly be certain, he might have even called the Sheriff's Office.
This homemade still and those three plants, natural and native, may very well wind up costing him him thousands of dollars in costs and fines and attorney fees. He's living in a trailer so perhaps he's not doing that well already when it comes to making a living. What this event will cost the taxpaying public is also an issue but I'll defer on trying to calculate. There's a cost to every function of government of course yet I'd rather see us spend our limited resources in more Progressive ways than this. Lord knows how many days of "Community Service" he'll have to give Randolph County if he gets in front of a certain local Judge. Rather ironic isn't it! Additionally, he might get some some jail time. He risks losing the right to vote, his driver's license, and the privilege of owning a gun. There are also "Court Referral" and/or "supervision" fees and hassles. There may be consequences to his current and/or future employment opportunities. Does this seem proportionate? Isn't there a more rational way to handle "crimes" like this?
No wonder we have even more coverage of the Roanoke Spaceport/Jail in this week's paper, something I hope to address as time allows. We also had news on the County's progress in building a new jail, something that is perhaps needed given how stacked and packed it stays. The incarceration industry is apparently thriving here in Randolph County. Of course, the same can be said for our nation as the U.S. has the highest incarceration level in the world. Peace ... or War!