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Tragedy at Grow Op in Alberta

As you’ve probably heard by now, four RCMP officers were slain yesterday while monitoring a marijuana grow operation northwest of Edmonton:

At approximately 10 a.m. MT, a shootout broke out between police and a male suspect at a farmhouse in Rochfort Bridge near the community of Mayerthorpe, about 130 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes said the four officers were at a Quonset shed on the farm when they were shot by the suspect, whose body was also found in the shed.

This is a rare tragedy in Canada–I can’t remember the last time I heard of a police officer being killed while on duty.

I fear that the political response to this incident will be to increase jail terms and fines for grow op owners. Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan called them a ‘plague’ on our society. I think they’re more parasitical, but hightened penalties (as has been demonstrated on so many occasions) aren’t the answer. Legalize pot, regulate it and tax the hell out of it. That would be one assurance that this tragedy won’t be repeated.

BlogsCanada has a good round-up of comments on this incident.

10 Responses to “Tragedy at Grow Op in Alberta”

  1. Aleah

    Darren, I know I was taken aback when I heard the news this morning. I was especially astonished that 4 officers were killed by one gunman – I’m wondering if this incident won’t inspire a conversation about training and how much funding RCMP is receiving RE: to properly equip officers to handle these rare (in Canada) situations.

  2. Darren

    Aleah: I suspect the problem was more threat assessment and intelligence (as in surveillance) than equipment. If they’d know the threat level was that high, they probably wouldn’t have used junior officers and would have brought in some heavier artillery.

  3. Randy Charles Morin

    I love the idea of taxing it. What anti-pot people don’t understand is that no penalty is gonna stop grow-ops. When some people see they can make six figures at the risk of jail time, they are gonna do it. And when they get out of jail in 4 years, they’ll do it again. Putting people in jail is not the answer. Taxing them is.

  4. Chris

    In principle, legalizing it makes some sense. However, to me at least, the stuff really reeks! I’d hate to have to inhale everyone else’s second hand pot smoke everywhere I go.

  5. Michael Kohne

    The fact that you have the ultimate example of how NOT to handle drug problems sitting to your south and haven’t yet legalized astonishes me. We in the US have, I think, set the perfect example that ‘getting tough on drugs’ simply doesn’t work. We sped truly stupid amounts of money and our drug usage is still quite high. Legalize and tax can’t work worse than what we’re doing, and it should turn the problem from a revenue sink into a revenue source.

  6. Chris

    Woohoo legalization.

    Randy White was on the news last night, and he actually tried to tie this to gay marriage. He said something along the lines of “The government is discussing gay marriage instead of trying to solve problems like this.” So, human rights issues should wait until all violence is gone away? Riiight.

    Rich Coleman was pretty funny too. “These grow-ops make way too much money for the criminal element.” Yeah, of course they do, because pot’s illegal. Fix the problem, not the symptom.

  7. Sue

    I expect that in due course we will discover that the reason the RCMP were skulking around was because it was something MORE than a grow-op. For a grow-op owner to be that violent suggests to me that he was covering up something far more subversive than the dreaded pot.

  8. Chris

    On the news report that I saw last night (Global, 11pm), the story started out by saying that the place was “a suspected chop shop for stolen items, and a marijuana grow op.”

    Either way, this story has less to do with pot than it does with gun-toting maniacs. This guy was bat-shite crazy, and a known cop-hater (according to locals).

  9. JohnB

    This was not caused by a man with a grow-op.

    This was caused by a man with high-powered assault rifles who had been in trouble with law on numerous previous occasions.

    The issue is not grow-ops. The issue is “why was a man like this allowed to possess any firearms at all?”

  10. Mike

    Let me tell you what would work. All criminals of this nature, that is pedofiles, rapists and all drug deallers weather dealling in a gram of a kilo shold be SHOT on site. This is a DEFINATE deterant. They (the piece of shit crimimal)wont repeat his/her crime again will they. It is a deterant. Also bring back the rope. Public executions. When there are PENALTIES people will think twice.

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