Posted: February 17, 2007 in The Roper Files

Back in those 70’s daze a friend of mine was visited by two plainclothes cops who told him the neighbors had been complaining about the “in and out” traffic at his address.

We know you’re dealing something out of here they tell him; now do you have any drugs in here or do we have to get a warrant?  He hands them a teeny, tiny baggie of you-know-what and tells them this is all he has in the house.  They thank him for his honesty and to consider it his get-out-of-jail-free card.  As they turn and walk away he hears one of them tell the other: “Let’s go to my house; I got a color tv.”

My, the progress that’s been made since then. ( Cough, retch ) 

At  you can read about the recent BATF raid on a Montana Western antiques store where government agents swooped in like so many buzzards and confiscated/seized/stole over 70 thousand dollars of merchandise. His crime? Selling an antique roulette wheel used on the tv series GUNSMOKE among other vintage gambling devices. One agent was even overheard saying that “this was going to look great on my desk” as he picked up one item.Never mind you could go to any sporting goods store and buy these things, or factory-fresh versions of them anyway, but mom-and-pop antiques stores can’t afford the same lawyers that the major retailers can.

Never mind that under the letter of the law, they could raid any number of gas stations or convenience stores that sell playing cards or dice, usually up on the wall next to the cigarettes behind the clerk. These are, as I said under the letter of the law gambling devices.

The letter of the law. Roll that phrase back and forth across your tongue. Bounce it around your skull. Contemplate for a moment the Letter Of The Law.

CIA. DEA. BATF. FBI. Our government has become a manevolent alphabet soup. You’d think that with an alleged terrorist threat hanging over our nation they would have something else to do besides raiding antique stores and flea markets.

But it doesn’t end there. A womans’ gift shop being raided for selling Rubik’s cube knock-offs. An antique gun dealer having pistols worth 15 grand each stolen from him (and fortuantly getting it on videotape unbeknownst to the perps, where they are shown plainly fighting amongst themselves over who got what)

Which bring me to a point (Good; I was worried about that) The gun dealer who videotaped BATF officers stealing his merchandise was displaying the positive side of our New World Odor police state. So much money was invested developing the technology to invent many of the high-tech toys the government uses to spy on us while they protect us from ourselves (and lite-brite Mooninites) that they were forced to retail these same things ( like VCRs ) in the mass marketplace.

Hidden camcorders behind one-way glass were once exclusively a cop trick; now mom-and-pop business owners can protect themselves from crooks and robbers of any color collar the same way.

That’s right; smile as you steal someone else’s property! You just might be on Candid Camera yourselves.

Jesse James once said some people rob you with a fountain pen and it’s still true today.


February 2007


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