Friday, October 27, 2006


Rocky Mountain News:
They weren’t mellow or takin’ it easy when Gov. Bill Owens talked on the Capitol steps Friday morning in opposition to a statewide ballot measure seeking to legalize marijuana possession.
Crap lead, but soldier on:
About 50 people of all ages shouted him down as he and Attorney General John Suthers cited statistics declaring pot dangerous.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a sad day for Colorado," Owens said. And then he had to repeat what he said over the chant, "What do we want? Safer drugs. When do we want them? Now."

Suthers couldn’t even be heard much of the time he spoke.
Dumb. If the amendment had any chance before, that may have blown it.
For about four minutes, he plowed through data showing the dangers of marijuana, but it was lost in the din of another chant, "Hey, ho, you say drink, we say no."

The crowd never let up and cheered when Suthers finished his speech. They taunted the governor: "Lie louder Bill, we can’t hear you."
Dumb, dumb, dumb. On the other hand, there was some provocation:

Owens and Suthers were also joined by Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener, who became famous during the Platt Canyon High School shooting in Bailey that resulted in the sexual assault of several girls and the murder of 16-year-old Emily Keyes [the shooting resulted in the sexual assault of several girls? How'd an editor miss that?].

Wegener tried to link the amendment to the tragedy.

"What about the possibilities of this individual being a pilot or a bus driver?" he asked the crowd.

"The potential consequences of their actions are too horrific to ignore. Couldn’t happen? That’s what was said about a school shooting in Bailey."

The crowd jeered.

Pretty jeer-worthy, you have to admit. SaferColorado plugs a post-Owens press conference of their own (also on the Capitol steps) but hasn't updated with it or this story yet.

Update: Favorite Otto line: "My name is Otto, I love to get blotto."

Update II: The Rocky has the audio. Don't bother.

Update III: Rocky reporter David Montero got a chance to rewrite his original story. It's better, but now has this bit of almost unbelievable cluelessness:
Pot smokers will tell you the most intense part of the joint is right at the end - the roach clip, in drug parlance.

The news conference was getting to the roach clip.
Good God.

Update IV: What a surprise. The Rocky gives the hippies the Easy Rider treatment today in an editorial titled "The disgrace on Capitol steps" (definite article alert has been issued):

Amendment 44 backers would like your vote to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. And if you disagree, they expect you to shut up about it.

That, in a nutshell, is the message that members of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), who back Amendment 44, dispensed Friday at the Capitol when they tried to shout down some of the state's top law enforcement officers and the governor . . . .

Owens was justifiably irate and had harsh words for the protesters. "In my almost three decades of public service," he said afterward, "I have never seen a time when people with a permit for the west steps of the Capitol couldn't be heard. These people in green shirts remind me of their predecessors in brown shirts."

Oh, Billy.
Owens was referring to the green shirts worn by SAFER and, of course, the brown shirts worn by storm troopers in the 1930s. Hyperbole? Sure, but disrupting speeches is nothing to make light of, either. It's a direct assault on the First Amendment and is a routine tactic of bullies less interested in civil give-and-take than in forcing their views on others.
Does it matter that Owens and the others tell some whoppers in their effort to combat the Evil Weed? Absolutely. Should they be shouted down for it? Yes. Wait! No! Of course not! We can judge Owens' (lame) arguments for ourselves, ya freakin' hippies. Let him get them out before you laugh at them.

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