In my youth, I enjoyed the occasional use of marijuana which I prefer to call “the cannabis plant” or simply “cannabis”. I consider this plant to be one of the most sacred plants on Earth. But that plant is illegal to grow, sell, and consume in many places. I live in such a place: Alabama. And I abstain from doing illegal activities because I don’t want law enforcers to steal my children from me. I would go about my life in Alabama without worrying too much about my sacred plant except for the fact that the illegal cannabis trade in Alabama results in gunshots by immature and irresponsible humans.
Most of the options available to me feel wrong for one reason or another. I could sell my house and buy a more expensive house where drug dealers are less likely to do their business. But that seems wrong because I am ignoring those neighbors who can’t afford to do what I can do. I could call the police, but that seems wrong because I don’t trust the police to solve the problem. Remember that these are the same law enforcers who would behave in ways which result in my children being stolen from me if I practiced my cannabis religion in Alabama.
My suggestion is to use recording devices. I could pay to build and maintain gunshot detectors and cameras in my neighborhood so that gunshots could be triangulated and video footage could record better evidence. I could create a letter with my contact information and place it in the mailbox for everyone near me to get a sense of people’s willingness to cooperate and coordinate.
I personally have no problem with people growing, selling, and consuming cannabis responsibly. But I do not want to normalize gunshots in a densely populated neighborhood where nobody is hunting nor attending a firing range.
My claim is that adding public and private recording devices in my neighborhood would decrease the number of gunshots in my neighborhood. The experiment would be to first add the private recording devices to detect gunshots. Then the public recording devices could be added over time. The number of gunshots would decrease as the number of public recording devices increase.
My claims will not be valid if the perceived risk of being identified by recording devices does not outweigh the perceived benefit of using guns.
My initial thought to the problem was to “legalize cannabis”. And I think that is because of my bias and my religion which considers cannabis to be sacred. I had to practice being skeptical of my first thought in order to see a more immediate solution.
I am all for putting neighborhood drug dealers out of business through legalization and competition. But changing the laws takes a lot of time and energy. So focusing on that solution alone would not solve the immediate problems.
Also note that I may just end up moving to a different neighborhood.
Written by Gavin Palmer practicing a relationship with the Greatest Intentions