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  Sheriff Deploys Howitzer in War on Drugs
Posted by FoM on December 07, 1999 at 07:39:07 PT
Aims 25-Ton Gun at Educating Children  
Source: APB News 

cannabisnews.com The man known as America's "toughest sheriff" has added a new weapon in the war against drugs -- a howitzer. Specifically, it used to be an M109 155 mm, self-propelled howitzer weighing more than 25 tons and capable of launching 98-pound shells.

But colorful and controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he's not going to use the Korean War-era, tanklike weapon to blow up drug dens. The howitzer has been painted black and disabled, its gun plugged, and it has been converted into a mobile anti-drug classroom.

The howitzer debuts over the weekend in the Parade of Lights, the city's annual Christmas parade. The howitzer, its engine removed and covered with lights, was hauled on a flatbed down Central Avenue for the event.

Sheriff's department officials said the Defense Department donated the M109 through a special program that allows law enforcement agencies to buy and use old military equipment for display or anti-drug purposes.

Made Jail Pretty Punishing:

Arpaio revels in calling himself American's toughest sheriff.

"Make that the world," Arpaio said. "I got a promotion."

He operates "tent cities" for inmates as a way of lowering prisoner housing costs and boasts that he can feed each inmate for 40 cents a day. He re-instituted chain gangs, forced prisoners to wear striped suits and banned tobacco, nudie magazines, movies and hot lunches.

Arpaio even created "posses," volunteers he claims help his deputies identify prostitutes, graffiti artists, drug dealers and deadbeat parents.

The press has criticized and lampooned Arpaio for such things as spending jail fund money for videotapes of his television appearances and possibly making money in the infamous "pink underwear" scandal.

Pink underwear?

Arpaio, worried about pilferage of inmate undergarments, started a program to dye all jail underwear pink. But his volunteer posses sold the pink boxer shorts to raise money, which led to questions about where the cash was going.

An Attention-Getter:

Charles Krieger, the division commander for the defense procurement division of the sheriff's office, said the howitzer is "designed to impress" people and drive home an anti-drug message.

"You have to get the kid's attention," Krieger said. "Certain things are still operational in the howitzers, such as the periscope sighting system."

Krieger said people could climb inside the howitzer to look around. A television and VCR have been installed inside for viewing an anti-drug program. The outside lettering on the tank urges youths to say no to drugs, alcohol, tobacco and guns.

Arpaio, serving his second term as sheriff, said he was with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency for 30 years, having fought "the drug battle in Turkey, South America" and in the United States. He said that while it's important to jail drug dealers, preventing drug use also is key.

"Sometimes you aren't going to just stop the drug problem by putting people in jail," he said. "I do believe in drug prevention. I'm going to use this tank as an educational tool for everyone."

Robert Anthony Phillips is an APBnews.com staff writer: robert.phillips@apbnews.com

Published: December 6, 1999
By Robert Anthony Phillips
ęCopyright 1999 APB Multimedia Inc. All rights reserved.


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Comment #3 posted by Frustrated on December 08, 1999 at 08:40:27 PT
Big Guns??!??
What exactly is being said here? I question exactly what "message" a big ol' plugged up gun is giving to kids---is it "Hey kids! Come play with the big gun! Isn't this cool?"

What connection is there with an anti-drug message?? I certainly don't see the relevance (and as pointed out, the Freudian connection is, uh, "wide open" for interpretation).

I need to get a big shovel for this one ya'll, the BS is getting thicker and deeper in the ranks......

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Comment #2 posted by military officer guy on December 07, 1999 at 20:48:17 PT
war on drugs?
and some people have the nerve to say this isn't a war on drugs...creative thinging, and good ol common sense will take down a howitzer any day...remember the pen is mightier than the sword...we can win this war...

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on December 07, 1999 at 17:49:35 PT
Symbology- intended and otherwise
A howitzer, eh? Need I draw the obvious Freudian alliteration?

This is but another example of what happens when people who are not all that imaginative to begin with, stretch their mental capacities to the breaking point; they come up with farces like this.

But note: the main thing that this symbol is supposed to imply - the use of overwhelming destructive force - is rendered ... impotent.

Rather like the intellectual rationales that have been forwarded by the prohibitionists for continuing the failed Wo(S)D. As Shakespeare might have said, "It is a tale told told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The prohibitionists have really scraped the bottom of the barel for this one.

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