Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Few Thoughs on Crime and Punnishment

"The world has been filled with prisons and dungeons, with chains and whips, with crosses and gibbets, with thumbscrews and racks, with hangmen and heads-men - and yet these frightful means and instrumentalities have committed far more crimes than they have prevented.... Ignorance, filth, and poverty are the missionaries of crime. As long as dishonorable success outranks honest effort - as long as society bows and cringes before the great thieves, there will be little ones enough to fill the jails."
~Robert Ingersoll, Crimes Against Criminals

And another...

"Every crime is born of necessity. If you want less crime, you must change the conditions. Poverty makes crime. Want, rags, crusts, misfortune - all these awake the wild beast in man, and finally he takes, and takes contrary to law, and becomes a criminal. And what do you do with him? You punish him. Why not punish a man for having consumption? The time will come when you will see that that is just as logical. What do you do with the criminal? You send him to the penitentiary. Is he made better? Worse. The first thing you do is to try to trample out his manhood, by putting an indignity upon him. You mark him. You put him in stripes. At night you put him in darkness. His feeling for revenge grows. You make a wild beast of him, and he comes out of that place branded in body and soul, and then you won't let him reform if he wants to."
~Robert Ingersoll, A Lay Sermon
Well Said.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Decriminalization" vs. Legalization

Kudos to the residents of Breckenridge and Denver, Colorado! Now, in those municipalities, adults over the age of twenty one are legally allowed to possess (and I assume USE) up to an ounce of pot. Good on ya, mates! A small step forward in the fight towards re-creating a rational policy towards marijuana in a seemingly endless battle that will take many, many small steps until we reach sanity.

However, (there's almost always a 'but') the logical argument behind "decriminalization" does not hold water. It may now not be illegal to possess or use marijuana in Breckenridge, but it is still illegal to grow it or sell it. That's right, you can have it, but where did it come from!? Did it just appear out of thin air? Did it get found on the ground, thrown out the window of a passing car? Was it left here by little green men? Herein lies the logical downfall of marijuana 'decriminalization.'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The NORML Communications Campaign, pt. 3

Author's Note: This paper was originally written in 1991 as a undergraduate student at the University of Georgia for my Speech Communications major. - MR


The persuasive challenges that face the NORML campaign are numerous and formidable. These challenges have roots in many different theories of communication and persuasion. A few of the major categories applicable to the campaign include cognitive consistency theories, identification theories, autonomy theory, the inoculation function, and empathy theory. The principles set forth in these theoretical frameworks interact to create the rhetorical reality of the NORML campaign.

Most of the major problems facing the NORML campaign can be linked to the theories surrounding the ‘cognitive consistency’ approach to behavior. This approach was first introduced by Leon Festinger in his 1957 publication “Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.”44

The NORML Communications Campaign, pt. 2

Author's Note: This paper was originally written in 1991 as a undergraduate student at the University of Georgia for my Speech Communications major. - MR


Shortly after calling the national NORML office in Washington D.C., the author received a packet of information containing Jon B. Gettman’s “Social Activism and Marijuana Reform - An Organizing Manual,” a short compilation “Marijuana: Facts & Figures,” a tri-fold flier entitled “NORML,” membership pledge forms, and a catalog of NORML products (See Appendix A).

Gettman’s manual is the center piece of this set of information and it spells out the philosophy behind NORML, and suggests how NORML members can become actively involved in working to achieve reform of the current cannabis/hemp laws. From this packet of information, it has been determined that NORML has a bifurcated mission statement. There is a twofold purpose of the organization which is laid out ii Gettman’s manual32 (see Appendix A, Doc. 1)

I): The purpose of the NORML program is to get our members to engage in public activity to demonstrate support for the reform of the U.S. marijuana laws. This activity is designed to attract further support and provide resources for more ambitious action.

The NORML Communications Campaign, pt. 1

Author's Note: This paper was originally written in 1991 as a undergraduate student at the University of Georgia for my Speech Communications major. - MR

The Communications Campaign

of the

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws


as a


In 1919 the United States ratified Amendment XVIII, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. This action had tremendous implications for American society during the 1920’s and beyond by greatly increasing the influential power of several new social communities.

One of these social communities was primarily responsible for the push to ratify Amendment XVIII. This group sought to have their moral views legitimized through legislation and launched a massive lobbying effort in support of the amendment. This community was headed primarily by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, who organized expressly for the purpose of lobbying for federal legislation against alcohol.
Another social community that gained considerable social influence during the prohibition of the 1920’s was organized crime. This social class, whose profits until prohibition had been tied to illegal activities like prostitution and gambling, were able to add the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcohol to their sources of income. Since organized crime held a monopoly on the alcohol industry, they were able to generate huge profits, and in turn, they were able to expand their economic and social influence to other “legitimate” areas of society.

A third segment of society who saw tremendous growth after the passage of the 18th Amendment was the law enforcement community. The 1920’s included unprecedented expansion of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies for the purpose of combating the massive increase in criminal activity that was created by the prohibition of alcohol.

Going Back to go Forward

I am going to go back and post an article (in three parts) that I wrote in 1991 as a undergraduate student at the University of Georgia for my Speech Communications major.

This paper has some definite flaws and is no longer timeley, but it still has some relevance, particularly in the historical sections.

I hope this will provide some perspective and get me off my ass to do more.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Here we Go!!!

I never thought I'd actually ... BLOG!

But, there are worse things you could do with your time.

I plan to go back and post some older material, and will definitely be doing some daily entry stuff, as well.

So, wish me luck and "Let's take it to the Stage!!!"