Cops in Columbia, S.C. have arrested eight people from the party where Olympic Gold medal winner Michael Phelps was photographed smoking pot from a bong last November. Here’s a description of the County Sheriff (and his deputies) from the Associated Press:
“(Sheriff) Lott has made fighting drug crimes a central plank of his career. He rose from patrol officer to captain of the narcotics division in the early 1990s and was well-known in the county for wearing stylish suits like the drug agents on “Miami Vice” and driving a Porsche seized from a drug dealer… Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian and fellow defense attorney Joseph MuCulloch said deputies searched at least two houses. The men told their lawyers the raids went down like a major drug bust, and 12 deputies burst into the home with guns drawn, pulling small amounts of marijuana from those arrested.”
Phelps has paid dearly for getting caught smoking pot. He’s apologized publicly, lost endorsements, and he’s tarnished his reputation as a national hero. But the revelation that he smokes pot does nothing to diminish his astounding athletic feats. Critics are angry with Phelps for endorsing marijuana and sending the wrong message to his young fans, but the message he’s sending is that he can smoke pot recreationally and still be an incredibly successful person.
And the fact that Americans are up in arms over this “disgraced” superman strikes me as the height of hypocrisy. Phelps was arrested for drunk driving in 2004 but nobody seems upset about that. He got a slap on the wrist with a plea bargain and 18 months of probation. The fact is that nobody has ever died because of marijuana, yet about six kids die of alcohol poisoning on college campuses every year. Pot is safer than alcohol, cigarettes or countless addictive prescription drugs. If it were legal, we could all focus our attention on arresting and prosecuting violent criminals.