After all these years I finally got back to posting this. The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Distribution. I wrote this sometime around 2002, maybe shortly before or during the time I was going to school for web development. I didn’t really want to write it at first, but I had a website called Get To Know a Marijuana Dealer that’s point was to show that drug dealers are people too, to humanize us and help people understand that we aren’t these evil monsters that we’re depicted as in the media, that we sell drugs because we believe people should have the right to make their own decisions and do with their own bodies as they choose, or in my case, because we believe some of these drugs are amazing substances that can have tremendously positive impacts on society. I started dealing marijuana because it was something I believed in, something that made me feel like I was making a difference, contributing to society, fighting back against the tyranny of government and society that is driving our suicide and chronic depression rates to all-time highs.
I quit in 2007 because it was just too much work for too little payout, because my web development career took off and I stared making so much more money than I ever could selling weed, but mostly because I moved to a new city and just didn’t have the customers anymore. I miss selling pot. I really do. I felt like I was actually doing something with my life. Now all I do is write code for websites.
It took me a month or so to get all these 40 pages set up and posted, mostly because I always have something going on around me. I spent 13 years living alone, and I finally decided to get a roommate again just two years ago and I still haven’t completely adjusted to all the activity around me. It’s very hard for me to write when other people are in the room with me so I let this website and my other writings go to waste in trade for all the extra activity. Anyway, on the few occasions when I was working on these pages, I found them bringing back memories, some pleasant, like that feeling like I was a rebel, fighting for a better society, knowing that my efforts would eventually help bring about legalization and a freer community for the future. But it also brought back a lot of unhappy memories about dealing with the police, and the pain of all those lies they told me and all that ignorance I had about how police behave. I believe the most important thing anarchists can do to convince people that police are not the good guys, is to simply tell it like it is, to give facts about how police actually do what they do, and what it actually does to people when they do it.
I don’t think I’ve ever done a good job of communicating the psychological effects of the things the police did to me… like how devastating it was for me to find out that they systematically, and without any show of remorse, lied about everything they possibly could to manipulate me into giving up my friends and then tried to manipulate my friends into killing me, all the while insisting they were my friends and were trying to help me, then having so many people assume that I’m the bad guy because I did something illegal, even when many of them didn’t believe it should be illegal. But it’s funny that even after they tried to destroy my life and get me killed, the truly traumatic thing that they did to me happened in a completely unrelated situation, where I was walking home from a Halloween party because I knew it was illegal to ride a bicycle after drinking, and I was mistaken for someone who had stolen a DVD player. I describe this event in Chapter 24, Dealing with Cops. The officer pointed a gun directly in my face, treated me like an animal, then when he found out I wasn’t the guy he was looking for, didn’t even have the common decency to say he was sorry.
I don’t think many people truly understand what this can do to a person and what it feels like to have all of society supporting the people who did this to you.
A DVD player. That’s what I remember anyway. They were willing to kill me over a DVD player, a DVD player that I didn’t even steal. That cop is considered a hero for this. For the rest of my life I will have to live with the fact that my entire life is worth less than a DVD player. I will have to know that everyone who supports the police, sometimes my own friends and family, would rather have seen me with a bullet through my head, brains splattered across the pavement than they would live in a world where their DVD player might get stolen.
I think I may have thought about this event every day for the last decade and yet, in that chapter, I just kind of glazed over all the important emotional aspects of that story. I didn’t mention the part where the trauma caused me to black out for the remainder of my walk home or how I wasn’t capable of laughing for a couple days afterward. I guess I was too proud to admit to that kind of thing. Even now I still see that gun bearing down on me and that trigger finger twitching and some days I can’t for the life of me get it out of my head. At least when I got arrested for marijuana and the police tried to get someone to beat me to death, at least I had known beforehand that I was playing with fire and for some reason that was not nearly as traumatizing.
I had this overwhelming urge to fight back that night I was mistaken for a DVD player thief because I thought for sure the officer was going to kill me regardless of what I did, considering the rage and hatred I saw in his eyes, and the fact that he had stalked me for a couple blocks before finally confronting me, and the fact that I was running an anarchist website, but I fought back against those instincts and did what he told me to do. If I did not have the emotional control of someone as deeply logical as myself, I would easily have been dead. I think many of my friends in that exact same situation would have been shot to death simply for not having immediate control over all that sudden adrenaline.
But normal people who have not experienced this, they just don’t understand what it’s like, and just blindly assume that the police are always doing good in our society, and that everyone they hurt… well, we must have somehow deserved it.
And I think most people who have had experiences with cops have some kind of long-term emotional trauma. That’s kind of the whole point. If these experiences weren’t traumatizing, they wouldn’t be very good crime deterrents. It’s just that the trauma is frequently manifested in different ways, such as self-loathing, anger, or actually giving in to this idea that you’re a horrible person who deserves to suffer or that your whole life really is worth less than whatever it was that cop was willing to shoot you over, or a blanket hatred of society. If we really want to make a difference, we need to be open and honest about what happens in our minds after we are arrested or go through an experience with the police so that people can see how counter-productive they are to a peaceful society. I guess I’m as guilty as anyone of that.
That’s how I feel now, but I guess when I wrote this book I was thinking more along the lines of fighting back by selling more weed and engaging in civil disobedience.