Another Mindless Poker Bust–to What Purpose?

by Lou on April 14, 2008

According to reporter Tara Lynn of Charleston, South Carolina’s News 2, “Poker tables, cards, chips and tens of thousands of dollars. This is what investigators confiscated from several homes where dozens of people met each week to play poker.”
Sheriff Al Canon was quoted as saying, “this is a violation of the law,” a law the sheriff admits is out of date but one that he has to enforce.
But, according to Lynn’s story, “the owner of the home investigators raided Friday night, Orlando Reyes, hopes to change the law by fighting his charges of unlawful betting.” Lynn quotes Reyes a saying, “This was money we earned and we wanted to spend it among friends I didn’t think it was a big deal. Was it a law? Yes it was a law, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”
I picked this story up on line, and there’s nothing really remarkable about it. It probably happens dozens of times each month somewhere in the United States. Yet when you stop to think about it, isn’t this an incredible waste of public safety resources, taxpayers’ dollars, never mind the time and expense to push this case through the criminal justice system?
And when all is said and done, what exactly, will have been said, and what will have been done? Are we safer? Has crime been contained? Have dangerous outlaws been brought to justice? Was the cost to pursue this sort of thing been worth the cost? So what if it is a law? There are loads of outdated laws still on the books that are never enforced.
Justice and police power has to be tempered by common sense, and busting card games that pose no threat to the public’s safety, and serve no public purpose is bureaucracy run amok. Sheriff Al Canon needs to apply a bit of common sense to his public priorities.
And while poker player Orlando Reyes seems to share my philosophical take on this example of public stupidity, he probably won’t wind up winning his case. The saving grace is that at the end of the day, Reyes figures to only get his wrist slapped, pay a fine, and go about his business.
And no matter which side you’re on, can you tell me what will have been accomplished?

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