"I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power....Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." ~ Lord Acton
Barry Cooper, You Are a Hero
Exclusive to STR
February 25, 2008
This message is long overdue, and I have but my own lack of attentiveness and procrastination to blame. It was just recently that I first focused in on Barry Cooper and the tremendously courageous things that he has been doing for the past several years. I had heard his name, of course, and was somewhat aware of his activities, but I must say that upon really getting to hear his story, I received nothing short of an education. That education has primarily centered around just how honest, noble, compassionate, and truly big of a man Barry Cooper is.
For those of you who may not know, Barry Cooper served eight years in Texas law-enforcement as a narcotics interdiction officer. He worked with virtually every alphabet soup government agency in America , helping them fight their Drug War. He was widely considered in all likelihood to be the Drug War's number-one 'top cop,' with over 800 arrests, and millions of dollars in seized property and contraband attributable to him. The Drug Warriors coveted his expertise. He trained drug-sniffing dogs, and piloted aerial surveillance craft searching for marijuana plants. He worked undercover sting operations. You name it. He was the Drug War's golden boy.
Then one day, an amazing thing happened to Barry. As he now puts it: 'I knew what I was doing was wrong, but my need for fame, adrenaline, and peer acceptance overrode my good conscience.' Barry began to see how many productive, non-violent lives and families his work had ruined. Governmental pressure was also brought to bear against Barry, exposing the utter corruption and hypocrisy of the State: He had arrested a mayor's son for methamphetamine, a city councilman for marijuana, and embarrassingly outperformed a local DEA unit single-handed. All of this was enough for Barry. He decided he was getting out.
Since leaving police work behind, Barry Cooper has become the most vocal, visible, active, and radical voice against the madness of the War on Drugs (read War on People Who Use Drugs). He appears in a multitude of TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews annually. He speaks publicly at virtually every opportunity, and is a stirring, impassioned orator. He has written numerous articles for publications such as High Times and Cannabis Culture, a Canadian marijuana legalization magazine. He has produced, so far, three videos, the first of which is Never Get Busted Again. His approach to stopping the Drug War is so hands-on and so radical that even organizations such as NORML and LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) partially distance themselves from him ' though he still bravely supports them. His approach and message is simple: He does not want to see people get arrested for drug use or possession. And not just marijuana. He advocates total legalization of all drugs, and is just as vehement that they not be taxed or regulated in any way. He has strenuously proselytized on behalf of marijuana activist Marc Emery, imploring the Canadian government not to extradite him back to the U.S. where he likely faces life in prison for simply selling marijuana seeds. He is currently also making a bid for U.S. Congress as a Libertarian.
In Barry's videos and speeches, he demonstrates, using his immense expertise, how to thwart drug-sniffing dogs, get through car searches unscathed, stash marijuana so it cannot be detected. He demonstrates how to grow pot, both indoors and outside, without being detected by aircraft or thermal-imaging gear used by both police and the military. His philosophy is simple ' in order to grind the Drug War to a halt, we must thwart the ability of police to detect and arrest people who use drugs in the first place. We must have so much drug-dealing and trafficking that it literally becomes impossible for government to stop the tidal wave. We must file lawsuit after lawsuit against every infraction of our rights visited upon us by police, no matter how seemingly minute. We must fill government's courts with them; keep the judges awash in paper; keep sheriffs and police chiefs deathly afraid that their insurance companies will dump them. Getting the picture? We must find every way conceivable to non-violently subvert government's ability to control drug use in any manner whatsoever. And we must resist, resist, resist.
These are the ideas and tactics of a very changed man. He attributes this amazing shift in attitude and perspective to, 'Logic, reason, maturity, and compassion.' Well spoken, Barry.
One more thing before I go, Barry (if you're reading this): If I ever get down to Texas , or you ever get up here to Vermont , it'd be my positive honor to meet you. Maybe we could even toke one down and then pig out on a bunch of Chinese food or something! Just a thought. Regardless, here's what I, and undoubtedly a lot of other people (aside from the paranoid bunch of sociopathic control-freaks at Fox News) definitely think: Barry Cooper, you are a hero.