The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 23, 2013
Rise & Opine: If Obama targets weed, will he take our guns?

Rise & Opine offers opinions on the opinions being offered across California, at least three days a week.

Commentary
Deborah J. Saunders pulls a well-worn trick out of the pundit's bag -- the art of false equivalency.

In a blog post and column, the San Francisco Chronicle columnist recounts the story of Matthew Davies, a 34-year-old Stockton medical marijuana dispensary owner who is facing a minimum of seven years in prison for his pot-grow warehouses that supply medical-marijuana clinics. Davies, in interviews with the New York Times and other media, said he got into the business because he trusted the Obama administration on promises it would not prosecute such operations. Saunders takes that "trust" of Davies to question if gun owners should trust the president's claim he won't confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens.

Saunders offers quotes from Obama in her blog post to back up her argument that the president can't be trusted. But I'd urge you to look at those quotes closely. On several occasionals, Obama has made clear the federal government should not be targeting recreational users. But he also made clear he won't give "carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana."

Federal prosecutors have pretty solid evidence that Davies is a large-scale producer of marijuana. That doesn't necessarily mean they were justified in prosecuting him. But it also doesn't mean that their prosecution has made Obama a hypocrite, as Saunders implies.

Her post is artful -- part of the dangerous arts of deceptive punditry.

Editorials
The Orange County Register often exasperates those of us in the north state. But the paper offers a very interesting editorial addressed to Gov. Jerry Brown that the governor, and others, should read.

In it, the Register suggests that Brown's recent comments about the OC show a lack of appreciation of Orange County. The editorial might be right. Orange County has changed a lot since Brown was governor during his first term. He'd be smart to take the Register up on its offer, and spend some time down in the county named after its orange groves, many of which, it should be noted, no longer exist.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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