Name That Plant!

“A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.” –Bob Edwards

My kingdom for a botanist?

See people, this is why we need better science education, among other things. I’m no expert, but do okra plants really look all that much like marijuana? And I would think quite a few Georgia gardeners might routinely raise okra. In Wisconsin, you could maybe see this happening … but in Georgia? Somebody must be feeling pretty foolish about now.

Of course, I once had a neighbor lady who got all upset, ranting to folks down the street that I was growing “heroin poppies” in my flower beds. They weren’t even poppies — just Nigella damascena, a wispy European native more commonly known as love in a mist.
They do get big dark puffy seed pods if not deadheaded promptly, which seemed to be what panicked my neighbor. At the time, it all seemed pretty funny. But with today’s humorless, heavily militarized police forces, I might need to worry way more about my wildflower preferences! Guess I’m lucky our local gendarmerie weren’t all that curious about anyone’s horticultural pursuits in those days … or they might have gotten lots more overtime, from things I heard, but had no personal knowledge of. Not my business, not my problem … except when guys tapped on the front door at three in the morning because they’d come to the wrong house — though that hasn’t happened for years, so maybe the neighborhood’s gotten respectable when I wasn’t looking. Could be about time to move. But … maybe not to Georgia.


Georgia deputies raid man’s home after mistaking okra plants for marijuana
Daily Kos * Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:15 AM PDT
byJen HaydenFollow
Once again, from the “not The Onion” files, Georgia deputies went full SWAT to raid Dwayne Perry’s home because they thought he was growing marijuana in his backyard. But, no. It was okra:
“I was scared actually, at first, because I didn’t know what was happening,” said homeowner Dwayne Perry.
All he noticed was that there was a chopper sitting unusually low over his house, then Bartow County deputies and a K-9 unit appeared at his doorstep in minutes.
“They were strapped to the gills,” Perry said.
Georgia State Patrol says they still haven’t identified the mysterious (and enormously popular Southern vegetable):
“We’ve not been able to identify it as of yet. But it did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant,” said Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kermit Stokes.
Dwayne Perry says he’s still embarrassed and feels his reputation has been damaged, not to mention being terrified at how quickly something could have gone wrong.
Even if this were one small patch of homegrown marijuana, isn’t this type of police response just a wee bit overkill? Especially when 75% of Americans don’t even think it should be a jailable offense and 58% think it should be legal outright?

GA’s Overzealous ‘Task Force for Drug Suppression’ Raids Man’s Yard For Okra Plants
Breitbart Unmasked * on October 5, 2014
By Hypatia Livingston
Agents from the Georgia Governor’s “Task Force for Drug Suppression” were flying in a helicopter last week, looking into backyards as part of their partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, when they spotted what they believed to be marijuana growing in the yard of Dwayne Perry’s home in Cartersville, Georgia, reported WSB-TV.
The heavily armed Bartow County got ready for a raid. They drew their weapons, circled overhead in their helicopter, and invaded his yard with their K-9 unit.
“They were strapped to the gills,” Perry told the news channel. “Anything could have happened.”
It was then that the Drug Suppression task force learned that the leaves they had seen from overhead were okra, although they’re still not quite sure why the okra looked like marijuana from the air. They haven’t yet officially identified the plant even after Perry explained what it was.
The heavily armed unit is partially funded by the DEA, and has been ramping up its efforts in Georgia since 2012. The website explains the unit was initially focused on halting the growth and cultivation of marijuana on public lands, but the Governor’s task force, which is partially funded with federal monies, concentrates on the eradication of marijuana growing operations in peoples’ backyards. They identify the marijuana plants by sight, leaving a lot of room for false positives.
The drug suppression unit takes anonymous tips on their Report A Grower website, but it appears they tend to prowl the airways in helicopters in conjunction with Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, peeking into people’s backyards to attempt to locate plants that look like cannabis.
This is a classic example of the wasted money that characterizes the failed drug policy of marijuana prohibition in the United States. Over the past 40 years, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending with the help of the federal government.
While other states legalize marijuana for medicinal use and cities like Washington DC and Philadelphia decriminalize penalties for possession, Georgia’s anti-drug task force, having already eradicated thousands of large growing operations in the state, have taken to policing peoples’ backyards for a living.
Are we really supposed to believe that law enforcement flying around in a helicopter, peeking into backyards to spot marijuana plants are making us safer?
I think that Mr. Perry would take issue with that.
Copyright 2014 Breitbart Unmasked


About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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8 Responses to Name That Plant!

  1. They sent out a SWAT team to raid a man’s garden because they mistake okra for marijuana? If they suspected marijuana, why didn’t they just send two cops to the door and ask to see the man’s garden? And what’s the big deal? That the man would get high, get the munchies and rob a convenience store of all its Twinkies? This guy is lucky to be alive, all things considered.

    SIGH! They’ve just got to find an excuse to use all of that military equipment that’s just lying around police stations all across this country. This type of incident is going to increase in numbers because the cops are overly enthusiastic to put that military equipment to use regardless of whether it’s necessary or not.

    I wish I could say, “Unbelievable!” But, I can’t because it’s the ‘norm’, unfortunately.

    Thanks Linda! Great post!

    • Too right, Shelby! You’d think we’d want Barney Millers in law enforcement — folks with a sense of humor and sense of proportion, doing the job with humanity, intelligence and restraint. But no. What we have instead are thousands of Barney Fifes running the cop shops, relying on fear, suspicion, ignorance, arrogance and heavy artillery.

      Thousands? Maybe millions of ’em? How many people are employed in that industry anyway? We’ve really progressed since the robber-baron days, when Jay Gould sneered that he could always hire half the working class to shoot the other half. Now they hire half of us to terrorize and imprison the rest of us. Thanks for commenting, and stay out of the slammer! You’ve said you’re not much of a gardener, so that ought to help … – Linda

  2. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Great post, Linda. Maybe Monsanto got wind that someone was trying to grow something without their patented seeds. I’d hate to have to go to Colorado or Washington for my okra fix.

    • Jeff, Okra is addictive? I never knew. But you’re apt to be right about these busy garden raiders — such overkill almost makes sense if they’re really protecting corporate turf. Thanks for your comment, and maybe I’ll have to give okra another try. – Linda

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