Jawbone Story


20 replies to this topic
  • CharlesFP

Posted March 08, 2005 - 10:45 PM

#1

After myself and two of my friends got back from riding a morning loop at Jawbone Canyon about two months ago, a lifted Jeep Cherokee driven by a Bureau of Land Management ranger pulled up to the campsite. Without any friendly greeting of any kind, he quickly exited his vehicle and approached us asking if we had any firearms or narcotics. He then approached me, again asking me the same two questions. Of course, the answer was no (that sort of thing ain't my bag, baby). The ranger then responded sarcastically, "You don't have any drugs, huh? Is that right?" I didn't know what to think at this point. He then walked up to the window of my truck, pointed down at the driver's seat and said, "Well, then what's THAT?" I said that I didn't know because I really did not know what he was talking about. I looked in the window and saw a balled up plastic wrap from a tuna sandwhich I had eaten earlier, and I told him that it was that. He then responded with even more sarcasm, "A sandwhich, huh. You eat green sandwhiches?"
At this point I started chuckling because I knew he thought he made the bust of the century. He must have snooped around our cars while we were gone and decided that what was on my driver's seat was surely a bag of weed. What an amateur. The crazy thing is that myself and the guys I was with do not look in any way like druggies or tweekers or NRA members or anything like that. I couldn't figure out what made this guy so suspicious.

He then asked me for my keys so he could take a look. He didn't actually ask me if it was OK to search my car, but nevertheless he took a look and quickly realized that the plastic wrap was indeed housing a food product. I took great pleasure in seeing the ranger's bubble burst. He looked sad and dejected at the prospect of not making a bust. He then searched the other two cars and found nothing. He then asked us for green stickers and left the site skunked.
After this I wondered why we treated that way by a Land Management Ranger. There was no reason to suspect that we were holding either drugs or guns. It was also strange that he was so interested in finding drugs, when that is literally the last thing rangers are supposed to do. What happened was harrassment, and it was especially maddening when you consider the fact that he is at an OHV area basically to serve those who visit the place, not bust them. He is not a cop. His salary is paid by visitors and visitors should be treated with decency and respect. The last time I was treated in the "search first ask questions later" manner was when I was in Mexico. I have been searched by the federal police down there several times with no reason or permission. But that's Mexico. This is the US and that was a Ranger in Jawbone.
This last weekend the same guy pulled up to us in his Jeep. This time he had a partner with him and he was much nicer. He asked us for green stickers and then left.
I am wondering if anyone else has had the same experience with that ranger at Jawbone Canyon, CA, or Dove Springs. He drives a Jeep that looks far too customized to be standard gov't issue. He's a middle aged caucasion with a mustache. I thought of complaining, but sloth got the best of me and I didn't.

  • DeltaT

Posted March 08, 2005 - 11:23 PM

#2

A bust on Federal land could mean vehicle forfeiture. Agencies love free bikes and trucks :) You ruined his whole day! Congrats....

J

  • Eliems

Posted March 09, 2005 - 12:00 AM

#3

I'll tell you one thing ... I only wish there was more of that happening here in Vancouver on the part of the authorities. Here, the drug scene is unenforced! Grass is treated as a non-issue by the police, they don't even take it away when they find it! You will never get busted here for possession. Our federal gov't is now-proceding with decriminalization and then total legalization. Every second street here has a grow-op in it.

How am I supposed to convince my teenagers that grass is not the harmless weed everyone says it is? This damned stuff will kill the dreams of a talented young man and leave him going nowhere! It will take many down the path of crystal meth and crack all the way to the grave.

I'll make you a deal ... you send that over-zelus ranger up our way and we will send you a bleeding heart liberal who will gladly help you set up needle-exchanges and crack-houses for your children.

  • CharlesFP

Posted March 09, 2005 - 12:30 AM

#4

Eliems,
I think you missed the point of my entire post. Here in the US, we are not supposed to be searched or detained by authorities without just cause or permission. It's about liberty and freedom. Innocent tax-paying citizens shouldn't be treated like criminals because of the irresponsible acts of others. If you are so paranoid that the druggies and bleeding heart liberals are corroding the earth that you feel the authorities should be able to suspend everyone's rights to combat them, then maybe you should move to some facist police state in which people have no constitutional rights. Maybe you'd be happier in Mexico, or better yet, any country ending with "istan." China might be nice too. Maybe North Korea.
I agree with you that weed is pretty lame, and I wouldn't want my kids taking bong rips all day and watching TV, but that doesn't justify state-sponsored oppression.
I ride dirtbikes. Lots of people, especially in this state, don't like that. I think they should mind their own business as long as I'm not harming anyone. The same should apply to anything else, even potheads. If they're only harming themselves, I could care less. More employment opportunities for me. If everyone had ambition and drive, the job market would be much worse. I don't see what the big deal is. Everyone should just mind they're own damn business.
Let freedom ring!!

  • GC265

Posted March 09, 2005 - 02:52 AM

#5

The issue is that some (perhaps most) of these park types have little to no experience with actual "bad guys", consequently everyone is treated the same...with high suspicion that you may be "the big one".
You need to realize, however, that he may in fact be "a cop" in that part part of the woods or at least have some police authority. Failure to recognize that could be troublesome. A complaint would likely be futile, he was being a "go getter", just trying to get the wrong folks.
Ultimately I feel your pain, I see more of these guys while riding at the oregon dunes. I have to bite my tongue when I see them jacking folks up (in full riding gear) for sound issues, while idiots go by in tennis shoes and baseball hats, riding 2 up.
Eliem is noting the polar opposite where he is, a dark place to live and raise kids with morals...lesson being; be careful what you wish for....

  • draver

Posted March 09, 2005 - 05:29 AM

#6

I think if I were in your shoes, I would not have allowed a search of my vehicle. If he felt he had enough authority to search anyway, he would be explaining that in the future for an illegal search in a civil lawsuit. If we allow every Barney Fife to be Rambo, we've bought into the power they would like to believe they have. This is what's called a "Fishing Expedition" by law enforcement and the courts, but as long as you give permission it will continue to occur.

  • DesertWR

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:19 AM

#7

[quote name='CharlesFP'] He is not a cop. His salary is paid by visitors and visitors should be treated with decency and respect. QUOTE]

Oh yea? If that was weed in your truck, you would have been arrested. He does have arresting powers and if that ain't a cop, don't know what one is. We ride Jawbone & Dove Springs & Ca City quite often and haven't that type of problem. It is difficult because even if you told him no to the truck search, he may have invoked the old "probable cause" due to him seeing the wrapper. I am ex-law enforcement and appreciate the work they do. Some are overzealous, thats for sure but all in all, they do what they are supposed to. i.e, when my friend wrecked his bike in CA City, I gave the elderly man that he hit a ride home on the back of my bike. I got stopped by a ranger for riding double. I was only doing about 5 MPH on the shoulder of the road. I explained the situation and he let me continue only cautioning me to watch for others. Very Cool guy-As most are if you have done nothing wrong. You apparently had done nothing wrong and just experienced an overzealous ranger. I personnally, am glad they are there. If they do their job correctly, they are supposed to uphold your liberties, not erode them. :)

  • PumpkinHumper

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:48 AM

#8

Forrest Rangers are not just a paid tour guide. They have quite a big of power actually. As said above they can arrest you if needed. I hear tell that they have as much power or more than an actual cop.

Im sure he thought he was onto something when he aproached you. But once he realized his mistake he should of backed down and apoligized for his rudeness. Just because he may have a tough job dealing with these kind of things/people dosn't mean that he couldn't be civil once he realized his error.

If I was in your shoes I think I would of asked for an apology from the dude. Of corse that would of egged him on even more. Might be best to just let it go, and let him go on his merry way thinking that he is the god of his domain.

  • CORKER

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:50 AM

#9

Now, I know what a druggie and tweeker look like, but can you tell what an NRA member looks like? I need to know what to look for just in case one tries to sneak his way into my neighborhood.

  • JamesD

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:54 AM

#10

Once his drug bust turned out to be a sandwitch he should have ended it right there and appologized. He was being an jerk and trying to get you on anything he could since you embarrased him. Anybody does this to you get their name and report it. There's no excuse for it.

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  • Dan_Lorenze

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:56 AM

#11

That stupid ranger was lurking around camps and looking in your car. The guy needs to get a life.....

  • bottomfeeder2

Posted March 09, 2005 - 10:00 AM

#12

I think there's a difference between the Rangers and the Kern County Sheriffs. I've always been treated great by the Sheriffs (and the LA Co Sheriffs up at Goreman too). I know it's irrational though, but I've always felt uneasy around the Rangers with peace officer status. It's nothing I can put my finger on. Maybe it's because to me they look like Sierra Clubbers with badges & guns. :)

I'm glad to hear he didn't confiscate your lunch though.

  • Jim_bo

Posted March 09, 2005 - 01:13 PM

#13

I think I would have told him "hell no" when he asked to search my car. I agree that knucklheads like that believe they have more authority than they do because timid people allow them to get away with BS like that.

I think that peace officers have a responsibility to the public, but I also think the public has a responsibility to itself. Allowing a jerk to get away with that kind of trash without reporting him is failing a responsibility to the public. Too bad the "sloth" got hold of you.

Jimbo

  • charliep

Posted March 09, 2005 - 04:58 PM

#14

I dont want to beat this thing into the ground but......one of two things happened.

1. There have been complaints of drug,alcohol,etc. use in the area and he has been asked to step up enforcement.

2. He is an overzealous Law Enforcement officer. He felt you and your friends fit the "profile of law breakers".


Your situation was a consensual encounter, you were not being detained. He walked up to and started talking. If he asks to search you or your vehicle you have a right to say NO! If your not doing anything wrong and your green stickers are up to date, i would tell him no you cannot search my car. Tell him he can only grab the bag to see that it only contained sandwich leftovers.

My 2cents.

  • wildo

Posted March 09, 2005 - 05:40 PM

#15

I'll tell you one thing ... I only wish there was more of that happening here in Vancouver on the part of the authorities. Here, the drug scene is unenforced! Grass is treated as a non-issue by the police, they don't even take it away when they find it! You will never get busted here for possession. Our federal gov't is now-proceding with decriminalization and then total legalization. Every second street here has a grow-op in it.

How am I supposed to convince my teenagers that grass is not the harmless weed everyone says it is? This damned stuff will kill the dreams of a talented young man and leave him going nowhere! It will take many down the path of crystal meth and crack all the way to the grave.

I'll make you a deal ... you send that over-zelus ranger up our way and we will send you a bleeding heart liberal who will gladly help you set up needle-exchanges and crack-houses for your children.


if it wasn't so danm cold I would so be thier

  • draver

Posted March 09, 2005 - 06:27 PM

#16

I agree that there are always two sides to any story. Those of you who may believe he had probable cause need to consider if he has had ANY training in recognizing drugs and/or paraphernalia before assuming he knows as much as the local sheriff, and can testify that he KNOWS what drugs look like. Not a sandwich bag with leftover lettuce in it. Law enforcement experience makes it too easy to second guess the situation. I know, I have over 10 years also.

My bottom line is: If you're not doing anything wrong, stand your ground. I think if you roll over, you just may make this guy more bold and push the limit the next time. Gotta wonder why he searched your buddies vehicles also. What's his "Probable Cause" there? Guilt by association?

Dale

  • Gadsen

Posted March 09, 2005 - 06:41 PM

#17

...the crazy thing is that myself and the guys I was with do not look in any way like NRA members or anything like that...



Heck, I'm an NRA life member and you cant tell me from anyother Joe! :) And I usually pack heat too! :)

  • Gadsen

Posted March 09, 2005 - 06:49 PM

#18

Now, I know what a druggie and tweeker look like, but can you tell what an NRA member looks like? I need to know what to look for just in case one tries to sneak his way into my neighborhood.



Corker, they look like every law abiding citizen. In fact, if you do have druggies and tweakers in your neighborhood, a couple of NRA members is good. You have nothing to fear from any NRA member, unless the constitution scares you. :)

  • XR250rdr

Posted March 09, 2005 - 07:25 PM

#19

The guy does sound like he was trying to throw his weight around. I agree fully with what charliep said.

if it wasn't so danm cold I would so be thier


Judging from your post maybe you should put down the bong...

  • Slugblaster

Posted March 09, 2005 - 08:27 PM

#20

Hey Charlie a tweaker is pretty easy to pick out of a crowd. A druggie if your talking smokin dope well that is a little difficult, But an NRA member is usually a smart consciences upstanding citizen. A lot of people look the part but not all are. Don't put us NRA members in the same category as tweekers and druggies.




 
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