Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Drug War in Delaware ... and Will McVay

It is educational to note that both the News Journal and the State News have expended more coverage on Will McVay's arrest this week than they did on any of his political campaigns.

One would have to ask why this is.

The answer, I think, are pretty self-evident from the story itself.

First, Will is a Libertarian and had been an LPD party official.  Of course, the LPD is so statistically small, reporters tell me (just over 800 folks registered in the party and just over 8,000 voting for at least one Libertarian in 2012) that it doesn't merit coverage in the normal run of things.  I can even recall one reporter advising me to have our candidates "do something dramatic" if they wanted coverage.  I guess this was dramatic enough to suit them.

But, second, I think that the charges proffered by the State probably figured into the mix.  After all, Will has been charged with:
Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, drug dealing and possession of a weapon by person prohibited. Misdemeanor counts included possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (ecstasy tablet) and drug paraphernalia (packaging for marijuana), records said.
OK, in terms of America's (and Delaware's) drug war this is a fascinating case.  As I go through this, keep firmly in mind that Will McVay allegedly had possession of less than 1/2 oz. of marijuana and a single ecstasy tablet.  That's going to be important later.

"Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony"?  Uh, that conjures up images of a crazed McVay sticking up someone at gunpoint, doesn't it?  But the felony in this case--the ONLY felony in the mix that could have led to this--is "Drug dealing."

"Drug dealing"?  Half an ounce?  One pill?  And a digital scale?  Uh, folks, I sell a lot of stuff on eBay and I own a similar digital scale for purposes of estimating postage on small packages.  But, according to the State, that same scale becomes "drug paraphernalia".  And I'd go with that than the "packaging for marijuana," which was--wait for it--Ziploc bags.  Ziploc bags?  Oh my God, my household is the f--king French Connection!

So the State has taken 1/2 oz of marijuana (which many states have now, in keeping with the popular will, decriminalized or legalized), a single ecstasy pill, a scale that is primarily used for weighing postage, and Ziploc bags, and manufactured the FELONY of "drug dealing"?

Thus that 1/2 oz (and etc.) becomes the FELONY that makes having a pistol and a shotgun a FELONY for "possession of a firearm during the commission of a FELONY," which is (let's admit it) a completely bullshit charge thrown in to plea bargain away, because they then added another FELONY for the same weapons--"Possession of a weapon by a person prohibited."  Clever.

(More than likely they are also going to key on the fact that the unemployed McVay had $2,200 in cash in the house.  I can hear prosecutors now asking where an unemployed man might get that kind of money with a hefty leer, and demanding Will explain it.  This is America.  I am not quite sure when we passed over the hill so far that Americans could be inferred to be guilty of something because they actually had money.  Or where they could be required to explain it when the State lacked ANY evidence that it came from criminal activities.)

What's really going on here?  Law enforcement in the State of Delaware, like law enforcement agencies nationwide, are afraid that the pendulum of unreserved (and undeserved) latitude granted them after 9/11 will swing back.  You can already see it as cops in Delaware line up to demand that the death sentence not be repealed.  You can see it as cops across the country fight marijuana legalization, and the Federal government spreads lies to maintain the drug war in operation (and give the US the largest prison population, per capita, of any major nation on Earth).

So when they get the opportunity to bust somebody--be it Will McVay or Tyler Nixon--who has been an outspoken advocate of ending the drug war, legalizing marijuana, and supporting the 2nd Amendment, guess what?  He has to be morphed into John f--king Dillinger.

Personally, I believe it is time for Libertarians around Delaware to realize that what's happened here is not so much an embarrassment as an advertisement for what is wrong with the system and needs to be changed.

Will McVay hadn't threatened anyone with the firearms in his apartment.  (How do we know that?  Because there was no search warrant indicating any "probable cause"; they just found them when the probation officer stopped by.)

There is no evidence in this case that Will McVay dealt drugs--hell, there aren't enough drugs in this case for Will to have been dealing drugs.

The "drug paraphernalia" makes about as much sense as the City of Newark trying to label Sharpies as illegal (which, you will recall, it attempted last year).

And am I--or any other Libertarian--supposed to be embarrassed or upset about Will having a small amount of marijuana or ecstasy for personal use?  I could indict him for being hopelessly naive in thinking he wouldn't be targeted during his probation, but other than that you should remember that Libertarians believe all this stuff should be legal for adults.

I am no more ashamed of Will McVay for breaking the law simple possession than I would have been of an African-American in the Deep South during the 1960s being arrested for using a "Whites Only" drinking fountain.  I do not believe our current drug laws have any great moral force behind them, and so I cannot muster any moral outrage when somebody breaks them.

Tyler Nixon was, and still is, a stand-up guy who has fought for countless "little people" before the people in power he'd pissed off decided to make an "example" out of him.

Will McVay was, and still is, a bright (often annoying, OK I'll give you that) motivated guy who not only thinks outside the box about Delaware politics, but would like to have the box sent to be recycled into something useful.

If, as Libertarians, we do not actually stand by our people and our principles when times are tough and the State (as well as the State-dominated media) decide to target one of our own with exactly the tactics we have been decrying forever, then we might as well go home and wait for the end.  Because we have no principles and no guts.

Nobody said changing the culture of the country was going to be easy.

I don't really care, Libertarians of Delaware, if you don't personally like Will, or if you think he was stupid to get caught.  The facts of the matter are clear:  this is the same kind of zealous State overreach that arguably has a political component we have been opposing all along.  If we really hold the view that the Drug War is wrong, then it is wrong NOW.

It was wrong when they came for Tyler Nixon and it is wrong when they've come for Will McVay.


I must admit that I do have ONE bone to pick with Will, however.

The Mossberg 12-gauge, OK.  But how could you be so clueless as to waste good money on a piece of crap like the Rock Island Armory .45?


Jack said...

In the past months me and him (cant use names at this moment) have not gotten along to well. I have wished and perhaps done some foul things in the past to him..

with that being said, a felony offense for practicing his second amendment right and for having chemicals that was obviously for personal use is a bit extreme even for this state.

I have seen first hand what a felony can truely do to someone and I honestly could never wish that on anyone short of rapists and murders.. Definitely not on someone who had all right to live a free life and posses the things that he did..

Probation or not its never ok for the state to invade your place of living like that and to completely demolish the fourth amendment right that we all hold dear to ourselves..

Now I must point out again... I really really hate mcvay, me and him have a history that is best left unsaid from now on. but still I sincerely hope this shit goes well for him. Again, almost no one should have to deal with the straight "rape" that the state puts you through when you hit felony status.

If he gets hit with a felony charge then it will prove that Justice is truely blind.. and not in the way it was supposed to be. Not in the way where it is blind to race, religion, riches or bloodline.. just pure blind.

Steven H. Newton said...

Thank you, Jack. Sincerely.

Scott Gesty said...

Steve, I could feel your frustration in your written words and I feel we are all very frustrated with what has gone down in the past week or so. That being said, this was a very well written piece and makes very valid points about the drug war and Delaware's handling of it. I mean we have a Gov. and Legislature that pass medicinal marijuana laws and cower in the corner when getting a letter from the Feds. Then you have this type of targeting of individuals and concocting the worst possible charges given the evidence at hand is appalling, albeit the status quo.

My thoughts are with the McVays right now and I offer my support in these troubling times.

Thanks for writing this Steve.

NCSDad said...

Steve, please send a version of this to the NJ. Consider it a challenge to the "power" they retain.

Margaret Melson said...

Beautifully done. I am deeply saddened by the lack of regard for our basic rights, as manifested by the State of Delaware (and the Federal gov't.)The arrest of Will McVay and the absurd charges leveled against him, tell me that the fight for our personal freedoms has just begun in earnest. This isn't a political or intellectual exercise any more. If you haven't been all is time to pay attention!
Sending love and support to the McVay family.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out the fact that Will none the less broke the law... The reason that Will might have only had a small amount of drugs left might be because. Be because he had sold the large quantity prior to being searched. Now the fact being that Will had firearms while on probation was just stupid enough said. I do agree that his 4th Amendment was violated. The biggest problem is the fact that Wills actions have blooded up the waters.

Steve Boone said...

Excellent job, Steve! I might've just gone ahead and spelled the f@cking words outright, just to make a point. Thoughts and prayers for the McVays in this difficult time.

Steven H. Newton said...


What part of "If I don't belief the law is justified, why should I condemn anybody who broke it" don't you get?

Never mind. I know the answer to that question.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important to point out that although this was a wonderfully written oration of what a Utopian society should be like, the world we live in is not such. If you want to be a Lib and fight for more freedom for mankind than I applaud you. However, if you think you are immune to current laws and repeatedly go against the system you are simply borderline anarchist and stupid. Simply put, McVay may have been brilliant when it came to "thinking out of the box" but he fucked up and broke the written law as it stands. Let's not put him in martyrdom status just yet.

Steve Stutzman said...

Bravo, Steve Newton! I stand with Will.

Steven H. Newton said...


Pointing out the malfeasance of the State is not setting up Will as a martyr.

And acknowledging his stupidity does not make him any less a victim of what the State is doing with the felony charges here.

Anonymous said...

You will defend McVay to the death won't you Steve?

McVay does no wrong in you're eyes.

Steven H. Newton said...

Uh, gee, how many times do I have to say he was stupid to violate probation, that I don't condone driving under the influence?

You, on the other hand, have no capability to look past your emnity for McVay to see the abuse of power by the State and the injustice of the drug laws.

What did you seriously expect a Libertarian who is anti-drug war to do? Recoil in horror at half an oz of pot and a single pill?

Anonymous said...

How do you I know for a fact that it was only 1 Pill and a half oz of Marijuana?

Steven H. Newton said...

Gee Anon (Jim) because that's what the police reported.

And they never get it wrong.

Actually it came out to .46 oz not half an ounce.

Try clicking through the links sometime.

Anonymous said...

LOL Will, what a real rep he would have made. HAHAHAHA

Steven H. Newton said...

Unfortunately the same could be said for some of our Senatorial candidates

Anonymous said...

I (Steve) did read through the police report and did not see this information that you speak of.

Anonymous said...

Steve Newton defender of Will McVay... For Will can and does no wrong.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the same could be said for some of our Senatorial candidates. Steve I don't see you throwing your hat in the ring, and running for office you talk a good game that's all.

Collins said...


Steve did not defend Will. Steve indicted the actions of the State. There is a difference. Your personal attacks demonstrate the weakness of your argument.

Anonymous said...

There are no personal attacks.
Just pointing out truths.

But you are like Steve and plenty other's.
you only want to hear,see and believe in the fairyland that you seem to live in.

Delaware Watch said...

Steve, you are absolutely correct about all of this. I don't know the person whose been charged with these "crimes," but they all sound bogus to me. I will say that I once taught at a local college which had many police officers returning to college to further their education. All of them, without exception, held the view that possession of marijuana was a stupid charge, that laws against possession should be repealed, and that they regretted arresting anyone for possession of marijuana. Surprisingly, it was the business majors who tended to be hardliners about possession charges.

David Eisenhour said...

Regardless of how you feel about Will or the drug laws.

Ask yourself this question.

How much of your money do you want the state to spend going after a small time drug user who crashed their own car and was caught with less than $20.00 dollars worth of drugs?

Enough to invade their home and arrest them for another $130.00 worth of drugs. And Put them in Jail for up to 25 Years???

Anonymous said...

"Jack" the rat has a thought, how disingenuous. Word is, Will wouldn't have been locked up at all if Josh wasn't a hypocritical rat.

Jen Wallace said...

Hear, hear. This Green Party of Delaware member couldn't agree more.

delacrat said...

"Yes, I inhaled. That was the point." - Barack Obomba

In light of the above quote, why is Mr. McVay being prosecuted for possession ?

Brad Thomas said...

Well written, Steve! This is an example of how the government establishment exerts control. They saw a chance to "make an example" out of Will. I pray for the McVays at this difficult time.

gere durkin said...

Very well written & informative article. I have to admit I was surprised when I heard all the hoopla the news was making. After getting these facts, I can see it's obvious he was "targeted" for every little thing they could get on him (which happens to most all Joe Smiths out there). It's for the bargaining they always use in court. But once they found out it was Will of LPD, well there they go using him as an example (the news). If it were, again, average Joe Smith, we would have never heard a word about it. Get real - don't we have more & bigger fish to fry? Slap his hands, hand out a couple fines, let it go, move on. How much of the tax payers money do we want to spend on trumped up charges (some to be dropped), going thru the motions? Yep, a perfect example of how our legal system "works" & how biased our local newspapers are.

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