What if your small market town was so riddled with drugs that the whole community was falling apart? That the young people had a routine: they slept during the day and spent their nights out dealing and smoking/ sniffing/shooting up. Parents were in despair and the police were so overworked that they couldn’t do anything. And then, an agent from MI5 came into town. Doors were knocked down and houses were ransacked. Arrests were made. Firstly, the dealers were arrested, then the users.
Despite the dealers’ complaints that their human and legal rights were being abused, for the first time in years, the local community began to see light at the end of a long tunnel. And then, a slick journalist from the Mirror pokes around and reveals that the agent from MI5 is a former security guard from Homebase, who bought his handcuffs over the internet.
In fact, that’s what just happened in a little town in Missouri called Gerald, population 1,171, only the MI5 agent was a guy called Bill A. Jakob, who mounted his one-man anti-drugs campaign by convincing the mayor and the five policemen in the small rural town that he was a federal agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. When his suspects demanded a search warrant, he told them he was a Federal Agent, claiming that ‘Feds don’t need warrants’.
For five months, he got away with it, and the town that had suffered for years under the curse of a particularly nasty drug called methamphetamine at last began to see signs of new life. Now, Mr Jakob, age 36, faces charges for impersonating a law-enforcement officer. I hope that the judge will be lenient. I also hope that all the dealers who’ve been cooking up ‘meth’ in their kitchens won’t succeed in their multi-million-dollar lawsuits because their civil rights were violated.
But if one thing comes out of this episode, it’s proof that what this community needed was a couple of real Federal Agents to come in, photocopy a few search warrants, bust down a few doors, and keep at it until peace returned. Perhaps I have a soft spot for Mr Jakob, because I often feel like whipping out a badge myself. Whenever I see a jerk driving a car 70 miles an hour down a country road. When I see a stockman loading cows onto a lorry with an electric prod and unnecessary cruelty. When I see teenage boys get on the train, each carrying a six-pack, and take over the carriage. When I read that trawlers are responsible for the deaths of whales and dolphins. When I see a mother slap her two year old in the face. When I see travellers moving onto a precious meadow. Great is the yearning to flash my credentials and say ‘you’re coming with me, buddy’. This hankering to take the law into my own hands drives my husband crazy.
I once spent two months’ egg money on reflecting signs that read ‘This road is dangerous. SLOW to 30’, signs I posted on the road in front of our farm until they disintegrated. I’ve now found a website with road signs that look official and I’ve ordered two with a silhouette of a tractor that reads ‘Share The Road’. I reckon this yearning for power is human nature: if things don’t work, you want to fix them. When elected officials are clogged up by the ganglia of health and safety/EU/human rights considerations, the feeling that you can’t wait any longer becomes overwhelming.
I start my day reading about knife deaths and despairing at the reluctance to wade in with squads of Stop and Search. Ipswich is now the heroin capital of East Anglia and I can’t figure out why nobody is busting down doors. If Bill Jakob could do it, why can’t the real Federal Agents? Just Do It. Yes, We Can. Share The Road.