Video of Lott at Rotary

As promised earlier, here is Andy Haworth's video of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott at Rotary today. As you can see from this, it was quite a performance, and the sheriff fought his corner well.

In case the imbed doesn't work, here's a link to what Andy posted on YouTube.

19 thoughts on “Video of Lott at Rotary

  1. Brad Warthen

    Note: You may notice that some of the numbers in the Sheriff’s Top Ten might not match the sequence on my previous post. I think the problem arises from the fact that I was numbering his points from 1 to 10, and the sheriff was doing a countdown in the Letterman style. Basically, the Top Ten in my post presents the ten items in the order in which he presented them. Sorry if the numbering makes it confusing.

    You should blame me for that, not the sheriff. So much for the instant journalism of blogging.

  2. Greg Flowers

    Reminds of when, some years ago, Sen. Jack Lindsey was caught taking friends to the Superbowl in Miami in a State plain. The Senator was so contrite that he showed up on the Senate floor wearing a WWI pilot’s hat. All those in attendance seemed to find it a real hoot. That Jack, a real card.

  3. Phillip

    To the extent that one believes Sheriff Lott about the low expenditure spent on this “case,” or about the recurrent problems with the house involved, one can acknowledge these points in his defense.
    But the business about turning down invitations for Larry King, Geraldo, et al, is no reason to admire Mr. Lott. While Lott’s obviously not the brightest bulb in the universe, he’s not THAT dumb. His act (less Sonny Crockett than a cross between Sheriff Rosco and Boss Hogg) plays well (as one can see in the video) to a local/regional audience that’s predisposed to see the world the way he does.
    After all, building upon and reinforcing that mostly SC constituency was probably his main goal. Lott knows full well that had he accepted invitations to go on nationally broadcast forums, he would have been absolutely eviscerated, probably both by the hosts (except maybe on Faux News) as well as any other guests put on to counter his position.
    In other words, Lott would have been made out to be a real laughingstock, and he would have been picked apart had he had to face actual tough questioning in national forums.
    As it is, he played the “case” perfectly by not overplaying his hand in terms of pushing the publicity nationally. He didn’t need that, that wasn’t the constituency he was playing to with this little game of his. He accomplished his goals, and the three standing ovations in the carefully-chosen venue where he chose to state his “side” of things, well, that just vindicated his strategy. Well played, Mr. Lott, my next toke will be a toast to you.

  4. Birch Barlow

    Interesting video, thanks for posting.
    My only beef with Lott was not mentioned in the video. I find it disturbing that Lott felt the need to surprise these people by breaking down the door with a battering ram and storming the house with a dozen officers, guns drawn. A legal gun owner might have pulled out a weapon because he thought he and his property were under attack. In that case, Lott’s boys would have no choice but to shoot him. It’s just senseless and puts everyone involved in a bad situation.
    I also think it’s ridiculous that he thinks he needs a military-style tank to enforce the law in Richland County.
    But Lott is right; all the other issues of drug policy need to be taken up with someone else. He’s just doing his job.

  5. york "Budd" Durden

    The only point Lott made that has cogency and merit is that he’s a law enforcement officer, not a lawmaker. The rest is face-saving nonsense preached to a choir of conservative old guys.
    How does one apply logic to these assertions that X occurred (a kid smoked pot) leading to conclusion Y (the pot was the root cause of said kid’s miserable life and tragic early death). Been a long time since logic but I’m pretty sure that’s fallacious reasoning.
    From the wikipedia def. of causality:
    If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x.

  6. melville

    While we’re all sitting here so pleasantly talking together, has anyone commented on the first frame in this youtube video that Brad posted?
    LOOK AT IT. With the wig and the medals and the flag draped scenery.
    My God
    He looks like a Transvestite Patton.

  7. bud

    One important point that has been missed so far in this discussion. Supporters of anti-marijuana laws suggest that because pot is dangerous and a “gateway” drug then it’s illegality reduces these dangers. But then to use an incident where a woman’s life was snuffed out as justification for the law makes no logical sense. In fact, because this heinous crime WAS committed while the law OUTLAWS marijuana it would support the exact opposite position. Pot was illegal at the time of the ATM killing so perhaps if it was legal instead the incident would NOT have occurred. The fact that it DID occur under the condition of illegality does not support the claim that the law as it currently exists is effective. Logically Lott’s claim is bogus.

  8. York "Budd" Durden

    Continuing the logic question:
    I knew a kid who was religious (Catholic) who ended up dead with an armful of bad heroin. This same kid told me he turned to drugs because of anxiety over the idea in his head that there were invisible people in the sky who had expectations about his behavior. Based on this anecdote, we should therefore criminalize religious belief, which leads directly to anxiety and subsequent death.

  9. KP

    Yep, the causality issue has been a convenient problem in establishing lots of public health risks. It’s protected the cigarette companies for decades, since not all smokers get cancer, and some people who don’t smoke get cancer, and even if you can show an association, you can also prove that smokers are unhealthier people in general — they don’t eat their vegetables, they don’t exercise, they maybe work at jobs that expose them to lots of other carcinogens.
    Marijuana may or not be a gateway drug, but it is relatively clear that it has undesirable effects on adolescent brains and it’s just as carcinogenic as cigarette smoking.
    Which makes me wonder: if marijuana were legal, who would you sue if you if you got addicted and then developed cancer? Your pusher?

  10. Brad Warthen

    Bud, maybe I didn’t explain it right, but the sheriff’s point about the Denny Terrace case was less about drugs as a cause — although he did make that point — and more about the fact that his department WAS doing its job, and not neglecting murder and other serious crime in order to chase Michael Phelps. That’s how he brought it up.

  11. bud

    Here’s the relevant passage concerning the ATM incident (and other crimes committed in the area).
    ” The sheriff said today, “That’s why that lady’s dead, because of drugs,” making the point that the suspect didn’t start smoking crack.
    The point is bogus. So what if he smoked pot before he used crack. That’s a complete non-sequiter, period. End of story. It’s such a ridiculous point logically that it shouldn’t even merit printing. The dude probably drank Mountain Dew, ate potato chips and watched the Sapranos on TV before he used crack. Why not go after people who do those things? What Lott did was simply to arbitrarily choose this incident to support a claim that pot is dangerous and can lead to more serious crimes. But that makes absolutely no logical sense.

  12. Timothy Leary

    So Phelps admitted to smoking the pot, a picture exists of him smoking the pot, and the people he smoked pot with were arrested.
    And yet Sheriff Lott couldn’t make the case against Phelps?
    What kind of physical evidence was he expecting to find to make the case? A gold medal in a bag of pot?
    As Phillip correctly states, this was Sheriff Lott playing to his home team.
    Pure grandstanding. Make some snide remarks about people from other states, claim his hands were tied by the law, put on a wig. Har dee har har…
    Would have made a great skit on Hee Haw.
    Any efforts expended on this bogus activity were a waste of time and money. We’ve got a serious gang problem in Columbia. Get to work on that, please.

  13. Mab

    Here is a comment from the main story that deserves a second shout:
    BillyBob wrote on 02/23/2009 09:46:28 PM:
    Wish we had a Sheriff in Lexington County of this caliber!!! Metts has been on the take for years…
    The Lexington County ‘Til Death Do Us Part oath between the solicitor and the sheriff has got to end. No two elected law enforcement officials can remain in office, like conjoined twins for 30+ years, without an undercurrent of corruption.
    Wish we had a Sheriff Lott in Lexington, too, BillyBob.

  14. Doug Ross

    Went down to fetch my mail today at noon. What do I find? A letter from Sheriff Leon Lott inviting me to pay $20 to join the SC Sheriffs’ Association (a 20% savings off the usual $25 price). I can also buy a license plate for $6, a bumper sticker for $2, or include “My additional
    gift” as well.
    It is nice to know that Sheriff Lott considers me worthwhile of being in
    his club. “I am writing you Mr. Ross because I believe you are a law
    abiding citizen who has worked hard for what you have.” Got that right, Leon!
    “I also believe you are fed up with people who turn to crime as an easy way to make a living with no responsibility to society.” Yes! Yes! Have you seen the characters coming out of the State House?
    “Almost every day I witness the lawless, criminal activities of crooks, thieves, rapists, drug pushers, and murderers.” And yet you spend time looking for fingerprints on a bong?
    “For just 5 cents a day, you can become an Honorary Member of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.” I’m blushing!!
    Now, I guess I’m being my old cynical self… but doesn’t it strike you as just SLIGHTLY coincidental that this fundraising pitch came out shortly after Sheriff Lott’s national TV exposure?
    Since the letter was addressed to “Ug Ross”, I was deeply offended
    and will not be sending my $20 to the Sheriff. Only my very closest
    friends call me Ug.

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