Jailed Girl Scout Cookie Samaritan Proves Drug War is Absurd

Josh Hughes | @joshh51099

Soon after being heralded as a generous, kind-hearted man, South Carolinian Detric McGowan was arrested on counts of federal drug charges, the Drug Enforcement Agency has announced. A resident of Greenwood, South Carolina, McGowan’s story recently went viral on social media following a post by Kayla Dillard of Girl Scout Troop 1574 of Upstate South Carolina. The post alleged that McGowan bought upwards of $500 worth of Girl Scout cookies, telling the girls, “I’m taking them all so Y’all can get out of this cold.” The post was shared and liked by thousands of people across multiple platforms as of Monday, but by Tuesday afternoon news surfaced that he, along with 10 others, had been a part of a major drug bust.

The individuals have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to import and possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl across Upstate South Carolina and North Carolina, according to NBC News 4 WYFF. McGowan could be facing up to life in prison. Karen Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of South Carolina, said, “Nobody was hurt. Nobody was threatened. We had no reason to believe that this man was anything other than one of our valuable customers that is helping Girl Scouts power awesome experiences through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.” When reached for comment, McGowan and his attorney declined to speak at this time.

The War on Drugs Ruins Lives of Good People

Let’s objectively examine what happened in this instance. A man, realizing that two adolescent girls were freezing while trying to sell cookies for their Girl Scout program, bought their entire batch. As authorities have stated, the cookies were probably bought with drug money. As friends of McGowan have stated, he is a very kind and generous man, and he clearly had good intentions to help the girls out and contribute to his community. The moral debates on whether he is a “good” man or not could rage on forever, but most people would agree in saying that his actions themselves were generous and pure.

Now a man, whose only crime was supplying goods that would be provided one way or another due to the high demand, will likely spend many years in prison and might even die there. A man, who was seen and documented giving back to his community and helping two Girl Scouts get out of the cold will rot in a cell. For what? For supplying a demand that the government deems dangerous.

The War on Drugs is getting out of hand. Nearly 40 years after its launch by the Reagan administration, it is evident that the campaign is causing more harm than good. America has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, with a large portion of the crimes being drug-related. So many good people like Detric McGowan are serving time because they can’t legally perform their trade.

When generous people that like to buy Girl Scout cookies are locked up, when prisons are overcrowded due to the excess of “criminals” who only sold or possessed a drug, when the amount of drugs bought and sold on the street has not been significantly affected after 40 years, trillions of dollars, and countless lives, at what point do we as a society say “enough is enough?” At what point does the State relent and acknowledge they are fighting a losing battle? While heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl are all very serious drugs that are not advisable to take, there is still a very large market for them. Where there is a supply, there will be a demand met.

The decriminalization or legalization of these drugs will stand only to make the community safer. Like prohibition in the 1920s, the majority of the violent crime surrounding drugs is directly related to the fact that they are illegal, and thus must be dangerously sold on the “black market.” It is beyond time to demand a change and end the harmful war on drugs so the lives of people like Detric McGowan will stop being ruined.


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