Barry Bonds’ Prosecution, Was it Worth it?

If we are to hand off a good world to our Grandchildren, we have to get Federal spending under control.  Tens of millions of dollars may be pocket change in Washington DC, but as the congressman says, ” 30 million here, 40 million there, and pretty soon you’re talking some real money.”  Appointed Federal Officials need to spend OUR money as if it were coming out of their checkbook.

I’ve seen two figures for the cost to prosecute Barry Bonds and finally obtain a guilty verdict on one count of Obstruction: $6M, San Francisco Examiner,  item by Art Spader, 2/16/11, and $55M, Democratic Underground, 4/5/11, quoting the Business Insider 4/4/11.  I also saw the $55M in a Quoted and Noted type bit some time last week, but now I can’t find it to quote.  As Spader said in his article, “It’s Barry’s case, and it’s our money.  No matter who wins, everyone will be a loser.”

I have a major problem with this case.  My tax dollars and your tax dollars were and are being spent by Federal prosecutors on something that doesn’t make me feel one bit safer.  Isn’t the purpose of police agencies to make us safer from criminals? I live in eastern Washington State, a relative low crime area, but even here it seems there is a drive-by shooting almost every week and many gang-related murders.  (I’m sure it’s much worse in the major cities).  If he Feds want to spend money to fight crime and make me feel safer, an extra couple hundred thousand $$ for each of the city police organizations or county Sheriff’s offices would be a far better use of the money.

I suspect the prosecution of big fish sports heroes is being driven more by prosecutors’ egos, and career plans, than by a burning desire to make the world a safer place for our Grandchildren.   Nor do I think that Bond’s prosecution is going to deter High School athletes who might consider using performance enhancing drugs from doing so.  I believe that battle must be fought by parents, coaches, and peers.  Let’s face it, young people think they’re bullet proof.  If the 10s of thousands of deaths from mixing driving with texting and/or drinking hasn’t convinced teenage drivers those things are bad, then why would the Feds think prosecuting a few sports figures will deter drug use?

Finally, and more importantly, I don’t think we should be turning to  the Federal government to solve all of our problems.  This is part of why the deficit is so big.  The policing of sports is not a Federal Government function.  I’m thinking that the fans and their dollar-votes are a better way of policing professional sports.  Why should I want to spend my hard-earned money to watch a bunch of juiced-up athletes?   It doesn’t have to be proven in a court of law that a certain athlete or team is using steroids, there just has to be strong evidence.  Once the fans lose faith and attendance, & TV viewers, drop off, the industry will get serious about self-policing.

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