If a pack of cigarettes cost you around $14.50.....just how stupid or how desperate would you get?
In Bama, if Piggy Wiggly and the rest of the crowd suddenly pushed a twelve-dollar tax onto a pack of smokes.....folks would react....in a fairly stupid or corrupt way.
Yeah, we'd import smokes in from Mississippi, and it'd start within six minutes after the tax went into affect. Yeah, we'd send junior over to Natchez, with an order for 3,000 packs of smokes and resell them up and down the highway to anyone who'd want to buy them, with maybe a quarter added onto each pack for our 'profit'.
Yeah, we'd set up a cigarette mafia made up Nam vets, fake disabled guys who get Social Security, bogus NCAA football freaks, meth-addicted women who look like zombies, and retired guys who claim they've been alien-probed several times since 1973.
Yeah, we'd hook up with the deputies of the local sheriff and work agreements about their bribe to just stay away from some parking lot on highway eleven from mid-afternoon to late-evening.
Yeah, we'd make sure the Baptists were all thrilled by the massive cigarette tax, and ensure that ministers talked up the evil nature of smoking to get them thrilled.
Yeah, we'd invent some fake gimmick that the cigarette tax revenue would go to.....in support of schools, blind people, catfish, wild varmints, Nam vets, or county parks named after corrupt county commissioners of the past.
After a while though....things would settle into regular pace, and we'd start to screw up. The county sheriff would eventually get pushed into the corner by some gas stations, beauty parlors, and bait/tackle shops.....clean up the cigarette mafia.
You see....what tax revenue money that did come in....would be noticed after a while as being marginal and not enough for all the smokes that seem to be smoked.
The sheriff would eventually send his guys around to enforce the stupid $12 tax on smokes. A couple of the mafia members would get hostile about this. You'd drag us away from the parking lot, and on one single afternoon.....we'd miss $300 of sales. It's our rent money, our beer money, our gas money, etc.
After five or six arrests, with momma bailing us out each time, and a month later....getting arrested again....things add up. So, we'd get hostile and frustrated. It ain't right....why take me and not that other guy on the other side of the parking lot, or the gal over by the Piggly Wiggly pig-sign?
So, you look at the episode that unfolded up in New York City and you just shake your head. If we'd been that foolish to raise cigarette taxes per pack to $12....we'd have dozens of guys per month where I grew up.....that would refuse to allow themselves to be arrested.
Nothing new or unusual here. Maybe it took the New York City crowd longer to reach maximum frustration, but we'd done the same thing in Bama.....just a heck of a lot sooner.
The odd thing here? In Bama, one single cop would have confronted the 300-lb guy. After a brief conversation.....the cop would have called the second cop to come over, and they would have hit the big guy with a stun gun. After he'd been knocked out.....the cops would have asked the clerks at Piggly Wiggly (Homer and Gerald) to help them push the smokes guy into a pick-up bed and just haul him to the county jail that way.
That's the difference between Bama and New York City. We would have taken the less confrontational way to fixing the problem. True, our hefty Bama guy might have died from the stun gun charge......but it's the most humane way of dealing with frustrated folks....easily and quietly. Course, after this....we would have sent six cops out to the arrested guy's house....shown a search warrant and searched his two thousand packs of smokes.....then gotten the state tax guy involved, and later seized the guy's pick-up. We would have made his life miserable enough that he'd have to move in with relatives and accept their help.
That's the difference between Bama and New York City.