Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gordon Liddy Discovers the Perks of Drug Busts

Before he was Tricky Dick's hired goon, G. Gordon Liddy was a prosecuting attorney in Dutchess County, New York. And he was a drug war enthusiast. Timothy Leary moved into Liddy's neighborhood and promptly set up a fine hippie party pad. Liddy's office decided to raid Leary's house; Liddy himself organized and spearheaded the raid in person.

For the most part, it was a typical drug raid (if on an atypical drug user); the story is also told with Liddy's typical moralizing on the evils of drugs and the evil hippies who use them. But there's a prurient subtext to Liddy's account of the bust, which I think nicely illustrates the mindset of the drug warrior, not much changed since the 60's context in Liddy's book, Will, from which I get these quotes: there are hot chicks with these dirty hippies, hot chicks who like sex. The hippie dudes get to enjoy Rainbow Spacechild's free love; the square cop has to go home to his fuddy wife in curlers. It's envy -- and Liddy's not immune to it. After his men used some force in taking the soon-to-be Mrs. Leary's marijuana from her person, Liddy takes a moment to oggle her a second time:

My attention moved from the evidence to Rosemary, who was still, of course, in her diaphanous gown. Furious, breathing deeply and sputtering, at that range she would have taken J. Edgar Hoover's mind off John Dillinger.

My reverie was broken abruptly by a voice behind me shouting: "Pants! The district attorney wants pants on this man!"

I wrenched my gaze away from Rosemary in time to meet the glance of [Sheriff] Borchers...

There's MOAR:

By now there was considerable activity in the foyer, which lay between the waterfall room on one side and a room of nearly equal size on the other. To no apparent purpose, a large number of deputies was crossing the foyer, to and fro, in what amounted to a slow-motion parade.

I observed this phenomenon for a moment, noting that as each deputy made his crossing, he would glance covertly up the stairway. My curiosity aroused, I investigated.

A walk into the foyer and a quick glance up the stairs and the mystery was solved: on a stair just above eye level sat a woman (later identified as a writer for a woman's magazine there to do a story on Leary, to whom the raid was a bonanza). She was wearing a nightgown hitched up above her knees, wide-spread thighs supporting a lapboard and pad upon which she was writing intently.

And where envy goes spite follows. Liddy can scarcely disguise his glee in relating how a deputy...

Young, eager, and exceptionally fleet of foot... bounded to a top-floor hall where, obedient to the letter of his instructions, he burst through a bedroom door. Landing in the approved pistol-course crouch, massive .357 magnum revolver thrust out before him, he was ready for anything. Well, almost anything.

By the light of a single candle flickering from the top of a Coca-Cola bottle, he saw a young man and woman, nude, upon an ancient mat. She was on her back. He was at his apogee, about to plunge to her perigee, when the officer shouted: "FREEZE!"

For one stunned moment, the man hung there, suspended, as the forces of Eros did battle with those of Smith & Wesson. Smith & Wesson won.

"You're...you're kidding!" the wretch squeaked.

Then, eyes fixed in horror upon the muzzle of the huge handgun, to the complete dismay of the poor girl beneath him, instead of coming he went.

The psychological subtext here is not hard to discern; nor is it difficult to see exactly why this part of the story inspires Liddy to splash so much purple (considering the source) on the page. The cop, with his "huge" gun "thrust out before him" dominates the dirty hippie male, whose gun, as it were, is caused to misfire. Who's your daddy?

Incidentally, Leary and Liddy eventually became good friends. I wonder, though, if Liddy ever thought of busting Leary's hippie pad years later when, on his radio show (in the context of Waco and Ruby Ridge) he advised people subject to raids to "aim for the head."