“I’m for law and order, the way that it should be. This song’s about the night they spent protecting you from me.”
On Monday, September 12th, 70-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer Teddy Gentry of the country and Southern rock band Alabama was arrested in Cherokee, County, Alabama, forced into an orange jumpsuit, subjected to a mugshot, and incarcerated behind bars for second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He was later released on bond.
Thank goodness the authorities found Teddy Gentry before he overdosed, or became a danger to society by stealing cars, breaking into houses, or turning tricks on the streets of Alabama so he could cop his next score.
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What in the hell are we doing here? Any time a Country Music Hall of Famer is arrested and charged with a crime, it is newsworthy in the country music realm. But I would feel like a patsy reporting the dry details of this story while acting like it wasn’t ludicrous for us to be arresting 70-year-old man for pot possession, no matter his occupation. Even if you have no respect for the songs “Mountain Music” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” at least have some respect for your elders.
The arresting officer was just doing his job and abiding by the laws as written, and Teddy Gentry was breaking the laws as written. Gentry shouldn’t expect or receive any preferential treatment due to being an entertainer. But with the way our country music legends are so overlooked and forgotten these days, there’s a distinct possibility that nobody involved in the incident even knew who Teddy Gentry was until he was booked into custody. But of course, someone eventually went squealing to the press, and now it’s all over the place.
But this incident isn’t an embarrassment for the band of Alabama, it’s an embarrassment for the State of Alabama. It will only increase the country music cred of Teddy Gentry, both from the fact that he was arrested, and what he was arrested for, even if some of the Bible thumpers out there will be a little disappointed in ol’ Teddy getting caught with some doobage.
It’s a national outrage that Brittney Griner is being detained in Russia for possession, but we fail to raise a stink for the thousands detained here in the United States for similar infractions. Teddy Gentry is not heading to a Siberian work camp of course, but could definitely face further jail time.
None of this is to say that marijuana can’t be hurtful to developing brains and it shouldn’t be regulated to some extent, or that it’s never been a gateway drug. But handcuffs, mugshots, orange jumpsuits, and prison bars should be reserved for people who are a danger to themselves or others. 70-year-old Teddy Gentry is neither of those things, while very real criminals and white collar scoundrels walk the streets.
Nonetheless, congratulations are in order. You got your country music credibility wings, Teddy.