Kathleen Parker

Watching the news over the weekend, I was ecstatic to see videos of our special-ops men rounding up Saddam and the last of his hellhounds. Finally.

There they were, lined up against the wall, handcuffed and staring into the pitiless barrels of revolvers and the steely gazes of 14 of America's toughest hombres.

Break out the Dom Perignon!

No, wait. Oh, you mean those weren't Baghdad Baathists? And those weren't our special-ops guys?

Indeed, the incredible film - by now familiar to most - captured students on their way to class and Goose Creek police officers, who, along with police dogs, conducted a "drug sweep" at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, S.C., a suburb of Charleston.

Well at least, I permitted myself to assume, there's an armed and dangerous heroin-tipped dart blower in the supine crowd. But no, police found nothing. Not even a joint, though police reported that their dogs found 12 book bags worthy of sustained sniffing.

"Earthy bouquet," barked Hans. "Zesty with a hint of rosemary," quipped Fritz with characteristic irony.

But no "drogas." No marijuana. No cucaracha.

The man behind the curtain in this bad trip to the dark side of Oz was Principal George McCrackin, who called police when he divined from watching students via surveillance cameras that something might be, you know, "going down."

Police already had been reviewing surveillance tapes following a student tip about drugs on campus and were confident of drug activity, according to Lt. Dave Aarons of the Goose Creek Police Department. Students were "posing as lookouts and concealing themselves from the cameras."

Perhaps, though I vaguely seem to recall in high school being the sort of excellent student and model citizen who might have mocked a camera, had there been one, in order to give 007-McCrackin something to sweat about.

Drugs and money indeed may have been exchanged on the school's campus, which happens far too often for any parents' peace of mind, but kids have been known to play "let's mess with the grownups."

Since the raid last week, McCrackin has been shown on national news reports seated at a four-panel video screen in his office where he keeps an eye on his nefarious herd. Apparently, he saw something that looked to him like an imminent threat of a drug transaction and placed a call to gulag headquarters. I mean the police department.

Whereupon 14 officers responded with notable enthusiasm. They "assumed strategic positions," and "did unholster in a down-ready position," said Aarons.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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