The public relations gram

Kansas City police recently hit the streets with a wad of warrants and in two days racked up 73 arrests and got a bunch of guns and cash and drugs.
In a nation where the metric system has never generated more than the smallest ripple of interest, law enforcement insists on using grams and kilograms instead of good old American pounds and ounces to describe how much drugs they’ve confiscated.

At the Missourinet we like to speak American English and we confess we’d like the people who take frequent risks on our behalf to keep our streets safe would do the same.

For example. The Kansas City police seized 76 grams of cocaine, 27,000 grams of marijuana, 33 grams of meth, 56 grams of heroin, and 6,350 grams of PCP.

The nice thing about grams is that they make for impressive numbers.

It takes 453.59237 of those grams to make one good old American avoirdupois pound. It takes 28.349 grams to make one good old American avoirdupois ounce.

So our shade-tree math indicates the police grabbed something less than three ounces of cocaine. a little more than one ounce of meth, two ounces of heroin, about 14 pounds of PCP and a little less than 60 pounds of marijuana.

But 28,349 of something is sure more impressive than 59.52 of something even if it’s the same quantity of the same thing, isn’t it? This must be one of those times when the meek little gram outweighs the mighty pound in the world of making an impression on the public.

That’s still a lot of bad stuff that’s been taken out of circulation. But shouldn’t we in the American English speaking world understand that it can be hauled away in the back seat of a car, not in a big truck?

Perhaps those who use grams and kilograms in a nation of ounces and pounds should be paid in pounds and shillings.

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