One of the more curious poker news items in recent days was the raid last Sunday night on the Little Rock, Arkansas, location of the National Poker Challenge. The raid took place at about 9 pm and seems to have been done at the behest of the president of the Little Rock-based Family Council, Jerry Cox. Yes, that's another one of those Focus on the Family, "Any fun that we don't approve of must be abolished", wacko-right wing organizations.
It's of course of special interest because the National Poker Challenge was one of a growing swarm of "free poker" outlets nationwide. The NPC also has operations in Oregon and in Memphis, where it is headquarted, and went ahead with opening up in Little Rock despite receiving warnings from the city attorney there that the planned operation was likely going to be perceived as illegal. The NPC responded that it had received several legal opinions that it was on solid legal ground, and went ahead and opened anyway.
So what does a modern, rightest American government do when faced with any sort of sociopolitical legal challenge to its authority?
Yep, S.W.A.T. teams.
Little Rock indeed responded by sending in the heavy hitters and conducting a sweeping raid. It seems like Cox, the aptly named Family Council president, also had his special in, because he just happened to be driving by the place when the raid went down and witnessed the equipment being hauled out and the room's owner and employees being placed under arrest. They were charged with felonies, too, which is of course what you'd expect from such a heavy-handed operation. The raid was intended to get rid of the perceived problem by any means necessary, not to bother with any sort of reasonable legal discourse. And of course, by filing felony charges and keeping the equipment seized and unavailable, the unacceptable behavior is dealt with, legal or not.
I've been to Little Rock. Spent several days there, a few years back. My general impression is that Little Rock sucks.
This just reminded me again, as to why.