“Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.”
~ Bob Marley
I know, I know... but I can't stay off the "drugs" topic. Actually I can but there is so much about life today that involves drugs. Legal drugs and illegal drugs.
Let me explain...
Today is April 20th. 4/20, or 420. You know, the unofficial stoner holiday. Today is also the anniversary of the Columbine mess. It's also Adolph Hitler's birthday. Now if that isn't a mix that deserves to have their strings intertwined...
Oh yeah... I'm going to throw random urinalysis into this mix. I hope nobody minds.
So... how does cannabis, Hitler, the Columbine massacre and random drug testing tie together?
For me it was a matter of watching the evening news, listening to my son talk about his day and how all that ties into my work history.
Hitler we all know. Columbine, most folks know about. Pot? Yeah, we all know at least something about that (even if if what we know is wrong). And drug testing? Hang on, I'll get there.
The Rise of Adolph Hitler
I'm not a big Hitler fan, so if you want to know more than what is common knowledge, do your research. There is a lot out there... Google shows almost 6 million hits. What we do know that I need to mention is that Hitler was a master manipulator of fact and the media. He gained his power through a tactical campaign of manipulating public opinion. A lot like the campaign against cannabis.
"OK, Allan", you say, "how does Columbine tie into this, other than it happened on April 20th?"
Oh c'mon. Give me a hard question.
We don't really know what triggered seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to commit such an horrendous act against truly innocent kids. Kind of like we're not sure what exactly triggers kids into doing drugs. But we have some ideas. Chief among them is that kids need recognition. They need to be noticed and paid attention to. They need the parents around them to take their lives seriously and work with all the hormones, growth and childhood angst that the kids are dealing with. But we adults too often don't do these things. And subsequently we miss a lot. We miss the signals that kids send.
Lord knows I do. I'm a single dad w/ two teenagers... a broke single dad with two teens. And thus I've just tied random drug testing into this. When I was fired last summer I wasn't fired for bad work habits or being inefficient. It was just the opposite. I hadn't been fired from a job for 25 years. In fact I have been fired twice in my life. The job I lost was a retail position. I worked in hardware. As a retail salesman, I shine. I'm helpful, intelligent, friendly, even indulgent when that is what is needed.
Which is easy to do... within limits. Some folks just can't be pleased, but after over 40 years of being involved with the public on a business level I have to admit 98% of us just want honest, helpful assistance when we have questions. Kind of like kids...
Now here is where drug testing comes in. I'm not just pissed about losing my job, I'm beyond incensed -- but no worries about going postal, I use cannabis and engage in stress relieving activities - like writing this blog - and working on my photography. Speaking of which... a photo break:
And I guess I've got a case of the mung sai because that firing is not right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not whining, I've learned to roll with the punches... but that failed drug test ties right into students. I think the figure is now 15% of our school kids are drug tested.
So, let me ask: do you approve of drug testing our school kids for drugs?
And let me ask that question again: do you approve of drug testing our school kids without a warrant?
See... for me the crux of the matter is what it says in the Bill of Rights
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What does that say again?
"no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"
A search without a warrant is unConstitutional. It is fairly plainly written, even a forklift driver/window cleaner can understand that. So what is the problem with the Supreme Court? They may be scholars of law but they don't know shit about common sense, apparently:
Supreme Court hears arguments in school strip-search case
Supreme Court justices on Tuesday revealed sharp differences over whether Arizona school officials acted properly in strip-searching a 13-year-old girl.
Conservative justices stressed schools' need to combat drug abuse. Other justices suggested that the specific search, involving ibuprofen, might have gone too far. The court's final answer will guide educators nationwide, as the justices determine when standard constitutional protections give way to school safety.
"Having an aspirin tablet does not present a health or safety risk," Justice David Souter said.
Justice Stephen Breyer added that the strip-search of eighth-grader Savana Redding may have been "a little extreme," and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg conveyed dismay at the search's intrusiveness.
See... no one asking "were the parents present?"
C'mon, what are we teaching our kids? Big Bro' knows best? And of course all this discussion of teens, school and drugs brings me me to this little nauseating tale:
Goose Creek Raid
I'm not even going to say much about that... I try real hard not to swear in my writing.
For me, having been fairly intensely involved in drug policy reform for over a decade now I've got my school of hard knocks degree in drug policy. And what I've learned makes me sick. Really. A lot of what I know seems like it should be common knowledge. But I watch mainstream (network) news and I know it is more a case of what we aren't told than us not wanting to know. Things that you have to dig a bit to find. Regional happenings that don't move past the national filters.
There are way too many stories to tell 'em all here, but a couple have gnawed at me and won't let go, so I will use tham as prime examples of why I fight this Prohibitionist scourge. I believe drug Prohibition to be a real debacle, man made. And man can end it. But here, meet Donald Scott:
ARMED AND DANGEROUS
Ranch-coveting officials settle for killing owner
Early on the morning of Oct. 2, 1992, 31 officers from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, National Guard and Park Service came roaring down the narrow dirt road to Scott's rustic 200-acre ranch. They planned to arrest Scott, the wealthy, eccentric, hard-drinking heir to a Europe-based chemicals fortune, for allegedly running a 4,000-plant marijuana plantation. When deputies broke down the door to Scott's house, Scott's wife would later tell reporters, she screamed, "Don't shoot me. Don't kill me." That brought Scott staggering out of the bedroom, hung-over and bleary-eyed -- he'd just had a cataract operation -- holding a .38 caliber Colt snub-nosed revolver over his head. When he pointed it in the direction of the deputies, they killed him.
Despite a subsequent search of Scott's ranch using helicopters, dogs, searchers on foot, and a high-tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory device for detecting trace amounts of sinsemilla, no marijuana --or any other illegal drug -- was ever found.
And even more than my own calamitous direct contacts with the drug war the case of Zeke Hernandez just continues to act as a catalyst to maintaining a voice on the topic of our drug policies.
CASUALTIES OF THE DRUG WAR
Zeke's story was one of the first I had heard about innocent civilians directly killed by our drug war (Prohibition 2.0). Equally as sad... Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta. Kathryn was a near 90 year old black grandmother shot by police who broke down her door on a drug raid based on a perjured warrant and rubber stumped by a judge. She had no drugs. She did have a pistol...
But she lost the gun battle, the police planted drugs and... well, here, you read it:
Kathryn Johnston: A Year Later
92-year-old woman's death has done little to curb the use of paramilitary police tactics around the country.
[...] everything about the Kathryn Johnston murder was corrupt. The initial arrest of the ex-con came via trumped-up charges. The police then invented an informant for the search warrant, and lied about overseeing a drug buy from Johnston's home.
Ms. Johnston didn't actually wound any of the officers. They were wounded by fragments of ricochet from their own storm of bullets. And there was no marijuana. Once they realized their mistake, the officers handcuffed Ms. Johnston and left her to bleed and die on the floor of her own home while they planted marijuana in her basement.
And the names of those with similar stories just gets longer and has become a litany...
Drug War Victims
It is not just what we are teaching our kids but what we are passing on to them. Do we really want to hand them a system that we've forgotten to stand up for? A system with laws based on lies? A system that says "even though you haven't done anything wrong we need to make sure, so just pee in this cup." A funny thing here is how those who have been heavily involved in setting up the system that seeks mandatory drug testing are also those who are the captains of the drug testing corporate world.
IS IT WORTH IT ?
Carlton Turner was once the United States' drug czar (under Reagan.) After this, he became a very rich man as an advisor for drug testing companies. His partner, Peter Bensinger is a former head of the National Institute on Drug Awareness. Another partner was Robert Dupont, also a former NIDA director. Former White House drug advisor Donald MacDonald now owns Employee Health Programs, which contracts MROs to drug testing programs.
Start a war and then sell the tools of that war. Wow, now there is a story we've never heard before...
And I could go on... about how the early "teen camps" were abusive failures that ended badly for too many and those who were profiting from those "camps" are also *cough* leaders *cough* in the anti-drug movement.
I could talk about a young missionary mother - Veronica Bowers - and her infant daughter Charity, were shot out of the skies over Peru
Or I might mention U.S. Army pilot, Captain Jennifer Odom and her crew and how they were shot down over Colombia and how her Commander, "Col. James Hiett, the top U.S. counter-narcotics official in Colombia, [...] was helping his wife launder the proceeeds of her cocaine smuggling through the U.S. embassy with the help of his chauffeur."
But I won't... I have to go wash my hands. Happy 420... sigh...
“I've tried everything. I can say to you with confidence, I know a fair amount about LSD. I've never been a social user of any of these things, but my curiosity has carried me into a lot of interesting areas.”
~ Dan Rather