Category Archives: Legal

The Government is NOT Your Friend – Part sixtyquajillion

Due to the fact that I am an idiot, and don’t know when to quit working and playing, and rest so I can get better; the cold that our oldest took home from school with her two weeks ago (and everyone else is already recovered from), has in my case metastisized into a lovely sinus and upper respiratory infection (which I am currently, slowly, recovering from).

I’m in the middle of the nastiest case of the crud I’ve had in over a year. I’ve been sicker, in that I’ve had fevers and whatnot, but I havent had this level of chest and sinus congestion in a while; thus why I call it “the crud”, as in what is completely filling every breathing passage of my body at least 50% of the time.

I’m staying upright and breathing due to the wonders of modern pharmeceuticals; a combination of Sudafed, and Oxymetazonline. Of course when the oxymetazoline wears off the crud slingshots back worse; but that’s livable, so long as I’m taking the REAL Sudafed, or it’s generic equivalent.

Let me just note, the new, fake, sudafed works… for about 20 minutes, no matter how much of it you take.

Pseduoephedrine hydrochloride, is the most effective nasal decongestant known to man; and it doesnt cause rebound rhinitis. Phenylephrine hydrochloride, the ingredient manufacturers are substituing for PsE-Hcl, to put it mildly, is not as effective… or even 1/10th as effective for that matter; and it DOES cause rebound rhinitis.

Of course, pseudoephedrine has some nasty side effects, including increases in blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate, perspiration etc…, as well as vascodilation to a significant degree.

But that’s not why its a “problem”; its a problem, because it’s also the primary ingredient in Methamphetamine; and therefore the government has declared war on it…

…declared war, on a nasal decongestant.

The war on some drugs has made getting the actual medications that work, a lovely process where you must give your drivers license to a clerk, where they record and report on your purchases; and in most stores in most states, you can’t purchase more than 1 weeks worth of recommended adult dosage at a time.

Of course the so called adult dosage is calculated so that a 90lb woman can take 4 times the recommended dosage four times as frequently as recommended and not hit the LD50. For a 370lb, highly drug tolerant man, the amount required to obtain the desired result is… significantly higher shall we say?

I used to be able to get 90mg pseudoephedrine pills, mail order, in bulk; take 1, and be good for 4 hours. Now, because of the “meth war”, the strongest I can get at my local pharmacy is a 24 count box of 30mg each, which don’t even make a dent, so I have to take 4 of them. The pharmacy will only sell me 1 box per week, or 3 boxes per month.

I can order them over the internet for a 48ct box of 60mg each, but again, only one box per order, and only one order per week, or three boxes per month.

A federal law, snuck into a terrorism bill, says that I, an adult; may only purchase a maximum of 3.6grams of pseudoephedrine per day; and a maximum of 9 grams per month, or 7 grams if buying by mail order.

So, in order to obtain relief, I take 120mg two or three times a day (yes, it only lasts full effect for about 4 hours, but I can live with that); for 240mg to 360mg a day; and I’ve been sick for 12 days, with probably another 3 or four days to go. Lets call it 15 days, for a total of 3.6 grams.

So, by federal law, I, as an adult, can purchase one course of treatment for myself in one day; if I can get a retailer to sell it to me.

However, those retailers are paranoid about being persecuted in the drug war, so I can’t buy a full course of treatment; the most I can buy in my local pharmacy is actually two or three days worth. So after my two or three days are up, can I go buy more? Nope I have to wait until next week to buy another two or three days worth.

If I buy on the internet, I can get a weeks worth, or maybe even two weeks if I limit my dosage.

But what if there’s more than one sick person in my house? What if I want to stock up for the winter? what if I want to buy in bulk to save money?

I buy most of my OTC medications in bulk from Costco, because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. I can by as much dextromorphan, or diphenhydramine as I want; in fact I buy it from Costco in 300ct bottles of 50mg each. Both drugs are halucinogenic in large quantities; both drugs are euphoric and stuporific in large quantities, both drugs have a large potential for abuse etc…

So I can buy these “dangerous’ drugs, in 300ct bottles; but I can’t do the same with the most effective nasal decongestant known to man?

Nope, federal law also says that each individual dosage must be packed in blister packs; because it’s more work for someone trying to make meth to pop them out, then to pour out a bottle of mini-thins.

Mini-thins are tiny little 25mg pseudoephedrine pills that used to sell in 120ct bottles for $8 mail order. They were the most popular brand of pseudoephedrine for making meth; because you could buy them by the palletload online, and they had less binders and fillers than any other brand, so you got more of the drug for the bulk of the pills.

They were specifically targeted by congress, and the legislatures of several states; so the manufacturer added guaifenesin to it; which makes it useless for meth (it’s a very strong expectorant that can’t be cooked out in the meth manufacturing process. If you took meth made with it, you’d drown in your own bodily fluids. It’s happened a few times). They also repackaged it in 144ct blister packs, for $30 a bottle.

Blister packs are bloody expensive in case you didn’t know. It was $8 for 120 pills; now, it’s $8 for a 24 count pack of 30mg of pseudoephedrine each, in little individual blisters (and that’s the generic). Each of those pills now costs 35 cents, vs. 7 cents each.

Also, have you ever tried to get your pills out of a blister pack when you’re really really sick? I’ve been sick enough that I could just barely do it; and I’m a big strong man. What about it you have severe arthritis?

So let’s review: I am a grown man, a legal adult, licensed to drive a car, fly a plane, and carry a concealed weapon… I am a parent, trusted to raise my children (well.. that’s another rant for another day). I can buy as much alcohol as I can carry away with a forklift. I can go into a home depot and buy enough poisions to kill thousands of people should I so wish…

…but I can’t buy enough decongestant to relieve my sinus infection for a week?

…and people actually support this policy?

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

A Perverse Incentive

A Question was asked by a reader:

1500 SWAT raids a day…. Has the Drug War completely corrupted our legal system?

It depends on what you mean by corrupted. It is certainly corrosive to the souls of the police, and their relationship with the public they are, and must be, inextricably a part of.

I was watching the history channel, or discovery channel or some such, and they were talking about SWAT training. They mentioned 5 towns in rural Illinois I just happen to know about, as all having full time SWAT teams, equipped with fully automatic weapons, and full ninja gear etc…

As I said, I know these towns. None of them are bigger than 30,000 people. None of them have a real crime problem. The only crime issue they have is meth labs; but no more than anywhere else in the American midwest these days.

But all five towns have full time SWAT teams; and those teams existence has to be justified somehow.

Last I checked, more than 60% of all departments now had at least part time swat teams or something similar (ESU, high risk warrant squad etc…); now really, is there a need for even HALF of these teams, for a quarter of them?

I understand the need for officer safety; and how the movement of meth into rural America has changed the risks and difficulties of law enforcement for a large portion of the country; but is there any reason on this earth why a town of 24,000 people, where the only real violent crime is domestic; should have a five man full time SWAT team?

Of course not. Most of those SWAT teams didn’t exist before 1994; which coincidentally is when federal funding, and equipment purchase programs were ramped up for SWAT type teams, so that local law enforcement organizations could better fight “the war on drugs”.

Of course most place dont NEED a SWAT team, but almost any law enforcement organization could use more money, more training, more equipment etc… The incentive was there for federal funding to be spent, and federal equipment to be acquired; and where there’s financial incentive, there will be a means created to fulfill that incentive.

Now that they are there, they need to justify their continued existence; so what used to be a normal warrant service all of a sudden ends up with 5 guys with machine guns and balaclavas busting a 90 year old womans door down in the middle of the night.

And this sort of thing is 1500 times a day all over this country. Now of course, most of those SWAT raids are on genuine bad guys (drug dealers mostly, who aren’t exactly boy scouts); but some of them most definitely are not necessary, or worth the higher risk of injury or death to the general public… in fact Id wager a guess a hell of a lot of them are not.

Of course the police will say it’s all about officer safety; but in reality more officers are shot on raids than in standard warrant service (and we’re going to get into a correlation vs. causation issue here)… oh and the number of officers shot in any other circumstances are dwarfed by officers being shot in domestic disturbances, and traffic stops (especially felony traffic stops, which are in fact how most criminals end up getting arrested).

So, in the name of oficer safety; and of course in preventing the evidence from being flushed down the toilet; purse snatchers, and 90 year old women with joints, end up getting killed.

This is properly decried wherever it happens; but police being what they are, the blue wall goes up, defending policy and officer actions; and gets higher, and tighter; separating the police from the public they serve, ever more, with every raid.

Corruption? Not the way most people mean it. Just the perverse incentive toward the militarization of the police, and their estrangement from the public

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Sex Offender Insanity

In a case currently before the Utah Supreme Court, the justices are trying to reconcile a case where a 13 year-old girl has been branded a sex offender:

Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old Ogden girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act – in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.

The girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her.

“The only thing that comes close to this is dueling,” said Justice Michael Wilkins, noting that two people who take 20 paces and then shoot could each be considered both victim and offender.

And Chief Justice Christine Durham wondered if the state Legislature had intended the “peculiar consequence” that a child would have the simultaneous status of a protected person and an alleged perpetrator under the law.

The comments came in oral arguments on a motion asking the high court to overturn the finding of delinquency – the legal term in juvenile court for a conviction – against Z.C., who became pregnant after she and her boyfriend engaged in sex in October 2003.

Yes, that’s right. A 13 year old girl fooled around with her 12 year-old boyfriend and now both of them are being branded as sex offenders and charged with a crime that would a felony if they were adults.

Can this really be what the Utah legislature intended when they passed this law ? The attorney general certainly thinks so:

At Tuesday’s arguments, Matthew Bates, an assistant Utah attorney general, argued the prosecution of the girl was not unreasonable. He said the statute in question is designed to prevent sex with children who are 13 and younger, even if the other person is in the same age group.

By passing that law, legislators were sending a message, Bates said: Sex with or among children is unacceptable.

But can you really say that the law was intended to put 12 and 13 year olds in jail in situations like this ? Mr. Bates may think he’s “protecting the children” by making this argument, what he’s really doing, though, is ruining their lives.

H/T: Hit & Run

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