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Ten Years in Jail for Selling Lightbulbs
March 6, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe


 
heh, that dredged up distant memories of door-to-door lightbulb salesboy ads I used to see in comic books in the 1970s. Seemed like a pretty good business model . . .
posted by panamax at 12:44 PM on March 6, 2008


Yay drug war!
posted by mrnutty at 12:47 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The feds don't like it when you buck them, but I'll be damned if they break me," Tucker says. "What kind of American would I be if I just kept my mouth shut?"

We could use a few patriots like this in the Senate.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:58 PM on March 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


In the mid-'90s, the Tucker case became a cause celebre among libertarian activists and other advocates of marijuana legalization.

Why do I feel that this in no way helped his case?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


People advanced their careers off this crap. Harass, steal from (forfeiture), arrest and incarceration of tax paying citizens, all to advance careers of agents, DA's and judges. It's sickening and, IMO, sociopathic. How could you sleep after doing this to someone unless you didn't understand right from wrong?

Disgusting.
posted by UseyurBrain at 1:00 PM on March 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


Also, too bad the writers from The Wire weren't on his jury.
posted by mrnutty at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2008


Christ. I honestly just don't understand why the US has such a massive fking hard-on for marijuana. Or in this case, the idea of marijuana.
posted by BorgLove at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I visited his store once. I was looking for home-brewing supplies, which, at the time, were illegal to sell in Georgia. There was one other area store, over near Lenox mall, if I remember correctly--the authorities would sweep in every year or so and close down the homebrew shops, then someone in the legislature got wise to the potential tax income and legalized the hobby in the 90s, again, IIRC. I remember talking to Gary Tucker. I also remember they didn't have much by way of brewing supplies, so I left without buying anything. I remember when the story broke about their arrest, I was glad I wasn't anywhere in their customer database.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Huh, somehow I hadn't heard of this, thank you for the post lalochezia.

Agents followed customers home, pawed through their garbage, subpoenaed their utility bills and trained sophisticated infrared-imaging devices on their houses to look for concentrated heat sources.

"Conspiracy law has been the darling of federal prosecutors since the 1930s, because you don't need direct evidence to score a conviction," explains Axam, now recognized as one of Georgia's top death-penalty lawyers. "The reason they use it is because they may have no hard, physical evidence, but with conspiracy, they can bring in hearsay, rumor, innuendo."

10 years for fertilizer, nutrients, HPS/MH/CFL bulbs - $1M DEA bill for the investigation. Brilliant.

If you think anything has changed you're fuckin' naive. Here is an excellent article on Officer.com about the opinion of law enforcement regarding the decision of Kyllo v. U.S in the context of TI scans. They do not respect the decision and it will not hinder them from utilizing this technology to erode your rights and destroy any semblance of privacy you think you have. Same with energy bill monitoring, you'd be out of your goddamn mind to assume the cops think that's off limits, just like rummaging through your garbage whenever they see fit.

Also, too bad the writers from The Wire weren't on his jury.

The message was there in full force:

On the morning of jury selection, activists with the Fully Informed Jury Association -- a radical libertarian group that believes juries should be empowered to dismiss charges and reject unjust laws -- were handing out flyers to everyone entering the Russell Federal Building, effectively disqualifying an entire day's jury pool for the Northern District of Georgia.
posted by prostyle at 1:13 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


What's even more shocking is that not one of them, not one, is actually guilty of breaking any law.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


By the end of the '80s, even socially progressive Oregon had again outlawed weed.

And Oregon makes it's obligatory story-about-weed appearance. We're available for soundbytes re: bicycles and the timber industry, too.
posted by cortex at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


His mother would rather it remain that way. "I'm just scared to death of the federal government," she says.

That people feel this way says something depressing about the state of our nation. More to the point, there is a serious problem when people, who have done nothing illegal, have good reason to feel this way.
posted by quin at 1:24 PM on March 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Christ. I honestly just don't understand why the US has such a massive fking hard-on for marijuana. Or in this case, the idea of marijuana.

$$$, and nothing more. The Tucker family lost their business inventory, their house, their cars, etc -- where do you think that stuff ends up? Forfeiture is nothing more than the American version of "mordidas", except in the US they take everything you own and then put you in jail, all without probable cause.

The best part is, these assholes will then turn around and sell the inventory and other property they stole from this family in auctions or "sting" operations -- pocketing the profit, of course. Somehow, it's OK if they sell it.

Keep this in mind the next time you have dealings with the police: the government is much too busy stealing from its citizens to bother about violent crime.
posted by vorfeed at 1:24 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


MrMoonPie: Homebrewing was illegal in GA? In the 90's? That's weird. It was federally legalized by none other than Jimmy Carter in 1976.
posted by rusty at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2008


This is an intensely sad, infuriating story. What a fucking nightmare this country of mine has become.
posted by dbiedny at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"What kind of American would I be if I just kept my mouth shut?"

The feds' favorite kind.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:29 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


This disgusts me.
posted by jtron at 1:30 PM on March 6, 2008


Nowadays, he'd have been arrested for possessing and/or selling precursor(s) to methamphetamine, which means that he had too much cold medicine in his possession. Same as it ever was... *thunk* Same as it ever was... *thunk*
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Prose and Cons is a pretty cool name for a prison newspaper.

Thanks for the article. Frightening read.
posted by ODiV at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also worth noting: the RICO statutes can be used to compel forfeiture without prosecution or conviction. That's right, Americans! Your government can take everything you own for any reason, or no reason. And that's before the Patriot Act. Good luck.
posted by rusty at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Christ. I honestly just don't understand why the US has such a massive fking hard-on for marijuana. Or in this case, the idea of marijuana.

Someone I knew once speculated that it was the cotton lobby, re: hemp.
posted by Zinger at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


And Oregon makes it's obligatory story-about-weed appearance. We're available for soundbytes re: bicycles and the timber industry, too.

Well, Portland is available for comments on bicycles, while the rest of the state is available for timber comments.

unless they're recumbent bicycles, in which case, just outside of portland, too.
posted by mrnutty at 1:37 PM on March 6, 2008


rusty, homebrew legalization was state-by-state, after the Feds legalized it. I looked up the Georgia code, and saw the relevant state law was enacted in 1993.

Even now, Georgia places a tighter restriction than most states on how much a household can brew in a year, 50 gallons, which an avid brewer can easily exceed, whereas most states allow 200 gallons. The shops ran quasi-legally, much like the hydroponic industry--don't ask, don't tell.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:42 PM on March 6, 2008


How many stoners does it take to change a lightbulb?

Heh, yeah, lightbulb....I get where you're coming from...
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:43 PM on March 6, 2008


Hurrah for the the internet!
posted by geoff. at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2008


BUT WHAT DOES DR. PAUL THINK ABOUT THIS? GOOGLE AND SEE!
posted by dersins at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2008


What's even more shocking is that not one of them, not one, is actually guilty of breaking any law.

I'm pretty sure this exact line, almost word for word, was used the last time we had one of these threads. I hate this attitude. You know what's really shocking? And I'm not using the word "shocking" in a cute sarcastic way here. What's shocking is that people get caught up in these drug witch hunts who haven't broken the law, and they go to prison just the same if the police are determined enough. Shocking doesn't even cover it, it's obscene is what it is.

In any case it's a nasty attitude to take, one that values the law above human life. There are far worse things in this world than breaking the law, and when it comes to sentencing for marijuana, I'm inclined to say that the prison terms that are handed out are the only true crime here.
posted by CheshireCat at 1:50 PM on March 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hurrah for the the internet!

Yes, because having invoices from ****hydroponics.com and transaction records on your credit card is a completely reasonable deflection of the federal probe when the time comes and they're ringing your bell.
posted by prostyle at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2008


I'm installing a couple of aquariums right now that need high output lighting, a reef downstairs and a planted freshwater upstairs. I could buy the MH or T5HO lights I need at a local hydroponics store and save shipping and time, but I won't because even living in relatively pot-liberal Canada, this is exactly what I would expect to happen.

Marijuana is the ultimate boogeyman when it comes to crime for some reason.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2008


"I'm pretty sure this exact line, almost word for word, was used the last time we had one of these threads."

It's trying to become a meme, and people who don't take it in the sarcastic/ironic tone in which it's intended are really hampering the effort.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


WinnipegDragon: Marijuana is the ultimate boogeyman when it comes to crime for some reason.

Well, that's because it's the part of the drug war that the powers that be are the closest to losing.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:59 PM on March 6, 2008


"Hurrah for the the internet!"

Don't click on the link, you'll be put on a DEA/Homeland security watch list. Because, after all somehow you are a narco-terrorist by even showing interest, and it's also good enough for a conspiracy charge. OH NOES, I've said too much.
posted by hellslinger at 2:00 PM on March 6, 2008


Skimming the article, it was such a bizarre way of charging these people - based on "estimated crop yields" of 16,000 kilos or more, none of which they actually grew themselves.

I can't see why the government didn't just legislate to make hydroponics illegal. Then stores like Southern Lights could simply liquidate their stock (eg overseas) & shut up shop. As the article states, hydroponics are apparently not cost-effective for anything other than pot & orchids, and the orchid growers could be allowed to continue operations, maybe after registering & having their equipment & supplies audited, just as regulations have been put into place for other suspect goods, like pseudoephedrine or phosphate fertiliser.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on March 6, 2008


Christ. Pot-conscious Americans, start leaving your country. Take your business and your taxes elsewhere. I hear they've got a few more rights up north.
posted by tehloki at 2:28 PM on March 6, 2008


I can't see why the government didn't just legislate to make hydroponics illegal.

Why, I can't $ee a rea$on, either!
posted by vorfeed at 2:29 PM on March 6, 2008



Christ. Pot-conscious Americans, start leaving your country. Take your business and your taxes elsewhere. I hear they've got a few more rights up north.
posted by tehloki at 4:28 PM on March 6 [+] [!]

Yes and no. You still can't grow up here.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 2:34 PM on March 6, 2008


“How could you sleep after doing this to someone unless you didn't understand right from wrong?”

Heard a line from some film I cought on cable at 3 am “It’s not wrong if you’re on the right side.” I think that’s pretty much the mental frame of mind those folks operate under.

“I'm just scared to death of the federal government,"
Caught my eye as well. Shame. People should have a healthy fear of the fed, like fire, something you can use but really need to keep an eye on. Unfortunately a lot of people have this kind of fear. At the worst part of it is, it’s not at all irrational.
People rattle off phrases such as “9/11 nutcases” or “conspiracy theorists” and so forth. While there may or may not be truth in any given instance - stuff like this conviction occurs all the time without the need for a “conspiracy.”
(Is there a word for tyrrany on this kind of scale in these kinds of events?)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:45 PM on March 6, 2008


Is there a word for tyrrany on this kind of scale in these kinds of events?

Draconian is probably close.
posted by Talez at 2:57 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


vorfeed, I'm curious, do you have any statistics on the total monetary value of assets seized in drug-related crimes and then resold by the government for profit?
posted by Roach at 3:10 PM on March 6, 2008


2nding: This is an intensely sad, infuriating story. What a fucking nightmare this country of mine has become.
posted by criticalbill at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2008


I'm curious, do you have any statistics on the total monetary value of assets seized in drug-related crimes and then resold by the government for profit?

PBS Frontline: Reining in Forfeiture
"Within the 1984 (Comprehensive Crime Control Act) Act was a provision for so-called "equitable sharing", which allows local law enforcement agencies to receive a portion of the net proceeds of forfeitures they help make under federal law--and under current policy, that can be up to 80%. Previously, seized assets had been handed over to the federal government in their entirety.

Immediately following passage of the Act, federal forfeitures increased dramatically. The amount of revenue deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, for example, soared from $27 million in 1985 to $644 million in 1991--a more than twenty-fold increase. And as forfeitures increased, so did the amount of money flowing back to state and local law enforcement through equitable sharing."
posted by prostyle at 3:40 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


vorfeed, I'm curious, do you have any statistics on the total monetary value of assets seized in drug-related crimes and then resold by the government for profit?

Like most statistics involving American law enforcement, it's hard to get good numbers for this, mainly because the local/state/federal distinction makes it hard to get an accurate total. This page has some numbers. For example, taken together, the two Federal forfeiture funds took in about 696 million dollars in 1998. The state and local total is certainly in the hundreds of millions as well, possibly even as much as $1.14 per capita. This looks like the total for one police department in Kansas during just one quarter: $17,980, with over $140,000 year-to-date. Googling their other reports will uncover lots of similar data.

These numbers include all forfeiture, not just drug forfeiture, and they also include incidents in which money was directly taken rather than gained through resale of property. On the Federal level, the amount taken through resale looks as if it makes up about 10% of the funds' total assets each year. I would expect the percentage to be higher at the state and local level.
posted by vorfeed at 3:48 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sign you've been smoking too much dope: You buy your hydro setup from the police auction.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:50 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Thank you!
posted by Roach at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2008


We prosecute the war on marijuana for several reasons. The originals are racism and yellow journalism: it was associated with "evil Mexicans" and jazz musicians who were going to rape white women and make our kids insane. Reefer madness still sells papers.

The continued driving forces are the baby boomers and sheer economics. To the boomers, marijuana symbolizes scary hippies and the chaos of the 60's. The hippies can't be right about anything-- so the "didn't inhale" Clintons have to go on pretending that yes, marijuana = destruction of the family, crime, disorder to ensure that the other side doesn't use that symbolism against them.

I think we could actually see change when Generation Xer's who came of age in the 80's-- and did more drugs than the boomers and can't understand what the fuss about marijuana is--take over.

And there's one more reason the warriors need marijuana: only about 1-2% of the population has significant involvement with cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. It's hard to justify spending billions of dollars on this tiny group. It would be cheaper to pay each addict a million bucks not to take drugs (Curiously, even small amounts of money actually do help addicts avoid relapse)!

This is one reason the warriors have suddenly decided they need to crack down on prescription drug misuse. Their turf would be very small indeed if marijuana went away.
posted by Maias at 4:08 PM on March 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


I can't finish reading that (I stopped just past learning that his brother Gary is, presumably, still 5 years from freedom). I just kind of know that a growing part of me really, really, really wants to just start killing DEA agents and the prosecutors that enforce this. Why the fuck not? I have no life worth spit- I'm miserable and alone, and I've lone sensed that my life will end messily- and fuck, it's not like justice is an important thing any more.
posted by hincandenza at 5:12 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


We prosecute the war on marijuana for several reasons. The originals are racism and yellow journalism: it was associated with "evil Mexicans" and jazz musicians who were going to rape white women and make our kids insane.

Don't confuse the ideological pretext with the reason. The underlying reason was that the petrochemical industry has deep pockets & doesn't want competition from an incredibly fast-growing & strong natural fibre, which was the fibre of choice for many purposes for cultures across the globe for millennia.

And there's one more reason the warriors need marijuana: only about 1-2% of the population has significant involvement with cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. It's hard to justify spending billions of dollars on this tiny group.

No, it's easy to justify spending on this group. Addicts of these drugs need fucktons of money to support their habits, as increased tolerance requires more & more & more of the drugs. This leads to massive amounts of property crime, not to mention the mental health issues of people becoming psychotic (particularly on coke & meth; not so much on heroin).

Of course, if you made legal supplies available at cost price, most property crime would disappear overnight, but then the insurance companies would feel the hurt.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:17 PM on March 6, 2008


Last December, five days after Steve was released from the halfway house where he'd spent the last few months of his sentence, Gary died of cancer at Emory Hospital.

He had been sick for a nearly a year, but prison officials refused to take his illness seriously until it was too late, his mother says.

"They'd give him an aspirin and send him back to his cell until he'd pass out and then they'd take him to the hospital," Gore says.

Steve was able to see Gary toward the end, but Joanne -- who'd been transferred from a Connecticut woman's prison to a Macon halfway house -- wasn't allowed to visit her husband the week before he died.

The diagnosis was non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer closely associated with exposure to Agent Orange, the deadly herbicide used in Vietnam. It would seem Gary's government had succeeded in killing him after all.



All I have to say is wow. Thanks for the post lalochezia
posted by nola at 5:24 PM on March 6, 2008


hincandenza

If that was a troll, you got me. If not, take a breath. Please.
posted by The Power Nap at 5:38 PM on March 6, 2008



That people feel this way says something depressing about the state of our nation. More to the point, there is a serious problem when people, who have done nothing illegal, have good reason to feel this way.


Are you just now coming around to this? I'm a middle-class white guy who wouldn't turn my back on a government entity for a split second, and I've never even had any real involvement with law enforcement, aside from a traffic ticket. There is, obviously, nothing to stop the insanity, it just borders on a semblance of controlled bumbling due to the inefficacy of our media.
posted by odinsdream at 5:54 PM on March 6, 2008


Moral of the story: avoid pissing off the feds. They will make your life a living hell.
posted by andythebean at 6:12 PM on March 6, 2008


How could you sleep after doing this to someone unless you didn't understand right from wrong?
posted by UseyurBrain at 1:00 PM on March 6


You are confusing law enforcement officers with human beings. A man's greatest gift is his reason, and LEOs gladly give that up to blindly follow The Law, all for fifty grand a year and the right to do whatever they want in the happy knowledge that their brothers in blue will look the other way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:23 PM on March 6, 2008


"The fact that a defendant's acts appear not to be illegal when viewed in isolation does not bar his conviction. An act innocent in nature and of no danger to the victim or society suffices if it furthers the criminal venture."

Un-fucking-believable. You can be wholly innocent and still end up jailed because someone else did something illegal.

And I simply can not comprehend how any rational person can look at reality and not see that the "drug war" is (a) absolutely ineffective, as evidenced by the availability of drugs; (b) ridiculously expensive; (c) and so currupt as to be vulgar. It's just choc-a-block idiocy all the way around, and yet still it persists. Dumbfounding and disappointing, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:40 PM on March 6, 2008


Un-fucking-believable. You can be wholly innocent and still end up jailed because someone else did something illegal

Well, if you look at it from the law-enforcers' perspective, these guys were blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot. Which is, in fact, exactly what they were doing.

As an interesting parallel, I'm a bit of a hobbyist home brewer. It's perfectly legal to brew your own beer or wine or whatever, but the line is drawn at spirits, so it's illegal to distil alcohol. Pretty much every home brew supply shop sells stills, though. They say it's so that brewers can distil their own purified water, for use in their beer; obviously a totally transparent lie.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:18 PM on March 6, 2008


And I simply can not comprehend how any rational person can look at reality and not see that the "drug war" is (a) absolutely ineffective, as evidenced by the availability of drugs; (b) ridiculously expensive; (c) and so currupt as to be vulgar. It's just choc-a-block idiocy all the way around, and yet still it persists. Dumbfounding and disappointing, that.

Because the general public want to feel safe knowing that anybody who has anything to with those nasty drugs is getting what for!

To quote Sideshow Bob:

Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.
posted by Talez at 7:25 PM on March 6, 2008


WinnipegDragon, I'll give you that, but there is barely any enforcement of possession laws, and surprisingly few trafficking busts. Growers get busted more often than either, yes, but at least our government recognizes medical marijuana to some degree. That, and you'd be hard pressed to get harassed and robbed by federal agents for buying a few light bulbs.
posted by tehloki at 7:56 PM on March 6, 2008


Well, if you look at it from the law-enforcers' perspective, these guys were blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot. Which is, in fact, exactly what they were doing.

Sure, "sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot". That must be why, when the cops went around to the houses of some of the people who'd bought from the Tuckers, they caught some aquarium enthusiasts along with the grow ops.

I don't think it's too much to ask that someone actually break a law before the state takes their livelihood, "blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose blah blah conspiracy to blah" or not. My guess is that the Tuckers were blatantly and fragrantly selling hydroponic equipment because it is perfectly legal to do so. I can see where someone might say "they should have known better", but to be perfectly honest, that's a shitty way to live life, especially in a country in which the list of no-nos we "oughtta know" gets longer and more ridiculous every day.

At this point, many Americans are criminals two or three times over, all without hurting anyone else, and forfeiture can happen even to the totally innocent. This sort of Stasi crap has just one logical conclusion -- why not make a buck when and how you can before the inevitable hammer comes down? This is the true cost of the drug war: those who wake up one morning and realize they've been drafted have no reason whatsoever to fight for the other side. And we wonder why we've got entire neighborhoods run by drug gangs...
posted by vorfeed at 8:05 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


fragrantly selling hydroponic equipment

heh, I just noticed that typo. Probably it wasn't all that fragrant, seeing as how it took 2 whole years to get the bust...
posted by vorfeed at 9:06 PM on March 6, 2008


In the mid-'90s, the Tucker case became a cause celebre among libertarian activists

Those aren't authoritarian libertarians, I take it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:31 PM on March 6, 2008


Well, if you look at it from the law-enforcers' perspective, these guys were blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot. Which is, in fact, exactly what they were doing.

Bullshit on both counts.

The realistic purpose for the equipment they were legally selling and which they took efforts to not promote as marijuana grow-op equipment, is to grow orchids, houseplants, greenhouse roses and herbs, terrariums, and aquariums. As evidenced by the cops busting people who were using the lights legitimately.

From the law-enforcer's perspective, it was an easy way to make some money for the county and bump their status/pay scale/commendations/etcetera.

The retards who keep defending law enforcements over-reaching idiocy are causing real harm to their country.

Compared to what happens in other nations, what happens in the USA is downright insane, and a whole lot of the blame lies at the feet of those who roll over and make excuses. At this point none of you are safe from your own police: every freakin' day you read about a Joe Ordinary citizen being tasered, beat, arrested, or outright killed — and not because J.O. did something wrong, but because your cops are out of control.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's how seizures are done in Canada.
posted by ODiV at 9:47 PM on March 6, 2008


five fresh fish: hey, don't shoot the messenger! the fact that some of the equipment was used for legitimate purchases doesn't change the overall nature of the business, and i'm not defending the cops but painting how they almost certainly see things.

i'm just glad that aussie cops aren't so hell-bent, or else i wouldn't be able to buy myself a home still. if i wanted one. which i don't. because i prefer filtered water to distilled water, so it would be of no use to me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:00 PM on March 6, 2008


ODiV, that has to be the weirdest thing I've seen all day. P.E.I. never ceases to confuse me.
posted by tehloki at 10:12 PM on March 6, 2008


Oh, but apparently psylocybin mushrooms grow wild there, so they're cool.
posted by tehloki at 10:13 PM on March 6, 2008


What a travesty of justice. Seems 'justice' is for those who can afford a competent lawyer, ahm, with connections, obviously. Pathetic. Really.

“I'm just scared to death of the federal government," — exactly, rule by fear, that's something new, yes¿ That's the police's modus operandi, intimidation. Someone who is less than educated may not know how to choose a lawyer. Pick off the low hanging fruit and up your status...fucking great. Just brill. Bully's rule, that's the message. Ask George. Yeah.

Want more brilliance¿ Nevermind the internets...
Tommy Chong, yes, of Cheech and Chong fame, going to prison for the same shit, selling 'drug' paraphanelia. I read the ratings and raves for Breaking Bad are off the hook.

You know who else enforced all Jewish owned businesses to be turned over to non Jewish proprietors¿ Tell me these examples are different.

What medievalness am I living in anyways, I ask myself.

Meanwhile,
In Vancouver, you can roll and smoke your chronic, as long as you buy, say, a coffee or something at The New Amsterdam Cafe.

Interestingly enough, across the street is this hotel, the Cambie, where you can score your chronic.

I know in Toronto there are chronic friendly bars. No one will give you any grief for lighting up a fattie.

As sensible this is to some, those in 'power' feel differently. The government would love to tax chronic to the max, but, it's that Presbyterian background that stops them. Nay, their money'd 'members', 'contributors', which would cut off the cash flow to their coffers, should they even dare to make it legal. That's politics. In a Democratic country, you will find out what you can't do [and it will cost you plenty] and in a Communist country, you know what you can't do. Big difference, yes¿ Not fucking really. Corruption rules. Yeah—Haw./////

Just as you thought things were great north of the border, I give you Mayerthorp. Also investigated by CBC's 5th Estate. RCMP cover up for bungling and the death of 4 of their own.

This is sad. Thanks for the heads up, lalochezia.


"Addicts of these drugs need fucktons of money to support their habits, as increased tolerance requires more & more & more of the drugs. This leads to massive amounts of property crime, not to mention the mental health issues of people becoming psychotic (particularly on coke & meth; not so much on heroin)."—UbuRoivas

What the hell is in your water¿ You referring to pot smokers¿ 'Not so much heroin'¿ Unbelievable. Sit down and have another drink of your kool aid. er, I meant to ask, where do you get this misinformation from¿
posted by alicesshoe at 10:29 PM on March 6, 2008


There are so many stories like this its amazing people still don't believe that personal agenda's trump peoples rights. Just glad no citizen has a backbone to start shooting judges who are criminals like this. That judge gets to ruin our country and sleep in a pile of money every night. God Bless America.
posted by IronWolve at 12:08 AM on March 7, 2008


Well, if you look at it from the law-enforcers' perspective, these guys were blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot.

This argument brought to you by the RIAA
posted by Jakey at 2:41 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


What the hell is in your water¿ You referring to pot smokers¿ 'Not so much heroin'¿ Unbelievable. Sit down and have another drink of your kool aid. er, I meant to ask, where do you get this misinformation from¿

Try reading the comment again. I was referring to coke, heroin & meth addicts as opposed to pot smokers.

Coke & meth are well known & documented causes of psychotic episodes.

Heroin does not cause psychosis, although going cold turkey usually causes terrible anxiety and panic attacks.

I know this first hand. By which I mean, naturally, from having lived with & amongst light recreational & heavily addicted users of all three of these drugs for a decade or more.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:01 AM on March 7, 2008


(it's an inner city thing, so you could say it's in the water here)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:04 AM on March 7, 2008


aliceshoes, please don't use ¿ marks where one would normally use a ? mark. Presumably your goal is to communicate with us. Alas, oddball punctuation catches the eye, interrupting the flow of reading. This markedly reduces your messages' readability, rendering your communication much less effective.

Or in other words, it puts focus on a quirk, instead of your thoughts.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2008


Just as you thought things were great north of the border, I give you Mayerthorp. Also investigated by CBC's 5th Estate. RCMP cover up for bungling and the death of 4 of their own.

Ain't that the truth. Between this, taserings, and a few other cop deaths, it's becoming really obvious that our RCMP are in desperate need of some external oversight.

There was also the incident where Texas cops were in BC teaching our local boys how to intimidate and do shady car searches. Texas cops acting as if they had legal jurisdiction, and BC cops being dumb as a sack of hammers about the whole thing. Fortunately, they pulled over an off-duty cop, who raised hell about it all. Last thing the RCMP should be doing is taking advice from an American cop, FFS.

And, of course, the half-dozen or more ongoing investigations into our cops dumping drunk Natives miles out of town, to die of exposure in our -40C prairie winters.

Or even my local cops, who have escaped pretty much unscathed from a scandal in which a senior citizen ended up murdered because the RCMP couldn't be arsed to alert the public that a dangerous parolee had not returned to the halfway house. They somehow got the halfway house blamed, when the HH had followed procedure precisely.

Our cops are far from perfect.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did you ever stop to think that maybe her question mark key is upside down? Embrace diversity, fff!

Well, if you look at it from the law-enforcers' perspective, these guys were blatantly & flagrantly selling equipment whose sole realistic purpose was for people to grow pot.

I'm curious Ubu, if you think this case is that clean cut; how do you feel about charges being brought against gun manufacturers when their product is utilized on behalf of illegal criminal enterprise? The lights shine as well as the guns fire, and just as indiscriminately.
posted by prostyle at 7:46 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, UbuRoivas, I reread that, it's about my kool aid, you're right. I agree with you, it's the coke/meth/heroin addicts breaking into your car and stealing your GPS for a fix.

five fresh fish, you're saying appearances matter to you as opposed to what was written. That seems rather shallow to me, I just write like that. It's akin to someone speaking with an accent or who dressed differently from you, no¿ [?]

I do agree with you that the RCMP need a civilian oversight board. That 'new' non police force commissioner, William Elliott has to address some important issues. The behaviour of some is uncivil. The tasering and death of that Polish immigrant at Vancouver airport and subsequent cover up being one...
posted by alicesshoe at 8:12 AM on March 7, 2008


It's akin to someone speaking with an accent or who dressed differently from you, no¿ [?]

Well, it's more akin to someone speaking with a really blatantly affected accent or who dresses every single day in a dayglo orange leisure suit with the words "Look at me!" printed front and back. You've been doing the idiosyncratic puntuation thing off-and-on for years now, and considering both the frequency with which you get called on it by people first encountering your comments (both on metafilter and elsewhere) and the effort required to "just write like that", it's kind of weird that you continue to try and make it some sort of talking point about other people.

To each his own, do what you gotta do, but if you're going to go out of your way to draw attention to yourself it doesn't ring true to then object when people attend to and take issue with your typographical antics.
posted by cortex at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


you're saying appearances matter to you as opposed to what was written.

I won't speak for fff, but I will say that I had to read your comments several times to get what you were trying to say. My eyes kept getting magically drawn to your '¿' and completely short circuiting my simple brain.

It's not really appearances as opposed to content so much as appearances which get in the way of your content. Which is kind of a shame, because once I made my brain work again, I kinda liked what you were brining to the table.
posted by quin at 9:36 AM on March 7, 2008


...bringing... Brining the table just seems like a waste, it's not like it's going to get any softer, even with an application of salt water.
posted by quin at 9:40 AM on March 7, 2008


Hydroponics stores these days are clearly geared toward growing pot. For Christ's sake, there are nutrients with pictures of giant buds right on the bottle. I in no way agree with persecution of the proprietors of such stores, but showing a little discretion might prevent future arrests along these lines.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:56 AM on March 7, 2008


Whoops, it looks like these dudes were being discreet. Sorry about that.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:59 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


“hincandenza
If that was a troll, you got me. If not, take a breath. Please.”

I think he was on the level. Just expressing frustration with the likelyhood of changing the system from what he believes to be a powerless position. The pain here is not due to the size of the task at hand, but his estimate, his belief of it as an impossibility, but he - we all - can erase this belief whenever we wish. It’s not the external task that impedes us, it’s our own internal mindset and expectations.

This - “You are confusing law enforcement officers with human beings” - bit more of a trolling comment.

But either mindset is misguided. Having filled far far more than my share of bodybags in my time I can say without equivocation that dehumanizing and killing is not the answer.
You don’t solve a Malaria outbreak by killing one mosquito after another. You change the environment. You drain the swamp. You introduce dragonflies into the environment and maintain it so that they reproduce and prosper. And you create serums. You increase general hygene through education so it becomes a self-supportive behavior. More peace corps less marine corps.

This is not to say you can’t kill an asshole who is a real impediment. I wouldn’t, but I’m fairly adept at developing creative scenarios. If all else failed, and given the extreme unlikely hood of the scenario where there is no other option, I don’t have a problem with it. Of course, it’s not my decision to make, nor does my approval or disapproval give anyone license to act or restrain them. Just musing on the topic.

For the most part people are uncommitted - to anything really. They should be. There are ideals we should all exersize no matter our personal opinions. Committment to vigilance of one’s government, voting, involvement in one’s community, such things should be considered the duty of any citizen.

But I don’t blame them. The kids, the job, the media and social conformity pushing them not to think too deeply or appear too serious or passionate about anything lest they be feared. (It’s not an easy life. I scare the wet blueberries out of most people. I make mothers weep and wives curse me, and they don’t even know my first name. Tough to get close to anyone. On the other hand, once you do make friends, typically someone as deeply committed as you, its a very close friendship. Unfortunately then you have to dodge hero worship, risk losing a friend to a fanatic.)

Anyway, point being, don’t take it personally. Just keep working at it. At some point your cause becomes in vogue and you become an “overnight success” (even though you’ve been busting your ass at it for 20 years) and stuff starts to change.
Even then, might take longer. But you’re not working for you, you’re working because it’s the right thing to do, and for the generations that follow.

Somewhere along the line the U.S. became only about saying how great we were instead of recognizing that no matter how great things were, they could be better.
That, unfortunately, takes time and long effort. Something that liberals tend to avoid in favor of the expediancy of now and something that conservatives tend to forget in focusing on tradition.
You can do most of the work just by living life loud. Sounds trite, but that boldness from the article (what, I’m going to keep my mouth shut? What kind of American would I be?) is exactly correct. We all know about this. Some of us are motivated to act. Some of that will be in an efficacious manner (I’m not on a high horse here, hell, maybe I’ll do something that’s useless and have to look over and see what one of y’all are doing and follow that). And eventually the world turns and things change.

Killing to change it, for the most part, stems from a lack of patience, not too much passion. Plug that passion into long slow methodical work, learn from your errors but keep that passion focused and whether you’re a pauper or a king, the world will turn under your hand.
In killing we seek an end. But the mistake there is nothing ever ends. It is all journey. Killing is decieving ourselves that our journey ends if we end another’s. It’s far better to bring an opponent or bystander along with us. A lot harder too. But y’know, nothing worth doing...

“At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: "I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?” - Marcus Aurelius
posted by Smedleyman at 11:43 AM on March 7, 2008


Well, it's more akin to someone speaking with a really blatantly affected accent or who dresses every single day in a dayglo orange leisure suit with the words "Look at me!" printed front and back.

Or wears a fedora.
posted by dersins at 12:10 PM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


uh-oh,
Hope you don't mind if I address this here then...
cortex, It's been mentioned in the past, more egregious were my using reversed parentheses. I could see that making a post difficult to read. You may consider them typographical antics and attention getting, I just like the way they look, that's all, some obviously don't agree. I'm not an attention getting whore or trying to be difficult, but I find it hard to believe people's brain getting confused so easily, honestly.

Methinks the criticism stems from my overall tone. The punctuation issue some have is passive aggressive as opposed to a direct, 'I hate you'. I'm shrill sometimes and vent and the content gets lost. I'm trying to improve by editing and rereading my replies. Yes, writing misses the subtleties of person to person conversations.

My grammar and punctuation seem to be ok and to my eyes and mind, the [¿] doesn't make my posts hard to read at all. Given my history of shrillness though, may be the issue. I can certainly understand that.

Explain someone's comment to me "¿Que pedo, alicesshoe". Nice. Or a comment, "YOU'RE FUCKING INSANE!", which got erased, but I thought it should have remained. True, I could have toned it down a notch, but tells me more about those 'rule abiding' commentators. They don't know me and have no proof, but attack me personally, not my reply or comment. I find that more egregious than my not following 'common' punctuation.


OTOH, those truly finding something hard to read because of an upside down question mark, can skip the post and ignore it, just as I ignored the personal insults.
Posting replies is like writing a letter to a politician. It may be read or it may just be tossed out, in either case, I stated my opinion.
If it leads to a discussion, great, otherwise hopefully 'punctuation antics' [ahem] are glossed over for topics' sake and discussion.

Am I learning...sure, no reversed parenthesis, which I like the look of too.
posted by alicesshoe at 1:58 PM on March 7, 2008


"Or wears a fedora."—dersins

I wear a toque. Powder blue.
nothing special.
posted by alicesshoe at 2:22 PM on March 7, 2008


BOOOYAH.////
posted by alicesshoe at 2:39 PM on March 7, 2008


But do you wear it all the time¿
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:47 PM on March 7, 2008


You may consider them typographical antics and attention getting, I just like the way they look, that's all, some obviously don't agree.

You like the way they look, and you're wholly unconcerned with (and even outright dismissive of) how anyone else feels about how they look or whether it's distracting, which suggests a kind of self-centered contempt for everyone else on the site—it's not your problem if the weird thing that you do bothers other people; it's the other several thousand people's problem.

You consistently draw reactions when you do your punctuation thing even in conversations where there is nothing fundamentally controversial, which undermines your attempt to dismiss objections as merely some passive-aggressive response to the substance of your words—an argument that itself is strange to pull out on a site where people frequently (a) successfully make impassioned arguments on a variety of controversial topics, and (b) rebut one another's arguments perfectly aggressively, no passive- aspect to speak of.

You sometimes refrain entirely from weird punctuation antics (would you prefer hijinks? shenanigans?), suggesting it's not some uncontrollable obsession; stepping back a few years, you did it not at all, suggesting this is something you have pointedly elected at some point to undertake: and yet you claim that you're not attempting to draw attention to yourself, despite it having drawn attention to you from the point you began doing it.

So either it is willful performance art and you're snowjobbing us, or you're too stubborn or self-absorbed to even recognize that anybody but you is here to read what people have to say or whether your willfully strange typographic choices derail the conversations you choose to employ them in. And in either case you don't care as much about other people's attempts to read the site without having to backtrack and decode your highly idiosyncratic punctuation substitutions as you do about liking the way that your own writing looks.

As I said, to each his own and more power to you, but it's genuinely obnoxious stuff that's been annoying people for just about as long as you've been pulling it, and I personally really wish you'd cut it out.
posted by cortex at 3:06 PM on March 7, 2008


well, i thought that maybe the ¿s were some kind of flag i'd never seen before, indicating "i mean the exact opposite of what i'm typing", which made some sense to me, considering alicesshoe's complete diametrical opposite reading of what i was actually saying.

so yeh/ doesn"t contribute to understanding^ not one bit%
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:09 PM on March 7, 2008


My grammar and punctuation seem to be ok and to my eyes and mind, the [¿] doesn't make my posts hard to read at all.

But other people think they do. The point of writing comments on a board is to interact with other human beings.

Given my history of shrillness though, may be the issue. I can certainly understand that.

I don't know who you are. All I know is that your justification for your punctuation is every bit as self-involved as the punctuation itself.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:34 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas writes "Skimming the article, it was such a bizarre way of charging these people - based on 'estimated crop yields' of 16,000 kilos or more, none of which they actually grew themselves."

Lot's of this kind of bizarreness. It's like how they count a 52X cd-RW drive as 52 copying devices. What gets me is up here in Canada the media always reports the "street" value from grow ops; which of course the growers would be lucky to see 10%. I laugh that it's like advertising for the grow op industry. Who wouldn't want to make $1.5M with a 10K investment? It's no wonder grow ops are everywhere.
posted by Mitheral at 3:42 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish, you're saying appearances matter to you as opposed to what was written. That seems rather shallow to me, I just write like that. It's akin to someone speaking with an accent or who dressed differently from you, no¿ [?]

No. I am saying that if you wish to communicate effectively via this medium, you need to conform to certain conventions. When you break these conventions, you introduce impediments to communication: you make your communication less effective.

It's a choice, of course. If you wish to continue using perverse punctuation, by all means do so. Just do so with the knowledge that your message is being conveyed less effectively. It would seem a poor choice, in my eyes, but if that's what floats your boat, so be it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:56 PM on March 7, 2008


Hydroponics stores these days are clearly geared toward growing pot. For Christ's sake, there are nutrients with pictures of giant buds right on the bottle.

RTFA. This owner went to lengths to ensure his products did not promote growing pot. Labels with marijuana leaves and suchlike were not stocked.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on March 7, 2008


Whoops, it looks like these dudes were being discreet. Sorry about that.

Whoops, it looks like you caught yourself out. Now I'll RTFrestofthethread. Sorry about that!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:00 PM on March 7, 2008


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