The Disappearance of N
October 14, 2013 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Last year, a friend of mine disappeared, and I found him in jail. I had a blizzard of thoughts about that experience; here are many of them. They didn't fit in a linear essay, so I wrote some code to present them in a tree. [via mefi projects]
posted by aniola (28 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
I did get a bit lost a few times reading from node to node, but that would be taken care of with a ton more content. I love the layout I just want more info!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:24 PM on October 14, 2013


I suppose the good thing is that the DEA, spent time, resources and money in getting a dope grower charged which will in turn ensure that the justice system spends time, resources and money in prosecuting that dope grower who will then be incarcerated, which will consume more time resources and money.

Another dope grower off the streets, the system works.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2013


That Facebook account had pictures of the guy with pot plants.

oopsy.
posted by srboisvert at 2:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd really like to know what ultimately happened to 'N'.

Right after I finished high school someone I know was arrested after selling 24 pounds (of course 24, not 25 - where's that other pound!) of marijuana to a narcotics officer or wired up operative of some sort. He received more than 20 years in prison. He was released a few years ago.

The United States has a lot of growing up to do.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fantastic, under the Zimmer Amendment: "Congress passed a law in 1996 with an amendment banning weights and electric guitars in prison. You can neither shred nor get shredded. For this is what the American people most fear: Ex-cons with huge pythons and washboard abs that will destroy them with devastating sweep-picked arpeggios."

Great find.
posted by mochapickle at 2:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


It always sucks to discover that friends have run afoul of the law, especially if it is for a particularly unsavory offence. Finding out that the middle school bully I punched in the forehead ended up going down for cocaine trafficking: pure schadenfreude.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Congress passed a law in 1996 with an amendment banning weights and electric guitars in prison.

Apparently electric guitars are banned in Norway's (otherwise comparatively permissive) prison system. When black metal musician Varg Vikernes went to jail for murdering another musician, his project Burzum changed genres from black metal to mournful dark-ambient electronica for the decade or so that he spent behind bars.
posted by acb at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right after I finished high school someone I know was arrested after selling 24 pounds (of course 24, not 25 - where's that other pound!) of marijuana to a narcotics officer or wired up operative of some sort. He received more than 20 years in prison. He was released a few years ago.

The United States has a lot of growing up to do.


Is there anywhere this would be a legal amount to possess? I mean, 24 pounds is almost 11,000 grams.
posted by gjc at 3:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, I know someone who committed a rather large amount of credit card fraud and avoided jail and prison in the aftermath. It's interesting how we deal with the two things.

11,000 grams of weed at $50 a gram is $55K. I've dealt with people who have passed that amount in bad checks and are still wandering around on the street, passing more bad checks.

Funny how that works...
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Just to clarify, I mean, it sucks how that works.)

I don't think the people I've run into who dabbled in CC fraud or passed bad checks were notably worse that someone who tried to deal a Costco-sized quantity of weed. But we treat the latter like it's up there with murder, and the former as a relatively victimless, Martha Stewart-esque financial crime.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Er, 11,000 x $50 is $550k. Do you still know people who have passed bad checks totaling that amount or more?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:28 PM on October 14, 2013


No, and I'm admittedly bad at math.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


$50 a gram
You also need a new weed dealer
posted by thelonius at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


$50 a gram
You also need a new weed dealer

it's a big gram
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 3:53 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I once bought 24 pounds of weed from a guy, I got a good price but I had to sit with him for 90 hours and pretend to be his friend / not be freaked out by his 400 pet snakes.
posted by Teakettle at 4:21 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fantastic, under the Zimmer Amendment: "Congress passed a law in 1996 with an amendment banning weights and electric guitars in prison. You can neither shred nor get shredded. For this is what the American people most fear: Ex-cons with huge pythons and washboard abs that will destroy them with devastating sweep-picked arpeggios."

Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997., Pub.L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009, § 611.

The Zimmer Amendment in final form:
SEC. 611. None of the funds made available in this Act shall be used to provide the following amenities or personal comforts in the Federal prison system—
(1) in-cell television viewing except for prisoners who are segregated from the general prison population for their own safety;
(2) the viewing of R, X, and NC–17 rated movies, through whatever medium presented;
(3) any instruction (live or through broadcasts) or training equipment for boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, or other martial art, or any bodybuilding or weightlifting equipment of any sort;
(4) possession of in-cell coffee pots, hot plates, or heating elements; or
(5) the use or possession of any electric or electronic musical instrument.
#5 led to a Federal Bureau of Prisons issuing the following old-timey prison advisory for Cumberland:

"[t]he only musical instrument an inmate may possess is a harmonica"*

I believe the amendment is not currently in force, but I'm no fancy big city lawyer. Organizational inertia and state laws may mean that its restrictions are still largely in place.

The Zimmer amendment is toned down from its original incarnation, the No Frills Prison Act.

More Zimmer amendment fun: A Wolf in Sheep's clothing: Wolf v. Ashcroft and the Constitutionality of Using the MPAA Ratings to Censor Films in Prison
posted by zamboni at 4:25 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


N later pointed out that the mandated minimum for growing 100+ plants is five years, while the *maximum* for committing female genital mutilation is five years.

He also noted that the minimum for transporting a truck full of weed (1000+ plants) is ten years. The *max* for knowingly transporting slaves is ten years.


Sweet Smokin' Red-eyed Jebus! This country sure is F-ed up.


I really liked the design and layout of the site.

I did get a bit lost a few times reading from node to node...

The Find Unread at the lower right hand side made it easy to pick up where I got lost.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there anywhere this would be a legal amount to possess? I mean, 24 pounds is almost 11,000 grams.

Everyday on my commute I pass by an industrial brewery. It features giant aluminum tanks the size of grain elevators full of beer. Bad beer.

It doesn't surprise me to see manufacturers of a legal intoxicant taking advantage of economies of scale for manufacture and wholesale distribution. Why should I be shocked in the case of a drug which should be legal?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:43 PM on October 14, 2013


(5) the use or possession of any electric or electronic musical instrument.

#5 led to a Federal Bureau of Prisons issuing the following old-timey prison advisory for Cumberland:

"[t]he only musical instrument an inmate may possess is a harmonica"


Not a ukulele?
posted by acb at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, the format of this story didn't do it for me. A story outline is still just a story outline, even if it's colored and it moves.. Much more importantly of course, I also think this is one more of the innumerable stories of how genuinely fucked up this country has become, the vicious effect the so-called 'war on drugs' has on law enforcement organizations, and the devastation so blithely dismissed and ignored by our public media. Stories like this are a cause for deep sorrow.
posted by anguspodgorny at 5:25 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed the format, but then I really hate magazine articles that skip around in that standard "Start with extreme close-up and don't get to the actual meat of the story until lots of blah-blah-blah and boring fiddly details are dwelled upon first.." I liked that I could follow the threads that interested me first then go back for the rest.

There was a lot in this. One thing that stuck out for me was how the author felt the need to not just delete his facebook but nuke all of his content from orbit. Is that what we all should be doing? Is that what needs to be done at this point? Genuinely asking.

Another interesting thing for me was the simple fact that he went looking for his friend. How many people would even do that? I often read on AskMe about people who haven't heard from their friends or dates in long periods of time and I wonder, "How do you know they're still alive? Aren't you a little worried about them?"

It also reminded me of a story I heard on Radiolab about a year ago about some friends who had a similar type of relationship, and then one of them drifted away and when he died they found out he was seriously mentally ill and none of the others had any idea. I can't picture being in that type of relationship, where something like that isn't on your radar.

I would also like to know how the story ends.
posted by bleep at 6:33 PM on October 14, 2013


One of the nodes has a reference to an Apple Cabin Foods menu, and I checked the earlier FPP to make sure it's the same ACF.

Yep.
posted by mistersquid at 6:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


That is a really interesting way to layout a story. I didn't actually find it very easy to navigate (mainly because I was on a small screen without a mouse), but it inspired me to try plotting out things I write like that before rearranging them into the traditional format later.

As for the story itself, wow. I don't think the drugs laws here in Australia are AS insane as in the USA, but I still think they are more draconian than I am personally comfortable with. I'm pretty sure my next-door neighbour is growing and maybe dealing marijuana, and that knowledge actually stops me from ever calling the cops on them for other stuff (noise violations at night, mainly), because I'm not convinced they would be treated fairly. I wonder how many other people feel the same way, and how often that leads to crime that is sometimes associated with drugs being unchecked. (For example, I took a very long time to call the RSPCA on them, even though I was pretty sure their (guard?)dog was not being well treated, and when I finally did, I was really worried about the potential consequences to them.)
posted by lollusc at 7:20 PM on October 14, 2013


Is there anywhere this would be a legal amount to possess? I mean, 24 pounds is almost 11,000 grams.

OK. Maybe I should have been clearer, that wasn't my point. More that a year+ per pound is more than little bit ridiculous.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:27 PM on October 14, 2013


The Massachusetts decriminalized possession law is in ounces, so I have no idea where your fancy grahams come in.
posted by maryr at 7:55 PM on October 14, 2013


I'm okay with the format (I'm a software developer so these types of tree structures are second nature) but the split-screen thing was less than ideal. Would have preferred some kind of floating (z-direction) node expansion.

Aesthetic points aside, the minimum sentencing rules in this country are nuts, but nobody is ever going to repeal them because our political system just doesn't work that way. I'm glad I at least live in a place where the police simply don't care about some stupid drug-related things (well, growing a ton of pot I don't know, but they certainly don't seem to give a crap about personal use... I once watched a cop drive right past a group of people clearly passing a pipe outside a bar and do nothing).
posted by axiom at 9:23 PM on October 14, 2013


I like the layout in this immensely; there's academic uses there (prezi give me motion sickness).

Was distracted/derailed by this comment by Teakettle:

I once bought 24 pounds of weed from a guy, I got a good price but I had to sit with him for 90 hours and pretend to be his friend / not be freaked out by his 400 pet snakes.

...and now I want to know more. Wonders why does everyone else on MetaFilter have a far more interesting life than I do?
posted by Wordshore at 4:47 AM on October 16, 2013


« Older “Strike up the music, Dad.”   |   Better than anything Michael Bay will do with them Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments