Monday, September 27, 2010

Discussions with a tax-feeder...

So, in keeping with the theme of the past two posts, tonight’s will be about what the Angleton City Council REALLY did when they took it upon themselves to ban synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum. Before I get to that, please allow me to show what they DIDN’T do…

The following things were NOT criminalized by the blanket ban on synthetic cannabinoids (“fake pot”) and Salvia Divinorum (“salvia”) products:
1) Driving under the influence of fake pot or salvia.
2) Providing fake pot or salvia to minors.
3) Being intoxicated on fake pot or salvia in public.
4) Being in the care of children while under the influence of fake pot or salvia.

What does this have to do with a tax-feeder? Well, there’s this friend of mine that I’ve known since my early childhood, very wonderful woman in her own right. Always, for as long as I’ve known her, she’s been a very kind and loving person to be around. As a matter of fact, when I couldn’t leave the house for two weeks after my motorcycle accident because the scabs on my knees would break open and bleed everywhere, she was the only one who came to visit me…and made a special trip to my father’s home on the south side of town just to bring me a 44oz Dr Pepper from Buc-ees that I’d been craving for a week and a half. Yes, she’s that kind of caring individual, and I praise God that there are people like that still alive and well in this world.

She also happens to be the mother of two beautiful children, as well as being a public employee working with juvenile delinquents (I believe, for Brazoria County). I know her heart is in the right place, but I just don’t think she fully understands the full weight of what her opinions imply. After uploading the text of Angleton’s new city ordinance, she stated that she was happy for the ban.

In discussing this with her, I asked her what possible reasoning she could have for such an opinion. She essentially stated the four reasons I’ve listed above. Given the fact that she works with juvenile delinquents with whom drug abuse and addiction is a recurring theme, and her first husband was killed in an alcohol-related auto collision, I can understand her feelings. Unfortunately, her opinions appear to be based upon common fallacies that get repeated so often in our society to the point they are taken as fact.

Much like my friend’s first husband and father of her children, my mother’s first-born was also killed in an alcohol-related auto collision. His name was Brandon Laurn Raines, he was my older brother, he died on my 17th birthday, and his death made me the oldest son. Within my own family, I’ve already forgotten more than I’d ever care to know about the destruction of a person’s time on earth that comes from drug addiction. My mother’s youngest son, my little brother, became a convicted felon in the State of Texas because of crimes committed to pay for his cocaine addiction…before he was even old enough to have a driver’s license. No offense, but I don’t think I need a lesson on the dangers of drugs and booze…because if there’s anything I don’t already know, I seriously doubt I’ll ever learn it.
Now, moving right along. One may ask how this new city ordinance could be passed banning fake pot and salvia, and not manage to criminalize the acts I mentioned above. Well, it’s quite simple. You see, every single one of these things was already illegal under existing state law!

“Driving While Intoxicated”, regardless of the intoxicant or its status of legality for consumption, is still a criminal offense in Texas.
Providing an intoxicant (other than alcohol, to your own child or spouse) to a minor is considered “child endangerment”. If that minor becomes intoxicated, you’ve committed “injury to a child”.
Being intoxicated on any substance in public, where you present a danger to yourself or others, is a criminal offense of “public intoxication”.
Being intoxicated while in the care of children fits the definition of the crime “child neglect”.

Please don’t tell me that a man over the age of legal majority in this state (18 years old, last time I checked) has the lawful ability to go to the M.E.P.S. building in Houston, Texas and volunteer to fly out to some two-way firing range on the other side of the world (against his parents’ wishes, no less!)…but that same man doesn’t have the right to intoxicate himself with whatever harmful (or completely harmless, in the case of Salvia Divinorum) substance he chooses, within the confines of his own living room. You can’t honestly tell me that having RPG’s launched at you is somehow less dangerous than deciding you want to smoke crack. Either you’re old enough to man up, let your nuts do the talking, and take your chances…or you aren’t. Which is it? Okay, so we’ve discovered that it’s not a safety issue, if we’re allowed to enlist in the military…and buy motorcycles that can go 160mph, and work in chemical plants, and go skydiving. It’s not a “safety issue”. By the way, contrary to all of the rumors you may or may not have heard, synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum have NOT been conclusively linked to ANY health problems, addiction, or death…in this country or elsewhere.

What about keeping dope away from kids? Yeah, because outlawing it is working so well. It works so well, in fact, that my best friend and I used to joke in high school about how much easier it would be if we smoked dope instead of drinking Busch tallboys on a Friday night…because the guy at the Kwik-E-Mart checked for ID, while the neighborhood weed dealers didn’t. If a kid doesn’t have access to some bum that will buy the fake pot at the gas station, he’s going to call up his dealer when he wants to get high…just like so many of my classmates did in high school, and almost half of high school kids already do today. So we’ve discovered that it’s not about keeping dope out of the hands of children…or, if it is, our city council is completely clueless.

Now, let’s look at the notion of intoxication offenses, and our council’s assertion that (and I quote from ordinance 2010-O-9C):
WHEREAS, the substances identified above manifest all of the demonstrated attributes of substances that deprive individuals of judgment, coordination[,] and the ability to conduct themselves in a safe and appropriate manner in modern society;”

Ummm…pardon me, but there are three liquor stores in Angleton, and every single store that sold this fake pot in town were also selling alcoholic beverages. Are we talking about fake pot and salvia, or are we talking about tequila here? Did they do something to my Bud Light Lime that somehow made it NOT get me drunk when I wanted more than five of them? Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen anything about our city council wanting to shut down any bars, close any liquor stores, or make any gas stations stop selling beer and Boone’s Farm.

I think you should, at this point, see where I’m headed with this…

So, precisely WHAT did the City Council of Angleton, TX do by banning synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum? Essentially, under the guise of “public safety”, they’ve told me and every other adult in Angleton, TX what is and is not permissible within the confines of his own home, regardless of whether it affects anyone else. In other words, the City Council of Angleton, TX has told every single one of us that they own every facet of our lives...both in public, and within our private homes. If that ain’t slavery, I’m not quite sure what is…

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