Saturday, September 25, 2010

To the City Council of Angleton, TX

The following is a letter sent to the various members of the City Council of Angleton, TX. Their official taxpayer-supplied email addresses are as follows:


Feel free to tell them your opinions, be it for or against...


To the Angleton City Council:

A few days ago, I read about how the city of Brazoria had jumped on the hysteria bandwagon, and followed Angleton's shining example of banning synthetic cannabinoids. This didn't surprise me, given Mayor Ken Corley's nationally-known record of having utter contempt and disregard for the First Amendment. What did surprise me was his apparent ignorance regarding Salvia Divinorum, lumping this completely harmless herb (a fact that has long-been known to modern science) into the same category.

What truly came as a shock, however, was when a friend mentioned that the Angleton ordinance had done the exact same thing. After contacting Mayor Henry and getting a copy of the actual text of the ordinance yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that one of two things had happened here...and both of them shed a severely unflattering light upon you.

Either you were misled regarding the safety aspect of Salvia Divinorum, and did not take the time to actually research this harmless natural plant you've just banned, or you knew exactly what you were doing and did it anyway to make it appear that you actually give a damn about your community. Honestly, I cannot decide which prospect disgusts me more.

If you were misled, and did not take the time to investigate the plant you were banning, what does that say about your willingness to blindly follow along with whatever you're told? That makes you a sheep, willing to move along with the ignorance of the masses and trample upon the rights of others with total disregard for the liberties of the individual, and you have absolutely no business being in a position of authority over it on city council, or elsewhere.

If you knew the complete harmlessness of Salvia Divinorum (because you had taken the time to read up on the mint plant you were planning to criminalize), and chose to ban it anyway to make yourselves look good for whatever reason, that makes you a power-hungry tyrant willing to impose your will upon others...and likewise, you certainly have no business being in any kind of authoritative position.

This isn't about my desire to smoke Salvia. Honestly, the one time I tried it several years back was my one and only experience with hallucinogens, and I cannot foresee any desire to ever try it again. Regardless of this fact, the one thing I know it not to be is "dangerous"...because prior to the single instance in which I smoked it, I thoroughly researched it to make certain that it wouldn't pose a danger to my body, my mind, or my neighbors. Keep in mind, this is a plant they used to sell in the Lawn & Garden section at Wal-Mart before nationwide hysteria and stupidity took over, and their corporate offices succumbed to fear of being labeled "dope-dealers"!

What this IS about is your reckless disregard for the rights of those who are forced to live under the laws you write, if they do not choose to leave the town they've spent the majority of their lives in. Frankly, I don't care what they do in Brazoria or any other town. I don't live there. I live in Angleton, as I have done for more than thirty years. In those thirty years, our city government has threatened to steal my car because it didn't have a valid registration sticker while it was parked in a private driveway, it has told my family what kind of fasteners could be used to put together a covering on my grandmother's front porch (to the point where it had to be rebuilt), and now you're telling me what I can and cannot plant in my own garden...because you think someone choosing to eat or smoke a particular plant doesn't conform to your idea of what the private behavior of our citizens should be?

What's next? Will you tell me that I can no longer own my pistols in Angleton, because a few people decide to use them as tools for armed robbery? Will you decide that my books should be banned, because Orwell's 1984 contains a graphic depiction of promiscuous sex that doesn't conform to your personal views of morality? Will you outlaw my 4x4 within city limits, simply because our city's roads are paved and you can't see a need for them? Where will it stop?

I don't know many of you on the council, but to John and Randy, I've known both of you for more than two decades...and I thought more highly of you than this. I am sickened beyond belief that the two of you, men who I thought were upstanding and good, would do something like this to the very people you have asked for the privilege to serve. Making it so much worse is the fact that, on countless occasions, I mentioned to people during your campaigns that the two of you were fine people that could be counted on to do what was right. I suppose I was wrong.

There is one thing I know without a doubt. Far more dangerous to a civilized society than any drug available today, legal or otherwise, is the notion that one man is subject to the will of his fellow man within the privacy of his own home. That is the epitome of slavery, and you men are acting as overseers upon the rest of us. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

-Barry H. Rhodes,
Citizen of Angleton, TX

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