Vice Squad
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Victories #2, #3, etc.

From the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, September 18

Victory #2: The UN Drug Control Program has released a report suggesting a 32 percent fall in
Colombian coca cultivation. (Wow, what specificity: I was sort of expecting only 31 percent.)
Even with some increased production in Peru and Bolivia, “overall coca production in the Andes
Mountains region is dropping at a rapid pace.” More specificity, by the way: Colombian coca
fields fell from 251,940 acres in December to 170,430 at the end of July. How the former coca
farmers are managing to scrape out a living was not mentioned in the article, though perhaps
later I’ll look for the UN report itself. I understand that opium fields have increased in popularity
in Colombia, however.

This welcome news from Colombia, following yesterday’s revelation of a seizure in the Chicago
suburbs, indicates that we have won the war on drugs, and we never again have to fear that one
of our fellow Americans will pursue pleasure by snorting cocaine.

Victory #3: 6,000 marijuana plants growing in a forest preserve in Cook County were
confiscated. On the heels of this week’s eradication of the cocaine problem, this seizure provides
more evidence of victory in the war on drugs. No longer must you live in dread that your friends
and neighbors will smoke marijuana. Rather, they will have to confine their intoxication efforts
to alcohol, glue, various household solvents, prescription medications, and whirling dervishly.
VD Day will no longer just be September 16 – perhaps we can celebrate the entire third week in
September as Victory over Drugs Week. Incidentally, we are informed that each of the plants
has an estimated street value of $6000 (coincidence? 6,000 plants, 6,000 dollars?). Wow. And I
thought ferns were expensive.

Seattle: A proposed 10 cent per drink tax on espresso was voted down in Seattle yesterday. An
initiative to allow police to give marijuana possession laws the lowest enforcement priority was
approved, however. Normally I would suggest to our nation’s Attorney General, John Comstock
Ashcroft, that he immediately flood Seattle with DEA agents to ensure that the new local
enforcement priorities do not lead to a surge in folks walking around with a little marijuana in
their pockets. But given the news above, there is no longer any marijuana in the US, so the
enforcement reduction should not make any difference.

As for espresso, yesterday in a coffee shop I thought I saw a 12 year old consuming an espresso
(though I could be wrong as I am not an expert in identifying the age of children or the contents
of coffee-based beverages). He seemed to be doing homework, too. Espresso can’t be good for
kids - shouldn’t there be a law against selling such poison to our youth, and a prohibition on
possession by a minor? (And because we care so much about our kids, those who are caught
using espresso should probably be kicked out of school and possibly jailed, to deter others.) If
espresso is homework performance enhancing, and we don’t nip this in the bud, soon all the kids
will feel pressured to consume the stuff. If I see that kid again, I think that I will read him the riot act.
Zero tolerance for kids and espresso!

Flagger death update: The suspect in the death of the construction worker has been charged with “aggravated DUI in the death of another,” which carries a 7 to 14 year sentence upon conviction. The victim was 36 years old and the mother of seven children. For some reason, the fact that the suspect has children of his own was mentioned to the judge by the public defender at a Bond Court hearing.

More Comstockery: Speaking of our nation’s Attorney General, he told the president of the American Library Association that he would make public the number of times the FBI has sought bookstore and library records under the powers in the USA PATRIOT Act. I’d also be interested in how many terrorists these records have helped identify, and how many innocent civilians have had their records examined to produce the intelligence windfall that has uncovered this bevy of terrorists. What does this have to do with vice? Well, nothing really. I noted it because I am still contemplating the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which the Supreme Court upheld against Constitutional challenge in June, 2003. Most public libraries in the US receive federal funds earmarked to help them establish and maintain Internet access. CIPA requires public libraries that receive such federal funding to install filters on all of their computers that are connected to the Internet. This one hits close to home for this vice researcher, who frequently accesses the Internet at public libraries and who likes to run searches on such terms as vice, obscenity, pornography, prostitution, cocaine, and so on – the very kind of searches that most filters don’t take well to.

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