Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 11, 2005 / 6 Av, 5765

Presumed guilty

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The latest insanity in the war on drugs comes to you from Georgia. As The New York Times reported last week, the feds arrested 49 convenience store clerks and owners — essentially for selling legal cold and allergy pills.

"Operation Meth Merchant" is the government's way of making store clerks act as drug-enforcement agents — or if they don't, they could face jail time. The feds enticed informers to tell the clerks they were buying cold pills or other products so they could "cook up" methamphetamines. That would make the store clerks guilty of a crime, if they knowingly sold to would-be meth-makers.

Most of the defendants are Indian immigrants who don't understand English particularly well — and certainly don't know American slang. They're not drug dealers. They're working stiffs — yet they face sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

"We really wanted to send the message that if you get into that line of business, selling products that you know are going to be used to make meth, you're going to prison," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias told The New York Times.

Sorry, the feds should save prison for real drug dealers and stop scaring the daylights out of law-abiding immigrants. Several of the defendants refused to sell customers more than two bottles of cold pills, so they were charged with selling another two bottles to the same customers the next day.

"It's just a continuing strategy — that we have to have a drug panic," noted former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, now a fellow at the Hoover Institution. When he first became a cop, the big target for law enforcement was marijuana. "I remember the crackdown on pipes and the paraphernalia," he added. "The hysteria has to be maintained. The public alarm has to be maintained. And they have a real problem because some people, including myself, think the threat of terrorism is a lot worse than busting about 650,000 people a year for pot."

No lie. The feds are arresting convenience-store clerks selling cold pills when they should be investigating possible terrorist cells.

Then there's the fairness issue. Bill Piper of the anti-drug war Drug Policy Alliance noted that Walgreens agreed to pay a $1.3 million fine for selling over-the-counter cold medicine to a Texas methamphetamine dealer: "They have two standards, one for corporate chains and one for independent store owners — basically giving fines to corporate chains, while arresting the independent store owners."

Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jim Talent, R-Mo., that would require stores to keep cold medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter and limit the amount one person can buy to about 250 pills a month.

Feinstein spokesman Howard Gantman explained, "We hope that this legislation will provide a clear signal to the pharmaceutical industry that alternatives to pseudoephedrine should be found. Companies sell cold medications in Europe without pseudoephedrine, and the same could be true here."

Even Bill Piper sees the behind-the-counter requirement and purchase limits as reasonable regulations. But the bill goes too far in requiring consumers to sign a logbook and show identification to buy Sudafed.

Donate to JWR


Sorry, senators, but the fact that some of us have allergies is not Uncle Sam's business. Piper notes other products that can be used to make methamphetamine — rubbing alcohol, brake fluid, rock salt — then asks, "Are we going to require shoppers to show IDs and give stores their names and addresses to buy those products, too?"

Oregon lawmakers passed a measure that will force consumers to get prescriptions to buy Sudafed. It makes no sense. First, the push to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter and now a law to make you see a doctor to get allergy medicine?

McNamara, who believes the government should end this modern prohibition on drugs, said, "There's no end to this, once you begin to do something you shouldn't be doing in the first place."

Certainly it has come to this: Prosecutors are treating innocent store clerks as if they are drug dealers; the Feinstein bill treats law-abiding citizens as if they are lawbreakers. If you want to treat a cold or allergies, you have to check with the government. When drug warriors go after people who aren't drug users or dealers, they've made the conscious decision to treat innocent people like enemies.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2005, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles