Bathing in Irresponsibility (Richard Shwartzman)
Friday July 1st, 2011
To borrow from Neville Chamberlain, there is peace in our time here in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett on June 23 signed into law a bill that bans bath salts, thereby saving us from self-responsibility.
The Keystone state is now the 21st state in the country to have a law prohibiting the possession or sale of these products that have been legally sold in head shops and tobacco and convenience stores for about $10.
The bath salts in question are synthetic drugs, and reports make these things sound like the second coming of LSD, or maybe they’re just reflecting the same fear-mongering, authoritarian attitude over drug use as was prevalent from the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan eras to the Clinton, Bush, and Obama eras.
“If left unchecked, synthetic drugs could have developed into the most dangerous drug crisis since methamphetamine labs found their way into our state,” the governor reportedly said when signing the measure.
These particular bath salts “can cause delusional, violent behavior,” the report said. That sounds a lot like the bogus, bad-trip propaganda stories about acid.
Delivering or intending to deliver the salts carries a five-year prison term and a $15,000 fine. Possession brings a one-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. As if our prisons aren’t already overcrowded or court system clogged.
What the bill really does is prolong an already failed drug policy, a policy of militarized police waging a war on reason and liberty. It’s another war without end — as is the war on terror — one that can never be won.