Always go for the soft targets
Posted by aogMonday, 24 February 2003 at 20:49 TrackBack Ping URL
So Attorney General Ashcroft is proud of his massive law enforcement effort to bust drug related paraphenalia dealers. Not actual drug dealers, but vendors of things "mainly intended for the use of illegal drugs". This is the conservative equivalent of "assault rifles". It's not a good precedent to have, that the government is entitled to make something illegal because it might be used for an illegal purpose. It's one of those things that can come back to haunt you later when the other party is in charge.

Statments like this

"Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge," Ashcroft said in a statement. "This illegal, billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement."
also make me nervous. "Invaded the homes without their knowledge"? You mean that the head shop proprietors are sneaking into to homes without anyone there knowing about it? Somehow I find that implausible. My guess is that at least one person is aware of it. I thought it was a conservative position that parents should be aware of this and not depend on the government to be a nanny for their children. The "no longer ignored" sounds like the start of a big effort. Can that really be a good use of federal law enforcement resources while we're at war? Unlike the invasion of Iraq, this kind of effort uses the same resources as anti-terror enforcement. Those guys trolling the head shop web sites could be trolling Caliphascist websites instead. So this makes me wonder whether Ashcroft has his priorities straight. I simply cannot make myself care as much about all 55 of these guys put together as one person like Professor Sami Al-Arian [source].

Unfortunately for my ability to work myself into a high dudgeon, the FBI did in fact make an arrest so I can't complain of Ashcroft totally ignoring the really dangerous people. But this story seems more like a PR ploy than a serious effort at protecting the country.