Saturday, November 05, 2005

Casualties of Drug War

It's all-too-often that innocent people get caught up in the Drug War. Such was the case last month at Oberlin College in Ohio.

In an unprecedented show of force by law enforcement of Oberlin’s campus, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19, approximately 30 members of the Lorain County Drug Task Force, assisted by DEA agents and Safety and Security officers, entered North and searched two rooms in response to a tip that two students were operating a methamphetamine lab.

One of the students involved described what the agents were wearing as “full body armor.”

“It was basically a military raid,” the student said. He emphasized the frightening nature of the raid, calling it “terrifying” and “disconcerting.”

“It violated privacy and made kids feel unsafe and confused during exam week,” he said. The student was returning from a chemistry lab when federal agents accosted him.

While one of the students was caught with a bag of marijuana, no evidence of a meth lab was found.

I wonder what would happen if people connected to the Drug War - like complicit politicians, crusading cops, and drug testing profiteers - had their home raided by drug war storm troopers just because someone called in an anonymous tip based on no credible evidence. Maybe if some of them had their homes ransacked, they'd be less likely to support policies that allow it to happen to other people. Not that I recommend anyone make such phone calls...

By the way, the photo above is from the actual raided dorm room. Send a letter to the editor of the Oberlin Review at edsinchief@oberlinreview.org.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

OH boooo hooooo hooooo. Why don't you whine about it? Also, isn't that what dorm rooms are supposed to look like?

Anonymous said...

DARE Generation? Shouldn't you call yourself the "Will Never Move Out of My Parent's Basement Generation?"

Micah Daigle said...

My my... cliche insults from an anonymous contributor. We'd might as well give up now folks. We've truly met our match.

While it pains me to think that there are people who don't think there's anything wrong with federal agents rifling through an innocent citizen's belongings, I'm comforted by the fact that only the weak-willed are willingly oppressed. And the weak-willed are likely to accomplish nothing of substance.

Kris said...

Having the sanctity of one's domicile violated under any circumstance is traumatic– particularly when one is present at the time. Having the sanctity of one's domicile violated by the DEA is especially traumatic (thanks to their blitzkrieg tactics), whether the agents are in force under erroneous or accurate (or somewhere in between) pretenses.

Yes, it happens all the time. No, it is not any more or less reprehensible that it should happen in a college dormitory. It is what it is. It is certainly worthy of reporting in this blog, in my opinion.

The ol' "meth lab" card is a slick play. What self-respecting citizen wants a meth lab in a populated area, right? Even the most adamant anti-prohibitionists can agree to that, right? It is dicey– even if you feel that the use and transfer of all drugs by adults should be legal, it is hard to discredit interventions to remove the public-sfety risk of a volatile lab. Hmmmm.... Quite a quagmire, one that smacks of the Patriot Act.

Micah Daigle said...

Well said, Kris.

And well noted that most anti-prohibitionists would be averse to volatile meth labs operating in populated areas. I wouldn't want anyone operating a chemistry lab next door to me, no matter what they're manufacturing!

In fact, this anti-prohibitionist thinks that the production of all psychoactive subtances are better off regulated and controlled. After all, meth labs are the new basement moonshine breweries.

In any case, the actions of the authorities were over the top at Oberlin College. The violation of private space should not be warranted by something as flimsy as an anonymous tip. As I noted in my post yesterday , this dangerous trend is sweeping through our universities, and just hit mine last month.

Anonymous said...

why exactly do you not endorse the idea of "anonymous tips" regarding law enforcement officers / politicians homes?

As a user, I'm aware of the drugwar each and everyday I wake up. But one of the things I'm sure you've all noticed, is that trying to engage someone in the conversation (especially white, middle class voters) is pointless. "oh, I don't even know anyone who uses drugs" or so they think, either way, they see no motivation to do anything about it. Perhaps tactics such as you suggest are EXACTLY the way to do that.

Reminds me of the guy who was trying to have the state take Renquists house after the recent eminent domain decision in Kelo. His argument? that in light of that case, he could make a tourist attraction of his house, thereby generating more revenue and tax dollars.

daksya said...

I've noticed that reformers pontificate a lot on violation of civil liberties and the police state apparatus brought on by the drug war, and think that the public-at-large will eventually tire of a failed and corrupt WoD. But the key barrier is the perception of drugs. As long as substantial portions of the population view drugs as 'evil' and inevitably bad, the notion of civil liberty violations is a non-issue. Put another way, if the tip-off was that of someone producing anthrax, would most people lament about 'civil liberties'? No.
To which the drug-policy reformer retorts that drugs do not equal chemical weapon. Well, tell THAT to the prohibitionist public. As long as the sentiment is that tolerance of drugs will lead to personal & societal decay and destruction, such casualties are simply collateral damage.