Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pissing Off John Walters.

Two School boards in Florida have rejected federal grants to start random student drug testing in the past month. Hernando and Citrus counties both rejected grants up to 317,000.
There was at least $183,289 in federal funding on the table Tuesday night, and perhaps much more. But a divided Hernando County School Board judged the price of taking that money - asking teenagers to submit to random urine tests for the presence of illegal drugs - was too high.

"I am going to join my two colleagues in opposition to this grant, to say thank you but no thank you," said board member Jim Malcolm, who voted with John Sweeney and Chairman Pat Fagan against the plan. "It's not a program; it's a study."

"It appears that a youngster walks the extra mile and involves themselves in sports or extracurricular activities, then they give up their right to privacy," he added.

Florida Detective Uses a Computer!

In Charlotte County, Florida, 17 year old student David Carol was arrested after setting up a marijuana deal with an undercover police officer on his Myspace page. Detective Thomas "Sherlock Holmes" Lewis came up with the idea that we can use computers to solve crimes. Brilliant.
"My kids were using, and when I went on the computer to see what they were doing on there ... I restricted their use of it, and I started using it myself," the detective said. "I think that if the criminals are going to use the computer to commit crimes, we're going to have to use the computer to solve crimes."

With the help of his 16- and 13-year-old daughters -- who "helped me learn the lingo," he said -- Lewis searched the site for local marijuana peddlers. He found "Dae-Dae," whose page "contained a text indicating that he would sell marijuana," a PGPD report said. Lewis contacted "Dae-Dae" via Myspace, and the two arranged to meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at a Shell gas station on Tamiami Trail to exchange 2 ounces of marijuana for $400.

[Carroll] was charged with possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. Carroll was released to a parent's custody.

Pam Carroll, The Academy at Charlotte Technical Center student's mother, disapproved of the methods used by police in her son's case. "It's like entrapment," she said Wednesday. "What my son did was wrong, but what the officers did undercover was, too. It's like bribing these kids because it's right there -- it's easy money."
Sites like MySpace and Facebook really have exploded in popularity in the past three years, for all age groups. But it does seem that these sites are becoming of great importance to high school and middle school students, who sometime spend hours at a time looking up profiles and creating their own. And clearly its not to difficult to get them to meet up with complete strangers to sell pot.

Students should know that these Networking sites are not secure and the information we put onto them can now be accessible to anyone who wants it bad enough. This doesn't stop at police officers. You can expect employer's and even some colleges to be looking at your profiles when considering your admission. Look at some of the groups on these sites. Everything from drug use to fetishes are turned into somewhat fun, but more or less pointless advertisements of your personal life. This is information you probably don't want to be brought up during a job interview.

Now, I'm not saying I don't belong to any facebook groups, but I try to stray away from the "I Smoke Bluntz 24/7" and "I play Beer Pong till I Puke" type. My point, and I do have one, is that these Networking sites are useful and fun tools but now that Detective Lewis has finally figured out that computers can be used to arrest people for marijuana, students might want to be more careful about what we post for the world to see. I have little doubt that more extensive police searches of these pages will be occurring on a larger level in the next few years. Searching and grouping profiles with keywords like drugs, legalization, and SSDP......

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

White House endorses testing all students?

The Drug Czar's "blog" is touting the fact that a private Catholic school in Arizona is subjecting all its students to random drug testing (not just those who participate in extracurriculars).

Up until now, Congress has been very clear that federal money for student drug testing is only to be used for testing students that have elected to join afterschool activities.

Is this a signal that the White House is going to ask Congress to expand the scope of the federal drug testing grants to include all students (something the Supreme Court has not okayed)?

Monday, December 11, 2006

2 Million Drug Offenders...

If you have a Yahoo! account I suggest reading a recent article about America's skyrocketing prison population. Nothing most of us didn't already know but it is a well rounded article and gives the War on Drugs much credit for the world's largest prison population.

Make a comment on the discussion board. There are some very misguided individuals on there that need our input!
Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system. "Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders subject to them," she said.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people in the highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.
Great to see some input from FAMM.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

UMASS Fights Back

The Daily Collegian covered the recent changes in police presence on the UMASS Amherst Campus. It seems this college campus is trying to change their image as a "party school" the only way they know how: extreme enforcement of laws that already fail to achieve the desired results and slashing student's civil liberties.
The campus has a Cannabis Reform Coalition that is trying to put an end to this dangerous and misguided attempt at "decreasing the use of narcotics" and to change the "reputation UMass holds as a party school. SSDP needs to to help them out.
"Every time someone gets arrested, and this is happening much more frequently, they're immediately suspended for being an 'imminent threat to the community,' so you get the idea that these people are really violent, and that's not true," said Werner. "Pot smokers are less likely to be violent than alcohol users."

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Gargano explains, "Our students at UMass Amherst have encouraged the University to have more stringent and forceful policies. Our students have shared they do not want the raucous behavior associated with alcohol and substance abuse."
Can anyone see the hypocrisy here? Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Gargano implies that he is doing this because it is what the students want. Then why has he cancelled, not one, but two meetings with the CRC to discuss issues like this and the Aid Elimination Penalty? That shows incompetence and ignorance in my opinion. The CRC is the oldest continuously-run student organization on campus and has over 200 members but Mr. Gargano has the audacity to cancel two meetings with them and then claim the police presence is supported by the students. One of those meetings was to include a petition signed by 1,600 students.

CRC Co-President, Jon Werner said "I honestly wasn't expecting him to change his policy when we met with him, but I was expecting him to at least defend his policy," says Werner. "I think he thinks we're an insignificant organization."

I feel it should be very clear that allowing, young, inexperienced, undercover police officers to roam the halls of a college dorm is not just unacceptable, it is dangerous. This doesn't stop at patrolling the halls, these officers are knocking on doors looking to create an issue. What is to stop a plain clothes male student from claiming he is an undercover cop to get access to a female student's room? Is it any more safe than the use of alcohol or marijuana for these officers to lie about who they are and what they are doing?

This is what we are consistently up against. People who cannot even defend their own actions or positions. Certainly not to the extent that us SSDPer's are able to. So much more can be said about and done with this. Get in touch with Micah Diagle to do more about this issue.