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Saturday, April 16, 2005

For the Children

Almost without fail, anytime someone says they are doing something "for the children," they are about to embark on some endeavor that is a major rights violation. So is the case with H.R. 1528 authored by James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

Apparently utilizing his super-human sense of observation, he realized the "War on Drugs" is a failure. Wow...master of the obvious. However, rather than rework the failing strategy like a good field commander, he instead has decided to turn this into a nuclear war that no one will win. H.R. 1528 seeks to implement new Draconian rules to fight this battle against drugs.

Here is one portion I find most disturbing:
(j) Maintaining Drug-Involved Premises Affecting Children- Section 416 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 856) is amended--

(1) in subsection (a)(1) by inserting `storing,' before `or using';

(2) by inserting `(1)' after `(b)';

(3) by adding at the end of subsection (b) the following:

`(2) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section, knowing that the manufacture, distribution, storage, or use of any controlled substance involves or is intended to involve a person under the age of 18 or an incompetent person, shall be fined not more than $2,000,000 (if the offender is an individual) and not more than $8,000,000 (if the offender is an organization) and imprisoned not less than 5 years or more than life, and if the defendant is the parent or guardian or otherwise responsible for the care or supervision of such person shall be fined as provided in this paragraph and imprisoned not less than ten years or more than life.'.

Mr. Sensenbrenner is trying to turn every person in this country into a cop. He is in essence saying do the Police's job for them or we'll throw you in jail for at least 5 years and perhaps for life. If you are a parent, it starts at 10 years minimum. And don't think you can make the report at your leisure:
`SEC. 425. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who witnesses or learns of a violation of sections 416(b)(2), 417, 418, 419, 420, 424, or 426 to fail to report the offense to law enforcement officials within 24 hours of witnessing or learning of the violation and thereafter provide full assistance in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the person violating paragraph (a).

`(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to not less than two years or more than 10 years. If the person who witnesses or learns of the violation is the parent or guardian, or otherwise responsible for the care or supervision of the person under the age of 18 or the incompetent person, such person shall be sentenced to not less than three years or more than 20 years.'

Yep, even if you report it, but it is greater than 24 hours, you can still be thrown in jail. You also have to continue to do the work of the Police until they successfully convict someone.

Police get a salary, police are trained, police carry firearms. None of this applies to the laypersons the Congressman is trying to draft into involuntary police service.

This bill is overly far reaching and could affect entire neighborhoods where drugs exist. In addition, it creates rifts in families.

Say you were cleaning your teenage son's room. You accidentally knock a box off a shelf and find that it contains some pot and a pipe. A normal parent would probably react by sitting down with their child and discussing the effects of drugs and the rules of the house. For Mr. Sensenbrenner, that is not enough. He wants you to report your child to the police. That's one hell of a rock and a hard place. You report the child, he goes to jail. You fail to report your child, and someone else does, you go to jail.

The last thing a teenager that may be experimenting with drugs needs is the added pressure of being the reason one or both of his parents is spending 10 years in jail. That certainly isn't going to curtail his drug use.

I could go on, this is just one portion of a larger piece of nightmare legislation, but this post would be several pages long.

Please write your Representatives and Senators to let them know that enough is enough. Such measures are just not acceptable and will certainly do more harm than good.

You can find more on this issue at QandO and Talk Left.

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Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005