Never too young to get them started

Over at The Freeman, Wendy McElroy provides some useful advice about what to do, and—maybe more importantly—what not to do if the police come to question your child. The column was prompted by the recent arrest of an 11-year-old boy for a picture he drew in school. The kid’s parents made the mistake of letting him talk to the police without first contacting a lawyer.

This story reminds me of an encounter I had with the police when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old. There was a special announcement in school that day warning us about some lick-and-stick tattoos, with pictures of Mickey Mouse or some such image on them, that were allegedly laced with LSD and being peddled to children. I have no idea if this was actually happening or if it was just one of those false rumors that causes a few easily frightened dipshits to make a big stink, but on the way home from school that day, my cousin, who lived across the street, and I went up to every kid we passed and asked them if they wanted some Mickey Mouse tattoos (of course we did; isn’t that what any normal kids would do?). We had a few laughs over our deviousness, no doubt, then parted ways for the night.

Later on, a cop showed up at my house and told me that a kid in the neighborhood said that I tried to sell him drugs. I recall standing on the front porch, with (I think) my dad standing next to me, while the cop asked me if I had any drugs. I told him no, that we had just been told about these Mickey Mouse things at school that day and I had done it as a joke. I don’t recall much else. I’m pretty sure the cop realized he was dealing with nothing more nefarious than a stupid prank and left.

This was in 1979 or so, though, before “zero tolerance” became all the rage. If it had happened today, I probably would have wound up getting cuffed and stuffed and taken down to the local doughnut station and charged with pretending to sell drugs.

We must prevent you from doing this in order to protect your freedom

This is a little old, but I happened to (re-)stumble upon a link to it today and thought I’d mention it because, aside from being flat-out ridiculous, it provides a perfect illustration of why a lot of conservatives, in spite of any rhetoric to the contrary, have no interest in defending personal freedom (actually, not only have no interest in defending personal freedom, but are actually hostile to the notion).

Here’s the comment I left there which pretty much sums up my feelings on both the silliness of the author’s argument and on the broader issue of policing personal behavior:

I think what libertarians really need to do is reconsider their association with conservatives (at least the kind who hold views like the ones expressed here). There’s so much wrong with this article it’s almost mind-boggling, but I’ll just start by echoing Dan Patrick’s comment about whether tradition provides moral validation for an activity. Slavery had a rich tradition in western “civilization” for millennia. Should we bring that back? How about torture? Oh, wait, nevermind. (Also, you might want to rethink how this argument applies to marijuana, since it’s only been illegal in the U.S. since 1937.)

But of all the ridiculous ideas expressed here, perhaps the most absurd is the notion that in order to protect our freedoms the government must “enforce social order”—by preventing people from smoking a plant that makes them inclined to sit around, laugh, and eat junk food. Do I need to point out the irony here? You talk about the left’s dream of a nation of zombies, so drug-addled that they’re unable to resist indoctrination. But what’s the right’s dream? A nation of bright-eyed, enthusiastic drones eager to put the shackles on themselves?

The latter scenario sounds a bit scarier to me. Almost enough to make me want to roll up a doob and take a few tokes of the daemon weed.

(Via Rad Geek.)