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24

November 2011

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Overgovernment: Collateral Damage Edition

Written by , Posted in The Nanny State & A Regulated Society

Anyone concerned about the size of government should be weary of the ongoing “Drug War”, which has gotten completely out of hand and employs numerous freedom-limiting methods. The latest example shows just how little our rights matter to those pursuing the self-righteous prohibition (Hat-tip: The Agitator):

Eighty-eight-year-old retired metallurgist Bob Wallace is a self-described tinkerer, but he hardly thinks of himself as the Thomas Edison of the illegal drug world.

He has nothing to hide. His product is packaged by hand in a cluttered Saratoga garage. It’s stored in a garden shed in the backyard. The whole operation is guarded by an aged, congenial dog named Buddy.

But federal and state drug enforcement agents are coming down hard on Wallace’s humble homemade solution, which he concocted to help backpackers purify water.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and state regulators say druggies can use the single ingredient in his “Polar Pure” water purifier — iodine — to make crystal meth.

Wallace says federal and state agents have effectively put him out of business, because authorities won’t clear the way for him to buy or sell the iodine he needs for his purification bottles. He has been rejected for a state permit by the Department of Justice and is scheduled to appeal his case before an administrative judge in Sacramento next month.

Meanwhile, the exasperated Stanford University-educated engineer and his 85-year-old girlfriend said the government — in its zeal to clamp down on meth labs — has instead stopped hikers, flood victims and others from protecting themselves against a bad case of the runs.

This is the new standard for freedom in an overgoverned country. “Can someone possibly use an ingredient to make drugs? Then it’s off limits!” What’s worse is the busy bodies refuse to take responsibility for their choice to limit individual freedoms in pursuit of drug purity:

“Methamphetamine is an insidious drug that causes enormous collateral damage,” wrote Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman. “If Mr. Wallace is no longer in business he has perhaps become part of that collateral damage, for it was not a result of DEA regulations, but rather the selfish actions of criminal opportunists. Individuals that readily sacrifice human lives for money.”

As the chronically overgoverned, we’re all potential collateral damage.