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:: Walter 7:49 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 ::
I often write about the idiocies of the drug war, how many innocent people are killed, money is wasted, etc., but this one subject, the Rave Act, leaves me apoplectic. But even I didn't imagine it could be this bad.
First, a little background. Most of the readers of this blog will know about the Rave Act. The Act's proponents imagine that nightclubs and festivals that feature electronic dance music promote drug use. So they set out to shut down the electronic music business. Before my blood pressure hits the ceiling I'll just quote some other bloggers.
Don Watkins' Anger Management:
This is correct, but as Glenn notes, "the DEA has been after not just drug use, but the 'rave scene,' and electronic music in general, which it regards as part of a 'drug culture' that it sees as a legitimate target."
This is serious stuff, friends. This isn't just another insane drug law. The RAVE Act is an assault on a particular group of people defined, not by what chemicals they do or do not use, but by the music they happen to enjoy. I know a lot of people who make their living as club owners, promoters, or DJ's. These people are being targeted by power-hungry pols and police who have decided to make electronic music the latest scapegoat for America's drug problem, and unlike drug laws that (unjustly) punish a person for putting illegal substances into his own body, the RAVE Act is designed to punish a person for what other people put into their own bodies.
My biggest problem as a club owner was that the kids drank water. I was in the business of selling alcohol. Water is free in the bathroom, and cheap as hell in refillable plastic bottles. Imagine how I hated them for drinking water -- ungrateful little brats! I needed to pay my g.......ed rent!
Well guess what! Now I could be arrested for selling them water.
I am absolutely not kidding. Congressional findings state explicitly the intent of the federal government to criminalize water:
"congressional findings" that, according to the Washington Post, declare bottled water, chill rooms and glowsticks to be drug paraphernalia. It also retains the crackhouse law sentencing guidelines: Party organizers whose patrons get busted with drugs can face fines in the millions and up to 20 years in federal prison.
OK, to recap for those unfamiliar with the rave scene, basically a rave is a non-stop dance party that goes to the wee hours of the morning. Party-goers dance until they're beat. Like any nightclub or concert crowd, some participants use illegal drugs, including ecstacy and other mild stimulants. These people, whether on drugs or not, tend to get dehydrated. Concerned club operators have been known to provide cool-down rooms, with cold water available, for the comfort and safety of patrons.
Which practice could now net the proprietor 20 years in the pen.
I spent the afternoon working a Libertarian Party booth at the People's Fair in Denver. The Fair is a chance for city residents to showcase their wares, especially the artsy types. Bands play, restaurants sell food samples, and it's a good time. Every year a collection of non-profit groups host booths, and the LP gets in the act.
We get attendees to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz, and discuss libertarianism. Sometimes the debates are lively, and often we gain new members and activists. Whether people agree or disagree with our positions, I enjoy the interaction and discussing politics. It's fun to find folks who share my viewpoint, and it's also entertaining to challenge people's beliefs, watching their eyes grow wide when I say things like, 'Don't you think welfare programs create more poverty rather than help the poor?'
I've worked a number of events in a similar capacity, most of them gun shows, but the People's Fair is more fun. Gun show participants tend to score on the right-wing side on the quiz, but at Denver's People's Fair the results run solidly to the left. The funny thing is we have much more success at the People's Fair. At gun shows we might get a half dozen or so new registrations, but today we got close to fifty. Libertarians are often seen as ultra-conservatives, (a serious slander) but we have seem to have much more success with leftist crowds.
Adjust your prejudices accordingly.
Oh, and one more thing. Next to the LP booth some sort of gay and lesbian outfit had a space. Fair organizers thought it would be cool to give the spot across the sidewalk to a fundamentalist Christian church touting anti-gay literature. Somebody sure has a sense of humor.