Speed Reading


A North Carolina judge has ruled that methamphetamines are not "weapons of mass destruction," dismissing terrorism charges brought by a creative prosecutor. In what the Drug Policy Alliance calls "one of the more hysterical attempts to link drugs to terrorism," Watauga County District Attorney Jerry Wilson had argued that the manufacture of methamphetamines creates a "chemical weapon," defined by state law as "any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury and…is or contains toxic or poisonous chemicals or their immediate precursors."

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  1. The prosecutor tried strict interpretation. The judge factored in intent/relevance. Both techniques cut both ways. Freedom got lucky on this one.

  2. I think this post illustrates my point that its the content of the law, as well as its application, and the culture that the law is in, that is determinitive, not the law’s length. 🙂

  3. When I see pictures of captured meth labs, the abatement teams are always in full hazmat gear. Anybody know which horrible toxins are precursors or byproducts of meth production? Or do they just dress up like that for the photo ops?

  4. I don’t know the byproducts, but anhydrous ammonia is one of the main ingredients; and that is some pretty nasty stuff. The haz-mat suits are definitely NOT just for photo ops.

  5. Not to mention the fact that the fumes givin off by Meth production are not only highly toxic, but highly explosive as well.

    Over the years I have read scores of reports of basement meth labs exploding, or worse, the fumes killing residents of a next door apartment or both.

    While not WMD in the traditional sense, Meth production is pretty dangerous.

  6. Shrub and Cheney have been using the word, “mass” as a boogey man. I just looked up a bunch of definitions of “mass” in Google and feel soo much better:
    1. religious celebration
    2. without definite shape
    3. the hoi polloi
    4. a pile
    5. batch

    Who cares if any of the above suffers destruction?

  7. um, ruthless, check out the Ten Commandments and the Theocracy posts. There are many who would object to the destruction of at least number three on your list. I can’t remember what one or two are, but i’m sure there would be some objections there, too 😉


  8. Meth production requires somebody with a competent scientific background. I’m a well-rounded physicist who’s done some synthetic chemistry, and I’d be wary of making meth without proper training.

    Of course, if meth production were legal the amateurs whose garages occasionally explode would be forced out of business by competition from professional chemists, who could undoubtedly find more cost-effective ways to do it.

    When meth is illegal, only reckless idiots will make it.

  9. Merovingian: I agree. Yet as somebody else posted recently, “good things, when short, are twice as good.”

  10. Mark Fox,

    At best that’s a value-judgment. Its a bit like saying, “I short violin solos are better than long ones.”

  11. mark fox – does that include penis size?

  12. anon @ 3:27 – depends on the girth, I would imagine.

  13. no, violin solos all suck

  14. If you have ADHD, all violin solos are short. As far as you’re aware, anyway…

  15. Bath tub LSD anyone? Or are you just gonna nail me with Weapons of Mass Delusions!

  16. Gary McGath,

    I thought they were “para-military?” Like the Polish ZOMO “police” under the communists?

  17. I’ve never heard of meth labs exploding or gassing neighbors, but for a while one went up in flames and took out part of the trailer park it was located in about once a month over here in California. I always figured it was God’s way of wiping them out where He couldn’t strike them with tornadoes.

  18. To add to Thoreau’s comment:
    Making meth at home is surely dangerous. However, so is soapmaking, since it requires the use of lye. Fortunately, the government has yet to declare a war on soap, so rather than risk having my flesh burned off with lye I can merely go to the store and satisfy my craving for cleanliness for less than a dollar. It doesn’t endanger my neighbors, either.

  19. Surely people still remember that the official excuse for using military force against the Branch Davidians in Waco was a manufactured claim that they were operating a methamphetamine lab.

    Perhaps “our” government is hoping to broaden the definition of WMD enough that *something* that Iraq had will qualify as WMD.

  20. It’s a weapon of meth destruction.

    Here in Phoenix we have meth labs blow up every once in a while, sometimes in trailors and sometimes in apartment buildings. Keeps the fire department in good trim, I suppose, but setting up a meth lab is just not the kind of thing a good neighbor does, you know?

  21. Gary McGath

    I thought it was “for the children”.

  22. Junior fell off his Harley and ain’t been right in the head ever since. He can’t really ride anymmore, with his blurry vision, shaky hands, and the way he goes all wiggy-like.

    So we set him up cooking meth!

  23. There are a number of ways to make meth, some more dangerous than others. The use of red phosphorus and iodine is not very dangerous, the central danger being the formation of phosphine, which could cause a small fire. This is formed if and only if the reaction temperature is too high or there is too little water in the reactor. “Birch reduction” is the method which uses anhydrous ammonia and sodium or lithium. This is incredibly dangerous, as NH3 has a very low boiling point, is explosive and very caustic.

    Methods that don’t start with pseudoephedrine are much less dangerous, though much more difficult to perform correctly.

    Meth can be manufactured safely by a home chemist, but you really have to know what you’re doing. It’s actually pretty easy to make meth, but it’s very hard to do it safely, and make a pure product.

  24. In response to dds’ comment nh3(anhydrous ammonia) is NOT,,,I repeat,,,NOT explosive,,,the ONLY explosion hazzard is from too much pressure built up in tanks,,,true it does have a low boiling point and is caustic to copper and aluminum alloys and brass,,,the explosions involved with meth labs is because of the fumes from the catalyst that is used,,ether,,colman fuel,,zylene and so on,,,,,anyway i just had to put my two cents in

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    DATE: 12/20/2003 04:24:28
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    DATE: 01/09/2004 02:38:25
    God had some serious quality-control problems.

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    Ethics is not necessarily the handmaiden of theology.

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