Last Friday, Washington, D.C. police concluded a critical covert investigation by busting a coffee shop frequented by Africans and Middle Easterners, and arresting 34 people for possession and distribution of qat. In addition to being a helpful word in Scrabble, qat is a mild stimulant chewed in Africa and some parts of Asia—as well as by a good portion of the city's Ethiopian cab drivers. Because it delivers a light buzz and isn't tobacco or alcohol, the federal government has deemed the stuff illegal.
The next night turned out to be one of the bloodiest in D.C. city history. Seven people died in what Mayor Adrian Fenty said, "can only be described as an unbelievably high level of violent crime to take place in a short time."
Thank goodness they got those qat-chewers off the streets, or the carnage may have well have been worse.