September 03, 2002

Some thoughts that occurred to

Some thoughts that occurred to me a few nights ago as I was drifting off to sleep...

A few weeks ago, there was a big flap over the proposed TIPS program, which would have citizens volunteer to be government informants, spying on their neighbours and other fellow citizens; the program was compared to the East German Stasi and other unsavoury Cold War bogeymen. "How terrible," said many Americans, "that we would always be worried that the person we were talking to would look for 'suspicious' things to turn us in over!" After all the fuss, George Junior and his minions dropped the project, fortunately.

The funny thing is, with all the outrage we managed to muster over that, we don't even realise that we're already there. The existing program isn't to look for terrorists, though, but drug users. (Right now, the NORML crowd is saying "yeah, duh, where've you been?".) I don't know about the adults that grew up before programs like DARE were in place, but kids today, and adults who grew up with DARE and such things, are trained deep down that they're supposed to turn in anyone---anyone at all---that uses drugs.

Isn't that a little weird?

I'm not a pot user myself, but I have friends who are. For a long time, it was always uncomfortable to be around them while they were smoking up, because I was thinking that if they got caught, I might get in trouble for not reporting them. Every time I think about that, I just get madder. In no other situation, up to and including murder, would I feel like I'd get in trouble for not reporting someone (of course, in the case of murder I would be reporting them, but because I wanted to, not because I'd get in trouble otherwise). But for drugs, hey, they successfully made me feel like I had some legal obligation to turn someone in for breaking the law. Something tells me I'm not the only one who got hoodwinked, and I think most of the others aren't nearly introspective enough to ever figure out what happened there. (Heck, certainly took me long enough.)

I'd do up a Nacirema-style essay on this, but it'd just make me madder.

"Is that arrogant enough for you? I'm trying to get in touch with my inner Texan, so that I can properly tell you off, but I'm afraid I've been in California too long." --Al Petrofsky Posted by blahedo at 2:54pm on 3 Sep 2002

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