The interwebs have been abuzz lately with talk of the much-hyped impending “Zombie Apocalypse” that seems to be coming to life (or undeath?) around us. It started with the report of a man literally eating the face off of a homeless man in Miami. Then it was a Texas woman purportedly killing her own infant and eating part of its’ brain. A New Jersey man is said to have cut out his own intestines and thrown them at the cops. And in Maryland a student admitted to murdering his roommate before eating his heart and brain. Crazy times, indeed.
Other than the extremely horrific nature of these events, they most likely have no connection whatsoever. Horrific events happen every day, but some tend to get more hype than others. While these incidents are shocking, are they really that much more shocking than two cops beating to death a mentally ill homeless man? Sick and twisted is sick and twisted, in my book.
What is in no way shocking is that our little Congress critters would use a few sickening events to push some sort of agenda. In this case, the Miami incident is being blamed on a synthetic drug known as “bath salts”, which are known to cause panic attacks and hallucinations. This has resulted in our fearless leaders in Congress to call for banning not only “bath salts” but an assortment of chemicals that could conceivably go into them. According to Florida Rep. Sandy Adams
“Looking at the Miami incident, we’ve seen people do some very bizarre acts on bath salts…We need to put a law in place that helps stop the sale and distribution of something this dangerous.”
Representative Adams is no newcomer to this “cause”, as she helped push for the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act of 2011 through Congress last year, which would federally ban MDPV and mephedrone along with dozens of other chemicals found in synthetic drugs similar to bath salts. This is a classic example of how Congress seems to believe it can solve every problem through legislation, even the ones it helped create!
Every time the government attempts to pass a law to limit or restrict people from using a certain substance, it effectively creates an illegal black market for that substance and invites all of the criminal activity and dangerous conditions that come with it. Prior to the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914, even drugs containing cocaine and heroin were available from pharmacies. While there is no doubt that excessive use of any drug, including cocaine and heroin, can cause addiction and serious health ailments, did making them illegal cease any of that danger? No, instead it pushed the entire market for those drugs to “the streets”, resulting in both less safe products and violent criminal enterprises springing up around their sale. There is no greater example of the futility in attempting to legislate substances than the Prohibition of Alcohol from 1920-1933. The result was an unprecedented boom in organized crime and violence.
On the flip side of the Drug War, we have the Food and Drug Administration, which has monopoly control over the regulation of legal drugs within the United States. As with all government mandated monopolies, the regulations imposed by the unaccountable FDA make it very difficult to get legal drugs to the market place, and very expensive when they finally do. Government involvement in health care is indeed a slippery slope , and between the regulation of drugs on one hand via the FDA and the criminalization of narcotics from the DEA on the other hand, people looking for their “fix” tend to run out of affordable options. This is when we see people turn to alternatives such as “bath salts” and all of the consequences that go along with them.
I have no idea if the Zombie Apocalypse is really upon us, but there is no doubt that the cruel War on Drugs and the unintended consequences it brings are very real and very serious. We can ban “bath salts” all we want, but they will only be replaced by “nerd ropes” , “street cheese” or some other new made-up drug. If we really want to stop the hordes of zombies roaming the streets, let’s look at the source of the problem and end the stupid War on Drugs.