Pubdate: Sun, 26 May 2002
Source: Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register (WV)
Copyright: 2002 The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register
Author: Charles Rogerson


I am sleeping more soundly at night knowing the Brooke County Sheriff's 
Deputies have arrested fifty youths who were menacing the Castleman's Run 
area by picking wild mushrooms, as reported in the May 15 News-Register. 
The sheriff reports that charges are pending on close to 80 individuals.

The Castleman Cop Dragnet should make the remote area safer for the few 
dozen people who live out there. These were allegedly hallucinogenic 
mushrooms, classified as a controlled substance. The sheriff claimed they 
had "been watching the area and watching which mushrooms were being picked."

Thank God, the sheriff's department is staffed with expert mycologists who 
can identify the tricky fungi from afar. I am confident they obtained spore 
prints, essential for accurate identification, of many mushrooms.

Who knows what terrible things may have happened had the marauding 
mushroomers ingested their harvest, along with the marijuana some had in 
their possession. They may have begun giggling uncontrollably and saying 
things like, "Your karmic aura is like a bearded rainbow." Afflicted with 
burger munchies, they may have cut in front of us in line at McDonald's. 
The mall is reporting a run on Pink Floyd CD's. The Audubon Guide warns 
these mushrooms may induce visions and raving. We Americans prefer quiet 

Now the Castleman Cops face the grim task of eradicating the mushrooms 
which appear to grow there naturally. They are considering bulldozing the 
offending woodlots and fields. Perhaps Dow Chemical has some Agent Orange 
defoliant left over from Vietnam. We may have to destroy the area in order 
to save it.

Of course, in true Big Brother mode, the sheriff claimed, "Our biggest 
concern is the safety of the individuals." It is a peculiar notion that to 
protect citizens you must arrest, prosecute, fine and incarcerate them. 
Under asset forfeiture laws, the Castleman Cops may seize their automobiles 
and houses.

Chalk up another victory for our Blue Knights defending the land of the free.

Even though it has been a great year for morels, all you legitimate 
mushroom hunters better watch out. If you pick the wrong fungus, the Fourth 
Reich has you under surveillance and may land on you with both jackboots.

If there is no room for you in our overcrowded jails, they'll just turn 
some rapists and child molesters loose early to free up prison cells. In 
the endless war on drugs, we have to keep our priorities straight.

Charles Rogerson, Bethlehem
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