Pubdate: Wed, 17 Dec 2003
Source: Palm Beach Post, The (FL)
Copyright: 2003 The Palm Beach Post
Author: Mark Golden


Personal responsibility has again lost out to greed ("Injured woman's
parents sue store over 'whippets'," Dec. 11).

While my heart goes out to the parents of 18-year-old Jamie Cook, she
is 18. An adult. A person of voting age. It was Jamie who chose to get
into a moving vehicle and do the drugs. No one held a gun to her head.
(Ms. Cook and a friend got high last summer on nitrous oxide gas from
'whippet' cartridges sold at a Boca Raton video store. The friend's
car was involved in a head-on collision minutes later, leaving Ms.
Cook with serious injuries and permanent brain damage. Her parents are
suing the video store.)

Yes, the store management is stupid if it thinks people are buying the
canisters to make whipped cream, but it is Jamie who chose, and her
parents who failed to teach her of the dangers of all drugs.

As for the video store manager's claim that the store was selling the
gas to make whipped cream for adults' sexual pleasure, I moved here
from the Boston area where I ran kitchen stores. We were selling the
canisters for whipped-cream purposes (sexual or plain consumption). In
the mid-90s, we discovered that kids were using these canisters to get
high. We stopped selling them. Yes, some of our legitimate customers
were upset, but when we told them why, they understood. Did we have
to? No, the canister sales were legal. It is up to the buyer how it is
used. But we figured, why put a dangerous weapon, and it is indeed a
weapon if used wrong, in the hands of those too stupid to know right
from wrong?

Unfortunately, Ms. Cook chose to make the wrong decision. That aside,
I do hope her recovery is swift and complete.

Mark Golden

West Palm Beach
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