Pubdate: Tue, 23 Dec 2003
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Copyright: 2003 Charleston Gazette
Author: Richard W. Dulee



The Dec. 6 Gazette reports that Troy Johnston of Cross Lanes was
arrested after he bought "acetone, peroxide, cold pills and heating
materials" at Wal-Mart. That is, he bought nail polish remover, an
antiseptic, a cold medication and maybe a hot plate.

Wal-Mart employees reported him to Nitro police, who arrested him
before he reached his car for "attempting to operate a clandestine
drug lab."

As near as I can tell, Mr. Johnston stands accused of a felony because
he might use his purchases to create an illegal drug. I wonder where
this stops. Should we arrest gardeners who purchase ammonium nitrate
fertilizers because they might make bombs with it? Should we arrest
gun buyers because they might use their guns illegally?

Should we expect our neighbors, like these Wal-Mart employees, to spy
on us and act as agents of the police? Is this what America is coming

As a school counselor, I teach children about the dangers of drugs.
There may be more to this story, but on the face of it, it is deeply

Maybe Mr. Johnston had less than honest intentions, but do we really
want to live in a country where we are spied on and arrested for what
we might do? The Patriot Act takes us a long way down that road. At
the end of it, we may no longer recognize the America so many have
sacrificed their lives to defend.

Richard W. Dulee

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