Pubdate: Fri, 14 Mar 2003
Source: Times-News, The (ID)
Copyright: 2003 Magic Valley Newspapers
Author: Dana Olson-Elle


I am writing in response to the recent so-called "drug paraphernalia" raids 
on the stores in Pocatello, Burley, Twin Falls and Boise. These stores were 
entered at gun point, managers and owners arrested, computers confiscated 
and merchandise taken. Thankfully, no shots were fired.

These stores all had proper business licenses and permits, and the 
merchandise was displayed where everyone could see it. They had been doing 
business this way for years. The owners of these stores must have felt they 
were following the rules and not breaking Idaho law. They paid taxes and 
the government was gladly accepting those funds. If there was an issue, why 
didn't the Drug Enforcement Agency agents let the store owners know that 
certain products were illegal when they visited the stores the first time? 
Most likely the products would have been removed and this would have been a 
non-issue. The federal government wouldn't have wasted taxpayers' money and 
created undue hardship for these stores. After all, it is the small 
businesses that keep people employed and the economy growing, especially 
during times of economic recession.

The new Department of Homeland Security orchestrated this so-called 
crackdown on drug paraphernalia. this is a new federal department created 
by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center 
and Pentagon. The mission of this department is to reduce the nation's 
vulnerability to acts of terrorism by protecting our critical 
infrastructures and key assets from physical attacks. The department's 
objective is to identify and assure the protection of those infrastructures 
and assets that we deem most critical. How is the merchandise sold in these 
stores related to terrorism?

Are we losing our constitutional rights under measures of the Homeland 
Security Act? Are the protections of individual rights in the Constitution 
and Bill of Rights just annoying obstacles to this administration's quest 
for absolute control of the population wrapped in the guise of the "war on 


- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens