Originally Posted by JasonC SBB
Pseudoephedrine is controlled because it's used to make meth.
Yes, I'm aware of that. Which is why I said in post #17 of this thread (on the subject of my experience in going to the store to purchase the generic equivalent of Claritin-D) "and then tap a button on the screen and sign you name on a line saying that you promise not to operate a meth lab."
The purpose of the laws controlling the sale of pseudoephedrine are:
1) make it harder for meth manufacturers to buy it
2) to make it easier to police for find said manufacturers
Now look at this
Gramma bought a 2nd box within a month, for her daughter and one for her husband (for a cold), and went over the limit. She got prosecuted, even though she did not use the meds to make meth.
Unfortunately, as we have discussed many times in the past, no law is perfect.
The only sure-fire way that I can think of to prevent people from manufacturing meth would be to place every person in the US under constant surveillance, in the manner of Orwell's 1984
or modern-day Great Britain. A slightly less comprehensive method would be to repeal the fourth amendment, and engage in the practice of unrestricted periodic inspections of every residence and place of business within the US.
But beyond the practical problems of implementing such policies (cost of installing and monitoring surveillance equipment, revolt and overthrow of the government, etc) I expect that you would not deem any of these practices to be acceptable.
So what can we do? Since we have agreed for the purpose of this discussion to assume that it is morally correct to criminalize meth manufacturing, how can we actually enforce that law?
Well, one approach would be to take a reactive posture. Do nothing to prevent the production and distribution of meth, but prosecute those who you find selling or consuming meth. This is not an entirely
ineffective method, although the history of America's failed "war on drugs" would suggest that it is not an optimal one.
Another approach would be to limit the availability of the means to produce meth.
Many products in the US which have legal, practical applications still bear restrictions on their sale due to the fact that they are also highly likely to be used for illegal purposes, or in furthering the goal of committing an illegal act. Explosives are one example of this- there are many legitimate uses for both ready-made explosives (TNT, Dynamite, ANFO) as well as chemical compounds and devices which are a crucial ingredient in the fabrication of explosives (ammonium nitrate, primacord, blasting caps, etc.)
These products are used every day in the US for the purposes of construction, mining, agriculture, and so on. Would you argue, therefore, that there should be no restrictions at all on their sale?
If one searches hard enough, one can find examples of cases where a bumbling law enforcement officer or bureaucrat has arrested / prosecuted someone who was technically violating the law, but with genuinely innocent (and harmless) intentions. Such cases call for better education of the public (eg: signage at points-of-sale), better education of civilians responsible for handling restricted materials (eg: drugstore clerks who explain to granny the reason why they need to check her ID), better rationalization of law enforcement (eg: did granny have a history of buying large quantities of Zyrtac at regular intervals), and yes, sometimes the re-forming of laws and regulations.
They do not, however, call for the whosesale repeal of any law for which even the merest prima facie evidence exists that the law might be unjustly applied. Were that the case, we would have no laws at all.
I do, in all sincerity, applaud the fact that you took the time to compose a response which was relevant (if tangential) to the conversation at hand, rather than just posting a link to some conspiracy newsletter. I was originally going to end this post with a funny picture of a cat, however on more careful consideration, that would not be warranted. I strongly disagree with what you are saying, but I respect the fact that you actually gave us the consideration of saying it for yourself.
Oh, and FYI, carrying more than $10k in cash or negotiable instruments through an airport is illegal only on international flights and only if you have failed to file FINCEN Form 105
with US Customs. It's only one page, and you don't even need to justify the reason why you are carrying the money. The same goes for mailing money into / out of the US.