The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Friday, July 22, 2005

Senseless Sensenbrenner 

I wrote about this bill last month when I first heard about it, but now I've gotten some more details (PDF) from the good folks at the Volokh Conspiracy. I'm of course talking about HR 1528 (PDF) which is so cleverly entitled the "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005." What is with these titles anyway? They're so transparent. Jim, why don't you just call it the "I Love Kittens, Puppies and Little Cuddly Bunnies Act"? But enough with the sarcasm (for the moment at least). What's so terrible about this bill that my Congressman has decided to put forward?

Become a Snitch or Go to Federal Pound Me In The Ass Prison: If you don't get the reference, then you must rent this movie now. This law would make it a crime not to report drug use around or by anyone under the age of 18. If you're the parent, the penalty is higher! What does that mean? If you find out your child has a drug problem, and enroll your child in a drug treatment program where they have a reasonable chance of getting cleaned up, instead of sending your child to jail as a drug offender, you as a parent go to jail for 5 years! Alternatively if you find out your neighbor is a drug dealer and don't report that person because... oh... maybe you're scared of retribution, you are also a criminal. I'm sure there are plenty of people in bad neighborhoods who are looking forward to being shot for snitching on their neighbor Jim, and they thank you.

Owning a Gun Is Now Illegal: If you commit bankruptcy fraud (a non-violent crime that by definition is not gun related) and happen to also own a gun, then you get an extra 3 years in federal prison. "Hey Peter, watch out for your corn hole bud." Jim, could you please explain the logic to me? What do owning a gun and bankruptcy fraud have to do with each other? I do still have a 2nd amendment right to own a gun, right? I bet the anti-gun crowd is just drooling over the idea of connecting gun ownership to all sorts of non-gun related crimes. Thanks for sticking the idea in their head! This law also creates all sorts of other over arching gun related "enhancements" to sentencing that are fairly disturbing to me.

Hey Dude... You want to Smoke?: If you offer drugs to someone who's been in a drug treatment program at any time in the past (even if you didn't know they were), then that's a mandatory 5 years. Hopefully the feds won't be hitting the Dave Matthews Band concert at Alpine Valley... or there won't be any room left in federal prison. "Peter Gibbons. You are a very bad man". This new law is called "enticing"... and while I might understand the logic... 5 years? Are you kidding me? Armed robbery doesn't always net someone 5 years!

Drug Trafficking No Longer Requires... Well... Trafficking: Giving someone some drugs, without taking money is now considered trafficking. Look... I'm no fan of drug dealers. But lets actually put real dealers in jail! Some dude who splits his dope with his buddy is not a dealer, but they will become one now. Not related to this law, but related to the concept is that most drug laws consider you a dealer just for having a certain amount of drugs in your possession, even if you have no intent to sell. Once again, this always seemed overly harsh to me. I'm a firm believer in the punishment fitting the actual crime committed. "You're just a penny stealing wanna be a criminal man!"

There is more that is bad about this bill, but I'm just sick of talking about, and I've run out of Office Space quotes. Jim, I'll be straight with you. This bill does not represent my beliefs or values, and does not represent me, and neither are you. I look forward to seeing who your opponent is next election cycle... and if you're not careful, it will be me! Anyone wanna front me some campaign money?

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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