An editorial that could be coming soon from our legislators:
Meth Cooks Don’t Support Our New Bill, Either
And Although It Will Inconvenience You, Citizen, You Won’t Complain….Or Do You Have Something To Hide?
Meth cooks in America cannot be pleased about new legislation recently introduced in the Congress. They now know we have a new, better, more comprehensive plan to further cripple their ability to produce meth and to give law enforcement more tools, a workbench, and a buddy-who’s-handy-and-will-waste-his-whole-weekend-at-your-house-for-a-sixer-of-beer to bring them to justice.
I’ve held 16 photo opportunities around the state to discuss Missouri’s meth problem. Law enforcement agents of all stripes and also occasionally with spots, some with as many as 30 years’ experience, have told me this drug is the worst threat they have confronted in their careers since smack, PCP, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, whip-its, or if after March 2006, insert latest drug scourge here. It is by far the worst drug I have seen in my nearly 20 years in public life, but, as a Republican,I don’t get invited to the good parties.
Meth is highly addictive, highly destructive, highly high-making, highly toxic, and has high brand recognition amongst the news-consuming populace, which makes it more dangerous than other drugs because it gets the television coverage as dangerous. During the past decade, while law enforcement officers, in Promethean efforts, continue to bust record numbers of clandestine labs, meth use in communities has increased by as much as 300 percent. Unfortunately, this might lead some to believe that draconian laws aren’t effective; however, some would legislate that those laws are not draconian enough.
Incorporating the needs of our law enforcement community, I’ve introduced the Combat Meth Act II (Combat Mether) with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California. Sen. Feinstein and I have the distinction of representing the legislature that leads the country in methamphetamine legislation production.
One of the most important features of our bill would make fire, an important ingredient to make meth, more inaccessible. Because fire is as a product or by-product of many appliances or other devices found in the household, meth cooks can purchase or ignite the ingredient in large enough quantities to make the drug. Our bill says that fire and fire-producing devices must be kept behind a store counter so that users cannot steal them without actually confronting a shopkeeper with a gun and perhaps leaving him in a pool of his own blood and that shopkeepers only sell fire-producing devices such as gas cook stoves, gas log fireplaces, automobiles with internal combustion engines, disposable or refillable cigarette lighters, kitchen or safety matches, magnifying glasses, or pairs of sticks to persons licensed to create fire.
After completing a fire safety course, passing a background check, and paying a nominal registration fee, licensed buyers can purchase up to 1 fire-building device within a 30 day period. Consumers would be required to present proof of identification and sign for the satellite RFID-equipped device upon purchase. This is without doubt a small burden for consumers, but law enforcement agents have told me it is the only way we can stop the meth cooks from poisoning our communities with this deadly drug. A couple of photogenic or at least camera-worthy Missourians know someone who has been hurt as a result of the meth epidemic. Keeping fire out of the hands of the common rabble will keep it out of our schools and neighborhoods.
Our bill is based on an Oklahoma law passed last year limiting the use of fire by the hoi-polloi. Since the law’s inception, meth lab seizures in Oklahoma have declined by about 80 percent, smoking declined 90 percent, arsons are down 70 percent, but salmonella and other undercooked meat illnesses are up substantially. Missouri’s Governor Matt Blunt is also pushing legislation in the state legislature that is based on the Oklahoma law.
In order to ensure that rural communities without licensing bureau access are not negatively impacted, our legislation provides for the Director of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration to authorize others to act as Federally-Authorized Fire-Bringers so long as they follow the same procedure.
The Combat Meth Act Club Remix Edition also provides critical resources to local law enforcement, including an additional $30,000,000 under the ZEUS program to train state and local law enforcement to investigate and chain fire users to Mount Aetna so a giant eagle can pick at their livers. It also expands the methamphetamine “hot spots” program to include administrators, consultants, and meetings for enforcement, prosecution, and environmental clean-up, with actual funding for people who do things left to the next legislative session.
We also enhance the ability of local prosecutors to enlarge their fiefdoms by providing $5,000,000 to hire additional federal prosecutors, assistant prosecutors, and administrative staff to lobby for additional funds to hire additional federal prosecutors, assistant prosecutors, and administrative staff to lobby for additional funds to hire….well, you get the idea. The bill cross-designates local prosecutors who undergo this training as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, allowing them to enhance their resumes for future political careers, such as United States Senator.
The legislation provides $5,000,000 in grant funding to fund studies and staff to study and staff studies on how to spend money to help children affected by the spread of fire and other bedwetters. The funding would go to heavily-armed Drug Endangered Children rapid response teams to promote collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies to assist, educate, or arrest children affected by the production of methamphetamine or the use of unauthorized fire.
To help unauthorized fire users who want help, our bill authorizes the creation of a Fire Denial Research, Training, and Technical Assistance Center which will help people improve their self-esteem while they grow accustomed to the cold, the darkness, and a diet of raw vegetables.
Within days of its introduction, 17 senators co-sponsored the bill and Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.
The expansion of methamphetamine production continues to put a severe strain on federal and local entities as law enforcement officials have more laws to enforce and limited budgets are spent on an ever-expanding list of programs. But let’s not get into that now. Fighting meth requires a comprehensive restrictive approach, where anything that anyone can do during the production of meth must be outlawed. The Combat Meth Reloaded Act is the most comprehensive anti-meth bill ever considered by Congress so far, but wait until next year.
After all, Senator Jim Talent, “R.” MO, wrote this one, didn’t he?