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Re: They're WATCHING you!!! (only kidding)

> Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 13:24:28 -0500
> From: Karen Randall <krandall at world_std.com>

> In response to:
> >>Isn't this a most pathetic example of "Land of the Free"?<<

It's not so free. We have lost more individual freedom in the last decade
than in the previous 19, always for "safety," "protecting the children," or
some other equally "good" cause. The results are, so far, a running

> Robert H. wrote:
> > Please, lets not take some tonge and cheek humorous comments and turn it
> > into something ugly...good grief. Nobody is having their door kicked in..
> I've got to agree.

And I have to disagree, Karen, having had it actually happen to me, with
absolutely no legal recourse available -- right in Robert H.'s neighborhood,
as a matter of fact.


> Not only has no
> one ever bothered me,  I've never even _heard_ of a U.S. aquarist who has
> actually HAD anyone bother them.  I think this has reached the level of
> urban legend.
> In Jame's case, I'd like to point out first that James lives in Canada, NOT
> the U.S.

Believe me, it *does* happen here. The "it doesn't happen here or to me"
syndrome was really, really popular in Germany, earlier in the century. We
know exactly where that led. *We* (i.e., the US govt.) haven't invaded
*Poland*, yet, but try and explain that to the survivors in Viet-Nam, Sudan,
Bosnia, Afghanistan, Panama, etc.


> It seems HIGHLY unlikely
> to me that the U.S. government is well enough staffed (or motivated) to
> conduct regular midnight raids on aquatic gardeners.

Again, ask the aforementioned survivors, about that lack of resources for
"midnight raids."  ;-) Oh, you mean here? Waco and Ruby Ridge do tend to
come to mind. [So does, "They came for the gypsies, and it didn't affect

Karen, I had *my* (unlocked) business door literally kicked in and my
employees terrorized by the same kind of federal Gestapo types that Jim
mentioned, and it was right here, on the Left Coast, in
often-less-than-sunny California. It wasn't the jack-booted thugs of the
DEA's "Drug Warriors" or ATF but the result was no less traumatic, and the
"probable cause" was even *more* flimsy. They had no warrant, BTW. Turns out
they don't even *need* one if you are an evil small-business owner. [Some
obviously *are* more equal than others, now!]

Want specific impact on aquatic gardening?

Hydroponics stores were a really nice resource for Calif. aquatic gardeners,
a few years ago. MH lamps, rock wool, nutrient mixes, CO2 systems, etc. were
readily available. In the cases where I knew the folks, it was clear that
the DEA, and local cops looking for assets to confiscate, drove them out of
business and harassed the hell out of their identifiable customers. [I don't
personally know of any surviving shops like that, now. The trade has gone
completely underground. BTW, I used to serve as the cash-paying cutout so my
favorite local LFS could get plant supplies without being harassed. It
*does* happen here! To folks into aquatic gardening!] 

The hydroponics shops are even more rare than the mom-and-pop pet/LFS that
used to make the hobby a fun, social thing. [Those are run out of business
by other stupidly-applied "regulations,"  taxes and zoning restrictions.
Reno's thugs aren't even needed for that. Big, expensive PetCo and WalMart
ads assure that the local press and TV turn a very blind eye to the
consequences of those brutal rules mis-applications, too. NPR and PBS are
essentially owned by the regulators, so no relief there, either.]

Two little old gray-haired ladies are currently being prosecuted in CA, for
refusing to divulge identity of some of their long-time *feed-store*
customers to a federal agency. Even if they should get off, *all* feed
stores now have a clear message that they and their customers have lost any
right to privacy. The U.S. Attorney *will* come after them if they refuse to
comply with a patently unconstitutional "regulation." [They came for the
homosexuals, and it still didn't affect me..."]

Now, back to your regularly scheduled algae discussion. ;-)



       Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 612-1467 
         Help! The paranoids are out to get me!