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  Every Joint You Smoke, A Baby Dies
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2004 at 14:03:00 PT
By Liz Fink, Spectator Staff Writer  
Source: Columbia Daily Spectator  

cannabis The Drug Enforcement Agency's museum at One Times Square combines the drug war and the global war on terrorism in one fear-inducing package: If you smoke up, the museum wants you to know, the terrorists win.

Osama bin Laden smiles menacingly from behind an exhibit on opium production in Afghanistan, flanked by pictures of grieving Americans and George Bush surveying the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The traveling museum, titled "Drug Traffickers, Terrorists and You," tries to connect the sale and use of illegal drugs to national security threats and the destruction of American society. The museum will leave New York on February 1, 2005 for another city in the U.S.

While there is plenty of exhibition space devoted to trigger-happy South American drug lords peddling cocaine and to al-Qaeda's connections to Afghan opium, no illegal drug emerges unscathed; the museum asserts that there is reason for carefree potheads to stop mid-hit as well.

"Drugs and marijuana have become an arm of the struggle against America," said Carlos Lehder, a leader of the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia, according to an exhibit.

"There's not much stuff in here I haven't done," mused a visitor from Louisville, Ky. named Tyler, 22, who withheld his last name because he is in the army.

Though the museum had only a few visitors on a Friday afternoon, the exhibits did make an impression on some.

"They're suggesting that terrorists are looking to use drugs to overwhelm our country. I think it's possible. It's insidious. It could be working," said Lynnette Lynn-Fraser, who was visiting with her son from Dayton, Ohio. She was standing near an exhibit titled "The South Bronx: When Poverty and Drugs Helped Destroy a Neighborhood."

American interests are at stake in the world at large as well; the exhibit on opium production in Afghanistan said that Afghanistan "is on the verge of becoming a narco-state where the traffickers of drugs rule the country."

The threat of violence is emphasized everywhere in the museum. Upon entering, visitors undergo a thorough full-body frisking and bag search. The security guard cited the presence of offices above the museum, but declined to elaborate on why such an elaborate procedure was necessary.

The exhibit continually tries to link drugs not only with global terror and violence, but with hurting children. Pictures of crying children sitting next to mothers smoking crack pipes--like the one with the caption "Mother smokes crack cocaine while her infant child lies in bed next to her"--are peppered throughout the museum. In a model of a typical "crack den" there is a child's cradle and a soundtrack in the background of an infant crying.

"I never knew children were so at risk," said a wide-eyed Fraser.

"I just think it's so sad," said Lisa Sweiback, 17, from John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.

Drugs result in more than crying children and maniacally smiling terrorists, though. One exhibit claimed that marijuana production leads to the destruction of national forests in the U.S.

One exhibit, titled "Do Drugs Kill?," answered the question in the spirit of the classic 1990's anti-drug commercials, showing pictures of young people tragically killed in their prime because of drugs.

While there was a noticeable absence of people killed by marijuana, there was a note that marijuana, as well as being a "gateway drug," also causes "amotivational syndrome." However, a nearby picture of a very motivated Allen Ginsberg holding a "Pot is reality kick" sign at a rally appeared to subvert that message.

Some visitors still remained unconvinced of the danger of illegal drugs.

Ben Bidman, 22, from Santa Clara thought that the connection between drugs and terrorism "is just an excuse." Referring to cigarettes and alcohol, two drugs notably absent from the museum, he said, "The other shit's just as bad for you."

Carson, 18, who is from Houston and in the army, argued that legal drugs are not in the same category as illegal drugs because they don't pose a security threat. "We're not buying Taliban beer," he said.

And Taliban weed?

"It's possible," he said, adding quickly, "The downfall of American society is drugs."

The terrorist and Sept. 11 pictures failed to make a major impression on Tyler, though. When asked if he would change his habits if he had a chance to redo his early teenage years, he said, "I'd have done it anyway."

Considering whether he regretted trading his free-wheeling drug using days for his position in the army, however, Tyler shrugged and said, "I make a lot more money in the army."

Jimmy Vielkind contributed to the reporting of this article

Complete Title: Every Joint You Smoke, A Baby Dies: Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Osama And Love the Bong

Source: Columbia Daily Spectator (Columbia, NY Edu)
Author: Liz Fink, Spectator Staff Writer
Published: October 25, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Spectator Publishing Company

Related Articles:

Exhibit Links Terror, Drug Traffic

Exhibit Shows Ties Between Terrorism, Drugs

DEA Exhibit: Illicit Drug Sales Support Terrorism

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Comment #6 posted by b4daylight on October 26, 2004 at 13:29:43 PT
seen it before
this is the same thing that happened with alcohol prohibition. If we still had alcohol prohibition it would be on the list.

We now know ending prohibition is the answer.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by warhater on October 26, 2004 at 08:32:11 PT:

History Repeats Itself
Lynnette Lynn-Fraser says:

"They're suggesting that terrorists are looking to use drugs to overwhelm our country. I think it's possible. It's insidious. It could be working,"

I remember the same kind of nonsense back in the cold war, only it was the communists instead of the terrorists who were going to "use drugs to overwhelm our country". Joe McCarthy would be proud. The government is using the same fear mongering tactics to sell this new war against the new boogie man.

People like Lynnette Lynn-Fraser need to study history. Drugs have been part of the American experience since long before either of these enemies appeared. If Muslim extremists had their druthers nobody would take any drugs. They share the same position as the anti-drug extremists in the United States. I am angry that my tax dollars are used to spread these lies. I also think our education system has failed. Many Americans do not know how to think critically.

The resurgence in Afganistan opium production occured because the Taliban was removed. It is ironic that result of our military action in Afganistan has been twisted this way by the DEA. If the terrorists are responsible for this, why did it only start happening after the Taliban was removed? The opium farmers of Afghanistan are just being good capitalists. If they didn't provide the opium farmers of some other country would.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 26, 2004 at 05:51:28 PT
I Like the Exhibit,
but not for it's "factual" content. The exhibit is causing the DEA to accelerate it's own loss of credibility. It's one of those things that makes the DEA it's own worse enemy. As if they needed more reasons to go away.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by BigDawg on October 26, 2004 at 04:40:21 PT
Now cannabis crops are destroying our forests? If they would legalize it... we could SAVE our forests. GGGGG

And if drugs are SOOO destructive to our neighborhoods, the why do we keep turning our backs on the CIA and other feds bringing cocaine and heroine INTO our country. This is not a rumor... it has been confirmed in testimony before Congress.

This country needs some serious change... and neither the Dems nor the Repubs are gonna bring it.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by ekim on October 25, 2004 at 20:46:36 PT
now showing at local theaters DEAs finest
it should be mandatory to see this event so every citizen can see what is being said about millions of good hearted people. we are watching as McCarthy is smiling as brands are being burned into millions of humans for cannabis use. go ahead and run a canned version and show it before movies. it will not be long before movies will show the whole picture of how other countries around the world are preparing for the future in growing Cannabis for food and cloths and fuel and paper as oil is getting costlier by the day.

it is in our countries best interest to prepare people for other ways for making plastic and fuel and much more. by outlawing cannabis the real chance that we will be un prepared to offer jobs and good health to our young and staying competitive with over 30 countries that are now ahead of us is terro at its worst. because to not allow one to use his mind and respect the farmer we are placing all of US at risk.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 25, 2004 at 14:24:51 PT
Interesting Title
And an interesting article.

[ Post Comment ]

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