DEA: Excessive Water Sales == Drug Use

The DEA, in association with the ABC, presents: Yet Another Nightclub Ecstasy Crack-Down. A recap: government agencies, with the help of a self-proclaimed ex-LAPD "rave expert," have finished an undercover investigation at LA's 1015 nightclub with the arrest of 5 people and the seizure of over 10,000 MDMA pills. That's bad. However, I feel that it is my civic duty to point out, nestled between vaguely informative nuggets in the article, this horrifyingly overgeneralized, wholly circumstantial bit of misinformation:

During the course of the undercover investigation, ABC contacted Trinka D. Porrata, one of the nation's leading experts on ecstasy and rave events, who visited the Circus. Porrata identified the club as a "rave" event due to the lack of drug or weapon searches at the front door, extensive security, numerous patrons under the influence of designer drugs, the type of music, laser lighting, glow sticks, sales of water bottles and so-called power drinks with a high concentration of caffeine such as Red Bull, an outside cooling off area, and other factors.

Read that again. Read it until you're angry, confused, or frightened. If you're none of the above after a couple readings, then you need to get your head checked, because it's straight-up wrong. The investigation at 1015 has resulted in the club's ban on glow sticks. So, what do electronic music, laser lighting, glow sticks, water, and oxygen have in common? "Drugs," you say? Not necessarily.

The commonality is dance, and the culture established upon the music that inspires and encourages it. People that go out to dance need to stay hydrated, whether they're on drugs or not (by drinking water, not alcoholic beverages). It is their right to cool off outside the hot, sweaty confines of the dancefloor, and in California, to smoke. Caffeinated drinks such as Red Bull aid sober dancers in staying awake and alert, much like the coffee society expects us to drink so we can stay productive in the workplace. The depressive qualities of alcohol are not conducive to late-night dancing, much to the chagrin of the ABC, I'm sure. Laser lights and glow sticks, though they may enhance the psychedelic properties of some drugs, help get people in the mood to dance. The use of such equipment to create an atmosphere is an artistic form of expression protected by the first amendment. The DEA has already been smacked down after attempting to ban "rave-related paraphenalia" from electronic music venues in Louisiana. How does the government continue to justify such restrictions?

Don't go to nightclubs? It doesn't matter. Don't listen to electronic music? The government cares not. If drug use can be linked to any activity that you take part in, both federal and local authorities have every intention of either stopping it, or making it so unpleasant to organize and carry it out that (or so they hope) people will eventually give up. They've convinced a majority of Americans that ecstasy is bad, pointing to the deaths of tens of teens across the nation in recent years, despite the (inconclusive) findings of internationally sponsored, impartial tests that have continually refuted the drug's reported risks and side effects. Yet the only tests the American public hears about involve monkeys suffering brain damage after repeated subcutaneous injections. No attention was paid to statements such as MAPS' excellent reply to the findings of this DEA-sponsored experiment. Interestingly enough, one impartial test I came across was only accessible through the google cache. Another study equates the risk of death as a result of ecstasy use to that of "snow sports, DIY, food poisoning, air travel, passive smoking and homocide."

Even worse, these activities will be forced underground (this has already happened to "rave" culture), where its participants will no longer have access to such amenities as water, ventilation, or on-hand EMT's. The conservative regime, in cahoots with "legitimate" drug manufacturers, the Puritanistic religious right, and power-hungry law enforcement agencies, has come one step closer to taking away your right to dance. Remember the Salem Witch Trials?

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