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Author: Subject: U.S. Department of Justice has a new batch of records.
BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 11:58
U.S. Department of Justice has a new batch of records.


Today I got a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation. It was interesting in that I have not bought any chemicals relating to pyro in at least three years but then I bought them for non-pyro related things. They didn't ask for a response so it appears to be more of a scare tactic but I decided I would post the letter here for people to take a look at:
Quote:
Dear Mr. ________

The U.S. Department of Justice is involved with other goverment agencies in investigating the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of highly dangerous fireworks and flash powder devices that constitute "explosive materials" under 18 U.S.C. SS 841 and 842 as well as "banned hazardous substances" under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act ("FHSA";), 15 U.S.C. S 1261. The manufacture and use of illegal fireworks can result in blinding, severe burns, amputations, and death.

As part of our investigation, the Justice Department has obtained numerous invoices and shipping records from various entities and individuals selling illegal fireworks, or kits and components to produce illegal fireworks. Your name appeared in those records as a consumer of at least one of those entites and individuals. We thus want to formally notify you that it is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. S 842 (punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine of $250,000 or both) to engage in the buisness of manufacturing or dealing in explosive materials without a license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is also a crime under the FHSA to cause the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of banned hazardous substances. This includes chemicals as well as kits and components intended to produce fireworks that are banned hazardous substances. Fireworks banned under 18 U.S.C. S 842 and the FHSA include large, reloadable tube devices, aerial bombs, devices falsely designed as pest control devices or bird bombs, cherry bombs, M-80's and other large flash powder devices (commonly known as quarter-sticks, half-sticks) - all of which are very dangerous.

Thus far, numerous individuals who have violated the above-described bans have been prosecuted and have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Our investigation is ongoing, and we intend to bring prosecutions against individuals who continue to violate either the FHSA or the provisions of 18 U.S.C. S 842. In doing so, we hope to reduce significantly the number of people who are injured each year from the manufacture and use of illegal fireworks. We further hope that individuals who have in the past purchased illegal fireworks or the kits and components to make illegal fireworks will no longer do so.

Sincerely,
Henry I. LaHaie
Assistant Director
Office of Consumer Litigation




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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 12:36


In Holland we have a saying that translates to "barking dogs don't bite". I think this applies. (But if you're living in the states so does "big brother is watching you" apparently ;))



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never once moved diagonally

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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 12:57


They scare you, you annoy the hell out of em.

I'm pretty sure there must be some privacy act that forces them to allow you to to check the records they posses about your persona.

So, what you're going to do is simple. You're going to call them and annoy the hell out of them by asking about every single record they have.

Be courteous, be polite, but most of all, be very annoying.

[Edited on 21-5-2005 by vulture]




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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 13:27


By the way, does anyone know where I can find a listing of the "banned hazardous substances" that cannot be shipped across state lines?



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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 17:05


Everyone who has purchased anything from certain pyro suppliers appears to be getting one of these letters. If you look at rec.pyrotechnics, it's abuzz with news of the letters and the other assholery of the CPSC.



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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 18:20


Yay, I'm not alone! Did anyone else on this forum get one of these letters? As for suppliers I have bought from, eBay a few times and I bought from pyrotek.org about 5 years ago and I know they had a run in with the government so that is a likely spot of incurance with the government.



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chemoleo
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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 18:45
worrying at first but....


someone wrote this at rec.pyrotechnics:
Quote:
A government agent's career advancements are built on big arrests and
media coverage that puts their agency in a favorable light. They can't
afford to spend thousands prosecuting Joe Schmo who bought a couple
pounds of KNO3, Charcoal, and Sulfur. The cost/benefit ratio isn't
there. They can certainly mail him a letter to rattle his cage though.
They'd rather bust someone making thousands of salutes where they can
get a lot of media coverage and justify their existence (and budget) by
"removing dangerous explosives from the hands of children". It's always
for the children, don't you know?


To this I agree. No way there's any point in investigating someone who's bought a couple of pounds of KNO3, and S.

Anyway, here you can't buy these things from dedicated pyro suppliers regardless, instead you have to use your wit and find the goodies elsewhere :)

Judging by this though, give it another 10 years and those pyro suppliers have disappeared.




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[*] posted on 21-5-2005 at 21:16


The Justice Dept employees involved in the work behind that letter would have illegally obtained access to the supplier's old records, as well as breaching your privacy. Search warrants, which may be used to access such records under certain conditions, are supposed to be obtainable only in respect of specific crimes, where there is other evidence that a crime (e.g. using explosives for burglary or wilful property damage or terrorism) has been committed. This is clearly not the case, so any search warrant in this instance would have been unlawfully obtained or issued.

You should go to a lawyer, and have him write a letter denying any criminal wrong-doing or intention thereof, and sue the Justice Dept. and any Judge who may have issued a search warrant for Fourth Amendment breach of privacy and/or unlawfully obtaining and/or issuing a search warrant, for gaining access to the chemical supplier's records.
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[*] posted on 22-5-2005 at 00:46


Bah, simply annoying... If it were serious I don't think they would mail you and then act afterwards. If it was a serious matter where you have committed a 'real' crime, then they would probably throw one in jail and then sentence him afterwards, at least that's the way I think it is done. As vulture said, reply to the letter and ask (innocently, but with a determined tone) what is their proof. I do get a couple of phone-calls sometimes, about people asking stupid questions to know what chems I had ordered. I am not a drug manufacturer and the small amount of pyrotechnics I do 'produce' are simply harmless and not for sale, though all the same I do not answer to such questions.



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[*] posted on 22-5-2005 at 12:00


Quote:

I do get a couple of phone-calls sometimes, about people asking stupid questions to know what chems I had ordered.


Questions by phone should only answered by questions. Who are you? For which company/department are you calling? How did you get my phonenumber?

After that you hang up because no one can sensibly legitimate him/herself through the phone.




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[*] posted on 23-5-2005 at 23:48
Scare tactic


That's what that letter sounds like given that the 4th of July is fairly close. Whether or not
they can do anything legally is unknown. Below is the list of chemicals banned from consumer
fireworks. This is the list drawn up by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 16, Volume 2]
[Revised as of January 1, 2005]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 16CFR1507.2]

[Page 535]

TITLE 16--COMMERCIAL PRACTICES

CHAPTER II--CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION

PART 1507_FIREWORKS DEVICES--Table of Contents

Sec. 1507.2 Prohibited chemicals.

Fireworks devices shall not contain any of the following chemicals:
(a) Arsenic sulfide, arsenates, or arsenites.
(b) Boron.
(c) Chlorates, except:
(1) In colored smoke mixtures in which an equal or greater amount of
sodium bicarbonate is included.
(2) In caps and party poppers.
(3) In those small items (such as ground spinners) wherein the total
powder content does not exceed 4 grams of which not greater than 15
percent (or 600 milligrams) is potassium, sodium, or barium chlorate.
(d) Gallates or gallic acid.
(e) Magnesium (magnesium/aluminum alloys, called magnalium, are
permitted).
(f) Mercury salts.
(g) Phosphorus (red or white). Except that red phosphorus is
permissible in caps and party poppers.
(h) Picrates or picric acid.
(i) Thiocyanates.
(j) Titanium, except in particle size greater than 100-mesh.
(k) Zirconium.


Additionally, here in Maryland, perchlorates are banned in consumer fireworks.


[Edited on 24-5-2005 by MadHatter]




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[*] posted on 24-5-2005 at 19:11


BromicAcid, if they are that worried about the chance you might build a ladyfinger do you think I should be very afraid? After all. I just bought 36 grams of U238 from one of these places. Better go now, I think I should be heading for the hills!

Today in the news the FBI is asking congress to allow them the power to sieze personal, business, and medical records from anyone, without a warrant, without going to court, without using the power of subpoena. In effect, without doing anything other than just deciding they want to take the records of anyone they so choose without telling anyone, or asking for permission. The old Roman empire is being resurected right here in America, before our very eyes! Instead of gladiator games we have "sports" with their millionair superstars. I could go on but why bother. During the height of WWII in the heart of Nazi Germany the people had more freedoms and privacy then anyone here in the US has today. The police in Germany didn't even carry guns, if you look into the trunk of any police car here you will see better weapons than the standard issue weapons soldiers in the field are given. I know, I have seen them for myself.

As an interesting sideline, it looks to me that the wording in that letter says much more than may appear at face value. Under the code even having black powder is an offense, and if you order any chemical out of state on their list, it looks to me like you are in violation. After all, what is a "banned hazardous substance"? HF? Banned by who? It is legal to buy a can of black powder for your trusty cap and ball but if you carefully read 842 black powder posession is a felony. Furthermore, they can cite you for ordering anything banned, the crime being having it shipped to you. Without posting the entire code, I find this interesting:

(f) The term “hazardous substance” means:
(1)
(A) Any substance or mixture of substances which
(i) is toxic,
(ii) is corrosive,
(iii) is an irritant,
(iv) is a strong sensitizer,
(v) is flammable or combustible, or
(vi) generates pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, if such substances or
mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during or as a
proximate result of any customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including
reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children.
(B) Any substances which the Commission by regulation finds, pursuant to the provisions of
section 1262 (a) of this title, meet the requirements of subparagraph (1)(A) of this paragraph.
(C) Any radioactive substance, if, with respect to such substance as used in a particular class of
article or as packaged, the Commission determines by regulation that the substance is
sufficiently hazardous to require labeling in accordance with this chapter in order to protect the
public health.
(D) Any toy or other article intended for use by children which the Commission by regulation
determines, in accordance with section 1262 (e) of this title, presents an electrical, mechanical,
or thermal hazard.
(E) Any solder which has a lead content in excess of 0.2 percent.

What the hell does this actually mean? If I buy solder (I only like 63/37) for my radio shop am I a criminal? Does anyone know of ANY chemical that does not fit the descriptions in i,ii,iii,iv,v, and so on? You see, the post here by madhatter I do not think applies, and for this reason. It appears the list they are going by is the one published by the USPS where most chemicals are prohibited, and a select few can be sent ORM D. If you read the list the USPS uses and compare it to the federal code, it is clear one of the two entities merely copied from the other. I mean if you think about it, every single damned chemical I have ever bought, owned, read about or thought about is on the list. I could add that there was a time that John WW may have been right but I have read the patriot act and clearly they all can do whatever the hell they want to do now. As for me, I have lived my life trying to be legal and obey the law for 51 years but I have always been an inventor and mad scientist.

If you had told me even 10 years ago the way the laws would be today I would never have believed it possible. It seems that if I wish to continue experimenting in science I need to either belong to a government controlled lab of give up my US citizenship and go to another country. Somewhere freedom still really exists, not the gestapo run police state this country has devolved into. Very rapidly this nation is evolving two classes of people. Those who own, or work for the private companies now running the jails, and those in them who provide free labor so the aforementioned companies can profit from the slave labor market. Maybe I should not use this forum to ramble on about these things, and maybe Vulture will get pissed about me doing so, but I read a lot more into the letter than that which appears up front. From the scare tactics employed to the very name of the department sending the letter I see many things in this. Am I paranoid or are they really all out to get me (him, or us all?)? I mean what are they really saying? If they were trying to investigate someone they would not have sent or said a word. They would just show up one day. In the past they would have needed a warrant but no longer.

If you read the patriot act you will see they no longer need anything other than the desire to spy to do so, on anyone. Since I wish to continue experimenting in the sciences without becoming a criminal by default even after carefully always trying to obey the laws, I may need to move so I guess I should end this rambling before Vulture gets pissed, I may want to see if he has a room he would sublet, seeing as how rapidly any form of private scientific research is rapidly becoming criminalized here in the USA.

PS I just had a thought. Since gasoline fits item (v) is flammable or combustible, does this mean I am breaking the law if I drive to another state with gas in my tank. Should I run out just before the line, and then push my car to a station in the next state to remain legal?

[Edited on 25-5-2005 by IrC]
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MadHatter
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[*] posted on 28-5-2005 at 19:40
Laws


IrC, my post was related to chemicals that are forbidden to use in consumer fireworks.
BromicAcid's post was related to illegal fireworks. Your post was the scariest of them all !
Such a vague description would ban most household products. By reading between the
lines I've come to the conclusion that this vague description of "hazardous" substances
is designed for use against anyone that the government is out to get. It's a legal Catch-22
the government uses to wield its mighty hammer against its own citizens.




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[*] posted on 28-5-2005 at 23:25


I saw the same thing and I was hoping I was wrong but you see it also so it must not be a mistake on my part. In effect they just outlaw all of us, and then they just go after whoever is worth their time at the moment. But clearly they could go after us all at any time and arrest us for nearly any chemical we have in our posession. I differ with you in this: it is clear to me that other than BATF liscensees, all makers of ANY fireworks of ANY kind are in violation of the law. This is why the letter was sent in the first place. They realize many people make them and rather than break their budget first they try the scare tactics, all the while watching order quantities and any future orders, especially in regard to amounts, types, and combinations of chemicals that would precursor items of interest.

I for one am not going to stop being a researcher and experimenter, just because I do not work for some state approved laboratory. I am not going to live my life on a couch watching only state approved television and never doing anything that may raise the eyebrows of some do gooder who lives in fear and terror of anyone smarter than they are, and who thinks that just because they think we should have nothing dangerous they are going to see to it that we all fall in line with societies norm, an IQ of 3 and five remote controls.

The sad thing is that America was made great in the first place by people just like us. Schools today are turning out complete morons who cannot even make change correctly with a machine telling them how much. They cannot read, or spell, and the english language is used by immigrants better than by the kids growing up here today. It shows around the world as well, I do not think any high school graduate in this country has the learning of a 7th grader in almost every european country, and likely in the bulk of all the others. It is not just the dumbing down of America, the young people I see around me today are simply the most ignorant fools I have ever encountered in my life. I have known many people who came from other countries and clearly they are being schooled many orders of magnitude better than the public school system we have.

This cannot possibly be by accident.
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[*] posted on 29-5-2005 at 01:25


Of course, IRC. What else would you expect, in the "land of the lawsuit" and of massive tax cuts for the rich? Bu$h and his clique would rather have their personal tax cuts, paid for by borrowings from mainly Chinese and Japanese bankers, and which they promptly squander on such things as foreign holidays and imports of luxuries and "outsourced" goods from other countries, in preference to paying for "trivial" things like public education.

Do you think that this "dumbing-down" and widespread collapse of the American education system also applies to American universities, or at least those that are not blatant "diploma mills"? I have always been highly suspicious of the large numbers of Ph.D.s and other advanced degree-holders turned out by American universities. Clearly, examination standards in U.S. universities cannot be anywhere near as high as in most other western countries, and in view of what IRC says, academic tuition standards must also be worse than elsewhere. U.S. graduates are frequently, as immigrants, given jobs here in New Zealand ahead of local graduates, just because uninformed employers think that being American somehow makes their degrees and experience "better" than those of locals. Judging by what I know of the subsequent work performance of several of them, this assumption is clearly false. It makes one wonder whether even the likes of the "Ivy League" northeastern universities are anywhere as good as they are cracked up to be.

This being the case, how can it possibly be that the U.S.A. established, and is still managing to maintain, a technological edge (which is being steadily eroded though) over other countries? It could only be because of the U.S.A.'s sucking in many technological graduates from other countries as immigrants - who would have mostly come from the richest families in their home countries, because of the initial costs and risks involved in re-establishing in the U.S.A. with suitable living conditions, as well as obtaining their qualifications beforehand.
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[*] posted on 12-6-2005 at 06:26


The best method of avoiding trouble with the government is to move whatever offense out of its jurisdiction. Worried about your financial records? move them offshore. These days the islands in the pacific are receiving over 70% of their entire national income through banking. Its legal, easily accessible through the internet and providing your not moving hundreds of thousands of dollars your assets can't be frozen. Simply send out enough to cover your delicate expenses. Etc. Government depts are quick to dismiss anything thats not on their turf. No records, no clear path, no investigation.

Im seriously considering it just to get around whats becoming insane banking fees in aus....
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[*] posted on 13-6-2005 at 17:49
Governments


Never underestimate the reach of governments. It wasn't that long ago that the U.S. Government
tried to press charges against an Internet casino that is based outside the U.S..




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[*] posted on 9-10-2005 at 12:38


Quote:

I guess I should end this rambling before Vulture gets pissed, I may want to see if he has a room he would sublet, seeing as how rapidly any form of private scientific research is rapidly becoming criminalized here in the USA.


Please continue, as this is now in legal and societal issues after all. :)

As for a room to sublet...I'm stacking my chemistry stuff in a humid basement which is the cause of the fact that many of my reagents are now hydrated. :mad:
If you can live with that and the high rate of the Euro, you're welcome.

P.S.: Ofcourse any labware you break is yours to pay.




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[*] posted on 9-10-2005 at 15:22


quote:
-----------------------------------------------------
(f) The term “hazardous substance” means:
(A) Any substance or mixture of substances which
(vi) generates pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means
------------------------------------------------------

Hmm... generates pressure through heat???

Ok so water is a hazardous substance? and well everything else to?
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[*] posted on 9-10-2005 at 23:25


One thing I do not understand. At one side I read all these scary things about the USA. On the other side, most of my reagents are from the USA, simply because I cannot obtain them from any European suppliers. So, 80% of all my chems are ordered from US-based companies and eBay sellers, including the more 'dangeous' ones, like strong oxidizers, poisonous ones etc.

Can you give any explanations for this, you US-based guys?
Do you expect me to have troubles getting into your country (e.g. as a tourist, or for business), due to payments records with creditcard or Paypal?
Last time I was in the USA was in 1994, but that was before the Internet-period and before I ordered any chems from the USA.




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[*] posted on 10-10-2005 at 00:26


To be honest i think that people fear too much. There is no wichunt for amateur scientsts, just are some uneducated policemen and DEA agents who are not heard yet that making drugs is not only use for acetone or hydrochloric acid. I even know some people in the USA who collect elements and have bought red phosphorus for their collections so things cannot be as bad as they seem. I belive that if police or DEA can not prove that you have made drugs or many grams ( or kilograms ) of explosive or poisonous substances then they can not put you in jail for possesing chemicals exepct in case they decide to break the law. ( what they may do if they see that you will accept such treatment )

I understand that things are bad but this is mostly due of too eager citizens, not the laws ( laws are just very messy, negligently composed and completely inconsiderate about such a small social group as amteur scientists )

P.S. i am not from USA.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2005 at 12:32


Vulture, when I posted that I could still afford to go places. Fuel prices have tripled since then. I think I may have to walk to the coast and then build a sailing ship now.

On the subject of persecution, I could tell my walmart story, which happened two weeks ago.

Went to walmart to get a gallon of SLX alcohol, since it is perfect for my little alcohol lamp. Being out of gallon cans, I pick up two quarts. Gallons are 12 bucks, quarts are 5 bucks. I go up to the register, and the clerk tells me I cannot buy two cans. So I make the statement that why could I buy four quarts in one can (if they were not out), but I cannot buy half that amount in smaller cans? "Sorry, I can only sell one can". So I proceed to complain that this means I have to ring out, go out to car, put all away, lock car, come back in, pick up another can, go to a different register (all just to end up at home with at least a half gallon), since at 3.33 a gallon for diesel I am not going to make a second 25 mile trip just to go back to walmart and get a second can. Then the person in line behind me gets into the conversation.

"I am an off duty detective and I arrest 2 people a day for posession of these drug precursors", "see, (looking in my cart) these cotton balls combined with the SLX constitutes two precursors!". I thought for a moment and said "then the gallon jugs of water should also be illegal and that means I have three precursors right?" (and what the hell does the cotton balls have to do with it?) So he says dont be silly, we are talking about chemicals here. So I say isn't dihydrogen oxide a chemical and don't they use water in drug making also? (I omit all the quotes from here on, as they are a pain in the ass, you figure it out). I further said I bet if I went to your house and looked, you have aluminum foil, drain cleaner in the kitchen, cotton balls cold medicine and rubbing alcohol in the bathroom, and sulfuric acid in the car out in the driveway right? This means you have more precursors than me and I bet you have more than this!

By then he was deciding he needed to go as too much time had been spent in this conversation with me. Maybe I have a crappy outlook but am I the only one who sees what was really going on here? In effect the officer immediately assumed I was making drugs and the implied assumption was that all people buying chemicals in walmart are drugmakers. I was really pissed by then and was going to stand my ground and argue this till hell froze over. So call it a flaw in my makeup but I do not like being labeled something I am not and I feel I have the right to use said chemicals without being persecuted for it. I said "is walmart in business to supply only drug makers seeing as how there are also gallons of acetone and cans of drain cleaner right here in the store for sale, or are there legal reasons these chemicals are for sale, and legal uses for them?". I did not mention it but it occured to me later I should have stated that in fact walmart is precursor city if you really look around.

I was too pissed off to think straight at the moment though. I think he gave up as I stood my ground and argued the point with zero fear and he is probably used to people cowing down and slinking into the shadows in hiding.

Anyway, the officer stated that anyone with a business doing legitimate research would order from a chemical supply house. So I went in to the subject that here SLX was 12 bucks for a gallon. There, I must buy 5 or 55 gallons at higher prices, pay out the ass shipping, and then pay a minumum 20 bucks hazmat fee typical for entities such as UPS. I mentioned that a gallon of SLX would cost me 20, another 20 for the S/H, and another 20 for the hazard fee, or roughly 60 bucks to get a damn 12 dollar at walmart can of alcohol. Was he out of his f****** mind? I am a small business, a small home do it yourself experimenter and I'm sorry I am going for door number three, the one with the twelve dollar can right now when I need it not the 60 dollar ripoff. A gallon would last me for three months and why would I want to buy a truckload for insane prices? By this time I knew all further argument was pointless I was just upset to be branded a drugmaker for being a law abiding mad scientist, a free private citizen who for 51 years has never done worse than a damn speeding ticket.

And yes, I was speeding but it was a dark empty road and I felt like letting the car go, sort of a spur of the moment hotrodding thing.

You know, somewhere around here in the books links is a book on drug labs, and I actually read it one day just to see if cotton balls and alcohol were in there. I did not see them, but I did see comon chemicals we would use in our experiments listed with the remark "no legitimate home or hobby use". Who the hell decides this? Anyway, just thought I would relate my walmart story as it seems to fit in here. Do not kid yourself chemical experimentation is persecuted here and if you think this is not so (just because you have done so for years without problems), it is merely due to the fact they don't know you and they do not know what you have and what you are doing.

In short, it is not future but rather right now, all chemical experiments done by private individuals must by definition be somehow a crime or a prelude to criminal activity. This is quite simply how they think and perceive, and we are not going to change that. In fact I bitched about the over regulation to the officer and he said if I don't like it then talk to my legislators!

The problem (and the lie) there is the fact that the legislatures are writing these laws based upon what the police are telling them, not upon any knowledge of chemistry they have!

Would anyone who thinks any truly fundamental science has come from corporate/government labs rather than the amazingly mad lone scientist's such as Tesla, Newton, and the like please raise your hand!


[Edited on 10-10-2005 by IrC]
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chromium
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[*] posted on 10-10-2005 at 13:17


My point was that laws are not made with intention to ban amateur science. Legislators may even be unaware of such problems. There are just some policemen who seek not only drugmakers but also fools who can be easily arrested for nothing.

In my opinion its very good that you told this story. Everyone who has experienced something like this should publish it.
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IrC
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[*] posted on 10-10-2005 at 14:07


Quote:
Originally posted by chromium
My point was that laws are not made with intention to ban amateur science. Legislators may even be unaware of such problems. There are just some policemen who seek not only drugmakers but also fools who can be easily arrested for nothing.

In my opinion its very good that you told this story. Everyone who has experienced something like this should publish it.


The problem with this theory is in the laws themselves. It is not the police who pass these laws nor actually write them, but yet when you read them clearly they are so broad as to give the police you mention the right to do whatsoever they choose at the time. If what you said was true and merely the police was the problem then the laws would not be written the way they are. Go back and read them very carefully and you will see what I am saying. On the second point you are right, this is why I chose to post that story, it was longer and more was said than what I wrote, but the point gets across I think.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2005 at 14:21


While I myself have yet to fall victim to this type of discrimination things have changed over the years. Sort of.

Way back in the day a good friend of mine and I were what you would call 'amateur scientists' to put it kindly (er, very kindly, actually). Many of the things we did fell firmly into the physics aspect but we, especially him, had a great fondness for things that would go bang. We did most of this work, especially the synthesis, over at his place and he, being harder working than I, did most of the chemical acquisition. This being in the preinternet days he would obtain many of his chemicals through mail order companies such as Firefox. We would make something, say starch nitrate, test it, go Keeeewwwl, and he would store a couple of grams.


It went on like this for a couple years and he had built up a decent variety of 'interesting' chemicals when the ATF knocked on his door one evening. They scared the shit out of him, took all of his 'interesting' chemicals, told him he was a bad monkey and left. No charges were filed, nothing. Remember, this was back in the day, before 911, Columbine and the Oklahoma City bombing so he was regarded as just some kid fucking around with explosives, nothing sinister, which was true.

This being an illustration on how things have changed. If this would have happened today, odds on that this would have been a major deal, with ensuing prison time and media frenzy. "Terrorist Meth Lab Threatens School...." However, as an illustration on how some things don't change both he and I are almost certian that it was one of these chemical mail order places which gave his name to the ATF. Somebody could have narced, true, but in that case why wasn't I visited? I think the Feds have been using this technique for quite some time now. Quick, somebody change my title to "Captain Fucking Obvious."
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