Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finally, a war on drugs I can get behind

As I've mentioned before on this space, there is little that I find more dubious than a sensational claim of an exotic and dangerous new drug craze. My skepticism only doubles when the claim originates from a local network affiliate which has dubbed itself "Heartland News."

On the other hand, you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger promoter of the endless wonders of air conditioning than this blogger.

Which is why I am so conflicted after reading and watching this live, local and late breaking report from Channel 12 in Carbondale, Illinois. In it the Heartland News team details a "deadly" trend of kids getting high from huffing freon.

Since freon doesn't grow on trees, and can't be found in your parent's liquor or medicine cabinet, most freon enters the secondary market through the defiling of the very same hard working air conditioning units that keep people -- regular people -- cool during the summer months.

Once freon is removed from an air conditioner not only does the AC become less effective, but, without a proper amount of freon gas flowing through its pipes, there is a good chance the unit will become permanently damaged if it continues to run.

Do I really think, like the folks at Channel 12, freon abuse threatens to turn our nation's youths into an army of zombies with dead eyes and light heads? Not really. But in this case, with the comfort of our heartland at stake, can we dare risk it?

At the end of the report the helpful lady anchor reminds her viewers that taking freon from somebody else's air conditioner is "theft." As August rolls around, I think the proper term is "torture."

Which is the crime I would hope anyone caught possessing illicit freon would be prosecuted for.

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