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Ohio does it again [Feb. 28th, 2005|08:32 pm]
[Current Mood |infuriatedinfuriated]

Ohio, that bastion of free thinking, is busy promulgating its own Patriot Act. I haven't managed to read to the end of the thing yet (there's this paper due on Wednesday that is nowhere near finished), but I didn't get out of the definitions before I was screaming and swearing. Just a couple examples:

Sec. 2909.21.(D) "Chemical weapon" means any one or more of the following:
(1) A toxic chemical or its precursors;

Sec. 2909.21.(M) "Toxic chemical" means any chemical that through its chemical action on life processes can cause death or serious physical harm to persons or animals, regardless of its origin or of its method of production and regardless of whether it is produced in facilities, in munitions, or elsewhere.

I confess right now: my house is full of these things. They are known as bleach, amonia, gasoline, rubbing alcohol, prescription medications, and a lot of other things that don't immediately come to mind.

And then we move on to:

Sec. 2909.26. (A) No person shall knowingly possess any chemical weapon or biological weapon with the intent to use the chemical weapon or biological weapon to cause serious physical harm or death to another person.
(B) No person shall knowingly possess any chemical weapon or biological weapon with intent to use the weapon to do any of the following:
(1) Intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(2) Influence the policy of any government by intimidation or coercion;
(3) Affect the conduct of any government by murder, assassination, or kidnapping.

Which is qualified with:

Sec. 2909.26. (D)(1) This section does not apply to any person who possesses any of the following:
(a) Any household product generally available for sale to consumers in this state in the quantity and concentration available for sale to those consumers;
(b) A self-defense spray;
(c) A chemical weapon possessed solely for a purpose not prohibited under this section if the type and quantity is consistent with that purpose;
(d) A biological agent, toxin, or delivery system possessed solely for protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful purposes.

So apparently I am allowed to kidnap and/or terrorize you with my household cleaning agents, as long as I only bought them for my personal use.

Who writes this garbage?!

I know I have a lot of Ohio friends and readers. Please, take the time to read through the bill and then write to your representative. This is only one obvious example of the problems with this kind of legislation.

[User Picture]From: channonyarrow
2005-03-01 01:47 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm going to go get that $75 bottle of concentrated Round Up and go kill someone with it and claim that I bought it for my own personal use.

On the other hand, I don't live in Ohio.

At least it seems that Washington's so busy with this whole "Who's the governor" routine that we haven't time for this.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2005-03-01 04:20 am (UTC)
At least it seems that Washington's so busy with this whole "Who's the governor" routine that we haven't time for this.

Still? They should just make them co-governors, to ensure nothing gets done for 4 years. :P
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[User Picture]From: channonyarrow
2005-03-01 04:37 am (UTC)
Even better! Someone has seriously proposed, in the Legislature the joke that we've all made for years - splitting the state in half. Rossi would be governor of the eastern half, and Gregoire would be governor of the western half.

My sanity, I weep for thee.
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[User Picture]From: cubes
2005-03-01 02:21 am (UTC)
Meanwhile, back at home, the CPSC (that's the Consumer Products Safety Commission)is taking action to prevent companies from selling chemicals or materials that could be used to make illegal fireworks or explosives to anyone who doesn't have an ATF manufacturing permit. Nevermind that these same chemicals are also used by people to make perfectly legal amateur fireworks, nevermind that the ATF explicitly allows making and using your own fireworks and explosives as long as you're not doing it commercially (yes, as long as you follow state and local laws, and as long as you don't store the stuff overnight, the ATF is perfectly happy if you mix up a batch of boom to blow a stump out of your yard or just for fun -- even post-9/11), the CPSC is gonna shut it down.

On top of that, their list of chemicals that they don't want sold without an explosives manufacturing permit includes "benzoate compounds" (potassium benzoate is a common food preservative), sulfur (gardening, anyone?), "nitrate compounds" (ditto), metal powders (guess what makes shiny silver paint), and "salicylate compounds" (used for all sorts of stuff).
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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2005-03-01 02:43 am (UTC)
Ack. I'm surprised cars aren't listed, since they make wonderful bomb casings.

I'd say I'm glad I don't live in Ohio, but I'm not sure it matters. When something like this gets written, other states tend to follow. I don't know if Utah has anything like this yet.

OTOH, I can't say I'm really surprised.
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[User Picture]From: seaniam
2005-03-01 02:15 pm (UTC)
So as long as you claim it's research, it's perfectly legal to inject a senator with smallpox or other biological toxin (I'm just trying to figure out how to successfully defend this fine country from it's enemies sir? :) Cool! I need to move to Ohio! Plus, I'd finally have access to an ATM owned by my employer again. :)

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[User Picture]From: seaniam
2005-03-01 02:26 pm (UTC)
I should probably add the disclaimer that I have no real desire to kill senators or play with bioweapons, I was just amused by the loophole. And your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, contents subject to settle, and not responsible for typographical errors.
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[User Picture]From: apostate_96
2005-03-01 05:43 pm (UTC)
I'm also puzzled by the bit about how you're not supposed to have it if you're going to intimidate or coerce a "civilian population." At the same time, it's saying you can have stuff like pepper spray or mace. What the Hell do you think people do with that stuff??? The whole point to it is to be able to intimidate or coerce someone into leaving you alone....at least ideally that's the case. So it's saying you can have it but not have it???

The thing about no-one can have it with the intent to use it against someone else is also kind of scary. The main thing about that for me is the difficulty in proving intent, which is always dicey at best, especially with some of those things that are household chemicals and have a lot of possible uses. Sure, unleaded gasoline makes for a nasty molotov cocktail, but it also runs my lawnmower. How're they going to prove what my intention for having it is?

That makes me glad I don't live in Ohio. It does make me wonder some what the lawmakers there are smoking, though...
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[User Picture]From: naath
2005-03-01 07:11 pm (UTC)
Dihydrogen monoxide!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-03-01 07:36 pm (UTC)
Free us from its oppression!!!!
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[User Picture]From: kemayo
2005-03-07 07:31 pm (UTC)
"So apparently I am allowed to kidnap and/or terrorize you with my household cleaning agents, as long as I only bought them for my personal use."

They're not legalising those things. They're just criminalising some precursor acts -- presumably before it was legal to own some of this stuff regardless of your intent.

Although one would imagine that the intent itself is criminal... so presumably they just wanted a law to make it easier to pick people up "on suspicion". So a stupid and abuse-prone law, really. If it passes, who doesn't own something that they could be arrested for, after all?

(On an unrelated note, it's strange how blogs fit together -- I'm here because I followed a link from Eric Meyer, who I wouldn't have expected to have Ferrett's significant other on his blogroll.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-03-07 07:39 pm (UTC)
I understand that these things are still illegal. I was using sarcasm to point out how poorly written the law is.

And it is a small world. We are friends with Eric and his wife, so I am there from personal, not professional connections.
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