February 16, 2012

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The recent closing of Erlanger’s burn unit has some worried about the fate of victims with burns covering more than 20 percent of their bodies, who would now be shuttled to Nashville or Augusta for treatment. One brotherhood that’s been very vocal about the news are local firefighters, who deal with the prospect of getting burned with every call of the alarm (except for routine trips to Patten Towers, of course).

Yes my friends, I’m talking about those who were the victims of meth lab explosions. You see, when something goes wrong in the kitchen where meth is being cooked, it burns the shit out of whoever is within range of the two-liter bottle’s spray. And when those nuts go to the hospital to try and save their sorry asses—and sadly the children and other innocent victims around them—they bring to the burn unit the same contaminants that go into the production of this dreadful drug.

A meth lab explosion also has the power to render the space where the lab was located useless to any other inhabitants until the structure is stripped down to the studs by toxic waste specialists and rebuilt. Even then, I wouldn’t be the first one to lay my head down in a place where, or near, such activities have occurred.

Therefore I am proposing that those who are caught and found guilty of producing meth, purchasing the combination of necessary ingredients to do so, or even using meth should have to register as a meth offender upon their release. And maybe, just maybe we could identify them prior to legal action.

Here are some of my proposed criteria for preemptive identification of potential meth offenders, Jeff Foxworthy-style:

• If you’ve ever bought enough Sudafed to keep a small army congestion-free—you might be a meth offender.

• If your trailer doesn’t have wheels because you sold them to buy fertilizer—you might be a meth offender.

• If you live in a motel room with a distinctive funny smell—you might be a meth offender.

• If you’ve ever had a two-liter bottle explode without combining Diet Coke and Mentos—you might be a meth offender.

• If you have persistent “sunburn” that won’t heal—you might be a meth offender.

• If you can count your teeth on one hand—you might be a meth offender. And the list goes on.

Once identified, the fact that you are a card-carrying meth offender might limit your options in the future. Think about it. If one is convicted of a sex crime, they must register as a sex offender and tell whoever lives or works anywhere around them that they’ve had the fortitude in the past, and might again in the future, to do something inappropriate with their privates.

It’s the proverbial scarlet “A,” or “S.O.” in this case, and it’s meant to not only protect those they come into contact with, but also deter anyone who might be sick enough to think about violating someone in a sexual manner. In addition to the shame factor, think about living in our society with a scar on your record that makes it difficult to find friends, employment, housing and effective cold medicine?

I know, I know. If we limit the options a convicted meth head has for getting out of that rut then they’ll just go back to doing the only thing they know best—makin’ meth. But if making and selling meth is so easy and profitable, are these people really just doing it until that killer job at Komatsu opens up? No, they’ve made a conscious decision to buck society, take the easy way out and endanger everyone in their path.

I realize this proposition might have me looking over my shoulder for the next week or so until the next Pulse is published, but I’m pretty sick and tired of footing the bill for those who make stupid, dangerous decisions that in turn affect our society and, quite frankly, perpetuate our reputation in other parts of the world as shoeless hillbillies. It’s time for a change people—and I’ll vote for whoever is willing to take on this matter (except for Chuck Fleischmann—sorry, dude).  

Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.


February 16, 2012

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