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User Journal

Journal Journal: To whom it may concern 1

Its a long long story. But when I went to court for my mushroom bust, I was ordered to go to Assabet Human Services for a drug treatment evaluation. Since then I've gone through a load of shit with them. I'm to tired to explain it now, but I would like to post this document that I just drafted. It is rather self explanitory. I hope to do chapter 2 this weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:

        There has been a fair deal of disagreement lately regarding my proposed treatment at Assabet Human Services. I would like to make my position clear. First off, I do not want to be in conflict with the terms of my probation, and if it comes to that I am perfectly willing to attend 12 treatment sessions under a fair and specific contract, free of ambiguity. That being said, I have one objection to my treatment in general, and there are two specific disagreements between Assabet Human Services and myself. My general objection is that the idea behind this treatment is that it will benefit me in some regard. I very highly doubt that it will have any affects that could be considered positive by either the court or myself. The two specific disagreements between Assabet Human Services and myself revolve around their evaluation of me and the contract that I must sign in order to attend the treatment. I will discuss these three issues below.

        The first points that I would like to discuss are the doubts that I have as to whether the treatment provided by Assabet Human Services would benefit me in any way. I am assuming that that is the purpose of the program, helping those enrolled in it. Now, I have obviously never attended a counseling session, but I assume that they provide two kinds of service; they help with any difficulties experienced while attempting to live drug free, and they provide education as to the dangers and effects of different drugs. I am in need of neither of these services; the last time I used an illegal drug was three days before I was arrested. Since then I have not experienced any ill effects from my lack of use with the exception of some transient insomnia, and I have not had any difficulty remaining illegal drug free. (I am including alcohol in illegal drugs, as it would be illegal for me to consume it.) I am also not in need of education on the dangers of drugs; I attended DARE as a child, and I have spent dozens of hours researching the effects of drugs. But, since I'm sure that the obvious reaction to my past illegal drug use is that I don't, or at least didn't, know the true dangers of illegal drug use, marijuana in particular, I will now go over a selection of the marijuana information provided by (which is sponsored by The Partnership for a Drug Free America) in an effort to provide enlightenment into my level of knowledge.

"What does it do?
The effects vary from person to person depending on how strong the marijuana is, how it's taken and whether other drugs or alcohol are involved. At first, pot can make people feel relaxed, in a good mood and even silly. Users will likely experience dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction times, along with intoxication. Blood vessels in the eye will expand causing the red-eye effect. NIDA
Smoking marijuana may impair short-term memory while people are using the drug. This happens because all forms of marijuana contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana, which alters the way the brain works. After a few minutes, paranoia or anxiousness may set in, then intense hunger (a.k.a. the munchies). Finally, sleepiness. NCADI For some people, marijuana raises blood pressure slightly and can double the normal heart rate. This effect can be greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana."

I object to nothing from the above text; I accept it as fact.

"...Over the long term, smoking pot can cause you to lose interest in how you look and how you're getting along at school or work. NCADI It can also be much worse for your respiratory health than smoking cigarettes; the amount of tar, carbon monoxide, and cancer-causing chemicals inhaled in marijuana smoke are three to five times greater than that inhaled from the same amount of tobacco smoke. (NIDA Infofax)"

Aside from the fact that I am currently ranked 3rd in my Senior class, I would also like to point out that while I certainly don't know enough to refute the claims made by freevibe, I looked through the NIDA Infofax on marijuana, and they made no mention of the tar, carbon monoxide, or cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana smoke. It reminds me of the television commercial run by the same people that run freevibe. It claims that marijuana "joints" usually contain about 5 times as much cancer causing tar as cigarettes. Once again, I do not know nearly enough about the subject to refute these claims, but my meager of knowledge of the dangers of tobacco cigarettes (I know enough to have never smoked one) tells me that tar is just one of dozens of carcinogens. Although, by the same measure, anti-tobacco advertisements overemphasize the chemicals in tobacco. They list cadmium, and then follow it with (found in car batteries). By the same logic I could say Water (The primary coolant found in atomic reactors). I also find fault with the advertisement that says that one in three reckless drivers tested for drugs tested positive for marijuana. I object to this not because I don't think that marijuana impairs reflexes necessary for safe driving. I don't think that anyone should drive under the influence of inebriating drugs or alcohol. I never have, and I hope that I never do. But I find fault because the advertisement, like many other anti drug advertisements, are geared towards influencing people that don't stop to consider cause and effect. That advertisement never actually makes the argument that marijuana causes reckless driving, but it seems to. I submit that the reason so many reckless drivers use marijuana is that usually only reckless individuals are so willing to break the law as to use illegal drugs.

What is my point? First, I know a lot about illegal drugs, and not just radical information. I am well acquainted with the information provided by organizations concerned with the drug abuse in this country. And second, I carefully analyze every piece of information I receive. Because of this, the few pieces of information I might receive from Assabet Human Services that I have never heard before will be immediately filed (in my brain) as being inherently biased and in need of proper supporting evidence. I would much rather read medical journals on the subject.

In conclusion of my fundamental objection; I don't need help not using drugs, I probably won't learn anything from Assabet Human Services, and as Assabet Human Services main concern is keeping me from using drugs, anything I did learn from them I would automatically, without an conscious effort, discard as being inherently biased and self serving.

On to the subject of my disputes with Assabet Human Services, the terms of my probation state that I am to be evaluated by Assabet Human Services, which I have done, and then to comply with the terms of the evaluation. This does not seem unreasonable to me, despite one problem; I have never seen my evaluation. It does seem unreasonable to me that I can only know what conditions I must meet by learning of them via proxy. I openly admit that I am not a lawyer, and I don't have much knowledge in this area, but both my lawyer and myself feel that Assabet Human Services' evaluation of me should be considered one of my medical forms, and I should consequently have the right to a copy of it. Although, since I have never seen my evaluation, perhaps I am confused as to the nature of its content. While at Assabet Human Services at the meeting where I was supposed to sign their treatment contract my father and I asked to see my evaluation. Although the Assabet Human Services employee with which we spoke would not let us see the evaluation, when we asked to see it she did read us off a fair deal of information. The majority of which was just the drug use that I had admitted to at my evaluation session, followed by the recommendation that I submit to 12 treatment sessions. Perhaps I am confused in my expectation that my evaluation contains more than just a regurgitation of my words followed by a quick recommendation rather than a close examination of how my particular history warrants further action. Whatever the content of my evaluation, I feel it unfair that I am expected to comply with a document that I have never seen.

So far, my arguments have relied on my opinions, and as much as I would like to be able to impose my will on others, I don't have a legion of armed, blue clad, badge wearing soldiers to back me up. Realizing this fault, my third objection is based more substantially in logic and fact than opinion and rhetoric. One of the terms of the evaluation, as my proxies have informed me, is that I must sign a contract regarding my treatment. The intended activity of my most recent trip to Assabet Human Services was to do just that. Most of the terms of the contract were completely reasonable, but then we got up to the term that said that I couldn't use any non-prescription medicine before coming to the treatment sessions. I asked the Assabet Human Services employee if she could explain that term more clearly. She said that it meant that I couldn't use drugs like NyQuil before coming to the sessions, because it contains alcohol. I then asked if I could take an ibuprofen before coming to a session, in case I had banged my knee or something. She said that that would be fine. I then asked if I could drink coffee. She replied that food and drink were not permitted inside Assabet Human Services. I then asked if I could drink coffee before coming inside. She replied that it would be all right. I then replied that that would be a violation of the contract as written. After a little more of this discussion, she told me that she would not change that term of the contract, and that I could take it up with the court. Why make such a large deal out of such a little term on a contract? I am not willing to expose myself to:

A) Such draconian terms. Assabet Human Services has no right to tell me whether I can consume Tylenol or coffee before attending my treatment sessions. But the contract clearly says that I cannot use any non-prescription drugs before attending a treatment session. Furthermore, were I to pass someone smoking a cigarette outside of Assabet Human Services and inhale as I passed by, I would be in violation of my contract by being under the influence of nicotine. If someone would like to suggest that inhaling second hand smoke does not constitute drug use, then I will be quick whether inhaling the smoke of someone smoking marijuana could be grounds to default on my prohibition. Because I'm not entirely anal, I won't go so far as to point out that "before" extends backwards in time infinitely.

B) A contract that is ambiguous at best and expected to be selectively followed a worse. If I am not to follow the terms of the contract to the letter, then I can only assume that the terms are to be selectively obeyed, using my powers of selection. The Assabet Human Services woman expected me to use "common sense." Now, I ask in jest, I did illegal drugs, can you really expect me to have any common sense. But on a more serious note, no one should be expected to sign a contract whose terms are to be selectively obeyed. And no one should give out a contract expecting its terms to be selectively obeyed. Such a situation offers such a blatant and substantial abuse of power as to nauseate me.

As always, please post comments. I know I don't advertise this journal, but hopefully my fans are at least reading it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chapter 1 1

Chapter 1:

First, I have a few things I wanted to make clear or left out of Chapter 0. I forgot to add the title "Autobiography: Atempt 3" When I said that my first memory is from the age of 3, I meant that that is the earliest I can remember anything from, but I don't remember having opinions until a couple years later. I also forgot to add that I called my parents by their first names, although it should be clear because of the Katy and David sentence.

I probably should have included a section on my insomnia. Ever since the age of two (according to my parents), I've had trouble sleeping. Saying I had insomnia would not sufficiently describe my sleeping troubles, because insomnia is just any problem with sleeping. For the most part, I have trouble falling asleep. Rarely, I have had trouble staying asleep or I've woken up too early in the morning, but those have never been real problems. One interesting aspect of my trouble sleeping is that my biological clock seems to be set too late. I suck at mornings, and I'm really hyper at night. Over Christmas (or insert other religious holiday) vacation I adopted a schedual in which I completely slept through the hours of daylight.

It is not an actual inability to sleep, however, that I find to be the most interesting, and to have the greatest connection to my drug use. Sometimes when I try to go to bed, I can sleep, but I don't want to. While lying in bed, the haze that normally clogs my thoughts clears. It's honestly very weird; I'll go from dead tired to wide awake, and thinking more clearly than I could during the day. The transformation reminds me of the medicinal quality of Marijuana that I've grown to love. On the rare occassions that I feel nauseated (not nauseous - nauseous only applies to things that make you nauseated) and decide to smoke in an effort to feel better, I am always looking to feel better - to feel more like I do normally. But Marijuana is so good at what it does, that I end up feeling better than I normally do - from ready to puke to ready for a 3 course dinner.

It's the same way with my head when I try to sleep (sometimes). Not only is the oppressive viscous haze of sleep deprivation lifted, but I feel more alert and can think more clearly than when I'm wide awake during the day. Its the only time when I can write poetry, but I have the same problem I have while tripping (on drugs). I can think much faster than I can write or type. That is one of the main reasons that I'm doing this journal; I have three books worth of thoughts that lack even a basic organization. My Chapter 0 (instead of starting at 1) was an attempt at explaining this. My chapters are numbered because my journals will follow a loosely chronological story.

I come again (in my own line of thoughts at least, which may be a non sequitor to my writing) to the same question that nagged so heavily at Winston Smith. (Winston Smith is the protagonist of 1984 - One of my favorite books). He started a journal, which was against the law (or if not technically against the law, it was intolerable to those with power). But Winston Smith was stuck on something; to whom was he writing the journal. At first he thought it was for the future - but he realized that either A. the future would be like the present, and it would be immediately destroyed if found, or B. the future would be better than the present, and noone would be able to relate to his struggle. But his journal was so many things. It may have been for the future, but it was also for him. It was a record of his strength - he knew that he could not hide from the party, from Big Brother forever. When he was caught, he wanted to have some record of the resistance, the strength he had once held against the party. It was some small consolation in a battle he could not win.

This journal is for me - I don't deny it. And I spend a great deal of my time feeling like Winston Smith; the (legal) system is designed to break people, and I would like to think that I am too strong for that. "They can take away my freedom, but they can't take my pride" has been my battle cry, but while I originally compared myself to Antigone, at least Antigone's death had an impact - it wasn't a complete waste. I am increasingly seeing myself as Creon - Pride comes before the fall, and nothing will be gained by my losing in a struggle with the system. Only the lawyers will profit...

On making my first crack against laywers, I would just like to note that my lawyer is an incredibly nice guy.

I'm going to call it a night. I know that I haven't made any progress on my story, but I made enough in Chapter 0 to have Chapter 1 be right on track. Once again I welcome all commments, positive, negative, and neutral. - Oh, one last thing. My friends wanted to know why I was so bold as to use my real name. Any slashdotters that think I'm an idiot for being so open with my identity, please let me know.

Samuel Bearg

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chapter 0: Background 2

Chapter 0:

It's January 7th, 2004. On August 27, 2003 I was busted for possession of 1/8 of an ounce of Psilocybin containing mushrooms. I say busted because it's not entirely clear whether I was arrested or not; the police took the shrooms and I got a court summons a few weeks later. Since then, I've gotten nothing but absolute shit from the system, (Big surprise, huh?) to the extent that I've decided to chronicle my story.

I'm 17 years old. I'll be 18 in April. I'm about 5' 6''. I'm white, but I have a huge afro. I'm a senior at Minuteman Regional Technical Highschool of Applied Arts and Sciences. (Using the full name is somewhat of an inside joke - the school changes its name every year or so; right now it's going by Minuteman Tech.) It's a vocational Highschool, but they've embraced the new millennium, and along with Plumbing and Carpentry they also offer computer programming and Biotech. I'm in Biotech. Despite my status as a "druggie" I'm very (book) smart. I got 1340 on the SATs on my first try without studying for it. (I'll agree with anyone that says that the SATs aren't a very good measure of intelligence though.) I'm currently ranked second in the Senior class, and I'm going for valedictorian, but I doubt that I'll get it.

As my grades imply, I'm very much a nerd. (Perfect for slashdot.) Most of the other students in Biotech are nerdy as well. Toasted Calamari is the currently ranked first in the Senior class, and would never do an illegal drug. Upaut is just weird, and might do drugs if they were legal. MonkeysKickAss is somewhat out of place in our class. He is slightly nerdy, but he is also borderline psychotic and he is a major druggie... well, that may be a little extreme, as many people don't consider Marijuana to really be a drug. But he is the only one of my friends that actually seems to be addicted to it. Unfortunately for him, he had to quit because of probation, which he is going to be on for two years. (That's another story.)

In case I haven't made it readily apparent already, (or if you're just slow) I have no faith in the legal system, particularly the parts that deal with illegal drugs. As far as literature explaining why the system is corrupt, I am a great fan of unbiased research, and the best book I can recommend that fits that bill is the Consumer's Union report Licit and Illicit Drugs. It came out in 1972, and while this may somewhat throw into question the evidence it uses and the conclusions that it makes, I feel that it more than makes up for this. The reason it is still valid is that it doesn't just examine the drug laws in 1972, it examines the drug laws from ~1900 to 1972, as well as the effects that each of the changes have had. Another thing about it, is that it doesn't mention MDMA/Ecstasy once (I think>, which makes it very interesting to study the spread of Ecstasy with the predictions of how new drugs will spread outlined in the book. Honestly speaking, this is the best non-fiction book I have ever read in my life.

If you think that the system is working well and/or you think that drugs should be illegal I would be happy to engage you in either a polite and well versed discusion or a flame-war on the subject.

I guess that it would be best for me to explain my interests and experiences with drugs in a chronological order. Before I finish Chapter 0, I will discuss my thoughts on drugs up till the end of 5th grade.

For as long as I can remember having opinions on the subjects, (my earliest memory is from age 3) I've had problems with authority and have been fascinated by drugs. My problems with authoritiy can probably be demonstrated by the fact that ever since I was 3, I've called my parents all most exclusively. Thats right, (for anyone who doubts me) since the age of 3 I've been calling my parents Katy and David. I don't think that my fascination with drugs is nearly as old; it probably developed midway through Elementry school. As far as who is the blame for the warping of my fragile little mind, (if a scapegoat is needed, I don't really blame anyone) I blame the media. I don't think that I had any idea that my parents had used drugs in college when I was that young. And I don't think that the media can really be blamed in any sort of reasonable way - looking back on it. Due to the fundamental distrust of authority that I developed all throughout my early school days, the anti-drug propaganda presented by the schools probably peaked my interest in them.

From what I can remember, everything about drugs fascinated me (this is still like 3rd grade), I didn't know shit about them, but the idea of something that could drastically alter my perception of reality seemed so magical...

Being so young, I still believed that the horrific world in which I lived might not be the real reality. Fantasies of wizards and draggons filled my head... at the same time the reality that Santa Clause is nothing more than a drunk man paid $10 an hour by the (Burlington) Mall was all to apparent.

I had no idea at the time, but this is the first example of doublethink that I can remember. George Orwell is a fucking genius, and if you've never read 1984 you really need to. As a very quick explaination, doublethink is the skill of simultaniously believing two contradictory things. If you've never heard of it or thought about it, you probably practice it without realizing it. As George Orwell suggested in 1984, I have come to reallize the doublethink is essential to surviving an oppressive world like the one we live in. A basic example of a low level of doublethink would be the way that A: America is "the land of the free." B: We lose more and more of our freedoms every day thanks to programs like the Patriot Act. Doublethink goes much deeper than that, as I hope to explain in later chapters.

I might as well skip forward to 5th grade and the D.A.R.E. Program. If memory serves, that stands for Drug Awareness Resistance Education (Drug and Alcohol...). Not only did DARE fail in it's goals of making me not want to do drugs, it made me want to do them. Not only did it fail in it's goal of providing accurate information on the dangers of drug use (if you believe that that is one of their goals), but it completely whacked out of proportion my fear of drugs - It gave me none.

You see, one of the big problems with programs like DARE is that they are afraid to make Marijuana seem less bad than other drugs like Cocaine or Heroin. The are afraid that if they do that, then children will be more likely to smoke Marijuana. The SEVERE problem with this, is that by making Marijuana out to be as bad as Coke or Heroin they stop a few children from smoking pot (yay?), but they almost doom the students that do smoke pot, who then assume that the warnings about Coke and Heroin were equally exaggerated.

Aside from hopefully escaping the doom, this is the effect that DARE had on me. Not only did it make me want to smoke pot (which isn't that bad in the great scheme of things), it made me want to do all the drugs I could get my hands on (which is a BAD thing).

So concludes Chapter 0. Please leave comments, good or bad. I would be happy to have a rational conversation with someone who has views that oppose mine, if a flame-ware can be avoided.

Samuel Bearg

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All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford