The Right to Blow Up Toilets Out Back

A young Georgia woman has been arrested for having fun with explosives back in the woods. Via Instapundit.

Never mind that she’s a churchgoing girl with a sunny personality and the hobbies of your average rural kid. (Plus skydiving.) Never mind that the entire graduating class of most engineering and science schools is guilty of the same thing, and that at Purdue they apparently used to blow up the dorm toilets with sodium every other week. There are plenty of law-abiding citizens out there who have played with all sorts of explosives in their time, including pipe bombs and potato guns and all the current bugaboos. Are you going to send them all to prison?

Mind you, she did apparently do two stupid things: a) she took some drugs, which is of course wrong and illegal; and b) she made inflammatory Libertarian statements, somewhere along the usual stoner/states rights continuum.* Not, apparently, at the same time she was allegedly blowing up commodes in the woods out back, and making YouTube videos of it back in 2008. (Though I would say that using drugs while blowing things up would become its own punishment, and pretty quickly, too.)

So apparently, there are ATF guys watching Facebook and tabulating this stuff to get their quota, but actual terrorist stuff online can stay out there for years without being noticed by anybody but those Jawa Report folks. Whacking toilets, bad; whacking heads off, good. Pshaw and humbug.

My point is that there’s a big difference between somebody who does stupid stuff on their own property, and somebody who should be arrested and tried for a federal crime by a federal agency. I could understand the ATF wanting to do a little digging to see if this chick is dangerous or has dangerous friends; but I can’t see sending a harmless person to court and federal prison, mostly for being a redneck stoner on the Internet. It would seem a lot more sensible to get the local authorities and her family to put her in counseling and make her stay on the straight and narrow with the drugs, rather than sending her to prison to hang out with real criminals while making her unemployable.

But of course that wouldn’t do much for the ATF solve rate, and we’d never have heard about it on the news.

* There are of course multiple Libertarian position continua. I’ve also seen stoner/Social Libertarian, and drug legalization/chronic pain rights. I’m sure there’s a lot more, just in that corner of the Libertarian universe, but that’s what I’ve most commonly seen. I’m not a Libertarian, but of course one meets a lot of Libertarians during Internet discussions, or at least one used to.

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