May 30, 2003


For years volunteer groups like DanceSafe have been passing out fliers at raves and night clubs with advice on how to avoid dangerous overheating — drink water, take frequent breaks, abstain from alcohol (which compounds dehydration). Event sponsors have helped by providing bottles of water and ventilated “chill out” rooms, measures intended not to encourage drug use but to reduce drug-related harm. Under the new law, however, such sensible precautions could be seen as evidence that the host or owner knew guests would be using drugs, exposing him to $250,000 or more in civil penalties, a criminal fine of up to $500,000, and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. . . .

In addition, the anti-rave legislation is likely to push events toward clandestine sites, where conditions will be less safe, supervision less responsible and emergency help less prompt. At remote locations, drug reactions that might otherwise have been quickly treated could turn deadly.

Well, he doesn’t want to. He just didn’t mind if that was an (obvious) consequence of the stupid RAVE Act that he sponsored and snuck through rather sleazily earlier this year. Neither did Orrin Hatch or its other backers.

UPDATE: Virginia Postrel observes:

[T]his law, a gift to the nation from Joe Biden and Pat Leahy, is the sort of thing that explains why libertarians who engage in politics lean toward the Republican party. We all know the problems of the social right, but Democrats are largely useless, and often awful, on the issues where their supposed respect for tolerance and civil liberties might make a difference.

Yes, it was the abandonment of traditional Democratic positions on civil liberties during the Clinton Administration (especially with the 1994 and 1996 crime bills) that caused me to lose faith in the Democratic party.

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