In the late 90s in Utah, there was a movement called "Straight Edge" (or SxE) among young people. The movement was centered around clean living; abstinence from sex, drugs, alcohol, even meat. What seemed innocent and even noble, however, turned violent as some of its members went off to extremes in defending their lifestyle. This is an interview from March 26, 1999
ANDY MAUNCH, STRAIGHT EDGE MEMBER It's like, what's so bad about us? We don't drink. We don't smoke. A lot of us don't have promiscuous sex. It doesn't sound too bad to me.
JOHN QUINONES (VO) Not bad at all, as long as you agree with the Straight Edge philosophy. But watch out if you don't.
DEPUTY BRAD HARMON, SALT LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE I've not ever seen them back down. They will stand and fight for their cause.
Later in the interview, several fraternity brothers from the University of Utah described an attack by Straight Edge members.
RYAN TAGGART, FRATERNITY BROTHER This kid was waving around this Samurai sword, and a couple of us, we were just yelling, you know, "Drop your metal." You know, "We don't need this." The kid with the sword honestly looked a little crazy. I mean, he's just waving it around like he's teasing us with this sword.
MIKE ORTHNER They're just vicious, you know. It's like piranhas, a pack of piranhas on me.
JOHN QUINONES (on camera) Were you trying to get them to drink or trying to get them to smoke?
RYAN TAGGART No. No, we were doing our own thing.Another attack drew the following response from the previously quoted Straight Edge member Andy Maunch.
MICHAEL LARSON, FRATERNITY BROTHER And before I knew it, I was being assaulted with a baseball bat. I sustained a few hits on the head, and I was out, unconscious.
JOHN QUINONES (VO) Andy and his friends say they were not at those fights with the fraternity brothers, but they know fellow Straight Edgers who were there. And they say the frat boys provoked it.
ANDY MAUNCH I would have helped them if I was there. I would have done all I can to put everyone in the hospital.Last weekend, in Utah County, Utah, a massive police raid, involving helicopters, tear gas, drug dogs, and police personnel in military gear shut down a legally organized rave, beating some participants, ripping up the permits, and confiscating video footage. There are numerous eyewitness accounts, and Talk Left has been one of the many blogs following up on the events (although this story still hasn't been covered on a major news outlet from what I've seen).
At the end of the interview from 1999, Andy was asked about his aspirations in life.
JOHN QUINONES (VO) In fact, Andy and his friends describe themselves as nothing less than Boy Scouts with rather impressive aspirations.
ANDY MAUNCH I want to go into law enforcement, eventually become an ATF agent.
JOHN QUINONES (on camera) You want to become a law enforcement officer?
ANDY MAUNCH Yeah. It's always been what I've wanted to do since I was a little kidAndy Maunch is serving a long jail sentence for murdering a 15-year-old who "disrespected" him, so he wasn't there last Saturday night. What I'd like to know is how many people with similar motivations were allowed to dress up as soldiers by the Utah County Sheriff's Office and beat up people who were "disrespecting" them.
In other news:
This weekend was Seattle Hempfest. I was able to stop by for a short time on Sunday to see Roger Goodman, Angel Raich, and Allen St. Pierre speak at a panel and took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the nation's biggest rally of its kind. In other Seattle news, here's an article from the Seattle Weekly on a grandmother arrested for pot possession at the airport.
A European Parliament Member from Britain is calling for the legalization and regulation of all illegal drugs. Another anti-prohibition proponent from Britain, Mo Mowlam, has passed away, but has a book coming at the end of the summer that she co-wrote with her husband.
National Parks are becoming heavily-guarded centers for marijuana grow operations.
The availability of drugs at school is on the rise.
Scott Henson at Grits For Breakfast sees a good trend in Texas.
An article about Ontario police officers and their approach towards meth.
Seven Boston police officers are suing over being fired as the result of drug tests.
A roundup of corrupt cop stories