Destroying Ourselves With Fear And Ignorance

I just read an article about a chemistry student in Canada who was pulled out of the shower and arrested for having a meth lab in his parents garage. Except it wasn't a meth lab – it was just his chemistry set. Even after proving that it wasn't a meth lab, he was still held in prison because his chemistry set contained chemicals that could be used to make explosives. If you follow any hobbyist newsletters or blogs you'll find stories like this every so often.

I think most homes have materials that can be used to make explosives, start fires, or kill/maim/cut/hurt someone if wielded with that intent… the reason we're allowed to have drain cleaner, bleach, ammonia, matches, knives, whatever in our homes is because we don't intend to use them in an illegal manner. The societal norm seems to be moving closer and faster to these knee jerk reactions that chemicals are bad, and that doing anything other than going to work and watching TV makes you a terrorist.

Most of human knowledge has undoubtedly come from hobbyists. People through the ages that, through curiosity or accident, have discovered an idea, material, or process that allows us to push our understanding of ourselves and the inner workings of the universe even further. But now, because of fear mongering from the media and from our government, curiosity is no longer encouraged – it's a threat. We don't trust each other anymore, we don't trust out neighbors, we don't trust the guy down the street just because of his name or appearance or religious beliefs. We're quickly becoming less tolerant in order to make ourselves feel safer – at the expense of our rights, history, knowledge, and future.

The irony here is that the more fearful and controlling we allow our society and ourselves to become, the more dangerous we are to each other. Instead of having a few truly dangerous individuals in the world, we suddenly have to police each other, because we're all criminals now.

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