Thursday, January 1, 2009

Random Drug Testing

On the Fifth Column site there's a fascinating post about the random drug testing which is planned in West Virginia for the Kanawha school system's teachers. The thrust of the post is that this kind of initiative is a violation of peoples' rights under the 4th Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” It’s right there in the damn Constitution, which these inbred mouthbreathers might realize if they’d bother to keep reading after the Second Amendment.

I couldn't resist including that remark about the kind of people who "don't bother to keep reading after the Second Amendment." I seriously doubt that applies to anyone who comments on this blog, but we can talk about it.

The more alarming thing mentioned in the Fifth Column post is that a significant percentage of the population want this. He cites the comments received in favor of the policy in the local press.

What's your opinion? Are the kind of folks who passionately believe in the 2nd Amendment also the kind who would comply with this kind of creeping totalitarianism? Does this issue divide the gun enthusiasts into different groups? I would think the same guy who opposes gun control laws which infringe upon his rights would bristle at the prospect of random drug testing. But, maybe not. What do you think?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I wouldn't want my school district wasting money on drug testing the faculty unless they have a good reason to believe the faculty is coming to work stoned.

    In some rural communities we hear that meth use is a big temptation and prevalent -- are teachers losing their teeth?

    Would such testing deter the temptation to use? Probably not for the already addicted.

    but it would get them out of the classroom --If you think there's a problem in your district, test all the school employees.

    If there's no known problem, why make one? or if there are just one or a few suspected cases, take care of those.

  3. i'm thinking the sort of people who really go for this kind of police-state totalitarianism likely don't read the constitution at all, least of all any part of the bill of rights.

    i wonder how much classism and unstated class warfare is involved in this, too. usually random drug testing for employment reasons is something only done to lower class, blue-collar workers. forcing it on teachers, who are normally at least lower middle class, white collar, authority figures might seem like retribution of a kind.

    (i'm one of several people i know who think the extreme right wing in this country's been waging class warfare, mainly on the middle class, for a long time now. but that's another story.)

    i don't think it's gunnies against non-gunnies, on this subject, at all. i think it's more a matter of authoritarians against everybody else, using drug users as convenient bogeymen in this case. David Neiwert at Orcinus has written eloquently and at length about the dangerous authoritarian trend in U.S. politics.

    this is also one of the few ways you can find dedicated gun banners on the American political right --- look for people who are heavily into "law and order" conservatism; they're usually rallying around the "war on drugs" banners. they're very seldom at all vocal about banning guns, knowing how much the republican base hates that notion, but occasionally they slip up.

  4. I don't agree that the drug-banners on the Right are also gun-banners. I guess there could be some. I think the gun supporters and the drug-banners are typically both law and order supporters.

    We know, however, that some gun supporters are criminals who do drugs.

    As for the Right Wing being against the Middle Class--on the contrary, from where I sit, they are members of ALL socio-economic classes. The religious right make up the majority of the Right wing, don't they? They are church people, not necessarily rich people overall. In my church, half the people are gov't dependent for disabilities, single moms on ADC, and retired on Social Security. But they'll still vote GOP as the party of better values all around (not all of them, of course, --and the GOP has its sinners, too, but most evangelicals think GOP values reflected on their platform are superior which is why I am not a democrat.)

    Granted, we aren't sure just who is running our party these days and what they really believe, values-wise.

  5. Umm, MIKE,

    How about FUCK YOU.

    I know ALL of the amendments by heart and am sad and disheartened when any of them are compromised.

    Maybe you could look past what YOU READ INTO PEOPLE?

  6. Mikeb- you have been infected by the Barb virus. Good luck trying to get rid of it.

  7. yes, rake, so you said already. we noticed. if mike wants to do anything about that, mike's a grown-up and quite capable of doing so; speaking for myself, i can easily just ignore barb. shall i have to ignore you, too?

    (by the way, rake, i took a look at your blog. looks interesting, and has a lot of good stuff i largely agree with. shame it's all reposted old material, though --- are you planning on putting up any new writing any time soon? perhaps commenting on any current events?)

  8. Mike,

    This is richly ironic coming from you.

    2nd amendment advocates not caring about the rest of the bill of rights? Read some of the many pro-gun blogs and see how many only talk about just the 2nd amendment.

    I'm glad you recognize that we care about more...I just wish you cared about the 2nd amendment as us pro-gunners care about the rest.

    I personally subscribe to the Will Rogers view of what people want "The right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose". I think it doesn't matter if the majority wants drug testing. The majority of the people have trampled on the rights of a smaller portion of the population throughout history...that is why the Bill of Rights is so important; it prevents the tyranny of the majority.

  9. Whoa, Tom. Yesterday you called me a "pussy," and today it's "Fuck you?"
    What gives, man? Let me guess. You're testing my commenting policy. So far I've only removed two spam comments. And the truth is, I'm not even tempted to remove yours.

    On a more serious note, your offer a few weeks ago to send me something in the post was appreciated. I should have thanked you at the time. Sorry about that. I didn't want to take you up on it because you guys already give me more to read than I have time for.

  10. Mud Rake, If Barb's commenting is a virus, it's exactly the kind we like around here.

    You're also welcome to comment.

  11. Nomen- I was on a self-imposed sabbatical after the election. New Year/New Stuff.

  12. Thank you, Mike, for your welcome. I'll try not to abuse the privilege of commenting on your blog. That happens when I go where bloggers seem to want to discuss the issues of the day --but only from their own perspective --especially blogs intolerant to the religious believers and to conservatives, Bush defenders and the like. I have found that some who claim to champion free speech do not do it on their blogs. I understand that there are censorers on conservative and Christian blogs also --but I try to only delete seriously hateful and libelous insults (not humorous jabs), meaningless spam, the obscene and profane, and my name and address when Mudrake posts it.

    Mudrake often refers to me as that "o so righteous christian woman" or fundamentalist or whatever --and it's true, I do believe in righteousness, try to defend what I understand to be the Christian/Biblical view of it when it is topical --and I defend myself against attacks because I don't "hate" --as accused. I don't make any claim to be sinless, perfect or holier than thou. But I confess that I really think that what I believe is true --in several areas --while admitting also there is much mystery and much we do not know and won't know in this life, if ever.

  13. I noticed that too, Barb. Many blogs attract only like-minded commenters. Others have a good mix. Mine you'll notice seems to be heavily weighed against me, at least on the gun issues. Weer'd has pointed out that that's because I don't have a good argument. I think it's because most people who might agree with me on guns, aren't interested enough to even get involved in the argument. On Capital Punishment, it's a bit more balanced. I've had some support in my total opposition to the death penalty.

  14. Remember Carla Tucker? in Texas. I think that was her name. She seemed to be totally rehabilitated --after killing her ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend in their beds by stabbing --while she was high on drugs some 20 years or so earlier.

    she had become a joyous Christian with good influence in the jail --and people, including me and Geraldo Rivera, wanted Bush to pardon her or stay her execustion --but he didn't. He was contemplating a run for president at the time? or actually starting the process; being tough on crime, including the death penalty, was a GOP stance --plus, I think he didn't dare pardon her just because she was a Christian. There might be too many death-row conversions to consider? or conversion claims--and the separation of church and state issue would be raised --we can't favor pardon or stays just because Christian conversion has occured and the prisoner is now a model citizen. Although, we say rehabilitation is a prison goal!

    We could save the state a lot of money if we didn't have the death penalty with all the appeals and lawyers' fees. NO --I take that back-- they'd still appeal, I guess, to reduce sentences.

    One thing, if someone murders, and the state takes his life soon, he won't murder again--and the state won't be paying thousands every year to protect society from him with the high cost of prison.

    I really do have mixed feelings about capital punishment, nevertheless. The Bible teaches both eye for an eye --and forgiveness and mercy.

    I do not have much sympathy for sociopathic folks who have enjoyed inflicting pain and committed horrible tortures. The death penalty may be too good for them. In fact, I think a firing squad would be good for those guys that recently stoned the 13 year old rape victim to death in Somalia.

  15. Wow, what a GREAT discussion, while not entirely on-topic.

    Family was down for the weekend so I haven't been logging my standard hours here, I hope Mike will forgive me : ].

    What I think the most ironic part of this issue is that drug screenings like this often will pick up marijuana use, or drug use that would otherwise be detected (ie an employee shooting up in the parkinglot/restroom or just generally stumbling and twisted)
    And this is the one drug that is rapidly on it's way to being fully decriminalized, and rightly so.

    There is one key part missing in these news stories. Does the teacher's contract have a rider about drug use and testing?

    First up, ANYBODY who's legally intoxicated is not doing their job up to the level they were hired at, PERIOD. Still I see some jobs where this is more of an issue than others. I had a teacher in High School who to this day is still a problem Alcoholic (Wet alcoholic? Drinking Alcoholic? What's the opposite term for a "Dry Alcoholic?") he'd show up sopping drunk at least once a month, and he'd be sent to counseling at least twice a year.

    Besides one time when I honestly felt he was going to take a swing at me while stinking drunk (he didn't care for me much, and the booze only exacerbated said problem) but it wasn't much of a danger. Still I worked as a deckhand on a ship where they randomly piss-tested us, I signed on for it (So I chose to waive my 4th Amendment on my urine during my term of employment) but this was a more severe job where a false move could end or severely change my life or that of another.

    I can't see a drunk or drugged teacher doing even remotely the amount of harm a drunk forklift driver could do...but also I know that drunk math teacher of mine didn't teach me shit as far as calculus went...and I know my taxes and my neighbor's taxes help pay for his booze.

    My thoughts on the issue.

    Also love the comments, Barb. I'm sorry you have a personal troll in Mudrake, would be nice to add a few more left-of-center comments here, but I don't know how much he wants to play, vs. plain-old-trolling.

    I think you'll enjoy this place, Mike runs a really good show here.

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  17. Gee, you guys are nice! a rare blog! Hope I can survive here.

    But Mudly will tell you--I don't approve homosexual acts and gay marriage --and this is where I find most liberal bloggers get incensed with me and my Bible beliefs. I refuse to see my view as hateful as that is not my emotion or feeling on the issue --and I don't think it's Christian teaching that is responsible for the really hateful homophobia that leads to bashing, etc. I think it's more the kind of drunken bar-room animosity that bullies express toward anyone who's different --Ku Klux Klanner thinking --taliban thinking --but not Christian thinking. Christians name a lot of things as sin because the Bible does. But do not claim a license to hate or be cruel or kill sinners --since, by our doctrine, we're all guilty and equal at the foot of the Cross.

    As for your comments on teachers. Contracts used to require exemplary conduct from teachers. I can't think I'd want my kid taught by someone coming to school who smokes dope or comes drunk. I taught with a band director who would tell the kids how he filled up his trash can with beer bottles/cans over the weekend. Did he need to tell them that?

    I don't like the idea of drug screening teachers --they should be above that. But if they ARE coming to school stoned, start writing drug screening into the contract! what a shame, though.

  18. I worked as a supervisor in a warehouse for 2.5 years so I think I can comment a little on employees using drugs.

    Most company guidelines and contracts allow for drug testing with cause, but most organizations won't do it because of liability reasons.

    If the school district believed someone was on drugs, tested them and found out they weren't; they would probably be sued. So, they take the chicken way out and ask for "random" testing to be part of the contract, hoping the offenders will be caught during testing.

    This is one of those issues that have multiple layers, one of which is the over use and over reach of the courts in telling organizations how to run their business.

  19. Barb, Thanks for your comments on capital punishment. Your admitting that you have mixed feelings and so clearly describing why is certainly welcome as far as I'm concerned. Besides, you got Weer's vote, that's enough for me. If you do hang around here, you'll have plenty of chance to elaborate on the death penalty issue, I promise.

    On the topic of drug testing, though. Is there anyone who wouldn't mind that sort of thing? I would bristle at the mere mention of it. The fact that "I'm not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide" has nothing to do with it.

  20. Mike,

    As you knew I would, I'll bring it back to the 2nd amendment.

    On the topic of drug testing, though. Is there anyone who wouldn't mind that sort of thing? I would bristle at the mere mention of it. The fact that "I'm not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide" has nothing to do with it.

    How you feel about random drug testing is about how I feel also...and how I feel about having to get state approval to carry a firearm to protect myself.

    A few people are misusing drugs, so invade everyone's privacy, force them to sign away their inherent rights to privacy, against search and seizure; isn't that what you are recommending for those who want to carry firearms?