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It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.
Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.
Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
Poisonous alcohol still kills—16 people died just this month after drinking lethal booze in Indonesia, where bootleggers make their own brews to avoid steep taxes—but that’s due to unscrupulous businessmen rather than government order.
Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.
Originally posted by Heartisblack
Umm, if it was moonshine, yes it can make you sick.
Originally posted by mnemeth1
reply to post by JibbyJedi
Lets not make the mistake of equating people doing harm to themselves with the State doing intentional harm to its citizens.
While smoking may be deadly, the State has no right to tell private citizens what they may or may not consume; even if what those citizens decide to consume is poisonous to their own health.
edit on 31-8-2011 by mnemeth1 because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Americanist
Up until what point? Do you think my parents wanted to be locked in the back seat of a car with no a/c... My grandparents chain smoking up front with their windows cracked? I think not... After my Mom almost died of asthma it's fact over opinion. Same goes with neighbors two units down from me. First off, they smoke some potent skunk, so they're not all together there at times... Secondly, it's an accident waiting to happen. We have dry bamboo shoots and shrubs that are the targets for their cigarette buttes. I'm in Texas... Care to turn on the news? Furthermore, I don't want smoke permeating my clothes, furniture, and lungs. I certainly don't want my possessions ablaze.
The State has the right to pass Laws for the common good. I dare say to prevent idiocrasies from getting the best of us. Don't confuse yourself... Common sense prevails or we simply perish. History and the loss of life should be your main indicators.edit on 31-8-2011 by Americanist because: (no reason given)