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They poisoned his dog?

A researcher was studying the effects of rat poison on wildlife in California — it turns out that all the illegal marijuana crops raised there, without any regulatory oversight, are being treated for pests by crooked farmers who just fling bags of persistent poisons around, killing wildlife. These farmers did not like that Mourad Gabriel was pointing out the harm they were doing to the environment, so they self-righteously accused him of collaborating with the hated feds, threatened him, and his family, and poisoned his pet dog.

There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

I want to hurt these awful people even more, and I have a suggestion for revenge. Legalize marijuana. It’ll kill much of their profits and put them under the thumb of agricultural regulatory agencies.


In other drug news, an anti-drug organization called recovery.org has launched a self-defeating campaign to show the awful effects of drugs. Their tactic? Take 100 mug shot photos from police files (which already don’t exactly show people at their best), and then…average the faces together to produce a composite of what the typical pot-smoker, alcohol-drinker, or meth abuser looks like.

I think you can immediately see the flaw in this proposal. Average faces look beautiful.

averagedmugs

OMG, they all look prettier than I do! And meth looks like it must be a great weight loss drug! You can’t even tell that everyone in the top row must be a puppy-murderer.

I’m going on my marijuana-meth-&-vodka diet tonight, as soon as I get home.

Comments

  1. Bicarbonate is back says

    Legalize!!!!

    Sales taxes on the products would be great for gov. revenues too.

  2. Bicarbonate is back says

    P.s. The marijuana arrests are prettier than the others. Just goes to show.

  3. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    That appears to confirm that women arrested for DUI tend not to get quite enough sleep the night before their arrest, and that men arrested for anything have crew-cuts.

    And that anyone arrested for anything is quite good looking.

    So, er… ‘grats and that, recovery.org.

  4. Roestigraben says

    So they wanted to show the mean face of substance abuse, but settled for the average face instead?

  5. says

    Could you at least drink something good?

    I suspect that most of those arrested for drinking were guzzling rotgut of the lowest quality, so to get the full beautifying effect, I’m probably going to have to get some Everclear and sweeten it up with brown sugar. Is that good?

  6. Ryan Jean says

    “…and poisoned his pet dog.”

    If the rest of the story is accurate, they could have accomplished this by simply leading the dog back to their poisoned marijuana grows and just letting it wander around…

    No matter how they did it, though, that is just a sick, twisted thing to do.

  7. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    They were already killing wildlife and wantonly making money in a most illegal way and I can’t imagine that growing marijuana is the worst thing they do, so poisoning a dog probably wasn’t either a stretch or a moral dilemma. Awful scum.
    ____

    What’s with the vodka hate? Mmm, Jamison. Gasoline.

  8. unclefrogy says

    absolutely agree I do. Also agree with the late conservative W.F. Buckley which feels very strange indeed. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTyucBinXnY)
    But the reasoning behind legalization is inescapable the costs being what they are and the effectiveness being what it is make it clear. The only argument left to use which I suspect has been the real root argument against all along is a moral/religious one. It is being demonstrated daily that it is about as effective as abstinence only sex education preventing teen pregnancy.

    uncle frogy

  9. Doubting Thomas says

    Just my impression, but the Marijuana users do look the happier of the three.

  10. astro says

    “I’m going on my marijuana-meth-&-vodka diet tonight, as soon as I get home.”

    technically, since the “beautiful” people include DUI arrests, you need to start before your drive home.

  11. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The only argument left to use which I suspect has been the real root argument against all along is a moral/religious one.

    There’s also straight-up racism, which was the public face of the original marijuana prohibition campaign – jazz musicians getting white women high to seduce them, etc. (The real motivation, of course, was that William Randolph Hearst had heavily invested in wood-pulp based industries and hemp-based products turned out to be superior, so he had to invent an argument for criminalizing it rather than accept the outcome of the free market.)

  12. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And that anyone arrested for anything is quite good looking.

    …and probably white, oddly enough.

  13. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    If we averaged the averages, would the beauty become so beauteous that it wouldn’t even be relatable?

    What if we took averages like these from other countries? And then averaged all of that?

    Would the sight of the most beautiful human ever be so disturbingly impressive that the quest for that ideal would ultimately be the demise of us?

    Someone write that script for The Twightlight Zone.

  14. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    The whiteness of those averages. Does anyone suspect that that image might undermine some people’s narrative?

    Like, racist narrative or something.

  15. Dunc says

    Say what you like about meth, it is a great weight-loss drug. There are a number of side-effects though, some of which can be quite unpleasant.

  16. says

    Thomathy #16
    That’s about all it’s going to do. Averaging the faces like that pretty much eliminates the ‘ravages of drugs’ look, which I expect is what they were aiming for.

  17. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Say what you like about meth, it is a great weight-loss drug. There are a number of side-effects though, some of which can be quite unpleasant.

    On the other hand, it’s less effective than sodium hydroxide, but with a more tolerable side effect profile.

  18. Dauphni says

    Wow, those cannabis and alcohol faces look exactly the same to me, though the former does seem to be a bit cheerier…

  19. unclefrogy says

    the quest for the most beautiful creature or individual is one of the criteria through which evolution works to decide who gets to pass on their genes termed sexual selection.
    An interesting aspect would be to try and separate the universal characteristics of human beauty from the cultural values.

    dunc.There use to be many prescription Diet pills available that were basically meth-amphetamines with or without an addition of a tranquilizer they worked the same as the the street kind
    uncle frogy

  20. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re “weight loss”:
    Maybe meth, but EVERYONE KNOWS that “”MaryJane”” [scary scary quotes on purpose!] gives the toker the munchies to eat everything in sight; mostly chips and cookies and icecream, and Brownies can do double duty.
    -
    Re OP:
    -
    are those really Averages of all the drugbusts? I thought the stats showed far more colors being arrested for drug use than the larger population of lily-white drug abusers. Shouldn’t the “average” be much ‘shadier’? Are they trying to Poe us? Showing how drug use can make you beautiful while all the lamestream media tells you it is a bad thing to drug out? -.-.-.- /snark
    -
    The only current objection I see to cannabis is DUI. They’ll say “Legal OK, but driving while stoned NOT OK, and we need a THC breathalyzer before all those potheads drive cars into ME!” Time to confess: In my “olden days” of toking frequently; I’d sometimes drive my car totally stoned. My experience was I would drive very slow and paranoid while so high; but drunk was just the opposite: reckless and fast; not caring at all. I tend to generalize that everyone on THC would drive slower than DWI’ers. Maybe driving worse, but slower is better than faster: ‘speed kills’ donchano. Still, to keep justifimicating: with so many DUI deaths everywhere all the time, who would notice a few more from slow stoners? Or are they just afraid the slow driving stoners will ‘get in the way’ of all the drunkers, becoming unwitting targets of the alcohol fueled torpedoes??? —take it away Cheech (and Chong)….

  21. says

    I’m sure most everyone thought of it, but I’ll go ahead and say that seems likely to me that these averages have smooth skin because any blemish in any particular location would be heavily suppressed by the majority who lack a matching blemish. Thinking about it, though, blemishes aren’t randomly distributed, so that’s something else to factor in.

    I am curious about the racial factor. I’d like to see the raw faces used, how they selected them, and so on. My cynical side suspects they might have selected mostly white faces because A) the selectors were white people who didn’t see any contrast in minority faces, so they didn’t have any “stand out” examples of drug ravaged minorities, or B) they selected mostly white faces in hopes of discouraging white people from doing drugs, since drugs are allegedly a minority thing according to popular stereotypes.

  22. zibble says

    We all knew that stuff made *other people* more beautiful.

    Those composite photos do look like they’re being viewed through beer goggles.

  23. unclefrogy says

    as to the racial make up of the averaged pictures depends on exactly what they are averaging. all those who were stopped and taken into custody for drug position or conviction or sentenced.
    I would suspect that if you broke those groups down to arrested, arrested and convicted and fined and those arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison time . the averaged appearance might be some what different
    uncle frofy

  24. Desert Son, OM says

    PZ posted:

    average the faces together to produce a composite

    Psssst! recovery.org! Three words in a helpful tip for the future:

    Introductory. Statistics. Course.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  25. says

    The composite marijuana arrests are most appealing, to me. It is difficult to read much from a face, or a composite face, but their softened brows and sympathetic eyes suggest a broad and compassionate perspective; one that implies sympathy and patience for its accusers all the while anticipating that future generations will intuitively consider non-violent drug arrests to be cruel and usual. Not that I would know anything of this.

    PZ: I seem to recall some time ago you also mentioning an LSD, shroom, and marijuana party at your place? Don’t freak out, man!

  26. Jacob Schmidt says

    That’s not really all that surprising. Any “ugliness” caused by drug use is going to be random. Even if each of those 300 people was “ugly,” they’d be “ugly” in different ways; it all averages out, in the end.

    Though really, “DRUGS WILL MAKE YOU UGLY” is just a silly tactic.

  27. Jacob Schmidt says

    From their methodology:

    Mugshots were restricted to caucasian arrestees between the ages of 18 and 35 to mitigate the influence of race and age on the merged images, and helped ensure that the averages provided a clearer insight on the physical effects that different substances might have.

    What the fuck?

  28. Al Dente says

    So the composite stoner, meth head and drunk driver appears to be white, mid to late 20s, clean shaven and crew-cut if male, has wispy hair if female, and is averagely good looking.

  29. says

    @22

    A study run in England confirmed that people driving on weed tend to drive more cautiously than they do when not high, and are equally safe either way, except on long, straight, boring sections where they have a tendency to zone out and drift out of their lane. Except for the ability to concentrate on boring things, marijuana causes insufficient impairment to outweigh the paranoia it causes.

    Of course, I have no idea if the study was done on indica or sativa, and since the two have very different impact on the human body that certainly presents a potential confound.

  30. busterggi says

    Didn’t that same study indicate that drivers who were stoned caused accidents by uncontrolled stopping at convenience stores for Cheetos?

  31. frog says

    In addition to the notions pointed out above re: the “ugly” bits are unique and therefore disappear in the averages, there also seems to be a strong “vaseline on the lens” effect. Everyone looks good seen through fog!

    I think the pot smokers look cuter because the munchies make them a little heavier on average, which translates to fuller, more youthful-looking faces.

  32. firstapproximation says

    Average faces look beautiful.

    Part of this may be due to the fact that irregularities get averaged out and the skin also becomes smoothed.

  33. says

    I got sick from medical marijuana and changed dispensaries to a small one that has all meds tested at a state-certified lab to make sure there’s no pesticides, fungicides, etc., no chemical fertilizers… and tests for THC and CBD profile… listing all results, only carrying certified tested clean organic.

    Organic is a buzzword elsewhere…. but for medical cannabis it can make a huge difference. Some of the other stuff is so full of toxins.

  34. ButchKitties says

    A drug that causes the munchies would actually be really useful for me. Two of the more annoying side effects of some of my meds are loss of appetite combined with changes to the way things taste.

  35. thomas21 says

    Wow! if it weren’t for the blurry face syndrome, those people would be solid 8 or 9s.

  36. weatherwax says

    I question whether the people currently farming are going to change their methods when the crop becomes legal. They’re also prone to dump diesel into the creeks, and throw their trash around rather randomly. That’s often how the farms are tracked down.

    Funny thing is I used to favor legalizing it, then I went to Humboldt State and lived in Humboldt County for 10 years. I’m opposed to legalizing it now.

  37. Jacob Schmidt says

    Funny thing is I used to favor legalizing it, then I went to Humboldt State and lived in Humboldt County for 10 years. I’m opposed to legalizing it now.

    Why?

  38. carlie says

    You know, this is the kind of thing that could be used as an anti-drug campaign, if the message was “The people who get addicted to drugs are people just like you. They thought they could handle it ‘just this one time’. It’s easier to get hooked than you think. Don’t become a crime statistic”. You know, something like that, something that makes you see yourself in that merged image. You know, the opposite of what they actually did.

  39. says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Why?

    I don’t know the specific reasons Weatherwax has, but Humboldt County is a core producer of weed, has been for many decades now. Some pretty bad shit has been done by those growing weed out that way.

    At any rate, I’d say that’s all the more reason to legalize it, not less.

  40. says

    ” I’m opposed to legalizing it now.”

    When I was 18 I suffered injuries that required emergency abdominal surgery. I developed adhesions that caused me to be hospitalized three more times, the last time requiring another emergency surgery to open a total bowel obstruction. That of course leads to more adhesions, bu there was of course no choice.

    For the next 30 years I suffered DAILY stomach pain and problems.
    From my very first job to the last, these problems threatened those jobs.
    Eventually that and other illness made me disabled.

    30 years of pain every day. 30 years of 2-3 days or nights a week spent in the bathroom. Warnings from bosses for too much bathroom time. Spending 12 hours at work every day just to complete my 8 hour day when understanding bosses allowed flexibility.

    Days of can’t-get-out-of-bed and can’t-leave-the-bathroom pain and other problems too TMI to discuss.
    NOTHING doctors could do except tell general diet advice.

    Now, when I get pains that WOULD have signaled an entire day wasted in pain, I can step out on the porch, take a few puffs, and not only does the pain go away, I get hungry so I can eat (unthinkable otherwise) which helps get everything back on track.

    Closest things to a miracle drug, at least for stomach problems, I’ve ever had. Also helps the nausea from my Meniere’s Disease.

    I was thinking of stopping using it. My county medicare-paid doctor advised me NOT to. He says flat-out that there is NOTHING that he can prescribe to compare. Bentyl is often prescribed but more out of desperation, really is of no help to cramps and adhesions – more for nausea. My government doctor told me not to stop… he was very concerned that I’d become even more isolated (besides the pain aspect)

    Your position sentences me to whatever decades left of my life spent in daily debilitating pain/

    Thanks a lot.

  41. says

    (I didn’t make clear that when I moved to CA 4 years ago, I was able to get a MMJ recommendation from my doc, ending that 30 years of fucking horror. Somewhat, anyway.)

  42. says

    Jafafa Hots:

    My county medicare-paid doctor advised me NOT to. He says flat-out that there is NOTHING that he can prescribe to compare.

    My neurologist knows I smoke weed when my spinal pain gets too much to bear, and I’d have to take a very dangerous amount of my scrip meds to get the relief it often provides. Like your doctor, he’s advised me to keep some on hand. My internist flat out told me it would help when my pancreas started acting up. I’d much prefer not to have to risk arrest and jail for simply trying to manage my pain and increase my quality of life.

    I don’t think people such as ourselves are much thought about when it comes to legalizing weed.

  43. says

    Wondering…

    Why did these drug users average out to be caucasian?
    (I know we use more drugs more often than anyone, but still, I suspect some data manipulation)

  44. says

    Inaji, you CAN however go into Walgreens and buy a bottle of acetaminophen which kills people every year and causes liver damage sometimes requiring transplant.

    And you can buy it right along with your Peanut M&Ms when you’re 13 years old.

  45. says

    Jafafa Hots:

    Inaji, you CAN however go into Walgreens and buy a bottle of acetaminophen which kills people every year and causes liver damage sometimes requiring transplant.

    Yep. I’m already on dangerously high levels of ibuprofen, which is one of the reasons my docs don’t quibble over the weed. It’s way safer. (And a hella lot more effective, too.)

  46. Holms says

    OWN GOAL! Those faces look great; the worst I can say is that Meth Woman looks a bit tired.

  47. weatherwax says

    I should clarify that I support the use of medicinal marijuana, though it should be properly tested for different conditions. And the government has made sure that it hasn’t been.

    In brief, among other issues, I got tired of dealing with drop outs who wanted to do nothing more than to smoke pot all day and believed the rest of us should pay for it. And will lie and steal without a second thought to get their next hit.

    Forget the joke about pot smokers being mellow. Most of them are, but there are also a lot who have the opposite reaction. The most violent, explosive tantrums I’ve seen were pot smokers coming down.

    Yes, it may increase your tax base for awhile. But what do you do when the same people who are growing it illegally now keep growing it illegally and selling it under the table?

    #52 Jafafa Hots: “you CAN however go into Walgreens and buy a bottle of acetaminophen which kills people every year and causes liver damage sometimes requiring transplant.”

    I am a little surprised to see the ‘drugs have side effects but weed’s natural’ argument here, but only a little.

  48. says

    Weatherwax:

    I am a little surprised to see the ‘drugs have side effects but weed’s natural’ argument here, but only a little.

    That’s not what’s going on. It was pointing out that substances which have a proved, known ability to cause serious organ damage and death are easily available to anyone, which is yet another reason weed should be legal, at the very least, medically legal and easily available, especially considering that it’s less dangerous to people than dosing on acetaminophen.* No one said anything about the naturalness of weed, or made that argument.
     
    *Fuck, I had a brother-in-law who committed suicide with a bottle of aspirin.

  49. weatherwax says

    #57 Inaji: “…that it’s less dangerous to people than dosing on acetaminophen.”

    Is it? I’d like to see the studies that show what the effects of long term use are.

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your brother-in-law.

  50. unclefrogy says

    well it is less dangerous than Jim Beam or no worse than tobaco the nicotine derived from tobaco used to be widely available in nurseries as an insecticide.
    the stuff is as easy to grow as corn or chrysanthemums.

    so the averaged photos are all white big surprise not.
    uncle frogy

  51. JohnnieCanuck says

    The number of people coming to conclusions as to why the faces are so white only goes to show how many didn’t read the link in the OP, as referenced by Jacob Schmidt @32. The number of people commenting about it after comment #32 shows how few read comments before posting.

    The researchers limited the images to an age range of Caucasian people.

    I’m going to assume this comment will also be ineffective in stopping the observations about their apparent race. :{

  52. Jacob Schmidt says

    The researchers limited the images to an age range of Caucasian people.

    I’m still scratching my head as to why.

  53. Al Dente says

    So instead of an average face of male and female stoners, meth heads and drunk drivers we see only an average face of some stoners, etc. That certainly makes a point about something or other.

  54. robinjohnson says

    Do we know that legalisation would kill much of their profits? Surely the overheads caused by being illegal are pretty damn high.

  55. says

    Legalize marijuana

    Late to the party, but the last election cycle where legalization in California was proposed, there was a large push back from the pot framers in the Humboldt region. There is a lot of money to be made in back markets

  56. says

    Surely the overheads caused by being illegal are pretty damn high.

    What overhead would that be? I know (have known) many growers (both legal and not) in the state. I can’t think of any extra cost to doing it illegally. Actually, it usually costs less in an illegal grow op, as power is usually stolen (as power usage is the number 1 signaler of growing) in illegal setups. Really, no extra cost I can think of.

  57. weatherwax says

    One of the new trends in northern California is to rent a house, gut it, and turn it into one big grow operation.

    Because they have no official income, they qualify for energy programs for low income people.

    If the operation gets discovered, they walk away and leave the landlord with a condemned house.

  58. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @robinjohnson #64

    Do we know that legalisation would kill much of their profits? Surely the overheads caused by being illegal are pretty damn high.

    It’s not so much the overheads (as JJ831 says); it’s more the fact that they simply won’t sell any. Who on Earth is going to buy weed from an illegal dealer when you can get it perfectly legally from the local corner shop? The dealers don’t sell any, then the distributors don’t sell any, then the illegal growers don’t sell any.

  59. unclefrogy says

    it would my guess that for the illegal growers and the current legal licensed growers complete legalization would not be a great benefit long term. because for anyone who wants herb and has access to at minimum a sunny balcony or led grow lights and a place to put 2 plants they can very easily produce 2 to 5 pounds of bud in a season which is lot of bud.
    it is as easy as tomatoes on chrysanthemums to grow and way less complicated than beer is to ferment
    uncle frogy

  60. weatherwax says

    #69 Thumper: Token Breeder: “Who on Earth is going to buy weed from an illegal dealer when you can get it perfectly legally from the local corner shop?”

    The stuff from the corner store is highly taxed. If you can buy it for half as much, or less, from your buddy down the street, most people will buy it from their buddy.

    #70 unclefrogy: “because for anyone who wants herb and has access to at minimum a sunny balcony or led grow lights and a place to put 2 plants they can very easily produce 2 to 5 pounds of bud in a season which is lot of bud.”

    Exactly.

  61. says

    The stuff from the corner store is highly taxed. If you can buy it for half as much, or less, from your buddy down the street, most people will buy it from their buddy.

    Oh yes, it worked that way with alcohol, didn’t it? Why, there’s a ‘shiner on every fucking corner. Most people don’t want to go to jail, y’know.

  62. robinjohnson says

    JJ831 and Thumper: thanks. I guess I was going on the simplistic idea that if it were legalised, the same growers would just start selling it legally. The price would go down, and they’d be taxed, but they’d have a bigger market and wouldn’t have to spend so much on, er, guns and sunglasses and bribing officials and stuff? But yeah, the American mafia didn’t all open liquor stores when Prohibition ended, I suppose.

  63. weatherwax says

    #73 Inaji: There’s a huge difference between growing marijuana and brewing alcohol. Even so, see the TV show ‘Moonshiners’.

  64. robinjohnson says

    Forgot to add, more seriously: they also wouldn’t live in danger of going to prison, which has got to be worth a bit of a salary cut.