Salem witch hunts


17 year(s) ago

It's funny how history goes in cycles. I was just watching a History channel show on the witch hunts, and as the story progressed, I realized there is a pretty direct correlation between the prosecution (or persecution) of "witches" back then, and drug users today. Profit was a definite motivator in the witch hunts. Sheriff George Corwyn confiscated all kinds of personal property from the accused witches while they were in jail awaiting trial. Today, a person accused of a drug crime can have their car or their home seized and auctioned without bothering to find the person guilty first, due to Civil Forfeiture laws. The homes of those close to the accused witches could also be seized, and today, if the alleged drug crime occurred in someone else's home or car, they can still be seized and sold, regardless of whether the owner knew about or authorized the illegal activity. After the mania was over, and many of the accusers had recanted and apologized, Sheriff Corwyn kept the property he had confiscated. Today, even if a person is acquitted of drug possession, after having property seized, the most they can get back is the price the item fetched at auction, rather than fair market value. Those accused witches who confessed, and named others as witches were usually not found guilty. I know of a man who was charged with possessing in excess of 5,000 doses of LSD, who never did a day behind bars, because he confessed and named others. Accused witches in jail were expected to pay for their own room and board. Many drug offenders today are expected to pay for the "privilige" of being incarcerated in their own homes. Now, as then, freedom is delayed for those who cannot afford to pay their debt to society, literally. The label of "witch" stuck around, even on those exonerated. Likewise, though I later produced both a ssript and a prescription bottle, in my name, for 2 pills I was charged with possessing, and the charge was dropped, anyone searching for my criminal history still sees that I was charged with "possession of cocaine or controlled substance." (That's assuming they don't get the $2 version, which only has room for the first two words of the charge.) The label doesn't go away. Thoughts?

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