Lum: The minority rules |

Lum: The minority rules

Su Lum

Hearing on the Colorado news that a man suffering from reefer madness killed his wife, that a fourth grader was popped for selling pot in school and that an extraction operation designed to make edible marijuana had exploded, I thought, “Well, that’s that.”

We were going along nicely, enjoying the unanticipated tax windfall, and a few idiots screw up and ruin it for everybody else. In the end, the tax revenues may win the battle, but the war against Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws is clearly beginning — you can hear the trumpets in the distance.

Murder, mayhem and children’s access to a dangerous drug, say the abolitionists, are what Colorado will reap after sowing the seeds of this freedom of choice.

I’m not sure when overreaction became our mode of operation, but I blame it on the Tylenol poisonings of 1982. Some wingnut thought it would be a cute idea to randomly put poison in a few bottles of Tylenol and then sit back and see what happened.

He probably got the delightful surprise of his life when his efforts were rewarded by the repackaging of every ingestible item on our nation’s shelves, making it virtually impossible for anyone to open anything without scissors or special tools (antique ice picks find a new use) to get to the aspirin to cure the headaches these tamper-proof devices have caused.

Society seems to have gone progressively nuts at a time when we all should be enjoying more leisure thanks to labor-saving devices such as the washing machine (my personal favorite) and computers. Maybe we need more wars, and to bring back the draft and put the fear into everybody and get everybody working for the war effort so they won’t have time to sit around thinking up schemes like putting poison in Tylenol bottles.

We’ve scared people out of smoking; how about scaring them out of shooting each other? If you could do it for cigarettes, surely we could do it for guns? Apparently not.

One guy sticks matches in his shoes and next day, guess what, everybody getting onto an airplane has to take their shoes off to be examined for explosives. Somebody suggested that all passengers should just strip naked and be done with it. That could be fun if the airlines would turn up the heat and bring back those sweet blankets that they used to hand out so lavishly.

Once I flew first class using earned miles, and I was surprised to receive a full complement of silverware including a genuine metal serrated knife. Those in second class, of course, get the harmless little plastic sets. And now for a hefty fee, frequent passengers can “buy” their way out of the lines and the shoe removal and maybe can even take their hand cream on board.

Is the implication here that only the poor are terrorists and that the terrorists are too stupid to be able to pass for rich?

Back to the point, more or less: I don’t like marijuana, myself, but I like random overreactions even less and, like prohibition (which lasted 15 years), it can happen in the blink of an eye, so keep those eyes wide open.

Su Lum is a longtime local rambler. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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