There seems to be a lot of concern for the rights of the millionaire businessman who is attempting to use loopholes in the law to make money at the great expense of others who want nothing to do with his business, but are forced to carry the burden of his business model. Jim Carlson hides behind a dubious technicality claiming that the poison he is selling at the Last Place on Earth is OK because the chemists keep playing Russian roulette with his customers by changing the chemical compounds on a regular basis.
A true libertarian wouldn’t hide behind technicalities of the law – they would take full, personal responsibility for their actions. Carlson has a business model in which he is making millions and externalizing costs onto the community. Because of his business model, other businesses are struggling, the government pays for the emergency health care for uninsured addicts, and our public sidewalks and parks are taken over by people getting high, selling drugs, and harassing other folks who want no part of his business – yet are forced to absorb the costs that Carlson is imposing on them.
Our downtown has become a magnet for addicts across the region. They come here, they get high and then they panhandle until they can get high again. His business model clearly puts a tremendous burden on everyone else in the neighborhood who are just trying to mind their own business.
Do we justify what is right or wrong based upon our own financial interests? Is it OK to expect others to take on the burden of our actions as long as we can claim some sort of dubious legality? Who is paying the cost of the emergency room visits? On the other side of the ledger, who is making money?
High-profile lawyers often use public PR campaigns to try to create a legal advantage. Randall Teague has a notorious reputation for using media and PR stunts. When you pay your attorney $200+ an hour to work on your case, you’re paying for a lot of sophistication as to how to influence the case to your advantage. Does anyone doubt that Teague is doing everything he can in Duluth to advocate for his client?
My question to John Ramos is an honest one – I would like to know if Carlson/Teague are paying him for his advocacy. I have not received a response. Given the very public nature of this debate, I think it is a legitimate question that deserves an honest response.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with head shops as long as they are operated in a way that doesn’t force other people to be burdened by the operation. Unfortunately, in this case, there are a lot of people taking on the burden of his operations. Those people don’t have millions to throw around to protect their rights and they don’t have a fancy lawyer to spin their perspective through the media and online.
Quick example – just one of dozens of examples I’ve heard, and I’m sure hundreds more that I haven’t heard about:
I spoke to a young woman a couple weeks ago … Her work required her to walk by the LPOE to work with her client (who has a disability) at the Center for Independent Living next door to the LPOE. She told me how she was harassed by several men and groped at by a person who she described as “obviously high out of his mind.” She was terrified and when telling me the story started sobbing even though it had happened the week before.
She has every right to walk this sidewalk. She has every right to be downtown without the fear of being assaulted. Because of the way he is choosing to operate his business, Carlson is making money at her expense.
What rights does she have? Who should protect her rights?