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August 2006
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I’m going to the museum

So the DEA held a press conference today for the opening of the offensive DEA exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Of course, we weren’t allowed to attend. Press credentials required. They wouldn’t want to have to face any real questions.
A picture named DEA_targets_America.jpgHowever, they might have been a bit surprised. Several of the press that planned to attend had already talked to us prior to the press conference. I’d love to hear a report.
Here’s our press release and, of course, our response website: DEA Targets America.
I’m heading up there in a few hours and plan to be there all day Friday and Saturday — others will be joining me. Feel free to stop by and join in the fun. We’re taking a very non-confrontational approach — simply helping museum patrons learn more about the real costs of prohibition.
After all, as one report has already mentioned:

The goal of the exhibit, [DEA’s Garrison] Courtney added, was to spark conversations that might not have started at home.

We’ll be passing out flyers to spark conversations. As new articles about the exhibit come out in the press, those who can’t be at the exhibit passing out flyers, can engage a conversation through letters to the editor.
Update: Chicago Tribune gives it a mostly promo-piece by Josh Noel, but it does include:

A heavy effort is made to link drugs to terrorism, and near an enormous image of Osama bin Laden it is noted that Al Qaeda has thrived in the drug trade. But the connection isn’t always as clear: In the “Impact on the World” display, images from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks sit beside a photo described as “addicts getting high.”
Even Bensinger had a hard time explaining it.
The exhibit also includes browned and distorted pieces of the World Trade Center, which sit in the middle of the hall beside pieces of the Pentagon.
The link between drugs and those pieces of wreckage seems circuitous at best, leading critics to say the exhibit is more like propaganda than an objective treatment of the topic.

2nd Update: Sun Times comes out (and they’re one of the sponsors).

The exhibit has already been shown in several cities, most recently Detroit. It has drawn criticism from some groups that say it’s more DEA publicity than education and that it ignores the argument that criminalizing drugs creates the lucrative, underground trade that ends up financing terrorism.
Tandy discounted the criticism. “I think it’s hard for these groups because the facts aren’t on their side. That’s all they can say.”

What a blatant dodge to avoid answering the criticism! Facts aren’t on our side? Try going to http://www.DEAtargetsAmerica.com and saying that.

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