Friday, February 10, 2006


The New Times of San Luis Obispo County, Fla., is under fire for a cover story about meth. The alt-weekly published an article titled "Meth Made Easy."

The article starts out with the question, "Wonder why speed is everywhere these days? For one thing, it's simple to make." The point of the article was to answer the question of why, considering the risks and extreme hazards of making and taking meth, people still do it. However, people angry about the story said it treated the subject matter too light-heartedly, and called it an easy-to-get manual on how to make meth.

Judging from the response, the article did not accomplish its goal. The cover story of this week's issue is all about the controversy the story generated—not the intended subject of the story. Editor Jim Mullin in his response said that the story's tone may have had something to do with the furor:

"The absence of a scolding tone, I suspect, is what led many people to misread the story and misunderstand its significance. I also suspect our use of sarcasm, designed to hold reader interest, alienated some who believed the subject was too serious to be treated flippantly."

What bugs the Mailbox is how the newspaper is now the object of rage and disgust. Not the meth problem.

People were so mad about the article that they sent in droves of letters. Others "confiscated" thousands of copies. We could argue that the community is all too aware of the meth problem, thus the reaction was warranted. However, a problem that people won't talk about has even less of a chance of getting solved.

Though the Mailbox isn't sure it would have the cojones to publish the article, the Mailbox salutes the courage and community commitment that the staff of the New Times has. As for helping people find the arcane recipe for meth? Judge for yourself: Do your own Google search for a meth recipe and see how hard it is for you to find.

The News-Leader has run into this kind of reaction in the past as well when stories about meth's ingredients have been printed. Part of knowing why this drug is so dangerous is knowing all the junk that goes into it. Knowledge leads to better awareness.

But some don't see it that way, and they get upset. They think there's a secret recipe that can only be made a certain way, like Grandma's award-winning pies. As your Google search points out, there's a hundred different ways to make this junk and it's all dangerous.
You've been tagged, MoJoe!
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