LETíS GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT right from the off: I donít ever want to see kids (or almost anybody else) getting hurt in the name of enjoying themselves. I take my own fun very seriously, and the idea that you could become injured or worse just because you were trying to enjoy yourself is a shocker. And yet it happens. Anybody who can keep kids safe while allowing them to continue to have fun should be on a winner.
So I can see where the idea of pill-checking came from as a means of harm minimisation. The idea is that kids rock up to a music festival and, while they have their bags searched, they can also submit their Go-Go Pills to a government-funded grown-up who can test them and make sure theyíre not going to leave junior lying in the mosh-pit, frothing from the gills until the stretcher arrives.
The counter argument is that the consumption of illicits Ė even in the name of fun Ė is illegal, and offering to perform a free quality test is simply encouraging illegal behaviour. I can see both sides of this. But thereís a real simple solution Ė donít take drugs, kids. Yeah, right...
Itís true, of course; laying off the eccies would reduce the harm. No-brainer. But so would hunting down the shitbags who cook this toxic muck in suburban kitchens all over the country. And shooting them. Seriously, how can a police force that can track a high-IQ whitecollar crim across three continents and be waiting for him at the airport bar be unable to identify and corner some brain-fried douchenozzle when he staggers down to the shop in his dressing gown for his Winny Blues and 400 boxes of cold-and-flu tablets?
In any case, just saying no (thanks Nancy Reagan) is firing marshmallows at the Town Hall. Nothing is going to stop youngsters scoffing a palm-full of happy beans at a three-dayer. So it looks like pill-checking might be a wise move. If you canít stop illegal conduct, at least make it safe, right?
Okay, fine. But here it is from my angle. As a bloke who pays more tax than the first three rows of a music festival, I want my questionable behaviour treated in the same manner. I like to drive quickly, so I need the government to build a workshop where I can wheel my car in and have it checked over by a scientist to make sure nothing is going to go wrong as I tip it into a hairpin. I want it for free and it canít lead to any further attempt by the law to stop me, even though theyíll know exactly what Iíll be up to. Just like pill-checking.
Iím thinking a big workshop facility at the start of the Putty Road and another one at the entrance to the Alpine Way. For starters. And if it proves successful, then just as the government has done for the illicit drug industry with safe injecting rooms, we can move on to safe burnout cul-de-sacs where I can drop a few skids while an emergency crew watches and steps in to haul me clear of the burning wreck when it all goes wrong.
Just like the festival ravers, I need to have the law-makers understand that Iím not about to stop my quest for fun just because itís dangerous and illegal. Why should I? Face it, all these activities occur because weíre fundamentally bored first-world risk-takers. And thatís not our fault. Er, is it?