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Author Topic: The Decline of Home Chemistry  (Read 51518 times)

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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2005, 03:01:01 PM »

Do you think it is appropriate to be subject to search at any time if you register that you have glassware or phosphorus?
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Taaie-Neuskoek

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2005, 12:46:58 AM »

The law in The Netherlands doesn't say anything concerning a lab in your house, however, tehy will probably get aal the chems out of your house here because you didn't store tehm acording regulations.

On the dutch forum I heard a story that a guy's house was searched by the police after they were tipped by an aquintance of that guy. The police took everything, and the charges agianst him were that he could have made explosives with it. However, he won the case as the court based his findings only on the labels he had put on his chemicals, but they didn't actually check the content.
A week later they've searched his house again, took samples of everyhting, and they went to court again.
Now they put up against him that he wanted to make molotov coctails because he had a jerrycan of gasoline, some glass jars and some rags in his garage.. :o. I don't know the ending....
Though the defence agains this would be easy, just go and search every house in my street, and report what you find. I'd bet you will find enough chemicals to make a massive bonfire!

Here a story from Sciencemadness, currently the Gestape hunts down 700 people who ordered stuff from a chemocal supplier who did things illegal and got busted. Here is the story:
Quote
It's a long story, and a sad one.

Quite some time ago, there was an online chemical supplier with the nickname"chemonline" which was run by an individual, S.K.
It had a large selection of important base chemicals, like NaOH, KOH, H2SO4, HNO3, H2O2, lots of different salts , but also some otherwise hard to get solvents like methanol (very hard to get in germany), diethylether, chloroform and more. Also interesting chemicals like NaNO2.
Metal powders and various oxidisers (KNO3, KClO3...) were also in the sortiment, as well as red phosphorus.
The great thing about this shop were the prices. They were fantastically low (like 10$ for 250g red P), because he ordered everything in industrial quantities and repackaged it. It enabled people with a very limited budget, like young chemists still in school, to experiment with a variety of chemicals which would otherwise be unaccessible due to price and lack of companies who ship to individuals.
Amateur chemistry was flowering at these times.
Of course this shop was illegal (but only for S.K.!), and he also valued the security of his customers by not saving any information about the ordered chemicals.

Then he got busted. It was a sad day, and the end of easy and cheap access to chemicals.

Then now, more than a year after this incident (!!!), suddenly a lot of fellow chemists get their house searched because they ordered from there. The search warrants (normally quite hard to get for a police officer in germany) reason this with "suspicion that the individual is making pyrotechnical devices and mixtures without a licence".
The absolutely ridiculous thing about this is that the police knows NOTHING about which chems were ordered, and they still get a search warrant.
They just know the names of the ones who ordered there from his bank account where he received the money.
S.K. had about a thousand customers in entire germany, and ALL of them will get their house searched, (me too, it can likely be tomorrow).
No further suspicion, just the fact that they ordered "chemicals" now is enough for a search warrant.
The chemicals were always confiscated.
Sometimes, an expert for explosives accompanied the cops and looked at the chems. They have no idea what chemical experiments could be performed with them, they just know what explosives can be made with them. They get very excited when they see acetone, as it can be made into an explosive very easily.
And I thought that the situation in america was bad...
This sudden turning of the BRD into a police state was very shocking for us.
And there is absolutely no media coverage of those events, everything is happening undercover. We do not want to address the media, because we were terribly betrayed by them once before where they showed us as the bad guys.

We will do our best to defend us, we will write letters to the ministry of education and research and the chemical society, and we will try to sue the state lawyers which are responsible for this criminalization campaign, and the judges which give out search warrants no matter how far-fetched the reason is.

We'll have to see what we can do.
This story was written by Garage Chemist, in this thread:http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=4396
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jdurg

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2005, 03:52:49 AM »

Do you think it is appropriate to be subject to search at any time if you register that you have glassware or phosphorus?

Those who are required to register their phosphorus quantities are suppliers; i.e. stores and distributors.  End-users are not required to register their supply.  The seller of the phosphorus is required to keep a record of how much of the stuff is sold and to whom.  This is to database the fact that Joe Shmoe bought x amount of phosphorus.  If enough probable cause exists, then they can use that evidence against him in a court case.  

If I'm an innocent person who is doing nothing illegal, then the chances of a random search don't bother me at all.  It's those who are doing illegal things that are always upset and uptight about this.  I have nothing to hide and make it well known that I have white phosphorus, red phosphorus, violet phosphorus, black phosphorus, uranium metal, iodine, nitric acid, etc. etc.  If the cops want to come to my door and look through everything, then be my guest.  I'd have fun showing them all my stuff.

Another thing to remember about stories you read is that they are typically exaggerated by at least one side in order to get sympathy.  I've read many, many stories about people being searched and their possessions seized, and they make it out to sound like they were innocent people who were doing nothing wrong.  A little research into the story indicates that it either never happened; the accused was actually making illegal compounds but failed to mention it; or the accused had a past history of illegal activities for which the warrant was justified.  

Now I'm not saying that every story you hear is made up and not true, but I'm saying to be very wary about 'A friend of a friend of mine's next door neighbor etc. etc.' type of stories without having any other 'supporting evidence'.
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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2005, 08:10:13 PM »

It sure is hard to separate urban myth type of stories from the real thing.

On the other hand, the postulate that “If I'm an innocent person who is doing nothing illegal, then I should have no worries from the law” seems naive.

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woelen

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2005, 08:39:35 PM »

I agree with jdurg to a large extent, but sometimes you can have bad luck. The story of the person, who has lost all his stuff, because of having some rags, glass bottles and gasoline in his garage seems a little bit bold to me, but certainly bad things can happen.

A person, who I know personally (and whom I have visited almost a year ago), was selling some nice glassware on a Dutch eBay-like site (www.marktplaats.nl). A few weeks, after he placed the advertisement on the marktplaats-site, he was visited by some official, who wanted to have a look at his house. This person insepected all his stuff, but nothing was taken away and no official warning was given to him. This happened approximately half a year ago. Up to now, however, nothing special happened anymore. The glassware still is offered on-line and he still has all his stuff. So, indeed, you can have the bad luck that someone wants to inspect your things, but taking away all of it or being put in custody is another matter. He also had quite some chems at home, but apparently these were not of a nature that further action needed to be taken. I know that he does nothing with pyrotechnics, and I think that is his great luck. Otherwise things would have looked quite different I'm afraid.

But on the other hand, if I were him, I would not like such an official visit at all (he also was not amused at all). I simply want that kind of persons to stay out of my house! But if such a person were to visit me, then I also would be very cooperative to him (her?) and be honest about what I'm doing (also referring to my Internet activities, my website etc.) showing that I have no bad intentions. In that case you have the best chance to get away with it.
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jdurg

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2005, 05:17:39 AM »

Exactly Woelen.  If you do get searched and you are acting all figidty and not able to put coherent sentences together, then you will leave a bit of question in the minds of the inspectors.  If you say to them that 'you mix this red phosphorus with a white powder and hit with a hammer to make it go KABOOM and see other neat chemistry stuff happen', you'll sound very suspicious.  Now if you say that you use the 'red phosphorus to form unique transition metal complexes with oxygen, nitrogen, and other organic polymers', you'll sound like an intelligent person.  (Now I just made that up right there, so don't take that as an actual line you would use).  But understand that if you come across as a complete amateur in the chemistry field you will look and appear to be like someone breaking the law.  Whether that's true or not doesn't matter.  If you come across with a great knowledge of the materials involved and actually show them what you're doing, then you'll look like a person with a legitimate use of the stuff and there would be nothing to worry about.

I personally don't worry because they can search my home all they want.  They'll find nothing illegal.  I don't understand how that can be considered 'naive' if one knows the law.  There is a part of the U.S. Constituation which declares unfounded searches and seizures illegal.  For a search, you just need some type of probably cause.  For a seizure, you need a HELLUVA lot more.  Now before you start talking about the 'Patriot Act', you must realize that the 'Patriot Act' doesn't give the government the absolute right to take anything they want.  They still have to have a 'without a doubt' provable reason for taking the items.  Even then, if the courts decide that there was no lawful reason to seize the items, they must be returned and the government gets into some serious issues.  All these new laws force the general public to learn some things about the legal system and actually understand what their rights are.  In a sense, that's a good thing.
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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2005, 03:10:20 PM »

Jdurg fortunately you do not live in Texas
also
I bet a real sharp law officer could find something illegal in your home.
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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2005, 07:09:55 PM »

Do you realize that if you live in some states, such as Texas you are not required to have a permit to buy a hand gun but you are required to have one in order to buy an Erlenmeyer flask or similar lab glassware?
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pantone159

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Borek

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2006, 07:18:29 AM »

Sad.

So far it doesn't look that hard in Poland.
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constant thinker

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2006, 10:39:34 AM »

Thank god I live in New Hampshire where our state motto is "Live Free or Die," otherwise we may have laws restricting things like glassware, chemicals, etc. Every time someone wants to try to come up with a bill to ban something there is usually a huge public out cry.

That is a sad story though, and the article does raise the point that the chemicals under your kitchen sink are really poisonous.
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Mitch

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2006, 11:17:50 AM »

Don't worry Chemical Forums will always be a home for responsible citizen science. We'll develop that side more as time goes on.
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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2006, 11:24:33 AM »

Appalling

The government does not have to pass laws to stop you. It just has to charge you with something and you have to decide whether to go broke hiring a lawyer or promise to quit what you are doing.

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Borek

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2006, 11:41:33 AM »

Don't worry Chemical Forums will always be a home for responsible citizen science. We'll develop that side more as time goes on.

In the worst case we can always move hosting to Poland ;)
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joeflsts

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2006, 04:12:43 PM »

My take on the hobby.. Half the fun is obtaining reagents.  In fact I think the research is almost as fun as the experiment itself.. well almost.  I'm not worried that we won't be able to continue our hobby... I'm worried that our youth may elect to specialize in video games rather than something that actually engages critical thinking..

Hey I'm going to be in your neck of the woods in June.

Joe
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