Bootlegger’s and Baptists XXIX- Arkansas and “Wet Counties”

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In the political process, many coalitions are symbiotic relationships that require the resources from both groups to successfully achieve results. The classic Bootleggers and Baptist  (1983) model best exemplify this very fact. However, there has always been the implication that this political relationship has always been one-sided. The Baptists do all the heavy lifting from a public relations standpoint, meanwhile, the Bootleggers lurk in the shadows as silent beneficiaries. Superficially it almost seems as if the Bootleggers are free riders how to prosper at the expense of those who risk their reputation for controversial positions. But typically in the political landscape of the United States morality isn’t enough. In the absence of adequate funding, a political campaign ends up being dead on arrival. Because money is required for advertising, organizing outreach events, and other means of communicating the campaign’s message. Often for what the Baptists lack in finances, the Bootleggers tend to contribute to the initiative. This is due to the Bootleggers frequently being involved in business and having a serious monetary stake in the issue. It would be a mistake to interpret this previous statement as a value judgment since anyone of us would do what we could to defend our paychecks.

One excellent example of this dynamic was detailed in the Spring 2021 issue of Regulation magazine (Vol 44, No. 1), published by the Cato Institute. Presented in the article Not So Unlikely Coalitions (p.12-15) written by economics professor Jeremy Horpedahl. The article focused on the legalization of alcohol in various counties throughout the state of Arkansas. Since the repeal of prohibition, the re-legalization of alcohol sales has been done incrementally at the county level. By state law, the legal status of alcoholic beverages can be altered by being voted on as a referendum. Similar to how the Marijuana relegalization issue is being handled now, except at lower level governance. For the initiative to appear on the ballot a petition must be signed by 38 % of the “.. jurisdiction’s voters..”. The author also notes that regionally voter turn is approximately less than 50 %, meaning that last-minute campaigns to halt the legalization process tend to be ineffective (p.14).

In Arkansas, the alliance between religious leaders and liquors stores in adjacent “wet counties” in Missouri have been proven to be effective. Both sides of the coalition found that it is better to direct campaigning efforts towards keeping the referendum on the ballot rather than beating it at the ballot box. Generally, once an initiative to re-legalize alcohol reaches the voters in Arkansas it tends to pass.  During the 2010s, Craighead, Crawford, Faulkner, Independence, Johnson, Randolph, and Yell counties all successfully prevented alcohol legalization from appearing on the ballot. Bootlegger interest groups easily raising over $100,000 to fund various PACs to defeat the bill before it even reaches the ballot box. Funds are being allotted to press interviews with local religious leaders and various media campaigns (p.14). It should be noted that areas that are landlocked between other dry counties lack any liquor stores to act as the Bootlegger interest group leaving the Baptists on their own for obtaining funds (p.15). However, per Horpedahl there has been a new entrance to the political interest game operating as Bootlegger for the legalization side, Walmart. The titan of retail raised over  $700,000.00 in 2014  to support the legalization effort in  Saline county dwarfing the contributions of the opposing set of Bootleggers ($157,500.00) (p.15).

It is easy to perceive the role of the Bootlegger as being almost parasitic. The Bootlegger interests idly standby while the Baptist do all the leg work of persuading the public. Upon reviewing Professor Horpedahl’s s article it becomes quite clear that the Bootleggers do assist in supporting political advocacy, they just happen to do so in the shadows. These business interests are forced to conceal their direct involvement in public policy due to the stigma of the intermarrying of business and politics. Demonstrated by the fact terms such as “dark money” have now entered the public consciousness. Leading most to express skepticism of the purported intentions of corporations when they tip their toes into the pool of political advocacy.  

Your Car is Not Your Castle- Part II: The Death of Carroll

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Part I

The case history of warrantless vehicle searches only expands from the 1925 Carroll decision. Over time, the conditions under which warrantless searches are permissible to have evolved. Not necessarily for the better. One of the most conspicuous safeguards built into the adjudication of Carroll over the years has been eroded in subsequent court decisions. The prevision of the search being appurtenant to a traffic stop is no longer consistent with the larger body of case law. Allowing probable cause searches to be conducted offsite and even days after the motorist has been detained by authorities. While the Carrol decision was imperfect at least set clear boundaries regarding permissibility. A principled stance that disappeared by the 1970s.

Husty V. United States, 282 U.S. 694 (1931)

Chronologically the next warrantless vehicle search case taken by the Supreme Court was Husty V. United States (1931). Much like Carroll, this case involved a motorist suspected of transporting illicit alcohol. It should be noted that both incidents transpired during the U.S. prohibition on alcoholic beverages (1920-1933). The petitioners were indicted on charges of possessing and transporting alcohol in Western Michigan. Making the actions of the petitioners’ direct violations of the Volstead Act. The arresting officers searched the vehicle without a warrant and came across “a quantity of intoxicating liquor”. Since this evidence was obtained without a warrant the petitioners motioned to prevent it from being used in court. Claiming that the grounds under which they were arrested and searched with illegal under the Fourth Amendment. This motion was denied by the lower courts. Both defendants were sentenced and incarcerated.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the convictions and “granted certiorari” to have the Supreme Court review the case. The high court ruled in favor of the lower courts. Stating that probable cause is enough to condone a warrantless search of a vehicle. Mentioning that :

“….it is not necessary that the arresting officer should have had before him legal evidence of the suspected act. It is enough if the apparent facts which have come to his attention are sufficient, in the circumstances, to lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that liquor is illegally possessed in the automobile to be searched….”(Justia)

In other words, a police officer does not need to justify their reasoning for the search of an automobile. The suspicion of circumstantial evidence that may be indicative of legal activity is justification in itself. The actions of the petitioners only aided in strengthening the circumstantial case for the vehicle search. The petitioners attempted to evade police when they were “hailed” to stop. The court holding that officer suspicion of the petitioners transporting contraband was sufficient for the search. Considering the recent Carroll decision, the court’s stance was not an aberration from the trends in the jurisprudence of the era.

Scher v. United States, 305 U.S. 251 (1938)

The 1938 court decision Scher V. United States only serves to preserve the logic held in Carroll and Husty. This case also shares the commonality of the two latter cases as about the transportation and possession of illegal alcohol. Except this case involved the petitioner circumventing tax laws of alcohol. This is notable because the incident transpired after the repeal of prohibition. Scher was charged with two counts of violating section 201, Title 2, of the Liquor Taxing Act (1934).

(U. S. C., 1934 ed., title 26, sec. 1231), is amended to read as follows: “SEC. 3287. (a) Except as provided in section 602 of the Revenue Act of 1918, as amended, all distilled spirits shall be drawn from receiving cisterns into casks or packages and thereupon shall be gauged, proved, and marked by a storekeeper-gauger, and immediately removed into an Internal Revenue Bonded Warehouse. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, is hereby empowered to prescribe all necessary regulations relating to the drawing off, gauging, and packaging of distilled spirits; the marking, branding, numbering, and stamping of such packages; and the transfer and transportation to, and the storage of such spirits in, Internal Revenue Bonded Warehouses. “(b) Upon the application of the distiller and under such regulations as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, may prescribe, distilled spirits may be drawn into wooden packages, each containing two or more metallic cans, which cans shall each have a capacity of not less than five gallons, wine measure. Such packages shall be filled and used only for exportation from the United States. And there shall be charged for each of said packages or cases for the expense of pro- viding and affixing stamps, 5 cents. “(c) The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, may, by regulations, prescribe the standards of fill of casks or packages of distilled spirits at each distillery. (Liquor Taxing Act 1934).

Scher violated these conditions under the statute by possessing and transporting distilled spirits missing the required tax stamps. The petitioner was sentenced to a year and a day for his transgression. The Court of Appeals sustained the judgment. The defendant was apprehended in December 1935, after an anonymous tip came in that his car was transporting illegal whiskey. Officers pursued the vehicle from a residence in Cleveland, Ohio where the car was observed to be “heavily loaded”. One of the officers following the car hailed the petitioner for a traffic stop. The officer that commenced the traffic stop asked Scher if he had liquor in the car. The petitioner responded by stating that he had acquired some for a social function. When asked if the liquor tax had been paid on the liquor, he stated that it was Canadian Whiskey. The officer searches the car and found “..eighty-eight unstamped bottles..” of liquor. The car and containers holding distilled alcohol were subsequently seized by authorities. Scher motioned to suppress the evidence procured by the revenue agents in the traffic stop. The Supreme Court ruled that the conditions under which the criminating evidence was acquire were valid. Despite the fact the illicit liquor was seized in a stop initiated in a garage connected to a residence, it was still valid evidence in court proceedings. Differing slightly from the previous warrantless vehicle cases, but remaining within the boundaries established in Carroll.

Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160 (1949)

The defendant/ petitioner was convicted of illegally transporting alcoholic beverages across the Oklahoma state line. His actions violating Oklahoma state liquor laws, specifically the Liquor Enforcement Act of 1936. How the liquor was exported from Missouri to Oklahoma violated state law and in effect violating the 1936 statute. Federal agents seized the illegally transported alcohol at a traffic stop. The petitioner had a reputation for being in the illicit liquor business and was observed by authorities loading cases of alcoholic beverages into his vehicle. While being interrogated by the authorities initiating the stop admitted to possessing twelve cases of liquor. The petitioner motioned to “suppress” the evidence due to the search being conducted without a search warrant. Effectively claiming that this search violated the Fourth Amendment making the evidence against the defendant inadmissible in court. Based upon the case precedence dating back to the mid-1920s the petitioner was grasping at straws to avoid conviction.

The court held that the defendant made incriminating statements that established probable cause for the search of his automobile. The court also stated that the officer’s knowledge of the petitioner’s illegal activities was not purely circumstantial as he observed the defendant committing a crime. It was also ruled that utilizing the evidence in court was not improper, due to there being sufficient probable cause justifying the search. The court’s overall decision is consistent with the jurisprudence established in Carroll.

Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364 (1964)

Three “companions” who had been sitting in a parked car for several hours were arrested for vagrancy. Both occupants of the vehicle were searched for weapons and then taken into police custody. The vehicle the three petitioners had been loitering in was towed and subsequently searched by the authorities’ office site. The police found substantial evidence confirming that the duo was planning to “… rob a federally insured bank…”.The Court of appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that this search was outside the bounds of “reasonableness” and indeed violate the Fourth Amendment. Then certiorari was granted to determine if the arrest was valid considering the search by the officers was not.

The arrest of the petitioners was spurred by a telephone complaint to the Newport, Kentucky police department reporting that three men were parked in a car and “…acting suspiciously…”. Four police officers were dispatched to respond to the complaint. Upon questioning of the police, the men in the suspiciously parked car provided questionable answers. All of the men appeared to be unemployed and only possessing a meager sum of money. One of the individuals in the vehicle claimed to lawfully own the car, but could not produce a title. Police decided to arrest the occupants and then engage in searching the vehicle afterward. The officers found paraphernalia[PC1]  and other evidence linking the occupants to a scheme to rob a bank “fifty-one miles” away from Newport.

As bleak as it may seem for the petitioners, in this case, they end up capturing a big win. The Supreme Court maintaining its fidelity to Carroll end up finding the evidence seized in the search to be “inadmissible”. Since the search was “.. too remote in time and place to being treated as incidental to the arrest…”. Within the corpus of case law post-Carroll, this is the first instance of the 1925 case serving as a reasonable limitation on warrantless vehicle searches. Demonstrating that while arresting officers can conduct a warrantless search of your vehicle. That such an extraordinary privilege is not without proper limits. Making Preston a landmark case in the defense of upholding the Fourth Amendment.

Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58 (1967)

The true erosion of the safety net established in Carroll was eviscerated in Cooper V. California (1967). This was the case where the court rejects the condition of a search being appurtenant to a traffic stop or arrest. In the view of Fourth Amendment purists, even the conditions set by Carroll could be viewed as being perverse. At least the Carroll decision attempted to implement a safeguard against extending warrantless searches to the point of being arbitrary. The unfortunate consequence of Cooper was the elimination of the standard of the proximity of police engagement and the search of a vehicle. Serving this one thread eliminates any silver lining provided in the Carroll ruling.

The Cooper Case was a result of the petitioner being convicted on charges of violating California narcotics statutes. However, the evidence obtained against the petitioner was collected a week after his arrest. When his vehicle had already been impounded. The petitioner attempted to cite Preston as grounds for the inadmissibility of the evidence collected from his vehicle. However, the lower court swiftly rejected this claim, suggesting that “… evidentiary error harmless under the State Constitution’s harmless error provision…”. The Supreme Court held that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Since the search was closely related to the arrest of the petitioner.  

Your Car is Not Your Castle- Part I

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The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is central to our modern conception of property rights. Outside of contract law, few areas other than our right to privacy substantially address such civil libertarian concerns. The Fourth Amendment like so many other Constitution “rights” are not absolute and are subject to various exceptions and stipulations. Much how our right to free speech has limitations, the same can be said about our right to privacy. Even instances of warrantless searches of property and persons. Conceptually a warrantless search and seizure of property are condoned under a specific legal context. Effectively divorcing case law from the normative justifications for the drafting of the Fourth Amendment. The basis for the Fourth Amendment has its origins in the philosophical precepts of English Common Law. Immortalized in the words of the English jurist Sir Edward Coke “…That the house of everyone is to him as his Castle and Fortress..” implying that the home is a man’s ultimate refuge from public life. It is where he stores his personal effects and experiences the most intimate moments of his life. Arguably making securing one’s home the focal point of the property rights protected under the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment concisely details the intended scope of security bestowed to American citizens under its protections.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Amendment IV, U.S. Constitution).

In a literal reading of the amendment, it is quite evident that its scope was enough for covering the property rights of citizens of the 18th century. With the advent of new technology, this list of protected areas of the property is wholly incomplete. Since the era of the founding, the various types of property ownership have greatly expanded to include automobiles, various forms of modern intellectual property rights, and even digitally stored information. This is likely why some jurists advocate for the prospect of a “ Constitution..” that possesses the pliability to adapt to modern times. Despite the potential danger of illiberal innovations that may be utilized to invalidate crucial Constitutional rights. E.g.) An amendment that repeals the Second Amendment due to an increase in gun violence. Due to the stringent requirements to ratify such Amendments, the 4th Amendment has evolved primarily from case law. Primarily the rulings in Supreme Court cases, setting the tone for the modern interpretation of our right to privacy.

In certain contexts, our expectation of privacy varies. For instance, we do not have the same expectation of privacy walking down the street as we do in our bedroom. The verbatim text of the Fourth Amendment does explicitly guard Americans against warrantless searches of their home and person but leaves us in a murky situation when it comes to modern forms of ownership. Never mind cloud computing and other variants of modern data storage, but even automobiles are left out of the equation. This concern becomes particularly significant in the event of a traffic stop. However, factors relating to probable cause and the plain view doctrine need to be considered in justifying a warrantless search of a vehicle, there is another variable at play. Simply, we do not have the same expectation of privacy in our car that we do in our home. To many people, this may sound somewhat absurd and normatively there are some grounds for arguing against this point. However, from the stance of positive law, these assumptions hold.

The origin of the modern limits of the Fourth Amendment regarding vehicle searches dates back to Carroll V. United States (1925). In September 1921, Carroll met with an undercover agent to sell illegal whiskey. After Carroll left the location to obtain the whiskey his “potential” client had left. Then in early October Carroll’s vehicle was involved in a chase with a patrolling police car. Carroll was able to escape arrest. Then on December 15th of the same year, Carroll was pursued and stopped by police. During the traffic stop, the officers discovered 68 bottles of illicit whiskey tucked behind the upholstery of the car. The court held that the agents that apprehended Carroll had justifiable probable cause to search his vehicle. Since previous encounters with the suspect indicated a high likelihood that he owned alcoholic beverages.

It is easy to find such conclusions troubling. After all, we do own our cars. Shouldn’t searches of automobiles require a warrant barring exigent circumstances or the consent of the owner? Carroll happened to be the defining case that did indeed confirm that a man’s car is not his castle! It is easy to assume that the same rights that apply to a home could easily be extrapolated to a vehicle. Much like a home, a car can act as a vessel for holding personal effects. In some cases, for individuals that are homeless, a car is their house. Carroll singlehandedly defines the criteria under which an automobile differs from a stationary house regarding the expectation of privacy. The court ruled that the authorities having the suspicion that a car contains contraband is in itself justifiable for a warrantless search. Why? Since cars are mobile, they can easily leave the jurisdiction well before a warrant can be issued. This decision on the part of the court may seem overarching, however, it was not without limits. The court ruled that warrantless searches of parked automobiles would be considered unreasonable. That the search must be “…contemporaneous with the stop…” making it improper to move the vehicle offsite to search at the police officer’s “convenience ”. Subsequent cases even decades after the Carroll decision would further erode the notion that there is an expectation of privacy in one’s car. Noting that the very nature of a car being a conveyance strips away much of privacy privileged to our homes. Later cases even detailing that “…It travels public thoroughfares where both its occupants and its contents are in plain view…”.

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXII- Opposition to Joe Biden’s Mentholated Cigarette Ban

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Prohibition Never Works, Even for Cigarettes:

Prohibition has always been a fool’s errand that attempts to subvert the very faults of human nature.  Everyone is well aware of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s-1930’s being a complete and abject failure. The shortcomings of our decades long crusade against schedule I drugs are starting to become more apparent to the general public. Considering the colossal failures of alcohol and drug prohibition, why would the Biden administration be purposing a ban on mentholated cigarettes?  Any prudent observer of history can plainly see that odds are against you in terms of successfully enforcing such a restriction. Yet, despite the facts of history the Biden administration is proceeding full speed towards this potentially disastrous policy.

Last year Massachusetts imposed a state-wide ban on mentholated cigarettes, despite the “Baptist” intentions of this legal restriction has not come without consequences. Even the tired platitude of “saving the kids” from the dangers of flavored cigarettes cannot account for the unintended downstream effects of prohibiting them. Ultimately if consumers want a product they will find away to obtain it regardless of it’s legal status. All that happens is that sales shift from the legal market to the black-market, where incentives are low to provide a commodity of any repute or quality. The ironic history of Marijuana should serve as guide to why a mentholated cigarette ban would go up in smoke. As local, state, and now the federal government starts to tighten-up restrictions on tobacco, simultaneously states and municipalities are easing up on recreational Cannabis. The state of Massachusetts is a perfect example of this policy trend. Exemplified by the state legalizing recreational Marijuana in 2016 and banning mentholated cigarettes four-years later.

However, the Bay State’s hostility towards tobacco has not necessarily resulted in ideal outcomes. As previously mentioned any tobacco ban would have a high probability of creating a black-market.  This draws obvious parallels to drug and alcohol prohibition, but tobacco is no stranger to illicit secondary markets. One prominent example was the illicit Cuban cigar trade resulting from the decades long U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. Even when specific tobacco products can be legally sold, a black-market can emerge if taxation is too onerous. For example, there a thriving black-market for cigarettes in New York, which has some of the highest cigarette taxes in the country (p.21). If policy makers are not cautious when regulating tobacco it can certain backfire on them. Only months after Massachusetts banning mentholated cigarettes there was already ample evidence of  an illegal market for these unlawful cigarettes. Per the anecdotal account of one Boston convenience store owner people were still procuring mentholated cigarettes through illegal means. Typically being sold as “loosies”, selling individual cigarettes versus entire packs is crime in most U.S. jurisdictions (if not all).

Beyond the perils of the development of a black-market the state has taken a tremendous hit in tax revenue. The ban was in enacted in June of 2020. By August of that same year cigarette sales fell by 24 percent. Unsurprisingly, neighboring states such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire saw a surge in sales of mentholated cigarettes. Resulting in a loss of $32 million of tobacco excise taxes collected by the state. If extrapolated to annual loss in tax revenue would amount to the state forfeiting $128 million dollars in taxes within the first year of enactment.

The question becomes why would centrist politician such as President Biden advocate for such a drastic policy? Few moderates would consider the enforcement of a mentholated cigarette ban to be a good use of resources. Biden has quite a bit to gain  in political currency in seeing this policy through. Why? During the presidential campaign of 2020 it was quite conspicuous that he was far from the progressive starlet the extreme-wing of the DNC desired.  It appears that he is shifting  further left on his policies potentially to appease more progressive voters within the party. So far this strategy appears to be working in Biden’s favor. The rhetoric behind this the mentholated cigarette ban, is only partly an appeal to public health and safety. The emphasis on the fact that mentholated brands are disproportionately favored by African Americans has add a more progressive tone to the policy. Making it transcend beyond a mere public health policy, but also an implicit social justice campaign. Joe Biden is certainly a “Bootlegger” in this scenario. Due to the political currency he seeks to gain through imposing this ban.

The Bootleggers and Baptists of The Opposition:

Oddly enough, not every individual left-of-center is on board with Joe’s new policy. Why?  Isn’t the elimination of the nasty and vile cigarette a necessary crusade and a crucial stride towards human progress? Couldn’t a ban on mentholated brands such as Kools, Newports, Salems, etc. greatly improve the health of the African American community? Generally, the interaction of policy and the real world is never that linear. It is a relief to see some pundits on the left fully recognizing the reality of this issue. In banning a specific product the state is criminalizing a category of economic activity. The fact that this variety of cigarettes are favored by African Americans, who is likely to be involved in the sales and distribution of these illegal cigarettes? African Americans. Making this unjust law disproportionately harmful to African Americans. While many Caucasians may see this as victory for various African American communities across the country, many with closer ties to these communities understand the reality. Civil rights activists such as Rev. Al Sharpton have expressed in the past that criminalizing the sale of mentholated cigarettes would only serve to put more African Americans in jail. Making it perplexing that white progressives would be so tone-deaf and obtuse about the issue.

Opposition to the Menthol Ban:

Coalition A:

Baptists: Civil Rights Activists with ties to the African American Community (most notably, Rev. Al Sharpton). These individuals provide the moral justification for opposing a ban on mentholated cigarettes. The moral argument rests on preventing the needless incarceration of more African Americans. Even prior to such a ban African American males are imprisoned higher rates than other ethnic groups. Cigarettes are trivial thing to loose your freedom and future opportunities over.

Bootleggers: The tobacco companies.  How they benefit from keeping mentholated cigarettes on the shelf should be self-evident.

Romeo and Juliet – A Story About Wanting What We Can’t Have

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After watching the documentary I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth V. Michelle Carter I came to a fairly superficial conclusion. I initially chose to watch this HBO mini-series for potential legal analysis. I plan to address those concerns in a later blog entry. Oddly, from a legal standpoint, this case is quite interesting. There wasn’t any previous case precedence in Massachusetts state history. Making this case one that explores uncharted waters.  However, my observations are not about the legal facts of the case.

Conrad Roy III and Michelle Carter were two Massachusetts teens who had a highly toxic and co-dependent relationship. Both suffering from various forms of mental illness. Carter lived in a quasi-fantasyland. Blurring the line between romantic comedies and dramas with her relationship with Roy. Drawing parallels between their relationship and the ebbs-and-flows of numerous works of fiction. Even drifting down the perverse road of suicidal ideation. Hence, here aggressive attempts to coax Roy into killing himself. Carter almost took glee in the concept of the attention she would receive in the climatic event that Roy or Roy and herself had committed suicide. Her vision of being showered in attention was almost like a linear plot twist in play. The act of Roy killing himself was the divine Deus ex Machina to free him from the deepest depth of depression. Having the potential to satisfy the psychological pathology of both teens.

In one text message string, Carter details the romanticized depiction of the climatic end of Shakespeare’s Rome and Juliet. As we all, know both of the star-crossed teens end up dying in the end. Lying dead, right next to one another in the ultimate display of catharsis. Demonstrating to the quarreling families how petty their disputes truly were. It would be quite likely Carter saw some highly embellished similarities between the protagonists of the play and her relationship. Upon the documentary reviewing this string of text messages, my mind began to wander. I started to realize that the story of Romeo and Juliet if we strip all the emotional entrapment of romance is nothing more than an extended narrative detailing the Forbidden Fruit Effect. This phenomenon is also known as the Paradox of Temptation. Essentially, we desire what we cannot have.

This has economized instances of prohibited commodities. This principle is not confined merely to the illicit drug trade. During the cigar boom of the late-1990s and early 2000s, the U.S. demand for Cuban cigars skyrocket. To the extent that there was a major slump in quality. The one centralized tobacco producer for Cuba had to resort to using green tobacco and inferior quality control procedures to keep up with demand. It should be noted that the United States has had a trade embargo with Cuban since 1962. It’s hard to believe that much of the mystique of Cuban cigars to Americans isn’t influenced by them is a restricted product. We have seen a similar phenomenon with the legalization of recreational marijuana. What has been referred to as the “Green Rush”. A surge of sales for a product that has been legal and demonized in America for decades, that is now finally legal. To the naïve Cannabis user, the mystery behind its pharmacologic effects is enough of a draw to purchase Marijuana-related products. Would this romanticized image exist to the same capacity if Marijuana use was as ubiquitous as drinking beer? Most likely not. Most of the buzz and hype is levitating around pot because we have treated it as an unholy and deplorable vice for so long. Has only recently become fashionable (in the mainstream sense).

The story of Romeo and Juliet is if reduced to its most base level, a story about wanting what you can’t have. Due to the fact we steeped the narrative in a cloak of riveting romanticism, we forget that this isn’t purely a love store. Would Juliet be as appealing to Romeo if she was a member of a rival family? Couldn’t the same be said for Romeo? Granted, most of these pointed questions are a mix of a priori reasoning and loose conjecture. However, considering the flaws of human nature and the unfortunate fact we are attracted to what we can’t have. Analogous to a moth witlessly fly towards a flame. This seems to be an enduring characteristic of the human condition. Doesn’t matter whether it is two lustful teenagers in the Shakespearean-era or a 1920s Flapper enjoying an illicit gin-and-tonic. We want what we can’t have. Getting beyond the compelling drama of the vibrant and rebellious love affair between two teens, what are we left with? An engaging allegory fixated on desire. The drawbacks of pursuing everything we desire to possess.