Untouchable

US Marshals Destroy Outlawed Alcohol During Prohibition

“It is only in the curious fanaticism of Prohibition that any means, however barbarous, are considered justified,” wrote the editors of the Chicago Tribune in 1927.

Deborah Blum of the University of Wisconsin, writing in Slate, explains the little-known insanity that evoked those words in The Chemist’s War:

“Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.”

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Published in: on February 23, 2010 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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