Illinois battles drain cleaner

Got a plugged-up drain? If you live in Illinois and are thinking of buying Drano or Liquid-Plumr, better bring an ID. You’ll be asked to show it and sign for your purchase.

That’s mostly because some evil asswipe threw acid in a woman’s face in Chicago three years ago. Hence the new measure.

The legislators, however, were kind enough to offer this reassurance:

If the law proves to be overly burdensome, it can be changed.

That’s great. Or they could try not to pass bewildering, ineffective, time-wasting laws in the first place.

Am I missing something? Exactly how would a past acid attack have been prevented if the perpetrator had been required to show ID when he bought the Drano? Or future attacks, for that matter?

And can we now look forward to the same legislative response to an attack with, say, a hammer? No more hammer purchases without an ID and a signature, then? How about a screwdriver? An ice pick? A steak knife?

I suppose the purchase of landscaping rocks, building bricks, and two-by-fours should also be restricted. In fact, state registries should probably be kept for all buyers of anything that could ever be used to attack another person. Public safety demands it.

About Rogier:
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.
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  1. Posted January 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    That’s pretty crazy. It’s not like the chemicals have a serial number which would let police trace a batch of acid back to the purchaser. I suppose you could find someone who has purchased a lot of drain cleaner, but I don’t think crazed acid throwers are doing a volume business. At least with the tracking of pseudoephedrine, they have the rationale that meth labs consume a lot more materials than ordinary people do.

    Oh, wait…

    “State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, and state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, noted some chemicals on the list also can be used to make methamphetamine.”

    Yeah, the War on Drugs. That explains the stupidity.

  2. bruce
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    heck, Drano is an *alkali*, not an acid. don’t tell the legislature.

  3. Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I find it interesting that the whole scheme is being sold as a measure to stop acid-throwing would-be attackers, and that the drug connection is mentioned only in passing. The Illinois lawmakers probably know that, while everyone will condemn acid-throwing, the War on Drugs is increasingly unpopular. That’s the only silver lining I can see here.

  4. Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I think legislatures should also create restrictions on the sale of tire sealant, lest the substance be injected into people’s backsides.

    “Oneal Ron Morris Morris allegedly injected [ass-enhancement patients] with harmful chemicals, including Fix-a-Flat tire sealant.”

    More at

  5. Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    bruce, You know, that bothered me too.

  6. derfel cadarn
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    First Drano or such contain no acid. So let me get this in my fat head I need to show ID to purchase alcohol,tobacco products and now drain cleaner but it would be onerous to require folks to show ID to vote. Government is out of control. To all the nanny dogoogers and there aught to be a law politicians remember this Age Res Propias Tuas.