Slate put up an article on Friday that I just now found, detailing the story of how the US government purposely poisoned alcohol during the prohibition years, which resulted in more than a few deaths. The whole article is worth a read, but here’s probably the best catch-all quote:
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.
10,000 people. Take a second and let that sink in. That’s really not that long ago, guys. Your grandparents were probably alive while this was happening. We can’t forget: there are ALWAYS people who not only dislike other people drinking but are willing to KILL to keep you from drinking. They are weird, scary people, but they are also weird, scary people powerful enough to get Constitutional Amendments passed!
But it’s ok, everyone has calmed down since then, and nothing like this could ever happen again, right? Right.