To Our Readers:



First an apology, then an explanation.
    We deeply regret having provoked the community outrage that has been so forcefully expressed in response to last week’s cover story, “Meth Made Easy.� From throughout SLO County we received hundreds of angry letters and phone calls. Quite a number of you went to the trouble of visiting our office to voice your feelings in person.

 Many faithful readers vowed never to pick up New Times again. Businesses that for years served as distribution points told us they no longer want the paper in their stores. Other businesses withdrew advertising. Some people vowed to launch a boycott of those advertisers who remain. Certain individuals took it upon themselves to confiscate copies of the paper — many thousands of copies.

 The message was as clear as it was consistent: The publication of “Meth Made Easy� strained to the breaking point a trust that had steadily developed over two decades. Trust is a precious and delicate commodity, and it is essential to the relationship between a community and any newspaper that would hope to serve it. Needless to say, we would never intentionally place that trust in jeopardy, just as we would never intentionally seek to harm the very community to which we belong.

 The negative reaction to “Meth Made Easy� carried another, implicit, message: Thousands of people in San Luis Obispo County feel they have a stake in New Times, a personal investment strong enough to trigger immediate action. Simply dismissing a perceived transgression isn’t enough; such an affront demands direct communication with those of us responsible for producing the paper each week. It’s a sad irony that this loyalty to New Times would manifest itself under these circumstances. (Unfortunately the overwhelming volume of calls and letters prevents us from responding personally to each one.)

 As editor I take full responsibility for publication of “Meth Made Easy,� but I know I speak for the entire New Times staff in offering a sincere apology for the sense of betrayal felt by so many readers.
 Now for an explanation, one that aims to answer the question asked repeatedly in the letters below: What were we thinking?

 The impetus for exploring the methamphetamine phenomenon was the January 5 bust of a meth lab in Paso Robles. We noted the incident in a brief story the following week, but a larger question lingered: Despite the well-publicized dangers of meth, law enforcement agencies continually arrest people for making it and using it. In fact, those arrests have become so common they barely register on the radar of the Central Coast’s media. But what did we really know about those “laboratories�? Why were they so dangerous? What was actually going on inside?

 We didn’t know much, and we couldn’t find any local news reports on the subject. Our journalists’ curiosity led us to undertake some research. I assigned the task to staff writer Alice Moss. What she discovered was enlightening — and a little frightening. For example, finding local meth users was so easy it took her only minutes to line up interview subjects. Meth, it appeared, was everywhere.

 Locating experienced meth-makers, or “cooks,� was more difficult, but not so their stock in trade. Type the phrase “meth recipes� into Google and you’ll get nearly 570,000 hits. Most of those Web pages, of course, do not contain recipes, but recipes are easy enough to find, as are the necessary ingredients.

 We were amazed at several things: the ease of access to instructions for manufacturing meth, the relatively low cost involved, and the noxiousness of the ingredients, most of which can be found at local stores. All kinds of people may be trying meth these days, and as Alice noted in her story, “everyone, users included, knows that regular meth use can do horrible things to the mind and body.� But are those users (and potential users) aware of exactly what chemicals they’re ingesting? Do they have any idea how those poisonous substances are manipulated to produce the powder they’re snorting or smoking or injecting?

  “Meth Made Easy� answered those questions — accurately, truthfully, and without the moralizing tone inevitably associated with any discussion of meth, a tone pretty much guaranteed to turn off readers, young ones in particular. (I believe information like this is conveyed most effectively when you dispense with the sermon and speak honestly, which in this case meant two things: including the recipe in all its detail, and pointing out the obvious — this toxic drug remains popular because it makes people feel good, at least for a while. Ignoring that would deny reality and destroy credibility.) The absence of a scolding tone, I suspect, is what led many people to misread the story and misunderstand its significance. I also suspect our use of sarcasm, designed to hold reader interest, alienated some who believed the subject was too serious to be treated flippantly.
 With our Internet recipe, gleaned from a Website devoted to all things illegal, we had come into possession of  “dangerous knowledge,� and though it is widely available and easily accessible, in the view of many it must not be disseminated — not under any circumstances and especially not by the press. To do so would be tantamount to becoming an accessory to a crime. It would signal tacit endorsement, even encouragement, of drug use.

 Just in case there is doubt in anyone’s mind, I can state unequivocally that New Times does not condone or endorse the use of meth or any other illicit drug, a fact that could have been articulated more emphatically in “Meth Made Easy.�

 In this digital age, cyberspace has made it possible for anyone with Internet access to figuratively travel anywhere, instantly. The Internet thus has put the power of knowledge in the hands of the masses, including virtually every young person in San Luis Obispo County. Unlike totalitarian societies, where the Internet is rightly seen as a threat to dictatorial rule and is suppressed (China and Cuba being two examples), our society has embraced it as a powerful new resource. Market forces, individual initiative, and governmental policy have combined in a way that ensures the Internet, and all it has to offer, will be an integral part of our future. Among the things it offers to everyone, including local kids, is unrestricted access to a new universe of dangerous knowledge — things like recipes for making methamphetamine.

 We published “Meth Made Easy� in the context of that new universe. And while incorporating the full recipe was a controversial decision, it was consistent with the realities of cyberspace. Perhaps more important, it also assured that the story wouldn’t suffer the fate of so many articles about the horrors of meth: never read, never remembered, never heeded. With any luck, we may have enlightened a few parents who didn’t realize such drug recipes are readily available from a home computer. It’s likely that many more parents didn’t know much about the lethal ingredients used in making meth. Now they do. That knowledge has increased their power by enhancing their ability to recognize meth’s components, should they come across something suspicious.

 People who read our story all the way through, including the three “sidebars,� gained even more knowledge about meth. They learned that fully 75 percent of all drug-treatment admissions in California are meth-related. That people die every year in meth-lab accidents and from overdoses, yet an estimated 1.4 million Americans used the drug in 2005. That it induces paranoia, hallucinations, severe insomnia, skin lesions, rapid tooth decay, hair loss, liver damage, kidney disorder, memory loss, violent behavior, and death. All of that was included in “Meth Made Easy,� but unfortunately it was overshadowed by the dangerous knowledge we shared with our readers.

 The outcry, the condemnations, the threats that followed have left us humbled and distressed. Yet we still have hope that this civic fury can produce something positive: a candid dialogue that leads to greater understanding — made possible by the power of knowledge.
— Jim Mullin

Editor’s note: The normal New Times letters policy requiring full name and city or town is being waived this week in the interest of publishing as much correspondence as possible in reaction to “Meth Made Easy,� written by Alice Moss, edited by Jim Mullin, and published February 2.

 Living about midway between SLO and Santa Maria, I usually try to get my weekly copies of both New Times and the Sun. I’ve preferred New Times for its greater willingness to allow controversy in reporting. The cover articles in the past two issues were stories that needed to be aired, and for that I give you credit. However, your treatment of them was insensitive (“Cop Out,� January 26) and stupid (“Meth Made Easy,� February 2�) at best. Worse, they were sensationalistic to the point of rivaling the supermarket tabloids.

 The Sun’s article on meth (“Meth and Death,� February 2) could have been a little more thorough in presenting information about its ease of manufacture, but it was far more realistic in its emphasis on the negative aspects of the drug. Your article, on the other hand, tended to emphasize the easy highs, and added the dangers as an afterthought. Worse yet, you took the manufacturing information and laid it out to make the process even easier and more tempting than it already is. In case you’re unaware, many teens and young adults tend to grossly overestimate their abilities and underestimate dangers. I suspect that more than one young fool will be encouraged to try meth and the manufacturing of it by your article. Are you willing to accept some of the responsibility for it when he/she/they end up in rehab, jail, the ER, or the morgue? (My only hope is that you intentionally tampered with the instructions to make the drug impotent and/or to make it easier for the cops to bust the home-brew labs.)

 If you can’t get your writers and editors to exercise a little maturity in their presentation, find new ones. Or find new readers, because I don’t go for tabloid journalism, and I suspect many others don’t either. I hope your advertisers send you the same message.

Ron Holt
Arroyo Grande

 I am 21 years old and was born and raised here on the Central Coast, and I am writing to express my disgust at “Meth Made Easy.� I would first like to say that as an American citizen, I wholeheartedly support our rights of free speech and freedom of press. However, I do not believe I have ever seen such a blatant disregard for professional or civil responsibility.

 I have been a victim of the ever-growing meth epidemic from birth and have lost countless loved ones to this enormous problem. Seeing a widely circulated and easily accessible publication like New Times freely distribute sensitive information like the recipe for manufacturing methamphetamines sickens me. It is obvious that none of you at New Times has ever watched a life be lost to such a ravenous drug. The idea of spreading a positive message about and/or aiding in the fight against this horrible compound is a noble one. This, however, is not the case with “Meth Made Easy.�

 “No wonder it’s so popular — all you need is a good recipe.� Is that really what we need? Do we need a step-by-step guide on how to make a deadly and disgusting drug? With any research into the community you serve, you would know that in the past month alone many young people have died, been incarcerated, and otherwise lost their lives to the use of methamphetamines. Then in the brilliant minds of the New Times, it is okay to make light of the situation and aid in furthering the problem with a step-by-step manual.

 The article had no redeeming value and was nothing more than an abuse of power in order to push the limits of decency. I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly insensitive and irresponsible the article was. I sincerely hope that all of you who allowed and supported this article feel the wrath of the community that trusted your publication into our homes and businesses.

Chris Wesney

 I wish to express my sincere disappointment in your recent article on methamphetamine. It is inexcusably irresponsible. I have been an ardent supporter of New Times. I have cited it in the syllabi of my music lecture and music-appreciation courses as a resource for positive information on the cultural and social events in our local communities. I have relied upon it as a source for important cultural events and announcements for activities presented by student groups at both Cal Poly and Cuesta College. However, as a result of your article and your editor’s decision to run this article, I can no longer tacitly recommend it as a reference for my courses.

 Until the editor or publisher of New Times retracts support of the publication of this article, I will also urge any business I patronize to discontinue distributing the paper.

Keith Snell
San Luis Obispo

 On behalf of my staff (they are really pissed) and myself, I have to write to tell you that your feature article on meth was absolutely (and I can’t say this strongly enough) distasteful. It was wrong to print the article. What was the purpose? We cannot believe you would encourage meth use by printing of the recipe, and even more ghastly, telling your readers how to conceal it from the authorities. Does using meth promote any positive outcome? Seems to me that we’ve all read enough stories on how meth destroys the lives of its users and others. So why would New Times, or any newspaper, want to condone the use of meth unless you have no regard for the safety and healthy well-being of your readers and society in general?
 Is raping and beating someone a fun fact? Do you condone the brutal afternoon skateboard beating (article on page four)? Well, meth users are more likely to engage in these kinds of activities, don’t you think? Come on, New Times, put serious consideration into the content of your articles before you send them to print.

 As owner and general manager of Robin’s Restaurant, I am really torn about continuing to advertise with New Times. I will see what your next issue is all about, then decide. I feel I cannot support a newspaper that does not promote the well-being of our society by printing such articles like “Meth Made Easy.�

Shanny Covey

 Publishing a how-to for meth was more than a little irresponsible. In case any of you out there are thinking of trying this stuff, before you do, go and Google meth before and after pictures. Also look up meth mouth while you’re at it. Take a look at some of the poor people who used this stuff. They are the walking dead, with open sores, sunken eyes, and yellow skin. The pictures give you a visual of what this stuff can do you to. Not shown in the pictures, of course, is the mental damage wreaked on yourself and those around you.

 Meth may be the most dangerous drug around because it’s so cheap, so easy to get hold of, and how it makes you feel as you get addicted very quickly. Your article doesn’t give many details on how it makes you feel after you’re addicted. Be sure to do a little research before you bite that hook, because it’s damn near impossible to shake yourself free.

Jeff Legato

 As a card-carrying member of the ACLU and self-avowed liberal, I was extraordinarily disappointed in the poor judgment shown by the running of the meth cover story. This over-the-top and out-of-control journalism is exactly the kind of tripe the radical right uses to paint all liberals with a broad brush. I suspect this did not inflame as many conservatives who would blow this off as “one more example of liberals who are out of their minds� as much as it infuriates those of us who agree strongly with many of the views you espouse in New Times.
 But this article is one that goes past freedom of speech and into an area of decency and general community welfare. I still do not understand what your intent was in writing and publishing such a piece. To promote very liberal and radical views, I applaud. To promote something like the manufacturing, use, and sale of meth is another thing altogether. Shame on you.

Jeff Troesch

 I read Alice Moss’s cover story and am so disappointed you would print such trash. I cannot believe she would print a step-by-step recipe for the worst poison someone could ever even think about using. The tone of the article completely seemed to be endorsing the drug and made it out to be okay as long as people “had it under control.� The only person she interviewed was someone who claimed to be a “recreational� user. Let me tell you, he won’t be one for long. This is the illusion of that drug. You start out only on weekends or every once in awhile, and before you know it you’re on midnight missions meeting people on country roads to pick up more dope. There is no recreational use of methamphetamine. Anyone who thinks there is needs to wake up and realize how horrible it is.

 I have lost some of my best friends to it and have been stabbed in the back by friends who I completely trusted who were on it. I started just the way she described — only on a weekend every now and then. I was never completely hooked, but within a year it wasn’t a weekend drug; it was something to keep me going in the morning before 7:00 a.m., when I was working for my family, because I was up the night before, tweaking my brains out on a weekday. I am confident that, given another six months, I would have been a piece of shit tweaker who turned my back on everyone I cared about for some dirty, filthy glass.

 The first thing on her list of “bad facts� about meth is that you can turn $50 worth of dirty chemicals into $10,000. How many kids does she think are going to try that now that she has not only given them an ingredient list but also a recipe? New Times reaches thousands and thousands of people. Doesn’t she take any responsibility for what she does? I am so disappointed in her and New Times. You definitely owe this county a formal apology for your actions.

 This e-mail is not intended to make the point that Ms. Moss is a terrible person. I know I am coming off very harshly, because I don’t even know her. Instead it is intended to drive home the point that that this drug is straight filth. If you really want an in-depth report, stick with the dope for a year or two and see where you end up. It turns the nicest people into complete monsters.

 So now that I am done voicing probably the same opinion as many others in this area, please do the right thing and follow up with at least an interview (not done in a bar) with someone who has lost everything to dope. It’s the least you could do.

Paul K.

 I have long been a fan of New Times and have always admired the approach the staff has taken when reporting on relevant issues. I feel strongly about the freedom of the press and freedom of expression in our country. That said, I was troubled to read “Meth Made Easy.� I am a parent of a beautiful 12-year-old girl, and my husband and I work very hard to raise her and keep her safe. The world my daughter is growing up in is far more difficult than the one I grew up in. As a child, predators had to actually see me. For my daughter, they can be half-way around the world and still find her owing to the advent of the Internet. As a child, I simply had to worry about taking LSD-tainted candy from people. Today my daughter will face drugs such as methamphetamine and the dangers it poses. I know I cannot protect her from the world. I can only guide her and cross my fingers for luck.

 It is irresponsible to print the article as you did regarding meth and the ease with which it is produced in an area where anyone who can read is able to see it. I realize these recipes are available on the Internet but I as a responsible parent do not allow my daughter access to such sites. But now as she walks into coffee at Andreini’s, she can easily access this information. I am disappointed in New Times for this.
 I will certainly join others in our community by voicing my opinion regarding this paper and will certainly find myself avoiding those who advertise in it until a follow-up is done, something that is the responsible journalism that New Times typically produces. Please send the appropriate message to our children. Help the parents of SLO County keep our children safe.

Andrea Gaslan

 I am sure by now you have read many, many letters scorning, scolding, and condemning you all to hell. I am not going to do that. Instead I would like to ask a few questions: Do you think maybe you used too much sarcasm in an article that was obviously meant for public awareness about the dangers and easy access of meth-manufacturing products? Will you stand by your news piece fifteen years or so down the line, when your own child or niece or nephew dredges it up and hurts themselves or someone else by following your cheap-ass recipes? Could you please explain to “John� that cooks or manufacturers are not the only tweakers? Anyone who snorts, slams, swallows, smokes, or shoves dope up his ass is a tweaker. I do realize that it may break his heart and his ego to be informed of the fact that even a functioning speed freak is nothing but a spun-to-the-gun tweaker.

 Please take into consideration the fact that there are kids who are stupid. Yes, each person is only responsible for themselves, but these young people (already on the way down the road of addiction) are going to try this at-home recipe. And that is something that could have been prevented.

Morro Bay

 I am a 12-year-old girl (I’m using my mom’s e-mail address) and I think your article will inspire a lot of dumb kids my age or a few years older to go and cook up some meth for 15 bucks.
 The stuff will kill you, and this article tells you step-by-step how to make drugs. You can lose your job, your relationship, all your money, and your life with drugs. Kids who start it won’t have a future if they follow your recipe as some stupid prank or experiment. Meth tweaks your brain, causes you to hallucinate and act violently toward others. Toward others. Those others could be kids, adults, or other community members.
 I’m not trying to take away your First Amendment, but I am wondering where you got the inspiration? What made you want to write out a step-by-step recipe for meth? I am appalled that an adult who probably knows better than to give teenagers — sick with juvenile fever — the makings of a highly dangerous and just plain s-t-o-o-p-i-d drug.

Kayla Clark

 As a parent and a business person in SLO County, I am outraged at “Meth Made Easy.� I will no longer be advertising in your newspaper, nor will I ever read it again. If your original theory was to make people aware of the problem and educate them to save their lives, you blew it! All you’ve done is give a detailed lesson on how to manufacture and make money with methamphetamine (providing the person can keep it together).

 Meth is a scourge that runs through the sewers of not only SLO County but our world. Regardless of age, it is destroying the morals, ethics, and lives of everyday people in every town, province, or big city. Propagating that it’s okay to do it as long as you “keep your act together� or “as long as it’s good stuff� is the most irresponsible reporting I’ve ever read. You obviously haven’t spent any time with a child who is in jail, a group home, or the mental hospital owing to the abuse. When you see beautiful young children, who’ve grown up with your own, covered with scabs, malnourished, stealing everything they can get their hands on, or doing sexual favors to pay for drugs — that’s a reality check. Why do you think there is such a rise in theft and burglaries in our county alone? God forbid the stats in the big cities.

 How dare you fantasize the enjoyment and ease of manufacturing this drug! You have now put the ease of manufacturing into the hands of any child in the country old enough to read. Now every perverted, sick adult can prey on our children from their own kitchen. You obviously have no recollection of the impact of the Beavis and Butt Head days, when children were lighting aerosol cans and snickering, “Fire! Fire!� As a “reporter� you should be aware of the terrible tragedies that have occurred, not including the actual deaths resulting from this type of media.

 You had better prepare yourself for the emotional rollercoaster you will be forced to ride as a result of your irresponsible reporting — for every illegal meth lab found with your recipe sitting on the counter, next to the lifeless, burned, maimed, dead body of a child or parent.
 I suppose your next article will be on the joys of lying down on the double-yellow line in the middle of a two lane freeway. Very responsible!

Debbie Richards

 I am sure you will be inundated with letters regarding “Meth Made Easy.� While you may have the right to publish articles such as this, you must consider where you distribute your newspaper. The article, its information on how to make meth, and most particularly the use of profane language, is absolutely unacceptable literature to be displayed in the lobby of our YMCA. Since you are a free publication, we cannot cancel our subscription. However, the issues will find their way to the nearest trash receptacle.

Jean Carmichael, CEO
Santa Maria Valley YMCA

 Why would you think this article, with its recipe, would be something to print? Impressionable young people will read it and might decide it is the thing to be doing — and blow up their parents’ house in attempting to follow the printed recipe. Great job!
 I think some of you “journalists� are idiots and should do better things with your newspaper space. I believe in freedom of speech but this was ludicrous. I am sure you will receive a lot of negative comments. I will not be picking up New Times again, and I hope others stop advertising in your radical paper, because that was poor judgment.

Pam Spang
Paso Robles

  My question is simple: Why would you print an article that teaches every man, woman, and child how to make meth?

Megan K. Burks
San Luis Obispo

 What are you, high? You have detailed the ingredients, where to get them, how to cook them up, and how to do it without raising suspicion. How incredibly irresponsible. Of course, those who have the desire to go looking for it can find all this info on the Internet. But thanks to this informative story, I’m wondering how many soon-to-be meth heads you will be responsible for creating who didn’t have a clue it could be so easy?

Karen Bright

 Are you fucking kidding me?!? Why?! Why would you print such an irresponsible cover story? I love New Times but this has me absolutely dumbfounded. Being from the Central Valley, I am far too familiar with the reality of meth and what it can do to a life. Your article, although it does note some downfalls, seems very nonchalant about the horrible ways meth can and will take over your mind and body. Compared to the valley, SLO doesn’t really have much of a meth problem, which is one of the great reasons I moved my daughter here. Why in the world would you print such a flip article about such a dangerous drug?!?

 I’m very aware that anyone can get this info from the Internet, but you’re a free publication that is all over our county, and you’re handing this to teenage kids who read New Times. Some kids may be willing to overlook the dangers stated due to the “focus and concentration� and “increased self-confidence.� And let’s not forget the recipe and actual visual aids you offered.

 If anything good can come from this article, it is that I hope every parent who reads it sits down with their teenager and has an in-depth conversation about the reality of meth. And if you’re lucky enough to not really know the true reality of this drug, do some research and talk to your kids. Believe me, there are no “fun facts� with meth.

Susan Walker
San Luis Obispo

 Up until last night I had a very high regard for your paper. I always enjoyed your take on local issues and how you approached the news. After I read “Meth Made Easy,� I felt a little disgusted. The fact that you felt that you needed to give out one more list of ingredients and prices for the recipe is ridiculous. Your focus really could have stayed on how truly nasty this stuff is for the people who use and make it. You could have focused on how it ruins lives, tears apart families, kills people. Maybe you could have given out a recipe on how to stop using rather than showing folks how to become a user. Your “175,000 weekly readers� really appreciate your diversity in content, but it is your responsibility to the readers and community to be a positive part of SLO.

 Your paper made the recycle bin quickly last night, which is unfortunate to all those who advertise with you. I think you let down your readers, your advertising clients, and the greater community by not using this story for more good. I am sure I will get over this aspect and go back to your paper in the future. For today and the near future, however, your paper will not be taken off the stack by my hands, and those who distribute your paper will lose a customer.

Tyler Wertenbruch

 I am genuinely curious to hear your answers to these questions: Have you thought about how many people ultimately may have their lives negatively impacted and possibly destroyed as a result of your article? What led you to warn people about how easy it is to get a drug and then actually make it easier to get by publishing a step-by-step recipe in a free periodical? Do you believe there is moral accountability for the choices we make in this life? Will you tell your mom about the article? Will it make her proud of you?

Jerry Nelson

 “I suppose there will be those of you who object to our cover story this week [about a recipe for meth],� writes the managing editor. Object isn’t the word. I’m totally disgusted! Write about how kids and adults are getting into trouble using meth, and what the long-term consequences are, but DON’T tell everyone how to make it! This sends the entirely wrong message. I’ve never been ashamed of New Times before now.

 In the same note the managing editor decries “what is happening in SLO.� Well, just maybe those two young thugs who beat the county employee were on meth. In the next few weeks there will be MORE people on meth thanks to you, and street crime in what was once a fairly crime-free enclave like SLO County will escalate.

 Incidentally, I published a book that tells people how to make solar power (electricity) cheaply, which is helpful. But I would never tell people how to make nuclear power, which idiots could then level on our fair communities as a dirty bomb. And meth seems to be sort of a “nuclear� drug that affects only one person at a time (but obviously not for long).

 I’m no prude. I smoked grass a few times and took LSD once. Thankfully I learned that living drug-free is something that actually makes you feel good and prolongs your life. If you want to clean up, there’s plenty of help out there.

William L. Seavey

 “Meth Made Easy� is an outrage to everyone. As an editor, I cannot believe you approved this article. I assure you that you will lose a majority of your readers owing to this error. What is it? One person knows at least ten people and those people know ten. So do the math. It is hard enough raising children in this world and having them choose the correct path in life. Supplying them with recipes for illegal drugs is an outrage — and not just any illegal drug but the absolute worst one out there. What did you think you were accomplishing by printing this article.? If I were your receptionist, I would have quit!!!


 I am horrified at the meth article!! Obviously you do not have anyone you know affected by this intense and destructive addiction!! Your response on the morning news, that people can find this info on the Internet, is not even logical!!! People see your FREE paper all over! If you ever knew a recovering meth user, they would tell you just your cover could trigger the desire to use again!! I know that whoever wrote and whoever approved this article for print does not realize the intense hold the addiction has on users. For a newspaper that seemed to be highly respected, you sure have made a VERY POOR JUDGMENT CALL THIS TIME!! I beg you to do the research, recall ALL those papers out there. RETHINK THIS ONE!!! This mistake will cost you because you are obviously out of touch with the majority of the people in SLO on this issue. I for one will never pick up your paper again, and I will urge every business to not patronize your paper. I will not patronize businesses that advertise in your paper!!

 A dear family member is a two-and-a-half-year clean-and-sober meth addict. After jail, being homeless, out of work, and two extensive and expensive rehab programs, she has done her best to stay away from her triggers. Why would you put a trigger right on every street corner and every business???? I thank God she now lives in a different city.

 I think that this article shows irresponsible journalism. New Times needs to take responsibility for its gross error in judgment. Please do not continue to defend this ridiculous article. I think you forgot to mention under your “fun facts� about meth (unbelievable use of words!) the amount of jail time, the loss of jobs, loss of housing, family, health and sanity. Not to mention what it does to families and the communities!

Cassandra Goehner
San Luis Obispo

 As the editor of this newspaper, you really should be ashamed that you printed an article on how to make meth. I am a 17-year-old high school student and tonight I read the article about meth. You as the editor — I cannot believe you would let such a thing be published. You are not only telling us that meth has become a huge growing part of the county, but you allowed such an article to be published that told every reader how to make it, where to buy it, how much it costs, and the temperature it was cooked at. That is just wrong on so many levels.

 If meth users didn’t already know how to make it, now everyone knows how to make it, and how simple it really is. Fourteen-year-old boys and girls, like in the article from the Santa Maria Sun newspaper, can now go home and try to make this and keep their addiction going. I am in such shock that such a news article could be published and end up on the front page. You guys really should be ashamed.


 Why in the world would you print such an article? I truly believe in freedom of speech and the press, but this is taking it too far!! Do any of you at New Times have children or grandchildren? Well, beware. What goes around comes around!


 There is absolutely no value to this article except teaching someone to manufacture illegal drugs! How much is TOO MUCH when it comes to freedom of the press?

Jerry Hunter

 Why would New Times publish in great detail the steps of meth production? The Santa Maria Sun cover story on the same subject was much more informative about the dangers of meth use, and a much better use of paper and ink!

 Meth is no light subject. This wasn’t a recipe for Alice B. Toklas brownies. This is a recipe for the poison that is killing members of my family! I have seen this drug slowly destroy my loved ones, and you have the nerve to publish the recipe with only a tongue-in-cheek caveat about the dangers of meth use. What were you thinking? I have to wonder how many of your advertisers are rethinking their contracts.
 I hope the editors correct this grave misuse of their position in our community by publishing a series of articles to raise awareness about the dangers of meth use. You should check out the Mothers Against Methamphetamine Website at for the truth about meth from a medical doctor who lost her brother to meth.

Paso Robles

 How stupid can you guys be? Maybe I shouldn’t ask that question. The meth article pretty much answered it. Why on earth would you publicize a recipe for one of the most — if not the most — damaging drugs in the world for anybody, including kids, to get hold of? If you’re stupid enough to do that, why don’t you go ahead and publicize your personal address so these tweakers can break into your house to steal your money and personal property to buy the drug you were stupid enough to glorify. New Times was a publication we carried at my business establishment, but after your last two cover stories, if I even see your delivery guy drive into my parking lot, he will promptly be asked to leave the property and never ever return again.
 Even though I won’t read it, maybe you can explain exactly what you thought you would accomplish by writing this story. If it’s to piss off every decent, law-abiding individual within your circulation area, congratulations. You have done an excellent job. I am going to flip through the rest of the paper just to get the names of the advertisers you currently have, so I know who I WILL NOT do business with. The paper is a disgrace and Alice Moss is a disgrace for writing the article.

Jeff Turner

 I am outraged after reading your article on meth. To make light of such a tragic scourge on peoples’ lives and our society is sick. Where are the pictures of meth users before and after addiction? Where are the interviews with recovering addicts, drug and alcohol services, police, and family members of addicts who have experienced firsthand the pain and destruction of this drug? How about the children of drug addicts who suffer from in-utero drug exposure, chronic abuse, severe neglect, and even death? What about the gang warfare on our city streets over control of drug trafficking? This is the reality of meth and other highly addictive drugs!

 At best this article was highly irresponsible. I will not pick up another New Times until a balanced and complete article is written.

Martha Dutcher

 I’m sure you’ve received a load of these so I’ll try to keep it short. Simply stated, your meth story was foolish and socially irresponsible. For the life of me I can’t figure out what you were thinking. Let’s stir up the community with a dangerous “how to� guide and sell some advertising? Weak. If even one person attempts to make meth having followed your directions, you will have directly contributed to the epidemic of use.

 Yes, I know you can find the recipe on the Internet, but so what? Now young and old, the curious and the addicted, have a “reliable� source to assist them in the manufacture of a drug that steals your soul and your love — all that is good about a person is slowly lost. I know from my own experience and from those I’ve seen destroyed by the drug.

 Just a note on tone. Drug addiction and despair do not mix well with sarcasm. “Meth Fun Facts�? And my favorite: “Meth Head.� Wow, who gave you that gem? A different approach next time would benefit you greatly.

 New Times has failed our community. I wonder if you can sleep. Probably. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure you’re just trying to make your mark and get noticed, and that takes guts. But the result this time was dangerous and irresponsible journalism.

Matt Gittelson
San Luis Obispo

 I am truly shocked that any person would list all the ingredients and then a step-by-step guide on how to make one of the most toxic and dangerous drugs around. The meth epidemic is at an all-time high and you are trying to make a joke out of it. The New Times and the Sun are two very popular papers with youth, and I am still baffled that you would all go to this extreme.

 It is funny how in the Sun you try and make it sound like you care what is happening to the kids in our back yard, and then in the New Times you go the opposite direction and promote meth use. I am still completely shocked and appalled. To make matters worse, you try to make a joke with your closing paragraph. I seriously doubt kids will think about the 15-year prison sentence, but I am sure there are kids making meth right now.

 I hope you can sleep well at night and I truly hope none of your kids partake in the making of this drug.

Shelbi and Audrey

 This time you did it. You have alienated me from your paper. I’m done with New Times. I’ve been reading your paper for the fun, intelligent reporting and entertainment for more than 15 years. I have really enjoyed it, but now I must stop.

 You have chosen to venture too far off the deep end. I’m very liberal, but I also have children I’m trying to raise, and I want to keep SLO a safe, healthy community. I can’t have New Times around since you seem to have no sense of responsibility at all.

 Thank you very much for all the great times, but see ya! And tell your advertisers I’ll miss them.

Bonnie Marzio

 It was with shock and horror that I read “Meth Made Easy.� I appreciated the fact, upon first glance, that New Times was addressing the issue, as I have two teenagers and meth was not a drug that was a part of my generation when I was young. I was hoping the article would be informative. Boy, was it informative! I now know how to make methamphetamine, where to buy the ingredients, and how to cover up any reasons for ordering some of the more difficult-to-come by ingredients (we all need soap, after all). I’m sure Long’s and Ace Hardware are equally appreciative. Business will pick up for them, no doubt.

 I always eagerly anticipate your newspaper coming out on Thursdays, and always take it home. My husband reads it, as do my teenagers. This issue will not be going home with me. In fact it’s going into the trash. I feel it is beyond irresponsible that you published this article. I can see many a teenager, being teenagers, seeing if they can make it themselves, even on a whim.

 Wonder when your article on building bombs or robbing banks will be coming out.

Lisa Everett

 I am sick to my stomach after reading your article about meth. I cannot believe you would write something that could destroy peoples’ lives. How will you feel when you hear that someone has died because they used your article to ruin their life? New Times is free and available to children, and people of all ages, and your article was very shocking. It was basically making fun of people with addictions to meth, and was very disrespectful. Many families have been destroyed and lives have been lost because of meth, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Laurie Rodriguez

 Your article is the epitome of irresponsible journalism. I’m shocked that anyone would encourage the manufacture of an illicit drug by publishing a step-by-step recipe. The manufacture of methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous, toxic, and potentially deadly endeavor. There are many reasons why illicit manufacture is illegal, not least of which is phosphine gas, a deadly byproduct of the cooking process. Phosphine gas is colorless and can kill within minutes. There is also the potential of chemical explosion, chemical contamination of the surrounding area (can you say “superfund site�?), fire, chemical poisoning — the list goes on and on.

 Manufacturing methamphetamine not only affects the “cooker,� but anyone else at the cook site and in the surrounding area. Then there’s the problem of chemical waste disposal. Most “cookers� just flush this down the drain, put it in containers and throw it in neighborhood garbage cans, or simply dump it in the back yard. Think about that the next time you take a drink of water.

 So when the bored 12-year-old tries your recipe and kills himself or herself, blows up a house, or sets fire to a neighborhood, will your conscience be clear? There are enough jerks out there already manufacturing this garbage, why do you need to encourage more? THINK!!!

Robert Noriega

 I think this is a totally irresponsible article, and in my book the reputation of the New Times will not recover from this. I have a brother-in-law who is hooked on this stuff and I know him and his stupid friends will be salivating over your step-by-step guide to meth-making. Fortunately he and his friends are too stupid to follow the directions, but many young adults and teenagers (who receive your free publication every week) are much smarter. Before you know it there will be meth labs all over the county -- at least twice as many as there already are.

 I understand you are trying to get the point across how popular and simple becoming a meth head is in this county. Unfortunately I believe you did more harm than good. Shame on you. People would have read your article and understood your point without the instructions. I can’t believe your editor allowed this.

Shannon Peterson

 This morning I whipped up a little meth according to your instructions. Since I first tried it several hours ago, I’ve gotten smarter, breathtakingly laid, horribly emaciated, dentally challenged, somewhat paranoid, brutally arrested, unfairly convicted, partially rehabilitated, and saved by Jesus. Thank you.

Dan I-Forgot-My-Last Name

 HOW DARE YOU!! How can you call yourself journalists!! I cannot even imagine what made you think that running a story like “Meth Made Easy� was a good idea! We just lost a family member to a situation related to meth addiction last year and how dare you put other people’s lives in danger! You just put the recipe to make meth in the hands of every one of your readers. Not only that but you told them how much money they could make by making and dealing this horrible substance!! Are you going to take responsibility for all the teenagers who now think that maybe this is a really good idea? How about taking responsibility for all the lives that are going to be destroyed, families lost, loved ones gone, and children who become addicted to this incredibly horrible substance?

 I heard your “statement� to the media on TV last night and by saying that your readers could have gotten the recipe off the Internet is a total and complete COP OUT!!! Not everyone would think to go to the Internet to do this, but hey, thanks. There again you just told them how to get even further! I am completely outraged and will NEVER pick up a copy of your paper again!

 I used to respect you, but now I really think New Times is a complete JOKE! Maybe you should think about your readers who can pick up your paper for free before you run stories like this one again!

Anonymous Used-To-Be-Reader

 I am disgusted with New Times. Alice Moss makes drugged-out hippie scum look good. This article is an insult to people who are or have loved ones who are addicted to meth. I can assure you that some idiot will try to make meth because you inspired them. This time the New Times has gone way over the top. I’m glad your paper is free. I would not pay for such trash.

G. Gustavson

 You have just lost another reader.

Carole Hansen

 I am sure the New Times editor does not have a child who has been involved with meth. It is no joke, as your paper has presented. Other than a cheap desire to move more papers why would you print such irresponsible trash? My family has suffered years of misery because of this drug. My son has just completed seven months sober and he was appalled by your story. Please do not try to say the garbage that “it’s on the Internet.� So is bomb-making.

 The editor has no justifiable reason for the meth story. No apology is really good enough. Your resigning would seem like the only real way to deal with this. Your disregard for our wonderful community is a crime.

Robert Belmonte

 You have got to be kidding. “Meth Made Easy� is certainly one of the lowest, most classless examples of journalism this country has ever seen. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this garbage to be published. The way you figure it, I suppose, it promotes your paper and gives you a name. Your name is Mud!

 Any New Times copies I see stacked anywhere will find their way into the trash!

Dennis and Shelley White

 When I saw the New Times headline, I thought, “Hey, good. They’re tackling the meth problem. Way to go!� Five minutes later I was astounded that New Times would publish such an article. I fail to see how telling people how make meth STEP BY STEP is in any way helpful to the war against meth. I have no problem with listing the meth ingredients and how much harm they can cause, but telling people exactly how to make meth in a supposed anti-meth article is counterproductive. This is similar to telling people exactly how to make GHB or “roofies� when there is a date-rape problem. IT DOESN’T HELP!

 Lately New Times has managed to offend or at least irritate me with EVERY ISSUE. Are you trying to cause controversy and lose all your readers? If so, you’re doing an amazing job!!


 I am writing this letter to inform you of my disgust with your methamphetamine article. I am sure there are many more letters being sent and phone calls being made. I hope you can imagine how many people do not take the time to call or write but find the article repulsive and irresponsible.

 I personally spend many hours each week educating about meth, enforcing drug laws, and counseling parents of children who are meth-addicted. Maybe it is your naivet» that caused you to believe your article was responsible and a story that needed to be told. The story that should have been told would be one similar to the Santa Maria Sun. That article showed the physical horrors to a 21-year-old and the pain of a parent fighting for her daughter’s life to get her into recovery.
 Instead your paper found itself writing about how to finance a meth cook, how to cook meth, how a person could make a generous profit, and in the same sarcastic tone made jokes about “Meth Fun Facts.� Let me share with you my meth fun facts! I deal with 11- and 12-year-old kids who are using methamphetamine, families that are torn apart, infants who are killed and abused by parents who are meth addicts, and 14-year-olds involved in high-risk sex acts. There are so many story lines your paper could have taken, but you chose the low road. I plan on taking my copy of New Times and calling each business that is advertised and notify them of the article and my plan to never read your paper again.

 I hope that you and your staff throw yourself on the sword and make a public apology. Additionally I would like to see your staff donate time and/or money to a drug-treatment or anti-drug coalition in San Luis Obispo County and in Santa Barbara County.

Sandra Brown
Santa Maria

 I was just sent a copy of the meth article and am appalled that New Times would include a recipe for meth, along with step-by-step instructions on how to make the most insidious drug our society has ever seen. You were extremely reckless in your reporting and have done irreparable harm to the citizens and professionals who have to deal with this plague daily.

 It sickens me to know that as a result of your article even more meth will be made in SLO and elsewhere. More lives will be ruined, and those persons (hundreds) who are currently using it, maybe selling it, will now graduate to manufacturing it because of New Times.

 You obviously know nothing about this horrible epidemic, how it affects everyone it touches. I along with other law enforcement officers, probation and parole officers, social workers, medical providers, fire/hazmat and code enforcement officers, school teachers, and treatment professionals thank you for giving us more work. We were already drowning and now the ship is sinking.

 Please remember what you have done when you hear the sirens responding to the next lab fire, or see the newspaper article on the children living in meth homes not fit for a rodent. Most meth users, dealers, and cooks, along with their children, live in absolute filth. The children are forced to live in horrendous conditions, often not attending school, dirty, hungry, and cold. They have no appropriate clothes or shoes to wear and live in the midst of domestic violence, loaded weapons, and pornography. Of course many of these children are physically and sexually abused as well.

 If you interviewed social workers across the country, you would find that more than 70 percent of the children being detained from families is due to meth use. That statistic will surely increase as a result of your informative article. Good job!

Sue Webber-Brown

 Hopefully you have received an extraordinary number of complaints, threats, and more from the public. I have much personal experience with the meth, its manufacture, and the consequences of its use and abuse. I appreciate “edgy� journalism and thinly veiled satire as much as the next person, but this story was totally reprehensible and irresponsible. The obvious slant was to glamorize meth with the obligatory gratuitous references to the “bad� things.

 I want to see a total apology and retraction of your story. I will be one of the people who make an effort to pull your rags off the newsstands as soon as they come out. (I did in fact find some in San Miguel early Friday that the other concerned citizens in North County had not yet pulled.) I will also be slowly but surely contacting every single one of your advertisers, explaining my boycott of their products or services, as long as they advertise in New Times. I intend to organize as much lawful, nonviolent, and nonphysically destructive backlash as I can, should you stand by your story.

 Rather than wish you ill health or eternal damnation, let me say that I hope that you as the editor and Ms. Moss as the author, whenever you see any stories about exploding labs, horrendous crimes by meth freaks, drug-addicted children, lives ruined by the drug, or if God forbid one of your friends or family members falls victim to the ravages of meth — I hope you stop and think that maybe your article was partially responsible.

 This story is the most shameful piece of irresponsible “journalism� I have ever seen or read. All of you at New Times should be ashamed of yourselves.


 As the SLO city police chief, I don’t often comment on stories in the New Times, but your article “Meth Made Easy� was so outrageous it demanded a response. The article was completely irresponsible. Your reporter not only glamorized the use of this extremely dangerous drug, but presented a primer on how to manufacture and use it.

 Methamphetamine ruins the lives of those who use it and their families. For New Times to promote its manufacture and use is inexcusable. The glib tone of the article only served to downplay the dangers associated with meth. Even worse was the account of “John,� an addict who doesn’t see anything wrong with parents using methamphetamine as long as it doesn’t affect their work. If you have ever taken a newborn into protective custody because he was born addicted to methamphetamine, or responded to a child who overdosed on her parents’ drug supply, the effects on children become obvious.

 Methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous and destructive drugs out there; there is nothing glamorous or exciting about it. Promoting its use and manufacture in articles such as this places our community members at risk and is wholly irresponsible at best. I urge your readers to get the true facts about the risks involved with methamphetamine use, to talk to your children about the dangers of this and other drugs, and to call into question information that glamorizes or promotes illegal drug use.

Deborah Linden, chief of police
City of San Luis Obispo

 I participated in a broadcast last night on a radio station in your area and we discussed the article you wrote about meth. I have never been so upset about the lack of journalistic professionalism. I understand that the recipe for manufacturing meth is available on the Internet, but reproducing it in the newspaper with the step-by-step instructions is just irresponsible. All it takes is one child to see it and then all the kids will be talking about it and many will try to make it.

 We all know there are dangers to living in this society, but adding to them in the paper is, I believe, tantamount to treason.

Methamphetamine has become the nuclear weapon of the American family. It has destroyed more households than all the other drug and alcohol problems combined.

 I am a certified drug and alcohol counselor in northern California and have worked in the field for close to seven years. I see the devastating effects meth has produced, firsthand, every day. I’m not sure what your intent was when you published this article, but I do know that by including the step-by-step method and where to buy the chemicals you have acted against the well-being of this country’s citizens. I’m deeply saddened by what I read. You have contributed to harming others, because if even only one person uses this recipe, you have caused harm.

John Madsen

 Face it, your decision to print the article on meth (recipes and clever ways to hide the crime) was such a bad idea that it makes me wonder about your brain cells.
I pick up a copy of New Times at the grocery store in Atascadero every week, mainly to get my Hodin fix and the chance there might be an article worth reading. What a surprise to discover that no copies of New Times were to be found anywhere. Then I learn you’re giving Russ Hodin alternate weeks. Is there not enough room for some substance along with your sleazy ads and commercial blather? You can’t possibly squeeze Hodin and James in at the same time?
 What is going on down there at New Times? I hope you aren’t taping up your own windows!

Mary Sweeney

 Your article on methamphetamine has raised quite a stir in our community, mainly because of your decision to exercise your First Amendment rights and publish a recipe for the manufacture of this dangerous drug. My wife and I have gone to great lengths to raise our children right. One of the things we have done is to talk to them about the dangers of drugs and their abuse. We spend our free time with our children talking to them about what is going on in their daily lives and we monitor who they are hanging around with. We limit their Internet access so as to protect them from online predators and from information that has no redeeming value in their lives.

Now New Times publishes a recipe for meth. What’s next?? How to perform sodomy?

 Your decision to publish the manufacturing method of methamphetamine was an irresponsible use of the First Amendment. Thanks for making my children’s world a little less safe. Assholes!

James Taylor

 Let me ask you a few questions: I’m assuming you would agree that illegal drug use is a serious problem in SLO County and across the country, and is destructive to any society. Therefore I’m asking if you believe your feature article this week on meth helped in any way to reduce this pervasive national problem? Of course not. Do you believe your article might actually motivate others to get into meth use and/or meth production and sales? Most likely. Significantly so? Perhaps, and ultimately with tragic consequences for not only the drug participants but most unfortunately for the innocent crime victims who could be linked directly to your irresponsible meth article.

It is absolutely incredible to me the pro drug slant of this piece you took, actually coaching lost souls on the best ways to get high and into the business. What in the world would motivate you to write such disgraceful trash other than another sensational angle to pump more newspaper sales?

 I can only hope that your advertisers see you guys for what you actually are and conclude they really don’t need a rag like New Times to get business. If enough of them think likewise, wouldn’t it be sweet if your little “investment� in publishing trash journalism like this actually resulted in one enormous “return� — the total demise of your paper!
 I for one plan to encourage friends who advertise in New Times to pull the plug and send you the message you deserve. We don’t want journalistic garbage like this in these here parts.

Mike Long
San Luis Obispo

 Meth? What were you thinking? I have worked with teens and children for more than 50 years. Yes, it is out there! Yes, it is a problem! Do we need a primer to help troubled persons create more problems? NO!!

 Fun facts? Really now, do you have no one with any common sense on your staff? New Times is no longer welcome or even allowed in my home or place of business. I will also be contacting your advertisers to inform them of my intent to cease doing business with supporters of New Times. Your undermining of efforts to rid this area of the huge meth problem will not be forgotten.

Sylvia Glenn

 We’re waiting for your next article on how to make a bomb, something you can also download from the Internet. But why would any writer/publisher in their right minds make it easier to acquire the recipe? Speaking of right minds, a person who wants to do an illegal drug is not in his right mind, so your tongue-in-cheek article’s recipe has made it easier for them to destroy themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods.

 Brain scans of meth users have shown irreparable brain damage. Under the pressure of your deadline, you didn’t sample any, did you?

Pamela Barrett

 This is the first time in my life I have responded to an article I’ve read. I am a 27-year-old mother and wife, and not too many years past from my “partying days� and old drug circles. Even still, I am so sickened and disheartened at reading your article today. I think the thing that felt the sickest to me was the “humor� used throughout the article. It sometimes seemed like sarcasm and cynicism, and at other times seemed like pure support of producing/using meth with a “this is can do this� feel to it. Either message you meant to convey (I’m assuming a negative one), it is not a laughing matter, and furthermore, what are the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for producing meth doing in MY LOCAL MAGAZINE?!? I can’t stop asking myself the question: Is this a form of helpful/informative/entertaining reporting or is this a violation of civil and moral decency? I and everyone I’ve spoken with today regarding your article feels it’s the latter.

 My greatest concern is the risks involved in printing and making such information so widely available. Yes, you received the information from the Internet and an anonymous user, but what about someone who hadn’t taken that step (yet) and now doesn’t have to, thanks to your article. Doesn’t that make you feel a little weird? This is an illegal drug, and if the Internet had a way of being legally censored, there would be no way to get directions on the Net. But since there is no censorship you feel okay in printing up a recipe (with stores and prices of where to get supplies!!!) and making it widely available in San Luis Obispo County? What is wrong with this picture?

 To cut to the chase: I feel that you and your editor have made a very poor choice by composing and printing this article. It has no business being in a “progressive� paper, which I will never again believe it is. I’d really like to know what provoked Alice Moss to research and devise such an article. I’ve read it thoroughly a few times and am still having a hard time figuring out exactly what her goal was. Either way, any level-headed adult should have never allowed it to be published.


 I’m trying to figure out how anyone could have thought this meth idea was anything but completely disgusting and disturbing. What was the point? I will not be reading your newspaper from this day forward. I have been a reader for a decade. I will question businesses who are carrying your paper as to why they are contributing to your circulation. They are complicit in your incredibly irresponsible work.

 I just can’t understand. Who in their right mind would write this? Who in their right mind is going to be happy advertising in this paper? I am going to call several of your advertisers and question their judgment in funding your paper.

Matt Wormley
San Luis Obispo

 I very seldom write letters to express my opinion on things, but this time you have pushed way too far. You know there is a problem with meth. It destroys your body, it has been the reason for many deaths, kids’ lives are being destroyed by it. And your paper supports not only taking it but you even make it so easy that you give the ingredients to make it. Then you entice the readers even more by telling them how much they can make off of it. WHY????

 Are you so desperate for something to write about that you’re will do anything? Are you trying to make a statement about the free press and that you can do anything you want? I think your writing about how to make meth and exploiting it is the poorest decision any news agency has ever made. I used to read articles every so often in your paper, but I will never read your paper again, and I will tell everyone I know about what you have done and what I think about it.


 My daughter is a pregnant meth addict with a five-year-old son. My son-in-law was murdered by a meth addict. I am heartbroken, shocked, and angry that you would sensationalize this horrible epidemic in our society. I hope all your advertisers pull out.

 We deserve a public apology and an article on how shameful it was of you to print a recipe for devastation in our community. Alice Moss and your editor should be run out of town. I’m so disappointed I’m beyond words.

Los Osos

 I was appalled by your article on meth. It has no redeeming value and can only bring trouble. What a shame. Shame, shame, shame on you. I have lost my respect for your paper and will no longer be reading it.

Nancy Schrag

 Shredder, your editor needs to do a lot more than say SORRY!!!!!! Your paper just very well could be history for printing that article on cooking meth. That goes way beyond ethical and moral. Yeah, you can find recipes on the Internet. You can also find child porn, instructions on the different ways to commit suicide, how to build a nuclear bomb, different ways to have sex with a dog. BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT to print it in a FREE paper that is widely dispersed in our county. I have teenagers who pick up New Times every week to get information on what is playing at the movies and what events are happening in the county. Our county has a major growing problem with meth use.

 Did you watch the news Thursday night???? Crap, you idiots have upset the entire county!!!! The police agencies, district attorney, meth recovery clients and staff, parents, county employees, business owners, corporations, retired people, even TWEAKERS (meth users)!!!!!!! GOOD GOING!!!!! Have you noticed that it’s close to impossible to find a copy of New Times in this county since Friday, the day after it came out, and that’s not because people are reading it. Shit, at some locations not only are the papers missing but entire racks are gone.

 Shredder, your paper is WEAK and will ONLY GET WEAKER if your editor does not say “SORRY.� If things go the way it’s looking, New Times could possibly be a paper of the past. Which means you’ll have to relocate to another area to find a paper willing to print your babbling crap.

 I know of 12 business owners who will never again advertise in your paper, and I know of three people who have sent a copy of this issue to some major news networks. Good luck surviving this one!!! And your paper had better start praying that no one gets hurt or killed while using your printed recipe.

 The only way I would ever consider reading or advertising in your paper again would be if New Times set up a trust or some type of fund to help meth addicts.

Georgina Previtera

 As a writer, I fully support your right to publish whatever you wish, but the article on methamphetamines was beyond foolish. Right now, all across the county, kids who never thought about this kind of thing are attracted by your cover. Some of them are thinking that it may be fun to make this stuff, and it may be fun to take this stuff. When providing kids with the know-how and the unwitting encouragement to make such a destructive drug, you help to place them in all kinds of danger.

 The juvenile tone of the article belies the allegedly serious journalistic goals of your publication. It also obscures your target audience. When Jonathan Swift published his satirical essay “A Modest Proposal,� in which he suggested that the Irish should eat their children, his tone was rhetorically mature, and thus it was clear his intended readership consisted of bigoted adults, even if their bigotry prevented some of them from understanding the irony.

 The tone of your article, on the other hand, appeals to youngsters. Perhaps intended as hip, wise-ass, wink-wink sarcasm, such tone makes your targeted audience unclear. When I consider the poor writing coupled with the sensationalist cover, I’m led to think that New Times was far more interested in increasing its circulation than in the ideals of the Fourth Estate. I suggest you find ways to make amends.

Kevin Clark
San Luis Obispo

 I am absolutely disgusted by your article. I can’t believe that you would print this. What a disgrace to our community. You printed a descriptive recipe in your paper on how to make meth. What a fucking joke. It’s ridiculous. I have some friends who have struggled with meth. It almost ruined their lives. How dare you put this out into the open for anyone and everyone to read. I will never touch a New Times again. I have lost all respect for you guys.

 Good luck finding your way out of this one. I would also like to add that Alice Moss needs to find a new job.

Karen Carswell

 You should be ashamed of yourselves for printing the “Meth Made Easy� article. There were more responsible ways to let the public know about meth and the way that it is made. You are now part of the problem rather than the solution. Freedom of speech and press is wasted on that article.

Kathleen Salvia

 Shock and dismay are my primary reactions to Alice Moss’s cover story “Meth Made Easy.� This is the most irresponsibly written article for view by the general public that has come to my attention in my 40 years on this planet. Certainly you will be receiving a barrage of angry letters and e-mails about this matter. If not, I am not sure what is going on in this world.

 I recently relocated here from New York City and thought that I was leaving some of the social drug problems behind, or at least their severity. NOT SO. In three months of living here I have been made aware of many people with meth problems. Over the past several years I have personally known individuals who have lost EVERYTHING to this drug -- their homes, careers, cars, family, and most important their health.

 Ms. Moss has done this community a disservice by making the drug and its use sound like it can be a great thing to do. IT’S NOT! Though the article does list the downsides of meth’s use, these are tucked away in such a way that makes them seem unimportant. I don’t think that permanent brain damage and a mouth of jellylike rotten teeth are things to scoff at.

 The absolute WORST part of this article is the fact that the recipe is made the main focus. Telling people what is in it and where to purchase these items is truly ridiculous. As stated, recipes can be found online. If so, make people do a bit of legwork if they are going to make the unfortunate decision to try and make it. I was horrified to see that you not only listed the ingredients, but put preferred brands and where exactly to purchase these items. It is insulting to the companies listed to have their names associated with the drug.

     Jeers to the New Times, to editor Jim Mullin for letting the article be published, and to Alice Moss for even thinking that her subtle sarcastic style would be understood by all who read it. You really have gone too far with this one, and have lost the respect from a lifelong fan of your publication. You obviously do not care much for our beautiful community and its future. It’s a sad day for SLO County and free publications everywhere.

Daniel Glidden
Shell Beach

 Your feature “Meth Made Easy� is a repugnant, unconscionable, morally indefensible journalistic foray into a world of madness and danger. The fact that the “recipe� is readily available on the Internet does not excuse this irresponsible “reporting.� The statement: “Yield: About 7 grams of meth and a possible 15-year prison sentence� does not excuse your poor judgment. Neither does the reporting of the destructive effects of this drug. Your decision to publish this recipe will most likely result in some readers trying it; some will be “successful� and start using or selling the drug, and some may likely become addicted or go to prison for it. As a psychiatric social worker I have seen up close the mental devastation brought on by this insidious drug and how it has affected families and the community alike.

 Congratulations, New Times, another journalistic high-water mark for your publication.

Michael Groom

 Why would a free publication that is available to local students in SLO County print something so irresponsible? How can you people call yourselves journalists? I was at my son’s high school basketball game last night and I brought this piece of trash with me. All the parents I talked to were appalled, including myself. We are all banning your newspaper.

 What a disgusting, thoughtless article. Alice Moss should be fired and so should the editor for letting this article on meth go to print.

Sue Kwasny

 Are you people high?
 Don’t tell me you ran that recipe on meth just to insert some local controversy and stir things up a bit. Because if you did, your paper is lower than I thought. You may as well have written the recipe for a fertilizer bomb and shown how to plant it next to a day-care facility.
 I certainly hope you don’t justify it by saying the same recipe is available on the Internet, because that is a poor excuse for what you did. Writing with cheerful irresponsibility, the author of that mess recklessly abandoned whatever instinct she had not to contribute to the ills of our already messed-up drug society. I am insulted and amazed that Miss Moss chose to trivialize meth manufacturing with terms like “technically, this is an illegal activity.� Additionally she may well have contributed to the future death of a cook by instructing the reader to “be sure to wear protective gloves and a surgical mask.� Had she actually given a shit about the public, she would know that hydrogen chloride and phosphine gases are always present during a cook and a surgical mask does absolutely nothing to prevent inhalation of those fumes, which stop people dead in their tracks.

 Scripting it like Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals doesn’t do you any favors either. It was sophomorically written and typifies the indulgent attitude you and your liberal paper embrace. Your paper is supposed to be pro-environment, yet what you published is so against it on many levels. You are now the enablers of this ugly, ugly scourge on our community.

Tim Roberts
Santa Maria

 To me, the SLO New Times excuse for running such an irresponsible story about methamphetamine rings hollow. That’s because at the same time New Times was publishing its meth recipe, its sister publication, the Santa Maria Sun, carried a cover story with a somewhat different take on the meth problem, one titled “Meth and Death.�

 While the New Times article portrayed meth as an easy-to-make party drug with some risks, the Sun was more blunt, stating that meth is “hurting and killing kids.� There’s a line between edgy journalism and flat-out irresponsibility. And this time, New Times crossed it.

Tim Savage

 Let me just say first that I am completely confused by “Meth Made Easy.� What exactly were you attempting to do? While on one side it appears you are making a point that meth use has increased owing to how cheap and easy it is to produce, on the other you appear to be promoting its use. I have had my day in the drug scene, and although my drug of choice was not meth, I can testify with some accuracy that 90 percent or more of its users never even considered producing the drug themselves. This, of course, is validated with the interview you had with a certain San Luis Obispo user referred to as “John.� So if your point is to show that its popularity is due to the ease of production, that is a pretty ridiculous point.

 The only other point it seems you could be making is that the drug is bad for you, which you almost entirely overshadow by the rather detailed “recipe.� I am confused! The most probable reason I can conjure as to what would drive you to write the article in the manner you did is the fact that you think it is all right for this article to be made available to the public. Is it all right for people to attempt to produce it for use? Is it all right for people wanting to make an “investment� selling drugs? Perhaps it is all right for a meth user to “save money� by making it himself? Did you even consider the possible risks prior to writing this article, such as that some dope head would mess up the recipe? One who might create a toxic chemical and what effect that would have on somebody? (I have personally experienced what can happen when you get bad drugs.) Did you take into consideration that the pressure and curiosity already experienced by the youth on the Central Coast to experiment with drugs would only be increased due to an article in a respectable newspaper showing how to make it?

 What were you attempting to achieve with this article? I am having a hard time fathoming how this could have been written with somebody thinking it was all right to do and furthermore that it would make it past an editor who would agree. Two people from a very well-respected source in the Central Coast thought that an article like this (no less a cover story) would be all right?

 I have always viewed New Times as a progressive publication, but I cannot see how this is progressive. What good could possibly come from this? Even some meth users are disgusted you made this info accessible because at least they HAVE A CLUE as to how the drug can devastate your life. It is an outrage and a very poor decision on your part. I am sure you are going to receive the wrath of the community for this, which you no doubt deserve, but aside from the apology that I am sure is guaranteed in your next edition if not sooner, I want a really detailed explanation about your intent! If one is not provided and valid, I can promise you for as long as I am living on the Central Coast I will trash every copy you provide to the public, as well as encourage others to do the same.

 I am sure I speak for the whole community when I say that we do not want a ridiculous public-relations apology but rather a serious explanation as to how something like this happened. I think everybody deserves AT LEAST that. This is probably the most egregious publication I have ever encountered, and that is saying a lot, coming from me. I suggest you take it seriously.

Karl W.

 Good Lord! (Please note that is just a common expression of dismay.) A considered and in-depth critique of the meth article is pretty well undoable. Not to mention that it would certainly fall on deaf ears. Why make the effort to critique something that is so patently out of bounds? Does anyone even dream you might acknowledge your misstep? Not in the lifetime of New Times!

 The purpose of any publication is to inform, but there is often an underlying motivation. To expose? To educate? To amuse? To shock? To shock seems a common thread in New Times articles, and I presume you engage in lots of breast-thumping about your freedom to do so.

 Of course you are free to publish such crap. But please be responsible enough to at least attempt an explanation that goes beyond freedom of the press. “The recipe was available on the Internet.� Ooooh...good answer! What isn’t?!? How about bomb recipes? Porn? Pedophilia? Hate crimes?

 The reporter just wants to make her bones, I guess. But what is her editor’s excuse? Was there a brainstorming session in which it was decided that the benefit of the outcry would outweigh the negative reaction? Sadly, you may be right. How about an expos» of oral sex in alleys? Perhaps housewives who have sex with strangers? Sex between prepubescent teens and adults? The untold positive benefits of suicide bombings? It is, after all, all available on the Internet.

 Have no sense of shame? No sense of decency? I love the bumper sticker: “99% of liberals give the rest of us a bad name.�

Dave Whitacre

 I am joining the rest of the outraged people. I cannot believe what I read in your publication. I have been in recovery for 15 years and this is a disgusting and irresponsible disgrace. I will never pick up your publication again and am going to attempt to bring national attention to this issue in hopes of shutting you down. You should be truly ashamed of yourselves.

 At least up here in the north county people have been taking stacks of this issue and destroying them. Personally, I would like to dump them on your front steps and burn them!!!

Steve Boyte

 I hope you will read what I have to say. I do not want to preach or point fingers, but I am deeply disturbed by the article I saw in your newspaper regarding meth. I come from the Fresno area, where meth is a huge problem, and I am deeply disturbed by the light-heartedness of this article. I am for free speech but I am not for spreading a recipe for disaster.

 I believe this was highly irresponsible of you to let this be published. I work for a bank and I spoke with our head of marketing. We will not be advertising with your paper. I am so thankful that we are not already! Did you even think about how this would make your advertisers feel? I was scared to death that we might have one of our ads in your paper!

 That article crossed an ethical line and I am not quite sure what the author’s point was. It was a mishmash of instructions, pros, and cons. I’m sure you have plenty of angry people on your hands, but from a potential advertiser’s standpoint and a member of this community, I think everyone deserves an apology for that lowly publicity stunt.

Kirstin Latting

 You must be receiving many messages. but I still feel compelled to voice my concern and disappointment. It was completely irresponsible for New Times to run the “Meth Made Easy� article. An informative story about the meth problem in SLO County would have sufficed. But your recipe and instructions are a sadly misguided attempt at informing the public. The tone of the story is even more inappropriate. (i.e., encouraging us to get a family member in Idaho to supply a necessary ingredient that just happens to be illegal in California).

 You may have the right to print such things, but that does not mean you should.

Amy Quintana

 I have advertised with you for quite some time now. I thought I knew you. I am NOT willing to support this type of journalism. I can advertise elsewhere! I am a small business but I know MY ETHICS! Where are yours?

 As a local businesswoman and mother of someone who is battling substance addiction, I find New Times’s cover story in incredibly bad taste! Why not say we’ve left out some of the things needed to make this drug, print a disclaimer saying we do not endorse this but are trying to bring awareness to our community? Or better yet write more about how use of this drug rips apart normal middle-class families. How people you thought you knew start behaving so bizarrely, almost die, look like skeletons, sleep out in the streets, panhandle from those of us struggling to make a living and have normal (happy) families. Or even what we as a community can do to fight this problem. Obviously there’s no one in your family with that problem!

 New Times, Who Are You????????????? By the way, pull my advertising! Oh, by the way, there’s still a man in our community (Dan Devaul) who owns 72 acres and is willing to allocate some of that land to getting a center built for those battling this and other types of substance-abuse issues.

Mary Lemus

 Your article “Meth Made Easy� is the stupidest article anyone ever put in New Times. Now my 18-year-old, who was just curious, can get together this weekend with your teenagers and cook up the recipe-for-death you have given them. If one child dies, you killed them.

Susan Brown

 Your recipe for meth is absolutely deplorable. Yes, it is available on the Net, but you have to go looking for it. What’s next? Grooming children for molestation? Be sure to tell your advertisers I won’t be patronizing their businesses — ever.

Dutch Nichols

 I can’t believe how irresponsible it is for your “rag� to publish a recipe for cooking meth! Doesn’t anyone at New Times have even half a brain? Or have you fried all your brains on meth? What a bunch of idiots!!

Judy Huelga

 What was Alice Moss thinking? The entire tone of her article, “Meth Made Easy,� is appalling. The tongue-in-cheek was not in keeping with the severity of the subject matter. Come on, 75 percent of the story was devoted to the making of this very harmful, very toxic drug. Very little was done to address the harmful side effects. “John,� your meth-addicted interviewee, basically told of how he is able to keep his “shit� together while using. This gives the totally wrong impression of this drug. You cannot be a fully functioning individual and use meth.
 Your irresponsibility is appalling. I’m done with your paper for good. New Times is sensational and biased and not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Dawn Turner

 Are you nuts? Giving a detailed recipe to meth users is really irresponsible. These people are not thinking clearly and this could be the reason some user would choose to try and make his own supply. I hope New Times doesn’t get sued over this as I am an advertiser.

G.A. Forbes

 I am appalled you had the nerve to print the recipe in a paper accessible to the public. Meth took 12 years of my life, my children’s lives, caused me to lose everything worth any value, caused my family grief and heartache. Had I had access to a recipe while I was a drug user, I would have run out in a second and bought everything and attempted to make it. This is an evil drug, and although your story may have been an attempt to show how bad it is, what benefit was there in printing the recipe? You might have better served the public by spending more time showing how bad it is, what it does to people’s lives, and better yet, that there is recovery from the drug.

 I am now clean for more than six years — by the grace of God, not from reading about how to make the drug in a free newspaper. Also do you realize how dangerous are the chemicals involved in making the drug, and what can happen if you make mistakes? Perhaps you should have explained that people die from chemicals exploding, or are seriously injured, or maimed for the rest of their lives. Children have no concept of what can happen if they try this.

 You really should be ashamed of what you did. This article will have no positive effect on anyone now using the drug, or anyone who considers using it.

Carrie C.

 This is the most harmful thing you could have done to our young people. As you must know, there are troubled youth out there who would probably try to make the stuff. You have given them the idea how to make some money, and you’ve given them the know-how for making the drug. For every person found making meth and using your recipe, you should be held responsible for their injury and/or death. I hope to God that never happens.

 You should be punished by law for aiding and abetting, for supplying the precise information on how to make meth.

Gyle Tatom

 How dare you put all that meth stuff in New Times! Not only will I never pick up this paper again, I am contacting every advertiser to not advertise, and every local area store not to accept the paper. This is pure, outright evil.

Janet Busby

 I have enjoyed reading New Times, and look forward to the next issue. I enjoy the articles, the updates, the entertainment and social events, and even an occasional horoscope reading. I stay in touch with the county by reading the Tribune and New Times.

 I work in a public school. I go to work every day ready for the challenge of meeting the needs of young men and women, and hopefully guiding them in the right direction. I am so uncomfortable with the information you included in “Meth Made Easy.� I certainly understand the value of freedom of the press, but I also believe that responsible journalism must be your priority as well. You tried to report the dangers of meth use, but you countered that with a step-by-step recipe that any curious student could follow. I’m afraid it’s a recipe for disaster.

 I will continue to read your paper and check for movie times and the weekly calendar. But you do need to know that I am one of your readers who does not approve of this article. I believe the recipe was irresponsible and I have received several phone calls from disturbed parents. We all fight this drug battle together.

Alan Majewski, principal
Orcutt Junior High School

 When we read New Times, we expect alternative-lifestyle articles that sometimes push the envelope of good taste. Generally we just smile and move on. However, “Meth Made Easy� is patently offensive to many of us and in my opinion irresponsible and stupid. Publishing information (easily available to kids) giving advice and detailed directions on how to purchase materials and manufacture meth might have been intended as tongue-in-cheek, but some kid is liable to try to follow directions and get himself seriously injured. Even worse, he might be successful and start on a long downhill slide in his life.

 I believe New Times and its editors, King Harris and Jim Mullin, have a responsibility to avoid detracting from our quality of life in SLO. I am bitterly disappointed.

Dave Romero, mayor
San Luis Obispo

 You people are despicable. You can hide behind the First Amendment and try and justify your irresponsible article, but you have just handed the keys to hell to children and others who do not have the strength, reasoning, and morals to see the devastating effects of your sick actions. Someone you love dearly will take your “Fun Facts� and ruin their life (and yours) with your instructions.

 It is obvious you will do nothing more than vehemently deny any wrongdoing and try to justify your reasoning and actions. I can assure you your publication has now proven its true worth: kindling!

E. Brisgel

 You have got to be fucking out of your minds! To actually print the ingredients and directions for meth and give tips on how to avoid detection?! How low will you go to peddle your rag? What’s next? Will you guys offer a reward for a suicidal person to come forward and kill himself in front of one of your staff writers? The writer will ask all the pertinent questions and reassure the guy that his next of kin will get the reward. It would make a great story: “Suicide 101.� Just make sure the writer doesn’t offer counseling or ask the guy not to do it. It won’t sell as well without all the details of the blood-and-brains tissue. The poor guy will be dead, but at least you will have a controversial story to print.

 I’m sure you vetted this story with an attorney to make sure you did not break any laws. But what about your responsibility to society? Clearly you do not give a shit about what the consequences of your stories might be. Now the druggie who was too dumb to find the directions for meth on the Web can just read your story and get himself and some innocent people blown up. Or maybe that poor kid who needs a couple bucks now knows how to turn a nice little profit at school.

 I hope your attorney sucks and someone finds a way to sue you and the writer and put this paper out of business. I just hope no one will have died for them to make their case. I will do my best to boycott any advertisers in New Times.

Hans and Stephanie Drexler

 Are you out of your freaking mind to allow an outrageous story like this one?!? This is irresponsible journalism at its absolute worst! How much havoc and pain and suffering do you think you will cause with an outrageous article like this?! The DEA should come down on your heads like an avalanche!

 You have pushed the “free press� thing too far with this piece and what you have done to the Brian Thomas family (“Cop Out,� January 26). You now have become a total disgrace to our community! Scummy shock-effect reporting is what you deal in now, regardless of how many lives you destroy with it. How do you sleep at night?!?

Katy Davenport

 Are you out of your cotton-picking mind? Do you know how many kids have cut that recipe out and are going to give it a try; if not for their own use then maybe to sell for more money than they’ve ever seen? I read New Times regularly, but this takes the cake. My wife says, and I agree, we will never again read your rag — ever. This is the height of irresponsibility. I don’t know who I would fire first, the editor or the writer.

Gregg and Peggy Littell

 Are you INSANE??!!??!! How could you print an article on how to make meth, and with the audacity to put it on the front page. Our youth read your publication. What kind of message are you sending them? I along with other concerned citizens are pulling this issue off the racks and are encouraging businesses to refrain from advertising in your HIGH Times paper.

Anita Ball

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