Nanny State Alert: Man goes to jail for drinking rain water

posted at 10:41 am on August 10, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

You just can’t make this stuff up. A man in Oregon is currently in jail serving a thirty day term – along with a $1500 fine – for collecting rainwater and snow melt on his own property for drinking and household use. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.

Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.

“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.

Harrington was found guilty two weeks ago of breaking a 1925 law for having, what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property. He was convicted of nine misdemeanors, sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1500 for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.

There’s simply not much more to say about this one. Let this be a lesson to everyone about keeping an eye on who you elect to public office and the policies they put in place once they are there. The law in question here may date back nearly a century, but it certainly could have have been taken off the books long before now if the political will existed to do so. The fact that it’s still being enforced demonstrates that it isn’t some ancient anomaly hanging around as a joke. And given the current, regulation heavy environment in Washington, seeing such laws passed in other places isn’t quite so far fetched as you may think.

Still, Mr. Harrington’s story caught me off guard. This one simply defies reason.


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