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FESTER: Back in 1985 I was stuck in my cell at the big house in Wisconsin wondering how I would fill the next several years since I had just been sentenced to five years for cooking and moving crank. As I watched TV in my cell one day, Barbara Walters came on doing a piece about what she called "terrorist publishers." As she whined on about the dreadful underground books out there, they showed scenes of trailers and cars being ripped apart by explosions. She clucked on and on about how horrible it is that nothing can be done to stop the publishing and sale of these books. It was just so pathetic since she and her partners were producing just a steady stream of drivel.
That was when my plan for spending the next few years in lockup took shape. I would produce underground literature which was technically valid, yet readable by those without advanced schooling in the sciences. I would train an army of chefs in the art of cooking crank and the other areas of science in which I had an interest. The very next day, I had someone down the cell block pass me his typewriter and went to work immediately on the first edition of Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture.
FESTER: I found their catalog in the early 80s while I was actively cooking crank. I bought my copy of the Poor Man's James Bond from them. I read through their catalog and saw all the fascinating books they carried and I thought to myself: The authors of these books must lead some very interesting and exciting lives. Little did I realize that when I was engaged in pioneering the field of clandestine chemistry, my life was actually more interesting and exciting than theirs! After I got busted and got the idea to produce a book on cooking crank, they were my first choice to get the book published. I was familiar with them and liked their line of books.
FESTER: In the great majority of the cases, this is theater for the boobs watching on TV to absorb and come away with the lesson that somebody cooking a little crank down the street poses a mortal danger to them. Keep in mind that the typical raid shown on TV will be somebody who just cooks a bit from time to time and lives in the house full time with no after effect from it. An exception to this general rule would be somebody who has had an accident and set the place on fire and as a result there are chemicals and their fumes just permeating the raid site. Another exception would be a large industrial cooking operation where the quantity of chemicals in place may justify taking a series of precautions. These cases are not at all typical of most raids. It is simply theater.
It is in the area of "home remediation" that the police desire for a theatrical show and the greed of "home remediators" combine to have places where crank had been cooked condemned and gutted. There is no reason for this. The materials used to cook crank, such as iodine, red phosphorus and cold pills all came from the shelves of the local store. They are everyday materials in use in virtually every home. There is no seeping contamination into walls or floors unless somebody spilled a batch. That contamination would be localized to the spill area. The home remediation racket is all theater and greed unless the place had been cooking quite large amounts of meth. 2b1af7f3a8