Intelligence and curiosity are illegal in Massachusetts

By | August 9, 2008

Victor Deeb, the retired chemist who stored hundreds of chemicals in his house, was allowed to return home yesterday after authorities spent three days dismantling his basement laboratory.

None of the materials found at 81 Fremont St. posed a radiological or biological risk, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. No mercury or poison was found. Some of the compounds are potentially explosive, but no more dangerous than typical household cleaning products.

All potentially hazardous materials were removed from the house, which the Deebs have owned since 1988. A cleanup company, contracted by DEP, is continuing to test the chemicals in a lab.

“Ultimately, they will be disposed of,” said DEP spokesman Joseph M. Ferson, who said the city’s Department of Public Works is making sure nothing seeped into the sewer lines.

Mr. Deeb declined to comment yesterday. Authorities say he has patents pending and had been using his basement as a science lab to conduct experiments, possibly for many years.  Firefighters found more than 1,500 vials, jars, cans, bottles and boxes in the basement Tuesday afternoon, after they responded to an unrelated fire in an air conditioner on the second floor of the home.  …

Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.  “It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Deeb’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation. … There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.”

Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.  “He’s been very cooperative,” Ms. Wilderman said. “I won’t be citing him for anything right at this moment.” – telegram

Oh, they “allowed” him to return home, did they? After they robbed him of things he purchased legally? What a bunch of control freaks. I hope Mr. Deeb sues them all the back to the stone age. Then he will have money to build a bigger lab. What people do in their own homes as a hobby, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone, is none of anyone’s business. <hidden>( Note to self: Move aircraft assembly operation and particle accelerator. Basement getting too cramped anyway. )</hidden>

0 thoughts on “Intelligence and curiosity are illegal in Massachusetts

  1. Ann

    You’re right. This really sucks.

    But can we put this in context. Why does this stuff occur? Why isn’t Mr. Deeb hobby or work considered significant or important? Why isn’t individual creativity, however scientific it may be, not appreciated?

    Maybe Mr. Deeb should incorporate and become something like Deeb’s Exploratory Chemical Works Inc. Then, maybe he’ll be respected in AMERICA INC.

  2. lordhaxor

    Massing huge amounts of chemicals in a residential area is simply stupid. There are so many things which can possibly go wrong while handling chemicals, it is in no way justifyable to do this and endanger all his neighbours. Sure he doesn’T hurt anyone right now and it is his business, what he does. But if something goes wrong and there is a cloud of chlorine hovering over the playground, what would you think?

    Authorities could have handeled it better though, like give him the opportunity to move the stuff into a rented lab somwhere in an industrial area instead of just disposing all of his chemicals.

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

  3. Ann

    Yeah, you’re right lordhaxor.

    He should have incorporated and called himself Union Carbide (now part of Dow Chemical) the executives and managers of which literally had no problem after killing 5000 people and seriously injuring ten of thousands of others in Bhopal, India.

    But, a guy (a chemist!)with his own chemistry lab – let’s hang’m!

  4. lordhaxor

    Sorry, but you are exaggerating, comparing the tragedy in Bhopal to this topic is way over the top.

    Managers can get their head out of everything, even the crulest crimes one could think of. Sadly that’s how the world works.

    But another crime doesn’t give the right to commit one. And in my eyes conducting chemical experiments in a residential area is more then stupid and especially as he was a chemist himself. He should know the risks involved and thus should have looked for a home for his lab somewhere else. Otherwise it shows a certain mentality – fuck the others I do what I want or even worse, I know what I do, there wont be any accidents.

  5. Xeno Post author

    If you are concerned about people storing dangerous chemicals in their homes, will you also take away all cleaning products which contain ammonia and bleach? Windex is probably more dangerous than most of the stuff he had in his lab. But I don’t really know that. What are the dangers? Are there really any dangers based on what he had? An earthquake breaks containers, for example, and causes … what? Thousands of deaths? A mildly toxic mess? What was he actually doing? Soil sample analysis to improve his garden perhaps?

  6. Ann

    lordhaxor, I really don’t understand why you want to condemn a guy for doing experiments his basement. Excuse me, but I understand you being “way over the top”. If your familiar with chemistry, you must realize the worst thing that can happen is a small explosions or fires as occurs in high school chemistry labs throughout the country every year. We’re talking about small quantities, not industrial scale mass produced chemicals.

    And, please don’t think if the murderous executives of Union Carbide got away unscathed (and this is still an issue in India, today!)that “that’s how the world works.”

    If the world works that way, it is only because we (you and I – and Xeno ha!) allow it to do so, not because it is some sort intrinsic nature of the world.

  7. Ann

    lordhaxor, I really don’t understand why you want to condemn a guy for doing experiments his basement. Excuse me, but I understand you being “way over the top”. If you’re familiar with chemistry, you must realize the worst thing that can happen are small explosions or fires as occurs in high school and college chemistry labs throughout the country every year. We’re talking about small quantities, not industrial scale mass produced chemicals.

    And, please don’t think if the murderous executives of Union Carbide got away unscathed (and this is still an issue in India, today!) that “that’s how the world works.”

    If the world works that way, it is only because we (you and I – and Xeno ha!) allow it to do so, not because it is some sort intrinsic nature of the world.

  8. Anahit

    Good point about the household products, Xeno. I find it crepy that we use them so much in day-to-day life. He was probably just doing small scale stuf that wouldn’t do much damage… unless he was creating some sort of nuclear weapon, but that seems not to be the case. It kind of reminds me of your article on the posible cancer cure in the ’30’s, and how some people got arrested. Lordhaxor, I think that was a little over the top, yeah, but I see where you’re coming from. 🙂 I reccomend that you move the airplane asembly operation, too, Xeno. 😀

  9. lordhaxor

    I don’t condem him for executing experiments. I did them at home too when I was younger. But that isn’t the point. He has a laboratory of a way larger scale going. 1500 vials, boxes, etc is not normal for a home lab. And sure, there are some bad household products out there and yes I would say forbid them. You don’t have to have chlorine or amonia in large quantities in those products. It is simply not necessary. Simple soap can get rid of most of the dirt in a normal household.

    And for the worst thing that can happen … on the large scale he is working on, there can be any form of gas leak going on. Just some amonia and chlorine have to mix somehow and you get very nasty stuff out of it which can hurt people outside. And no, you can not produce the same result with mixing cleaning products.

    To restate again what I mean: I do not condem him for executing those experiments, but I think he was unreasonable to do it in a residential area. There are always risks involved while handling chemicals and he shouldn’t have done it in his home.

    Just one more thing:

    If the world works that way, it is only because we (you and I – and Xeno ha!) allow it to do so, not because it is some sort intrinsic nature of the world.

    Sadly it is intrinsic to the world. And I do try to work against it. E.g. olympic games in china, that is a grotesqueness. I do not watch any news about it, I do not read any articles about it, I try to boycott it as good as I can. That is something I can do. Same for products from firms who are known to do wrong things, I try to avoid them. If more would do the same, it would work, but well, way too many people are lazy and do not care for anything else then their surrounding. That might sound snotty, but it is my believing.

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

  10. Ann

    lordhaxor, it’s not snotty. It’s quite appropriate. We should all do the same. Read the Multinational Monitor and CorpWatch to find out how to make the world less “intrinsic” than what it appears to be. We the people are in control in a democracy. There’s no place for fatalistic feelings especially in today’s world. Keep the spirit. Thanks.

  11. Ann

    Anahit, “It kind of reminds me of your article on the posible cancer cure in the ’30’s, and how some people got arrested.”

    I just read a comment by a physician in The New England Journal of Medicine that it’s still happening today. I don’t have his name now, but a guy was arrested and incarcerated in Australia for his cancer treatment which was successful cure to 30% of terminal and other serious cases of cancer.

  12. Anahit

    (gasp) That’s horrible that they arrested him for letting a bunch of people live. Money, money, money, is that all theyu care about?! Perhaps they think it’s a form of population control, since it’s just a lot of figures, as opposed to real, living, breathing humans who have a right to live. Grrrrr….

    Good point, Lorfdhaxor.Perhaps he checked for gas leakage, so that he wouldn’t kill everybody in the neighborhood. You’re right, though, he should have done it in a non-residential area.

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