Lancaster County, PA. The Amish community is refusing to comply with the new EPA regulations which went into effect on January 1 banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs. The Amish church prohibits the use of new technology such as compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED light assemblies and so the controversial new regulations have forced many Amish families to buy their light bulbs from illegal sources such as the now infamous Amish Mafia. With the new underground market demand surging violence among Amish gangs has also been on the rise.
According to sources close to the situation, the Amish Mafia, the largest and most influential Amish gang, has been manufacturing incandescent light bulbs in renovated barns set up specifically for the purpose of mass producing the illegal light source. The rudimentary factories are complete with generators, assembly lines, and computer aided design programs. Several of the smugglers, people who take the finished products out to the different customers, claim that the operations can rake in over ten thousand dollars a day in gross profit.
“This is only starting, ” A smuggler who goes by the name of L. Levi says, “We will see people want much more of this good stuff once the stores run out of their stock.”
Levi says that even “English,” a term Amish give to people who aren’t part of the Amish church, members of the local community are placing orders and offering free taxi service in exchange for the illegal goods. He also hinted that a local politician has offered to look away in exchange for several pallets of the contraband light source though he refused to give specific names.
The local police are often reluctant to investigate suspected light bulb building operations. Stanley Berks is an officer with Strasburg Police Department. “Every Amish place has a generator. As soon as people hear a generator they call us. We waste so much money going around and wading through the manure inspecting every Amish’s barn. Not too mention shoes. We are way behind on our shoe budget.”
Incandescent light bulb “kits” have also been turning up at local roadside craft and produce stands. The kits consist of an incandescent light bulb which is nearly fully assembled but requires the buyer to screw on the final piece of the bulb. This slips under the law as it’s not officially considered a “working light bulb” because it’s not sold in working condition. It’s hard to determine how many kits have been sold since the product is sold for cash and is extremely unregulated.
Many people are already tired of dealing with the gangs offering tourists the contraband in back alleys around the Strasburg and Gordonville area. Emily Swartz is a local resident. “Just legalize the stupid light bulbs,” She says, “Then the illegal market would collapse and it would all go away.”
Apparently many residents agree with her. Protesters have been appearing all over the Lancaster area holding signs saying “legalize it” with pictures of incandescent bulbs crudely drawn on them.