AOH :: ARKANSAS.TXT|
News story from Arkansas. Cop on every porch.
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Msg : #3708 
From : Carl Olsen 1:290/2 Sun 03 Apr 94 20:58
To : All
Subj : ARKANSAS TIMES
THE DOCTOR KNOWS DRUGS
Little Rock and other American cities are preparing to put police on
every porch, confine law-abiding citizens to their homes, and starve schools and
hospitals so they can build prisons the size of Minnesota. All for the misnamed
"war on drugs," a tragic failure that will continue until other public officials
demonstrate the courage and wisdom of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. Few have
stepped forward; Dr. Elders boss, the president, is not yet among them. In the
meantime, more blood flows, more freedom is lost, and more fear afflicts the
home of the brave.
The lessons of history and their own eyes, when opened, should make
citizens question the national drug policies, but whenever one is caught doing
do, fanatical drug warriors go on the attack. Some of these are big-government
ideologues, opposed on principle to the right of individual choice. Some hold
well-paying jobs in the drug-war bureaucracy. Some are simply misled.
They all jumped Dr. Elders for telling a Washington luncheon, I do feel
it would markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized." Its a true
and honest thought, and about the most politically incorrect that one can
Decriminalizing and regulating drugs, removing the riches from the drug
trade, would indeed reduce violent crime. Drug dealers are vicious but not (for
the most part) insane. Take away the profit motive and theyll leave and take
their guns with them. And treating drug users as victims rather than criminals,
directing them to treatment rather than to jail, will lessen their offenses.
Declaring a man an outlaw when hes harmed no one but himself only increases the
chance that hell behave like a real outlaw.
A handful of bold officials -- mostly big-city mayors such as Baltimores
Kurt Schmoke -- have acknowledged publicly that drug war tactics are
counter-productive. Not only are those tactics based on misjudgments of drug
sellers and drug users, they encourage the corruption of law enforcement
officers, a national scandal of awesome proportion. In Arkansas, arrests have
become almost commonplace of people who ostensibly hired on to fight drug crime.
While European cities are experimenting, successfully, with
decriminalization of drugs, Elders has merely proposed a study in this country.
A study is the very least that should be undertaken, and tomorrow is not too
soon to begin.
Arkansas Times, 201 East Markham Street, 200 Heritage Center West, P.O.
Box 34010, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203, (501) 375-2985, December 16, 1993, Page
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