Pubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2000
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 2000 The Gazette Newspapers
Contact:  P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, NY 12301-1090
Fax: (518) 395-3072
Author: Frank Wicks


Commenting on the current investigations and indictments of two Schenectady police officers for having stolen drugs in their locker with intent to distribute, Carl Strock in his Aug. 22 column volunteers his opinion that cops and criminals are more or less the same kind, except we have cops to catch the criminals but it is harder to catch the cops.

I suggest that much of the corrupt police force problem and the more serious societal problem has been caused by well-intentioned citizens, politicians and judges who have called for, passed and upheld the arbitrary criminalization of certain drugs and the selective enforcement against the poorest and most defenseless members of our society, while drug use by the elite is accepted as a youthful indiscretion before they get responsible positions.

Gov. George Pataki in his autobiography reminisces about baking marijuana brownies while a law student. His college friend, George W. Bush, refuses to discuss his alleged drug use before he was 30 because it is irrelevant to his aspirations to become president of the United States. Candidate William Clinton admitted to smoking marijuana without inhaling, while candidate Albert Gore has acknowledged use as a Harvard student, soldier in Vietnam and as a reporter in Nashville.

The good and decent thing that all citizens, lawmakers and judges should do is consider repealing each arbitrary law for which there is no victim. The result could be a more fair and just society, a halt in the building of expensive new prisons and reversal of our prison population, and smaller, friendlier and more effective police departments.

Frank Wicks, Niskayuna
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