Pubdate: Sun, 24 Dec 2000
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2000 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Jesse Goplen, Madison


I was delighted to read Matthew Rosenberg's article in the Dec. 17th Your
Forum section.  The author had obviously done his homework, cutting through
the rhetoric about Plan Colombia to document the bloodshed, corruption, and
sorrow that a massive, self-regulating black market neccessarily generates.

A dynamic similar to that in Colombia operates in our own country.  We hear
a lot of talk about the connection between drugs and violence, but what we
are really witnessing is a connection between illegal markets and violence.
Just as Prohibition led to the rise of turf warfare, gang violence and Al
Capone's bootlegging empire here in the Midwest, the drug war has led to
urban combat among gangs in our cities and sometimes even in our small

It's not television news, rap music or even access to guns that is "causing"
violence; violence is rational behavior in the context of a black market.
Just as decriminalization and harm reduction policies like controlled
access, age restrictions and regulation with taxation saved us from the harm
caused by Prohibition, they can save us now from the insanity our drug
policies are creating at home and abroad. It's time to put the failed drug
war experiment out to pasture.

- - Jesse Goplen, Madison
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MAP posted-by: Don Beck