Pubdate: Wed, 02 May 2001
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The Sun-Times Co.
Authors: James E. Gierach, Anna Holster Ross, Robert Sharpe


On April 20, while the Chicago Police Department
awaited the return of the jury's verdict in former Police Officer
Joseph Miedzianowski's corruption trial, WBBM-AM radio announced the
discovery that kilos of cocaine were missing from a Chicago Police
Department evidence vault.

Word is that detectives assigned to investigate the drug pilferage
have been seen snooping around the vault, and heard calling, "Here,
little kilo. Here, little kilo." A few weeks ago, Chicago Police Supt.
Terry Hillard ordered his officers not to moonlight at rave parties
where kids are known to be dealing and consuming drugs. Who
knows--next week, he might order Chicago police not to sell illicit
drugs, either. In contrast, in Austria, officials in a project called
"Check It" allow teens to have their "club drugs" tested during rave
parties, and within 15 minutes the test results are posted by an
anonymous number so kids know what drugs they are about to take, their
potency and whether they contain contaminants. The drug war supplies
endless material for humor, irony and, of course, drugs by the kilo
and by the ton.

James E. Gierach, Oak Lawn


President Bush's new policy of barring college
financial aid for anyone who checks "yes" or does not mark anything
for the question on the application about drug-related convictions is
racist. For starters, it affects only the people who receive financial
aid--completely ignoring the class of people who can afford college on
their own. Essentially, he is saying that if you can afford to pay for
college, it does not matter if you do drugs. However, if at any point
in the past, you had a drug-related conviction--regardless of whether
you have reformed--you may not attend college, because essentially if
you do not receive financial aid, you cannot afford college.

In addition, this law does not take into account wrongfully accused
people, commonly poor and minorities--thus sending the message that
they are not valuable enough citizens.

I really think Bush ought to rethink some of his policies before he
isolates the rest of the U.S. citizens who are not rich, white
businessmen. He's already on that path.

Anna Holster Ross, junior,Northwestern University


The deaths of two innocent members of an American
missionary family in Peru should serve as a wake-up call [news story,
April 21]. Autocratic former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori
practiced a scorched-earth campaign against Peru's Shining Path
guerrilla movement--a movement financed by black market coca profits.
Allegations of rampant human rights violations and civilian deaths are
remarkably similar to the current situation in Colombia.

How many innocent Peruvians have been sacrificed at the altar of
America's drug war? Often touted as a supply-side success by U.S. drug
warriors, Peru's democratic institutions are in shambles. As Peruvian
cocoa production has gone down, Colombian cocoa production and
domestic methamphetamine production have both gone up, along with the
U.S. incarceration rate--now the highest in the world. When will the
champions of the free market in Congress acknowledge that immutable
laws of supply and demand render the drug war a costly exercise in

Robert Sharpe, program officer, Lindesmith Center/Drug
Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C.
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