Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
Source: The Monitor (TX)
Copyright: 2002 The Monitor
Author: Clifford A. Schaffer


To the editor:

Walter Hickman is quite correct that it is a community concern when an 
intoxicated person becomes a danger to others ("Incoherent rambling about 
legalization," Jan 6). But he misses a few points.

First, alcohol wins all the prizes for creating hazards in the community. 
Alcohol accounts for about half of all deaths by homicide, auto accident, 
drowning, and fire, and about 70 percent of all sexual assaults on 
children. All of the illegal drugs combined don't even come close to 
alcohol's toll. We tried outlawing alcohol to eliminate those problems. It 
was a disaster.

Second, the drug laws were not passed to protect community safety. At the 
time the laws were passed, there was no real evidence that people who took 
the currently illegal drugs were a hazard to the community. The drug laws 
were the product of racism, ignorance, and nonsense. For example, marijuana 
was outlawed because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes 
them crazy."

Third, if someone gets high and injures someone else, then you don't need a 
drug law to arrest them - same as with alcohol.

Clifford A. Schaffer, Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy Canyon 
Country, Calif.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart