Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jan 2002
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Robert Merkin


Dallas Police Chief Terrell Bolton deserves the thanks of all 
Americans for his aggressive campaign to rid our community of the 
scourge of Sheetrock ("Tests cast doubt on 24 drug cases," Jan. 6).

If we can keep just one child from abusing crushed Sheetrock, the 
$200,000 paid to Dallas' most productive professional police 
informant for hundreds of pounds of the stuff is a bargain. It's a 
small price to pay for victory in the war against gypsum, which is 
the same as the war against terrorism.

It is common knowledge that Hispanic-Americans abuse Sheetrock, so it 
is hardly surprising that all 18 Sheetrock defendants had Hispanic 
surnames. Holding them on $1 million bail pending the understandably 
lengthy police laboratory testing is the community's best guarantee 
that Sheetrock abuse does not spread to more affluent white 

Currently, Sheetrock and gypsum possession and abuse are not crimes, 
but a responsible Texas Legislature should close this loophole 
immediately, so future Hispanic Sheetrock users will not escape 
justice and can be sentenced to the decades of prison they deserve. 
By making Sheetrock sale and possession mandatory-minimum felonies, 
indigent and under-represented defendants will be pressured into 
prompt guilty pleas, thus saving the state the cost of an expensive 
and needless jury trial. The Legislature should also consider the 
death penalty for those found to be in possession of more than 50 
pounds of Sheetrock or gypsum.

We do not want to send the wrong message to our children by allowing 
Sheetrock abuse to go unpunished.


Northampton, Mass.
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