Pubdate: Wed, 13 Mar 2002
Source: Times Daily (AL)
Address: 219 W. Tennessee St., Florence, AL 35630
Contact:  2002 Times Daily
Author: Alan Randell


To the Editor:

Re "Drug search ends in students' arrest," Feb. 21: I hope teachers 
explain to students why governments prohibit certain drugs.

Is it to protect users from harm? No, that can't be the reason 
because users suffer more (adulterated drugs and jail time) when a 
drug is banned as compared to when it is legally available, and 
besides, the most dangerous drugs of all, alcohol and tobacco, are 

Is it to reduce the crime associated with illegal drugs? No, that 
can't be the reason because banning a drug always gives rise to more 
crime (drug cartels, petty crime by users as prohibition makes drug 
prices much higher, violent disputes between dealers) than when the 
drug is legally available.

Is it that our drug laws are nothing less than a brutal Hitler-like 
pogrom designed to distract our attention from more important issues 
by ruining the lives of the innocent few who ingest or sell certain 


The rise of high circulation national newspapers made it possible for 
governments to convince even an educated populace that it was in 
their interest that their government do evil things to a minority. 
Consider the Holocaust. Consider our drug laws.

If people read every day about such sanctioned evils, they become 
inured to the suffering, even bored, perhaps, and turn the page. They 
come to care nothing for those affected or their families. They begin 
to view these evils as routine, normal.

Assuming your newspaper cares about innocent people being carted off 
to jail (possibly not, because persecuting an innocent minority does 
sell newspapers), consider making your drug-bust stories less 
one-sided in favor of the cops by including comments of the 
individuals arrested and their families, as well as, wherever 
possible, someone who opposes these laws. Please try to put a human 
face on the suffering.

Alan Randell
Victoria, B.C.
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