Pubdate: Sun, 24 Mar 2002
Source: Centre Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Nittany Printing and Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Alan Randell


Regarding "A lot of tasks await a new drug task force" (Our View, Mar.
17): There exists today an axis of evil that must be broken. No, I'm
not talking about Iran, Iraq and North Korea; I'm talking about our
politicians and our media, who are scheming together to ensure that
our shameful drug laws receive general support. Isn't that why you
chose to publish this claptrap?

Let's begin at the beginning. Why do governments prohibit certain

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. My wife and I became well acquainted with this
aspect of government policy when we lost our 19-year-old son to street
heroin in 1993. Besides, two of our more dangerous drugs, alcohol and
tobacco, are legal.

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 crimes by users as prohibition
makes drug prices much higher, violent disputes between dealers) than
when the drug is legally available.

Is it to distract attention away from more important issues by
conducting a brutal, Hitler-like pogrom, first to ostracize and then
to destroy the innocent few who ingest or sell certain drugs -- with
the additional "benefit" of allowing our politicians and cops, along
with their media sycophants, the pleasure of strutting and swagger
before us as they promise to ride out like St. George and slay the
fearsome and deadly dragon of drugs while sticking the taxpayer with
the cost of bigger budgets and free drugs for our police officers?


How did this happen?

How did the politicians win our approval, or at least our acceptance,
of such a manifestly evil crusade? The answer? The media, in two ways.

First, the media immerse us in such a torrent of matter-of-fact,
"objective" accounts of the mayhem without allowing the victims'
stories to be told so that we become inured to their plight and are
persuaded that "they only have themselves to blame."

Second, the media never miss an opportunity to allow those who profit
from the drug laws (cops, drug "experts", district attorneys,
politicians, etc. -- but especially the cops) to tell their stories
over and over, while allowing only the occasional letter or op-ed
article from those who oppose the law.

As to why the media support a brutal government pogrom like our drug
laws, I can only surmise that tragedy, suffering and war sell more
newspapers and attract higher TV ratings than happiness, contentment
and peace.

How should we describe the relationship between politicians who engage
in such a loathsome pogrom and the media that support it? "Axis of
evil" sounds about right to me.

Alan Randell

Victoria, British Columbia
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