Pubdate: Mon, 20 May 2002
Source: Post-Star, The (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Glens Falls Newspapers Inc.
Author: Bill O'Reilly
Bookmark: (Rockefeller Drug Laws)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Rockefeller drug laws in New 
York state.

The statutes' most severe provision requires that a judge impose a prison 
term of no less than 15 years to life for someone convicted of selling two 
ounces or possessing four ounces of a narcotic substance.

Now there is an outcry by some to revoke those laws. The argument goes like 
this: "Drug dealing is a non-violent offense, and the perpetrators need 
drug treatment since they are often addicts themselves. We are throwing 
away valuable lives by imposing draconian penalties on drug-involved offenders.

Are you buying that?

Well, if you are, listen up. Selling hard drugs is not a "non-violent 
offense." Instead, it is a crime against humanity.

A few days ago, a New Jersey couple in their early 20s sat down in front of 
an oncoming Amtrak train and were killed instantly. Authorities say the 
pair was addicted to heroin and spent thousands of dollars a month on the 
drug. Shortly before the suicide, the couple had been evicted from their 
apartment for non-payment of rent. Relatives say both individuals were a 

So what about the people who sold the heroin to these Americans? What is 
their responsibility?  Some will argue the pushers have no responsibility, 
that the users make the choice.

But that is nonsense. If nobody sold drugs, there would be no drug problem.

You may have also heard about little Rilya Wilson, the 4-year-old foster 
child in Florida who has been missing for 16 months.

Rilya's mother is a crack addict.  She had not contacted her child in 
nearly two years.

When Rilya turned up missing, that despicable mother reportedly made noise 
about suing the state of Florida. It turned my stomach.

So what about the people who sold crack to Rilya's mother?

Are they not partially responsible for the abandonment of the little girl?

When are Americans going to wise up?

Drug dealing used to be considered the lowest form of human endeavor. Now 
it is glorified in some rap songs,  and many misguided Americans have 
downgraded this terribly destructive crime to "non-violent."

The truth is that selling hard drugs to people who may die from using them, 
may become enslaved by addiction, may abuse their children while 
intoxicated, and may commit more crimes to buy more drugs in a vile 
enterprise that should be condemned by society.

The Rockefeller laws were passed to protect Americans from people who would 
prey upon them. The average pusher on the street sells to scores of people 
every day. The damage that person is doing is enormous.

Yet when caught, the pusher is being portrayed as a victim of an unfair 
sentencing arrangement.

Here's the truth: In order to get sentenced under the Rockefeller Law, you 
have to be one bad seed. You have to have prior convictions or not 
cooperate with police in their investigation of the drug pipeline. In other 
words, you have to be hard-core.

Yes, there are a few people that got caught up in something they didn't 
understand, but that is rare.  Most of those doing hard time under 
Rockefeller are the dregs of the earth.

Ask any district attorney. The overwhelming majority of them want to keep 
the harsh sentences in place.

But many in the establishment media find this attitude cruel and unusual. 
We have to try and rehab these people, they wail. It's just not fair. 
Baloney. Dealing narcotics is a conscious choice. You just don't 
accidentally do it. It isn't a crime of passion, a spur-of-the-moment 
decision. Drug dealing is a nasty, hateful way to make a buck. It destroys 
lives. It corrupts children. It is unmerciful and brutal.

In short, selling hard drugs to another person is a crime against humanity. 
Do the crime, do the time.

Bill O'Reilly is the host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel and 
is a columnist for The Boston Herald.
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