Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2003
Source: Herald-Dispatch, The (WV)
Copyright: 2003 The Herald-Dispatch
Author: Mett B. Ausley Jr., M.D.


Decrying the crime and decay visited upon Huntington's once-pleasant Artisan
Avenue by rampant crack dealing, The Herald-Dispatch gratuitously upbraids
those who purportedly view drugs as a "victimless crime." (I refer to your
editorial of Sept. 15, "More police are needed to fight crack epidemic.")

This wrongly stereotypes those who question the doctrinaire and expensive
drug policy that was by now to have delivered the promised nirvana of a
drug-free society.

Absent is any evidence that feckless libertines and legalizers were
responsible for the police layoffs and abandoned drug enforcement that
precipitated the crisis. Scolding dissidents seems but a ploy to divert
attention away from the implicit official incompetence and policy failure.
Those who made this bed should have to lie in it.

Finger-wagging at distant protesters, the editorial overlooks the irony of
drug-dealing hooligans gaining control of the streets. This is due to the
city's inability either to afford the overkill drug enforcement now deemed
standard, or improvise cheaper alternatives, while ample government funding
deploys lawmen about the surrounding countryside uprooting marijuana plants.

Perhaps Artisan Avenue residents might now recognize that indifference to
bad policy and poor leadership isn't victimless either.

Mett B. Ausley Jr., M.D.
Lake Waccamaw, N.C.
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