Pubdate: Fri, 19 Dec 2003
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2003 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: James E. Gierach


Desk cops are cracking down on drug dealers under the leadership of
Chicago's new police superintendent, Phil Cline. Federal judges are
cracking down on Chicago cops who steal drug dealer wares and plant
drugs on others. And last year, Chicago police caught the policeman
who stole drugs by the kilo from the police evidence vault.

Another Chicago officer, James Benson, who turned informant on his
fellow Chicago police officers to save himself in a 6-kilo drug theft
and drug plant (meaning dirty cop plants drugs on another) will get
only 18 months behind bars [news story, Dec. 3]. The drug war lesson:
Forget the Golden Rule, save yourself. This is the drug war motto.

Mayor Daley, an aging drug warrior, wants to know where the drug money
goes. Mr. Mayor, it goes to your neighbors, your constituents, the
kids of Chicago, the school dropouts, the sons and daughters of
preachers and teachers, cops and pols, accountants and lawyers,
ministers and inmates. The pervasiveness of the drug business is such
that the air in Chicago couldn't pass a drug test.

It's the money. And by the way, legal tender can't pass a drug test
either. Pull out a $10 or $20 bill from your wallet. Dope, right there
in the fibers of your cash money. Drug prohibition did it. America's
zero-tolerance drug policy protects the drug dealers' monopoly with
drug bonfires, prisons, law enforcement, interdiction, anti-drug ads,
the spraying of Colombia with cocaine and poppy retardant and assorted
other drug prohibition cures, ad infinitum.

''Although national crime rates have leveled off in recent years,
gang-related crime is getting worse,'' according to James Alan Fox, a
criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston. Chicago needs to
pay attention, he warned, the Sun-Times reported. I've been paying

It's hard not to notice that Chicago regularly leads the nation in

Cline says, ''We have identified 100 open-air drug markets doing $1
million of business a day.'' Is that $100 million a day or
collectively $1 million a day? Doesn't matter. Prohibition has us
drowning in huge sums of money that put drugs, overdoses, crime,
corruption, guns and gangs everywhere, and certainly beyond the
control of mortal man. In a prohibition world, drugs are not
controlled substances; illicit drugs are out-of-control substances.

And here's a tip for Cline. The Chicago metropolitan area drug trade
is said to be a $7 billion-a-year addiction, according to a Sun-Times
Page 1 headline of 11 year ago. If you've only targeted $365 million a
year in open-air drive-throughs in Chicago, there are roughly 20 times
that many other drug outlets nearby. Better do a few more reverse drug
stings, seize a few more cars, work some overtime.

Or better yet, just pinch the mayor and tell him that drug prohibition
is a bust.

Cline should recommend Plan B to Daley: drug policy reform and an end to
the drug war. But Plan B is not news. In fact, Plan B does not exist. Too

James E. Gierach

Oak Lawn
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