Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2003
Source: Williams Lake Tribune, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Williams Lake Tribune
Author: Alan Randell



Re: Substantial pot bust, Apr. 10.

Please make some changes to the way you report drug busts.

Drug prohibition was initiated almost a century ago as a means of 
"controlling" blacks, Chinese and Mexicans by banning the drugs used by 
those minorities.

Today, the police are happy to utilize these racist laws to harass those 
whose lifestyle and/or skin colour offends them, while the politicians are 
content to let an innocent minority suffer as they troll for votes for 
being "tough on drugs."

Notwithstanding drug prohibition's odious origins, our political leaders 
tell us drugs are now banned because they're harmful.

Well if that's true, why do we not ban alcohol or tobacco? No, the purpose 
of banning some supposedly harmful recreational drugs and not other harmful 
recreational drugs has nothing to do with protecting users from harm.

Drug prohibition remains as it was a century ago: A cynical, manipulative 
campaign to entertain and distract the majority by persecuting an innocent 

Now, how should a conscientious newspaper editor report drug busts? Some 
might protest, "What else can I do but report what happened?" But there's a 
sinister side to reporting "just the news" when it comes to drug busts.

The steady drip-drip repetition of countless drug bust stories lulls the 
public into complacency about these terrible events and they become less 
and less inclined to voice any protest. Reporting one drug bust as straight 
news may persuade the public to question the law.

A thousand drug bust stories only tends to make people bored with the whole 
issue and to convince them that drug users "only brought it on themselves."

You may find it helpful to reflect upon the challenges faced by the media 
of Nazi Germany and how you feel they should have reported the 
incarceration and slaughter of Jews, assuming, of course, they had the 
freedom to do so.

The internment of Canadians of Japanese descent during World War 2 is 
another example of government's propensity to crush an innocent minority.

After thinking this through, hopefully you will consider changing the way 
you report drug busts which likewise involve the government ordered 
punishment of innocent people.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Include the comments of those, like me, who oppose these laws.

2. Include the comments of the victims, i.e. those arrested and their 
families and friends as well as (with their permission of course) 
information on where they went to school, who their parents are, who their 
partners are, etc., etc. In short, personalize them.

3. Include the comments of the defending lawyer and not just the 
prosecuting one.

4. Ask the drug cops if they expect to be punished for enforcing 
prohibition after we come to our senses and end it (or the courts do it for 
us) and some sort of truth and reconciliation commission is set up to find 
out how we went so wrong. The cops, of course, will bleat about having a 
duty to enforce the law. Remind them about Adolph Eichmann who was hanged 
for doing exactly that. Helping to enforce laws that are crimes against 
humanity is surely itself a crime.

5. Include a summary of your editorial position, if any, on these laws.

If you and your media colleagues continue to suppress the voices of the 
victims and otherwise depersonalize them, I fear our evil drug prohibition 
laws will be with us for a thousand years. It is time you began to serve 
the public instead of our venal drug cops and gutless politicians.

Alan Randell Victoria
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