Pubdate: Mon, 08 Mar 2004
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2004 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Joe Reinhardt


Re: Drug war is worth the battle.

After reading the letter from Calvina Fay, the executive director of
the Drug Free America Foundation Inc., I was left with a feeling
bordering on total disgust. Either Ms. Fay doesn't recognize sophistry
when she sees it, or, worse yet, she assumes your readers don't
recognize it either.

In the first place, her attempt to justify the incarceration of
thousands of her fellow human beings by linking them to the murder of
Carlie Brucia is a cynical example of the logical fallacy known as
"after the fact, therefore because." By using this fallacy, Ms. Fay
ignores the fact that there are millions of people in this country who
have used drugs and who have never harmed anybody with the possible
exception of themselves.

To see how specious this argument is, we need only consider the case
of Andrea Yates, a fundamentalist Christian who murdered her five
children to protect them from the evils of this world. Likewise,
several religious sects routinely withhold medical treatment from
their children, which results in needless suffering and sometimes even
death to those children. If we apply Ms. Fay's logic to these
situations, then it would make good sense to incarcerate all
fundamentalist Christians to protect their children from potential

Secondly, Ms. Fay completely overlooks the fact that the scourge of
drugs is made far worse by criminalizing drug use rather than treating
it. The dollar figures and other negative effects of drugs that she
cites are in large part a consequence of the war on drugs and not a
direct result of drug use itself; therefore, if we follow her advice,
we get two scourges instead of one, with the secondary scourge being
demonstrably worse than the first.

Joe Reinhardt

Pinellas Park
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