Pubdate: Mon, 22 Aug 2005
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2005 Southam Inc.
Author: Gary Marshall


Re: Gangs Joining Forces, Aug. 20.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair believes that "people who buy ... drugs 
have to understand the connection between their activity and the violence 
that's taking place in the city."

Looking back to the Prohibition years, one might easily suggest that it was 
the alcohol drinkers who were the source of so much mayhem and death. But 
they were not. In fact, it was the stupidity of the authorities in 
criminalizing deeds that little warranted such censure. Before Prohibition 
there was no violence in the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol, 
nor was there any after the apparatus of Prohibition was dismantled.

One can easily find a parallel in the laws and actions of the authorities 
today. The government has chosen to criminalize behaviour that should be 
dealt with by doctors and addiction specialists. In prohibiting substances 
to which only a tiny fragment of the population is addicted, the courts, 
law enforcement and our legislators have unleashed violence that has cost 
too many lives and caused too much destruction.

And all Chief Blair has to show for the immense sums invested in the war on 
drugs is failure after failure. If the police cannot even keep drugs out of 
prisons, how do they ever expect to keep them away from the public at 
large? The effort is a futile one as the foe is invincible and always will 
be. So put your sword down, Chief Blair, and let the medical community 
handle the problem from now on.

Gary Marshall, Winnipeg.
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