Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jun 2005
Source: Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL)
Copyright: 2005 The Journal Standard
Author: Elizabeth Wehrman


Thanks for your excellent editorial regarding the latest GOP obsession and 
smoke screen: HR 1528. I am becoming more and more alarmed at the workings 
of our federal government. It's almost like Washington, D.C., is no longer 
a part of the United States.

And it's time people wake up and got involved!

The legislation proposed by our neighbor to the north (Sensenbrenner of 
Wisconsin) is draconian and the implications chilling.

And while some say, "It's just a starting point for discussion," and given 
the current behavior of the U.S. Senate Majority, I think we need to be 

I think that it's worth reviewing the potential of this proposed 
legislation which has already cleared the sub-committee.

* Increases penalties for every drug offense (including the new ones 
created by the bill.)

* Mandatory two-year prison term for anyone who knows someone who sells 
marijuana on college campus and fails to report it to police within 24 hours.

* Mandatory five-year prison term for someone at a part who passes a joint 
to someone who has ever been in a drug treatment program.

* Expands federal "three strikes" law to include new offenses, including 
mandating life in prison with no possibility of parole for anyone convict a 
third time under the RAVE Act.

* Providing a person with sterile syringes gets up to three years in 
prison, mandatory two years if the person is a minor.

* Requires you to spy on family, friends and neighbors, reporting their 
drug possession and/or use: if you "witness" or "learn" that it took place, 
you must report it to the police within 24 hours and provide "full 
assistance" in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the 
people involved. Penalty? Mandatory prison sentence of not less than two 
years, possibility of up to ten years. Unless Americans speak up, this bill 
could become law.

It's already passed out of sub-committee. Sensenbrenner is lining up the 
votes he needs to get it out of the full committee at this time. Then it 
goes to the floor for a full House vote.

This isn't a scare tactic.

This is reality. Under the guise and deceptive title of "Safe Access To 
Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act," HR 1528 is a frightening prospect.

And, as you so aptly pointed out, this failed "Drug War" waged by our 
government has turned into a "self-perpetuating and profitable de facto 
war" against the people of our country.

Within the last month, you ended your editorial "Bad Civics Lesson For 
Teens, Society" with the reminder that punishing everyone and trampling on 
basic Constitutional rights seems easier than making real change that would 
meaningfully address drug use.

Again, thank you for your editorials and your leadership on these very 
important issues. I hope that you will continue to do so and to urge the 
people to become informed and active.

Elizabeth Wehrman, BSN, RN

LeClaire, Iowa
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom