Pubdate: Fri, 21 Dec 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Howard J. Wooldridge
Note: Howard J. Wooldridge is education specialist for Law 
Enforcement Against Prohibition in Dallas. He is a member of the 
National Rifle Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


What Cop Learned From Years on Front Line

(Re: Dec. 12 guest column, "Prison not part of solution to drug,
alcohol addiction," by Hal Don House.
Dec. 16 rebuttal, "Arguments against jailing drug users have become
totally wasted," by James A. Farren.)

As a retired police officer and detective who worked in the trenches
of the drug war for 18 years, I heartily agree with House's remarks.

I know my profession has failed to make a difference in drug price,
purity and availability. Indeed, these crucial factors are worse than
they were 36 years and a trillion U.S. tax dollars ago. Illegal drugs
are more plentiful, cheaper, stronger and easier for our kids to buy.

However Texas wants to handle these dangerous illegal drugs, giving
the money to law enforcement is a waste. Our efforts are like a
mosquito bite on an elephant - and every cop knows it.

As a police officer, I learned the difference between consensual and
non-consensual crimes. Prosecutor Farren knows that when someone sells
Willie Nelson marijuana and Willie smokes it, that is a consensual
crime - wholly different from murder, rape and robbery.

Farren would have us continue this New Prohibition, even as young
teens are shot dead every week because this "moral" policy provides
them with a job option that gets them killed.

A policy which many say is in place to protect kids actually causes
hundreds of deaths a year and tens of thousands of destroyed young

People like House and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition know that
ending prohibition would put drug dealers out of business, and they
would take along with them their violence, death and corruption.
Al-Qaida would no longer be able to earn $3 billion in one year
selling drugs. The police could focus more on drunken drivers and
child predators.

I challenge Farren to name one advantage, one benefit to Texas
resulting from the policy of drug prohibition.

Envision a world where all drugs are sold in state-regulated stores,
not on street corners by teens putting their lives in danger.

Imagine a world where the federal police focus on national security
threats, not medical marijuana gardens.

Picture a world where terrorists don't buy weapons from money made
selling drugs; where felony crime drops more than 50 percent; and
local police can concentrate on murder, rape, robbery - crimes with
real victims.

How about a world where if you or a loved one develops a drug problem
one day, you'll see a doctor, not a judge?

We can have this world if our drug prohibition laws are
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