Pubdate: Fri, 10 Oct 2008
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Victoria News
Author: Daniel Tourigny


Today I received a 'fear request card' from Conservative candidate 
Jack McClintock, a 25-year police veteran. The headline was "Have you 
had enough?" and it featured a photograph of police tape sealing off 
a door. On the back was a promise to make our streets safer by "getting tough."

My answer to Jack: Yes, I have had enough . of scare campaigns 
targeted at raising our fears in hopes of enacting ineffective policies.

Of the statistics I am aware of, our streets are not unsafe. Yes, 
street crimes do occur, but is the effective solution to 'get tough,' 
such as by mandatory minimum sentences?

No. You only have to look south of the border to see how well the 
logic of getting 'tough on crime' works - more prisons, more fear, 
fewer freedoms.

Not all law enforcement professionals ascribe to the 'get tough' 
mentality. In fact, thousands of voices from law enforcement are 
speaking actively against 'get tough' and in favour of 'getting 
real.' They form an organization known as LEAP - Law Enforcement 
Against Prohibition - which includes current and former police 
officers, judges, and prosecutors. Their belief, based not on 
outdated political fear-mongering, but instead on sound science and 
careful analysis, is that the war on drugs must end.

It doesn't make sense to offer solutions that have proven not to 
work. But there is another way, via compassion and understanding. The 
'answer' to our social ills is here and now. The question is: have 
we, society, felt enough pain from the laws that reflect our 
addiction to anger? Are we ready to try another way?

'Get tough' must end. We are no safer with it, only more divisive and fearful.

Daniel Tourigny Victoria
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