Pubdate: Thu, 12 Mar 2009
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2009 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: Rachel Goodstein


Regarding the editorial, "508 Chicago kids shot in just 16 months"
[March 9]: After serving on the board of a youth social service agency
for more than 15 years and a 10-year career in educational publishing,
it seems to me that if we decriminalize or legalize and control drugs,
just like alcohol, the violence in poorer neighborhoods will decline,
just as violence declined after the repeal of prohibition.

Gangs are drug distribution businesses that require security
(violence) to maintain their share of the marketplace (territories).
Destroy their businesses and the gangs will have diminished appeal to
potential recruits because they will have no way to provide income to
their members.

Finally, police departments and newspapers can stop aiding gang
recruitment by reporting the sentences arrested drug dealers will
receive if convicted instead of the "street value" of the drugs
apprehended. The drugs are illegal and they should be treated by
legitimate society as having no monetary value.

Rachel Goodstein,

Lincoln Park
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