Pubdate: Wed, 26 May 2010
Source: Augusta Chronicle, The (GA)
Copyright: 2010 The Augusta Chronicle
Author: Frank Williams


The Chronicle's "Casualties of the drug war" editorial (May 25)
distorts the truth about the movement in America to extend individual
liberty and limit the use of legal force upon U.S. citizens.

Your examples of violence that harm innocent people are indeed factual
cases taken from the war on drugs. But you confuse who it is who
aggresses against the innocent and ignore the reason for the aggression.

Why are the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, filled with drug lords and
exposed to violence? Why have 20,000 people along the border with
Mexico died in the past three years due to drug violence? Marijuana is
a plant, a weed of literally no value to those of us who do not smoke.
As with any product, its value rises according to demand, and as the
law makes this plant more scarce than its abundance would otherwise
make it, its value on the market rises proportionally.

The violence you depict and the innocent victims you rightfully decry
are results of an artificial market created by the very laws you
promote. Marijuana, cocaine and their cousins -- as with barley or
malt or wheat -- are agricultural products that can be made into
substances that some will misuse.

You say it is "preposterous" to argue that illegality causes the
problem in the drug trade, and you make a comparison to rape. But you
ignore the reality that rape has a victim who did not consent to the
attack; drug use is almost always a choice made by the individual, for
better or for worse.

The laws are the problem, and the governments who make them are the
aggressors. What would happen if, in an era of increasingly worthless
Federal Reserve notes, our government once again made possession of
gold illegal? Does gold create "casualties," as you say illegal drugs
do? It does not now, but it would if the government forbade Americans
from owning it.

The problem is out-of-control government, not drugs. We must create a
society in which individuals are free to do as each thinks best, and
is then held responsible -- sober or otherwise -- for the consequences
of those choices.

Frank Williams

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