Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jan 2011
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2011 The New York Times Company
Author: Neill Franklin


To the Editor:

Re "Bit by Bit, a Mexican Police Force Is Eradicated" (front page,
Jan. 12):

As a former police officer who fought in America's domestic "war on
drugs" for more than 30 years, and who lost several colleagues gunned
down in the line of fire, I have to ask: How many more cops have to
die before our politicians realize that drug prohibition doesn't work?

In making drugs illegal, we haven't appreciably reduced use. Yet we
have inadvertently created a huge black market controlled by cartels
and gangs willing to kill anyone -- including cops -- to protect their

When alcohol was illegal in the United States, liquor distributors
literally battled it out to stay on top of the market, often killing
one another and even law enforcers. Since we ended alcohol
prohibition, however, beer and wine wholesalers no longer kill to
protect market share.

Politicians should apply this lesson to today's failed prohibition and
stop asking the police to risk our lives fighting quixotic wars
against drugs.

Neill Franklin

White Hall, Md.

The writer is executive director of Law Enforcement Against
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