Source: Woods County Enterprise (OK)
Section: Letters to the Editor
Contact: FAX: 580-824-2172
Mail: 109 North Main, Waynoka, OK 73860
Pubdate: Thursdays, as shown above each letter below
Author: as shown below each letter


September 3, 1998

Dear Editor,

Those wanting a drug dog for Waynoka are undoubtedly sincere in their
intent and for that I commend them. Unfortunately, the solution being
proposed will itself create serious problems. The negative effect of the
drug war are increasingly being recognized as being equal to those produced
by drug abuse.

As a nation we now spend around 150 billion dollars per year in an effort
to curb drug use and abuse, most of which is spent on interdiction
(arrests, courts, and prisons). To put that figure in perspective, over the
years we have spent a total of somewhere around 30 billion fighting cancer.
That's a mere on fifth of what we spend every year fighting the drug war!
In spite of that, drugs are as available as ever. Citizens are beginning to
recognize that the lock 'em up solution is not only terribly expensive, but
is not working.

In addition to the enormous waste of tax money, the war is undermining
respect for our laws. While many manage to overlook the hypocrisy of a
society that consumes mega-tons of politically accepted drugs (many of
which are more deadly than some of the illegal drugs) and even places drugs
in school in the form of caffeine (e.g. Pepsi, Coke, and Mountain Dew), to
those who are willing to look, the hypocrisy, the injustice, is quite clear.

Certainly, a drug dog will result in arrests. But what will that mean for
Waynoka? Well, it won't mean an absence of drugs. There might be periodic
shortages and the price might go up, but consider this: it is well known
that you can buy drugs in prisons--where they also have drug dogs. If law
enforcement cannot keep drugs out of a heavily controlled compound
surrounded by razor wire and armed guards, why would anyone think they
could keep drugs out of an open community? What it will mean is that one of
your beloved children, or a neighbor, or a cousin, or a brother or sister
is likely to be sent to prison, and it is often happens, it is probable
that they will be taught to hate the people who put them there, taught
criminal behavior, and then released back into society (if not given a life
sentence). If you don't care about them, at least consider this: since
prisons are badly overcrowded, violent prisoners will have to be released
early to make room for the non-violent people you propose to send there.

A drug dog is just another tool in the so-called war on drugs, which is
really a war on people. Even our national leaders recognize that war is
bad, which is why they have ceased referring to their efforts as a war.
There are better solutions, peaceful solutions that seek to help people
rather than punish them; solutions that employ loving non-violent methods
instead of fear-based methods; solutions that recognize the difference
between drug use and drug abuse; solutions that give credence to scientific
finding rather than ignore them.

War and the violence that accompanies war is never a good solution. And
make no mistake, the solution being proposed, however well intended, is an
act of war.

Chet Olson, OKC

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September 10, 1998 -- Two responses

Dear Editor,

Enclosed is my contribution for the Drug Dog. After reading last week's
letter to the editor, I know our community needs help. I will never abandon
the war on drugs. If a drug dog can stop even one drug dealer, he has
earned every penny he has cost our citizens. Remember, we only have to pay
for the dog once. He works pretty cheap. Personally, I want every drug
dealer in jail and I want every abuser in treatment centers. Let's get as
many as possible off the streets and away from our innocent children. If
you think our community is immune to this type of criminal behavior you are
surely kidding yourself.

Drugs are dangerous, causing not only young people to kill themselves, but
to do terrible things, such as murder, robbery, and assault. I, too would
like for the world to be one of peace, but until we pursue and win the war
on drugs it will be impossible.

To compare soda pop to cocaine, marijuana, or any other hard core illegal
drug is ludicrous.

Do your sister, brother, and mother, father, and a neighbor a favor and
donate to the purchase of this trained canine. We really need to do the
best we can to keep our loved ones safe.

The purchase of the dog will not be the total answer, but at least we are
doing something. To do nothing is frightening.

Judy Ferguson

Dear Editor,

Lets face facts. There isn't any Law Enforcement Officers that believes a
drug dog is the answer to America's drug problem. It is only a start.

Our court could lean harder, with larger fines and longer sentences for
dealers. Bail could be set higher, so that most dealers aren't released on
the public before convictions and incarcerations.

No one in society makes druggies or dealers. It's a matter of choice and
poor judgments of individuals.

American's law abiding citizens, their children and grandchildren are the
ones all of us should be concerned about. We should be grateful for those
in law enforcement, who see into America's future, and how it will be if
action isn't taken on drugs and dealers. They know what an effort it will
be to stop drug related crimes in our streets and on highways.

Drugs breed violence, not the performance of the law. Society is not the
ones who are responsible for druggies. Each individual has to answer for
their own lawlessness. That is what this Republic was founded on.
Individual freedom for the pursuit of life and happiness, and protection of
rights to pursue it.

Law abiding citizens aren't the cause of our filled prisons. Disrespect of
druggies, dealers, alcoholic, thieves and murders are what fills them.
Those who prey on the innocent and the lawful.

We respect the laws, or we break them. It's time to face the fact of crimes
in America that threaten our cities, our streets, and our highways.

We each choose good or evil, and which we will serve. Let goodness and
lawfulness prevail.

Retired cop Shop Employee
Vona Darr

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September 24, 1998

Dear Editor,

In last week's paper one letter to the editor said that "to compare soda
pop to cocaine, marijuana or any other had core illegal drugs is
ludicrous." While I did not compare soda pop to cocaine, I stand by my
statement that many legal drugs are more deadly than some illegal drugs. In
fact, I am enclosing a chart showing the results of scientific study
conducted by the government's own anti-drug arm, the National Institute On
Drug Abuse--a study backed up by a well-respected private drug researcher.
It shows--based on the five most common problems associated with drug
usage--that marijuana is not only comparable to caffeine in its effects on
the human body, but is far less problematic than politically accepted drugs
such a alcohol and nicotine. The government study suggest that caffeine and
marijuana are about equal in the problems they create; and private study
suggest that caffeine presents a greater problems to society than
marijuana. Think about that as you sip your coffee or tea and contemplate
putting people in prison, perhaps for life, for possession of a drug like
marijuana. And remember, those of you who support that action will be
responsible for the disastrous results it will inevitable bring.

In my opinion, children should not use drugs, including caffeine. I support
reasonable efforts to keep children off drugs, but prison is not a
reasonable solution. In any case, prison does not work. What it does is
create a red herring that prevents workable solutions from being
implements. Prison is nothing more than a violent, vindictive,
let-someone-else-handle-the-problem solution for people who are unwilling
to face the underlying problems and deal with them. This country already
imprisons more of its people than any other country on the planet.
Oklahoma, the last I read, imprisons more women than any other state in the
country and is close to first in imprisoning men. Does Oklahoma really have
the worst people on the plant (or just he most vindictive voters)? If
imprisoning people works, why is there still a drug problem in the the
prison capitol of the world? Prohibition did not work the last them and is
still not working.

Chet Olson

(August 2, 1994 New York Times chart based on the work of Jack Henningfield
and Neal Benowitz, referred to in my letter, was made available for viewing
at the Woods County Enterprise)

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October 1, 1998

Dear Editor,

I was thinking about coming to your office to see the stats on drug users
and coffee drinkers, but just don't find time in my schedule.

As soon as it becomes evident that someone has died from a soda pop
overdose, or a rape or murder was committee because someone was high on
coffee or tea, I'll be over.

Judy Ferguson

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October 8, 1998

Dear Editor;

I don't usually respond to letters that are critical of the drug laws being
enforced, but I would like to commend Mr. Olson on his letters of recent.
First of all he has raised the awareness level of the community in general,
and we have gotten more donations for the drug dog since his letters, so my
appreciation goes out to him for that. Also a couple of my friends who work
for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics in Oklahoma City were so impressed
with his letter that they told me they were going to contact Mr. Olson and
visit with him about his concerns.

Secondly, we are still somewhat short of our $5,800.00 goal for the dog and
would greatly appreciate any amount of donations for this cause.

John Fuqua
[John Fuqua is the Chief of Police in Waynoka]

(to be continued...)

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Checked-by: Richard Lake