Source: The New York Times
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Oct 1998
Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company
Section: Letters to the Editor
Author: Matthew Stoll
Note: Subject Headline by DrugSense

(Re "Rights Query on Killing of Immigrant" (news article, Oct. 21):

On an informer's tip that drugs were being sold out of a Mexican
immigrant's Houston apartment, the police forcible entered the home of the
man, Pedro Oregon. 

He is now dead, another victim of the war on drugs.

Had Mr. Oregon's killers not been police officers, they would be charged
with murder for breaking into the home of an innocent man and firing 12
shots into him.

Yet there may never be justice in this case, because in our zeal to
eliminate drugs from this country, we have overlooked the effect our battle
is having on innocent people.

Maybe I'm being over-sensitive here, but the replacement of "those we think
we're protecting" with "innocent people" makes it sound like the only
reason I'm upset about Oregon's murder is because he didn't actually have
drugs in his house. The truth is, I could care less if he did, because
"protecting" him from drug use by killing him (or throwing him in jail for
20 years-to life) is a uniquely totalitarian form of protection.

Matthew Stoll
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Checked-by: Richard Lake