News - Totally wacked on War

How many more lives, dollars must be wasted?

For years, "tough on crime" politicians and overzealous demagogues have sought to monitor and control the behavior of the rest of the nation through the ridiculous War on Drugs. In so doing, they have accomplished little more than to whittle away at the Bill of Rights, spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to no avail, and create an environment which begs criminals to import and distribute contraband on the black market.

Sure the DEA, U.S. Customs Service or Atlanta's "Red Dog" squad will announce a "major" bust every now and again but, despite the torrents of cash the government throws at the problem every year, the supply of drugs has always met the demand.

I submit that America has lost the war. It's time to wave the white flag and negotiate the terms of our surrender.

A few weeks ago, an undercover Atlanta Police officer was killed during a raid on a residence suspected of "drug activity" (an occupant of the home was killed as well). And yet I can still walk to almost any street corner in my neighborhood (a few miles from the scene of the shoot-out) to buy drugs.

Last month, a woman and her 7-month-old daughter were killed when a Peruvian military aircraft (with the help of a CIA "tracking" aircraft) shot a missionary plane out of the South American sky. It should scare the shit out of Americans to know that U.S. military and intelligence assets are being used to intercept and execute suspected drug traffickers.

But the status quo remains. Did we learn nothing from Prohibition? The War on Drugs is like a shell game: When one source vanishes, another appears. The state spends billions, packs inmates into prisons, and continues to put officers in harm's way.

And, as with any war, there is always the prospect of collateral damage. In the War on Drugs, testosterone-crazed SWAT teams and law enforcement-types kick in doors, confiscate property and ruin lives. Yet when the dust (and the civil suits) settles, it is individual liberty and personal property that have been eradicated, not drugs.

There is also a judicial cost to this war, as evidenced by the overwhelming numbers of drug-related cases that have strained criminal justice and penal systems to near-collapse. Real criminals (rapists, murderers and armed robbers) are copping pleas or being released early because there just isn't enough room on court dockets and in prisons to handle the relentless flow of drug cases. Speaking for myself, I'd much rather encounter a 'shrooming Panic fan than a convicted armed robber who's just been released after serving three years of a 10-year sentence.

And speaking of criminals, I am of the opinion that if you can't handle your high, you'd better have a good lawyer. While I fully support the decriminalization of all recreational drugs, I am equally as fervent in my desire to see those who break the law while under the influence of said substances pay in spades. Then again, why bring drugs into it at all? If you break the law — straight, high or drunk — be ready to pay the piper.

As I see it, an individual's liberty extends to the point where it infringes upon mine. If some ne'er-do-well feels that doing bong hits and listening to Dark Side of the Moon is a productive use of his time, so be it. Like it or not, America, a certain portion of the populace enjoys recreational drugs, and the government is kidding itself (and us) if it thinks that's going to change. You want to get stoned? Be my guest. Just don't go snooping around my house looking for Twinkies. You like crack cocaine? Smoke as much as you like, but if I catch you trying to steal my CD player to pay for your next "rock," you'd better hope the cops get you before I do.

Because that's what this is all about: Certain individuals can handle a buzz, while others cannot. I don't know what lies at the root of addiction, nor do I ultimately care. Sure, people who need help should get help. Beyond that, it is pointless for the government to waste our time and money in an effort to stop the demand for recreational substances. I say regulate them the same way we do alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs, and let those who choose to use do so as they see fit.

With all the money we save, we can throw a monster party.??

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