LETTER OF THE WEEK
MAYBE LEGALIZING DRUGS WOULD BE BEST TACTIC
Re: “Mexico can’t win drug war without U.S.” ( editorial, 4-21 ).
A colloquial definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” We’ve been throwing billions upon billions of dollars and hundreds of law enforcement and military lives at the drug problem for decades. At what point to do we take a breath and rethink our strategy?
It is an immutable fact that humans will engage in certain behaviors for as long as they walk the Earth. It has been going on since the first hominid ate a piece of overripe, fermenting fruit and got high from the alcohol content.
Consumption of substances to alter our mental and/or physical states will never stop, at least not until medical science finds some permanent method, short of lobotomy, to do so. Even then it will have to be a voluntary alteration.
Whether by ingesting plant matter, fermented or distilled drink or some laboratory concoction, humans will intoxicate themselves. We’ve had dramatic proof of what results from attempting to “prohibit” the use of alcohol: an era of gang violence, government corruption and numerous deaths caused by adulterated product.
So what do we do about it? I submit it is time to give serious thought to legalization.
I do not come to this opinion lightly. In the course of my law enforcement career, I made hundreds of drug arrests. I worked undercover buying drugs. I fully understand the complex nature of what I’m suggesting. Without question, there are legitimate, cogent arguments to be made against legalization. It would be a complicated, problematic thing.
It would, however, wipe out, literally overnight, the illicit drug trade and with it the violent struggle for turf and profit. It would have international and national security benefits by undermining one of the main sources of funding for Middle Eastern terrorists, that being the heroin trade. It would free up huge amounts of money for anti-drug education, job creation and urban reconstruction.
It would allow for the reallocation of law enforcement personnel to tasks such as actually and effectively securing our borders, pursuing the illicit traffic in weapons and finally giving proper attention to securing our ports and other vulnerable targets.
It would provide a new source of tax revenue. It would, I believe, dramatically reduce crimes such as residential burglary, the vast majority of which are committed by dopers supporting their habits.
Such a change in policy would require an increased attention to, and harsh punishment of, such offenses as driving while intoxicated. Only in recent years has this begun to be treated as the scourge on society it so clearly is.
One obvious and legitimate argument against drug legalization is the addition of yet more intoxicants to a society already plagued with the problems of inappropriate use of alcohol, not to mention the poisonous effects of tobacco use. But they are already here: always have been, always will be.
Drug use will not go away any more than prostitution will go away any more than third-pound cheeseburgers with extra bacon will go away.
What we’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time to try something else.
MacKenzie Allen of Tacoma is a retired law enforcement officer.
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Apr 2010
Source: News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA)