Budget cuts are 'legalizing drugs,' Thomson DA says

Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:40 PM
Last updated 1:49 PM
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THOMSON - State budget cuts are in effect legalizing illegal drugs in Georgia, District Attorney Dennis Sanders said today.
"We've got to cut, we've got to cut," Sanders said state agencies are being told.
That means furloughs for law enforcement officers and prosecutors and prison closings, which in turn lead to fewer arrests and fewer offenders jailed for drug offenses.
"It doesn't make sense," Sanders said. "In effect we have legalized drugs in Georgia."
Sanders, whose office covers six counties, including McDuffie, spoke at a daylong seminar at Augusta Technical College's Thomson campus. Titled A Partnership Targeting Crime and Drugs, it included government officials, educators, lawyers and law enforcement personnel.
Sanders said prosecutors and law enforcement are being told by legislators that "we don't have the money." But he said the state has had the money to establish a campus of the Medical College of Georgia in Athens, give raises to Gov. Sonny Perdue's staff near the end of his term in office and a pay raise to a University of Georgia assistant football coach who was already making $90,000 a year.
At the same time, he said, there is no money for the Georgia State Patrol to operate cars at night; crime labs are being closed; training budgets are being slashed; and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is laying off personnel.
Taxpayers are applauding the cuts, he said, but eventually they will regret them.
"The public is going to be paying for it."

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Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 05/19/11 - 01:57 pm
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I totally disagree with most

I totally disagree with most all of the above cuts listed and in my opinion so do most taxpayers. Public Safety is one of the primary functions of government and should be properly maintained at all times or as stated, we will regret the outcome and future expenses. The ridiculous salaries of some in the state capitol, lottery offices, etc. need to be reviewed and all non-essential itmes is where money needs to be cut from.

That being said, law enforcement agencies are also top heavy at times and keep people around who are past retirement time, etc. where you could hire two officers for the cost of one. It is a fine balance and you do need experience in all areas but every agency has at least one or two employees that everyone knows does little to nothing and is paid well for it. If law enforcement wants the full support of the public (they mostly have it now) then they also need to look within to make things better for all.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 05/19/11 - 01:58 pm
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So, this guy is admitting

So, this guy is admitting legalizing drugs is the same as saving money? Oh, I totally rest my case...

Nightwing
0
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Nightwing 05/19/11 - 02:51 pm
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Priorities in government and

Priorities in government and private sector are in the wrong place.

onlysane1left
216
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onlysane1left 05/19/11 - 02:55 pm
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While the point you make is

While the point you make is sensible Asitis, the cuts to Public Safety are like ones to Education. They hurt everyone. The head person of these departments need to clean house and eliminate the overhead, while keeping officers on the street to stop crime. In my opinion, I believe public safety has taken a backseat to politics and their main job now is to increase the revenue of the city, county or state for which they work for. Stopping criminal activity to make life better is just secondary.

constituent
164
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constituent 05/19/11 - 03:23 pm
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Now, you get the clear

Now, you get the clear message DA Sanders thats the goal is to stop over crowding Georgia's prison system with non- violent offenders with drug offenses and hopefully your office,Dennis Sanders, can make more arrests and more offenders jailed for serious violent felonies: murder,armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery.

I'm sure Georgia's legislators and Governor Deal will deplete your office furloughs if you stop targeting a certain particular ethinc group of people,drug offenders.

unbiased_propaganda
165
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unbiased_propaganda 05/19/11 - 03:32 pm
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constituent - couldn't agree

constituent - couldn't agree with you more. i think it's ridiculous that this DA from Thomson is making such a huge stink about these cuts effecting drug users, but mentions nothing about it effecting violent felons, rapists, burglars, etc.

I know - let's keep filling up our already crowded prisons with drug addicts! Don't worry about the murderers, child molesters, and robbers - just keep going after those druggies!

WAKE UP!

dougk
3
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dougk 05/19/11 - 03:43 pm
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There's no money in it for
Unpublished

There's no money in it for law enforcement to concentrate on murderers, child molesters, and robbers.

gutdawg
8
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gutdawg 05/19/11 - 03:55 pm
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I think everyone is taking DA

I think everyone is taking DA Sanders words out of context. Drugs and the crimes that you are speaking of usually go hand-in hand. Most murders, robberies and other crimes are committed due to drugs or money tied into drugs. John Q Public is going to start seeing the effect of these cuts very shortly when Public Safety is needed.

edubb
10
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edubb 05/19/11 - 03:58 pm
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All Drugs should be legalized

All Drugs should be legalized and decriminalized. You can not police who gets high. Its the same for people wanting to buy alcohol. They tried it with prohibition and it didn't work and the war on drugs is nothing more than a scam. Drug money supports the legal system, judges, lawyers and offenders also. If I get busted for selling dope and I pay my lawyer 30k with Drug money, does he care if I am guilty or if I can give him another 30k to beat the case..Come on people? The war on drugs is a complete failure. Tell me how sentencing someone to 20 years solves the problem of people wanting to get high. Since the 80s this stuff has been going on and more drugs have come out since then, (Meth) and (Estacy). People who have no desire to do drugs won't do them and jobs will continue to drug screen so you can't be an addict and support yourself. If coke was legalized today, I don't have a desire to snort a line. Alcohol ruins more lives than any illega drug out there, but you see propaganda on TV everyday like having a Brew is the next best thing to sex. I don't keep alcohol in my house now and it is perferctly legal. Sure I buy vodka sometimes or wine when I have company, but I am not a real drinker.. We can save BILLIONS literaly buy stopping the nonsense. People can't get past their religion and idealogies to see the logic in ceasing this senseless war.

corgimom
34215
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corgimom 05/19/11 - 04:58 pm
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Some people think that drug

Some people think that drug addicts are fine, upstanding citizens with just a wee little problem.

They are not.

But by all means, those people should live around drug addicts. They should know what it's like to have to check outside for drug addicts before going out to get into their car. They should know what it's like to worry, every time you step outside your door, that a drug addict is going to mug you.

They should pay a monthly bill for an alarm system in order to protect their belongings, so that the drug addicts won't steal everything they have to feed their habits.

They should have to endure addicts banging on their door at 2 am, because they are so stinking high they can't remember where their drug dealer lives, and they need a fix.

They should deal with total strangers coming to their door, crying and asking for money because "their brother just died and they need money to go to the funeral".

Let them get up every morning and be grateful that their HVAC wasn't stolen the night before, so that a drug addict could sell the scrap to get money.

They should see their neighbors, like I did, barracade their doors every night because they are afraid drug addicts are going to break in.

THAT'S the reality, folks. THAT'S your "non-violent" drug addicts.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength was quoted in this paper saying that if you don't use drugs, or don't associate with people who use drugs, your chances of experiencing a home invasion- which IS a violent felony- are slim.

Does that tell you something?

Who do you think is committing most of the murders of the men ages 15-30? It's not the good citizens. It's people involved in street drugs. You know, the "non-violent" ones. They don't care one bit if drugs are legal or illegal. It's the ones who don't use drugs, who don't want everything they own stolen, who don't want their lives endangered, who want to live in safety and peace, they are the ones who don't want them decriminalized.

Because they have common sense.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 05/19/11 - 07:11 pm
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Ok corgi, when you lived in

Ok corgi, when you lived in this area, were drugs legal or illegal?

soldout
1280
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soldout 05/19/11 - 08:28 pm
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Amen; corgimom you nailed it.

Amen; corgimom you nailed it. By the way; prohibition worked extremely well. The answer is spiritual and we just need more people high on Jesus and the interest in drugs will fade away. You can't promote and celebrate alcohol and make another drug a crime.

Riverman1
87083
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Riverman1 05/19/11 - 09:01 pm
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Soldout said, "By the way;

Soldout said, "By the way; prohibition worked extremely well."

Haha..good one. Have any more?

Ushouldnthave
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Ushouldnthave 05/19/11 - 09:21 pm
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To be non adversarial I will

To be non adversarial I will just state that a large percentage of violent crime and property crime is committed by drug addicts that so many here would like to see increase in number. To believe that drug addicts do not commit a significant percentage of crime is based entirely on a lack of education on the topic and a desire to avoid the truth. Those addicts will continue to victimize the innocent regardless of the legality of their drug of choice. I hope my opinion is not taken offensively, but simply as a fact based belief.

dougk
3
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dougk 05/19/11 - 11:05 pm
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Ushouldnthave...speaking of
Unpublished

Ushouldnthave...speaking of education, maybe you should look into it. You are way off base with your assertions....unless you are referring to the most dangerous and most-used drug which happens to legal.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 05/19/11 - 11:08 pm
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corgimom is absolutely right.

corgimom is absolutely right. See it everyday.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 05/19/11 - 11:40 pm
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The veteran sitting across

The veteran sitting across the table from me looked weary after delivering yet another speech against a war that has neither a point nor, apparently, an end. It was started years ago by a Republican president, long since discredited, the veteran noted. Yet the Democrats who until a few weeks ago controlled both the White House and Congress didn't raise a finger to stop it. ``I don't understand how much more money has to be wasted or how many more lives have to be ruined before we admit it's been a huge mistake,'' Kyle Vogt told me. We can end this thing with the stroke of a pen.' He wasn't referring to Iraq or Afghanistan, but America's truly endless war, the war on drugs. Declared 40 years ago by President Nixon, it chews up $41 billion in government spending each year while sending two million Americans to jail. Yet Nixon's goal of a drug-free America (the final issue is not whether we will conquer drug abuse, but how soon'') seems no closer to anyone but the drug warriors themselves.

All these years later, the people running the drug war keep promising us the same thing they have from the beginning, that they can decrease drug use,'' Vogt said. They just need a little more time and a little more money. Why do we listen? We wouldn't tolerate that from a physician who was treating us and not making us any better.

And if everything your physician told you to do made your illness worse, you'd quit doing it and find another doctor.''

Vogt, who served four years as a military policeman on a Maryland army base, speaks as a veteran of the front lines of the drug war. He's one of an increasing number of former drug warriors turned doves. Their organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), includes some 4,000 people -- from beat cops through Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico -- who once played roles in enforcing drug laws.

I caught up with Vogt in a Fort Lauderdale coffee shop recently after he spoke to Broward County's Libertarian Party. He told me that if LEAP membership weren't career suicide, its roster would be full of current policemen, prosecutors and judges as well. I talk to law-enforcement people all the time,'' he said. I'd guess eight out of every 10 are totally against this prohibition policy we follow on drugs. And every single one of them is baffled that we put people in jail for marijuana. Marijuana doesn't kill anyone, while we see that in the case of alcohol all the time.''

Baby Boomers, most of whom used marijuana themselves when they were younger, like to kid themselves that the war on drugs that they've wholeheartedly supported as adults is aimed not at marijuana but harder drugs, and not at users but traffickers.

But the cold fact is that U.S. drug-enforcement policy overwhelmingly targets not drug lords but the people to whom they sell. FBI statistics for 2007 show that more than 80 percent of U.S. drug arrests that year were for possession rather than sale, and that there were nearly twice as many arrests for marijuana as for heroin and cocaine combined.

When he was a military policeman, Vogt thought arresting people for using marijuana was weird: If we were called to a domestic dispute or a hostage situation, we worried about alcohol, not marijuana, because it's alcohol that makes people crazy.'' But it wasn't until after he left the military and opened a construction business in Port St. Lucie that he turned into an active opponent of marijuana laws.

My son was arrested after a cop saw him smoking a joint in a parked car,'' Vogt said. ``He had to pay a fine of a couple of hundred dollars, which is not such a big deal, at least not for us. But college scholarships? Forget it. My son can't even get a simple job. He goes online to fill out an application to work at a hamburger chain, and he gets to that little box that says, `Have you ever been arrested?' And when he clicks yes, the next thing he sees on the screen is, SESSION ENDED.''

The worst, Vogt fears, is yet to come. He looks south across the border to Mexico, now the most murderous country in the world as a result of warfare between drug cartels competing for the U.S. market, and sees a grim vision of America's future.

Prohibition creates crime and violence in our society that need not exist, except for the policy of prohibition itself,'' he said, shaking his head. We tried this with alcohol, and we had gangsters, just like Mexico does. And when we replaced Prohibition with a system of regulation and control, we got rid of the gangsters. You don't see Coors and Budweiser doing drive-by shootings or planting car bombs to increase their market share.''

Read more: http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2011-05-19/budget-cuts-are-lega...

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
2
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 05/19/11 - 11:41 pm
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Corgimom, Alcohol prohibition

Corgimom,

Alcohol prohibition was repealed because it was clear prohibition itself was causing more social problems than alcohol abuse ever had. The same is true of marijuana. The ban has incarcerated many people who posed no threat to society at all, and the drug wars on the border have claimed countless lives. Stop the incarceration, save the money spent on the incarcerated, generate tax revenue, quell the drug war. Legalize it. If you are the freedom loving right-winger you claim to be, than let me choose to smoke pot if I feel like it.(I don't smoke but just using it as an example) Unlike Cocaine and Methamphetamine's, marijuana grows straight out of the ground and is ready to use.

Why are any drugs illegal? This is my planet as much as anyone else's, this is my body, why shouldn't I be allowed to do whatever I want as long as no one else is hurt? Legalize all drugs, but just be sure to enforce the ban on driving while intoxicated and to bring the hammer down on offenders.. I really don't care if you want to sit home and snort Drano as long as you have no chance of hurting me or mine.

William Randolph Hearst, the paper baron, pushed hard for marijuana to be criminalized because the invention and perfection of a machine (the decorticator) made hemp paper cheaper to produce than wood pulp paper. As Hearst was in the newspaper business, and owned thousands and thousands of acres of pulpwood, this possibility of cheap hemp production directly affected his interests, and because of this, as well as his intense racism towards Mexicans, whom he had problems with on a ranch he owned in Chihuahua (and were known to use marijuana) he pressured our government into making it illegal to possess or sell without a license. Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury at the time, was heavily invested in the Du Pont Family, which was also seeing losses in their own textile production (synthetics) due to cheapness and robustness of hemp fibers as compared to the synthetics of the time...

So yeah, marijuana is illegal today because it conflicted with the business interests of a few extremely wealthy people...

Remember this story, kids, next time you hear someone talking about how great Big Business is and how the free market benefits us all...

Bottom line:

Let's just admit this: Some people just enjoy getting high. Responsible adults have the right to get high as much as they have the right to get drunk. What's more is that people are going to get high whether others like it or not. So, the government might as well tax it. The source of revenue would be enormous.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 05/20/11 - 12:27 am
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With MILLIONS in drug money

With MILLIONS in drug money floating all over you'd think they would get some of it and the drug dealers off the street. If they put their mind to it they can bring in Millions of those drug dollars by seizure and track it all the way back to wherever it was produced and seize that land too. Then make the crop seized available by prescription ONLY through drug stores. Those coming in for the prescription can get the professional help they need. This slashes the DEMAND/jugular of the drug trade and lets it become passé', yesterdays news. The minute we take the forbidden fruit LURE of drugs away all the gangsters and loafers will lose their power and crime will plummet. The laws are already on the books, we can do this now and finally WIN the DRUG WAR.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 05/20/11 - 01:30 am
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Most criminals who committ

Most criminals who committ burglary, robery, murder, and other violent crimes are in fact drug users. Getting them off of the streets prior to committing these crimes is pro-active policing.

I do however agree that non-violent first (maybe even second) drug users with jobs who are trying to be productive members of society should not be jailed so long as they go through re-hab, are placed on supervisory drug screening for years in lieu of jail and maintian employment.

bclicious
728
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bclicious 05/20/11 - 04:40 am
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So let me get this straight:

So let me get this straight: we should legalize all drugs, stop regulating drugs, and in fact sell them out of a store just as you would alcohol. Is that the sum of it? Well, assuming that you people at least believe that we should restrict the recreational use of drugs to adults who at least 21 years of age; I would have to say that even if your plan worked, there would still be some growing pains.

First, you would have more people experimenting with drugs then ever; therefore, you would have more accidents, allergic reactions, and overdose scenarios. So where does the liability for the use of the drug begin and end? I.E. the state for not regulating it or the pharmaceutical company for making it?

Second, can you imagine a world in which we (the government) allowed people to operate motor vehicles with Schedule II and III drugs in their system? I think not!

Lastly, how would the legalization of these hard core drugs effect our public nuisance laws such as: public drunkeness, disorderly conduct, etc?

As a police officer these are a few of many questions that I have to ask. I do understand what you people are trying to say in this discussion, but I also believe in a method to the madness; so please enlighten me.

bclicious
728
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bclicious 05/20/11 - 04:43 am
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On a side note, I do think it

On a side note, I do think it would be funny to see what all these drug dealers would do if they no longer had product that was hard to find. Also, local drug dealers would not be able to compete with a local store's prices.

I guess these guys would have to move on to something else, or get a real job.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 05/20/11 - 06:12 am
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ALL "drugs",from aspirin to

ALL "drugs",from aspirin to heroine,should be outlawed and anyone using ANY "drug" should be jailed for life or executed on the spot.

Riverman1
87083
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Riverman1 05/20/11 - 06:35 am
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Look, we are all on the same

Look, we are all on the same page wanting to decrease drug use and the crime that goes with it. The old way of throwing them in jail, simply hasn't worked as prohibition didn't work. We have the experience to learn from. Let's decriminalize, control and tax while using the money to educate the young and treat the addicts. Law enforcement is overwhelmed. The courts are backed up. Our prisons are overflowing. As the Thomson DA points out, we have come to a stonewall.

Know who screams the loudest about decriminalizing drugs? Those who run the drug trade from top to bottom. Do you think the gangsters during prohibiton wanted it to end when they were making fortunes?

KSL
134751
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KSL 05/20/11 - 07:13 am
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@dougk Thursday, May 19 3:43

@dougk
Thursday, May 19 3:43 PM
new

Report
Ignore user

There's no money in it for law enforcement to concentrate on murderers, child molesters, and robbers.

I'm looking at this article trying to see exactly where that is said. Judging from the recent number of crimes committed in the CSRA and the number of arrests for those crimes, it seems like law enforcement is doing a pretty good job, given their budget restraints.

Ushouldnthave
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Ushouldnthave 05/20/11 - 07:21 am
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DougK, you are wrong. The

DougK, you are wrong. The FACT of the matter is that a large percentage of all burglary, theft and robbery crimes ARE related to DRUG USE. Remarkably few in this area are related to the Mexican cartels. I would suggest you and others in the "legalize drugs" movement look it up.
Too many in the legalize it movement use lies and false information to make their case, but it cannot stand up to the truth.

KSL
134751
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KSL 05/20/11 - 07:39 am
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Why is is that a number of

Why is is that a number of people who want drugs legalized are against the private ownership of guns? I have legally owned a gun for over 30 years and I have yet to kill anyone OR HAVE IT STOLEN from me! And that's not just me. The heritage I grew up with is Southern. The oldest gun I know of in my family was used during the Spanish American War. My brother is in possession of it. No doubt, my Southern ancestors had guns for hunting with not one single incident of killing anyone, except for during the Civil War. Don't know of any thefts either.

KSL
134751
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KSL 05/20/11 - 07:46 am
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I've known Dennis since we

I've known Dennis since we were in high school. I attended his high school graduation.

Riverman1
87083
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Riverman1 05/20/11 - 07:55 am
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KSL, I'm a gun owning,

KSL, I'm a gun owning, hardcore conservative Republican/Libertarian who backs law and order to the max. But I also realize the total, complete failure of the war on drugs that is about to bankrupt this country. The whole point is to decrease drug use and the violence it creates with control and decriminalizing. Your way doesn't work, we know. We also know prohibition didn't work. Let's try something else. Couldn't hurt.

Ushouldnthave
0
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Ushouldnthave 05/20/11 - 08:05 am
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River, the fact is the war on

River, the fact is the war on drugs (which is a terrible term) is not the reason this country is on the brink of bankruptcy. That is due to out of control spending by the federal government and an under regulated banking industry. The fact of the matter is that the enforcement of drug laws is, like the enforcement of child abuse and domestic violence, an ongoing effort that has life saving results. If you will check the facts you will find that overall drug use in this country is down over the past 30 years, as is the violent crime that's associated with it. The fact is that law enforcement is always winning battles in the "war on drugs", even though it will never have a total victory.

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