Government, not drugs, are to blame

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The Chronicle's "Casualties of the drug war" editorial (May 25) distorts the truth about the movement in America to extend individual liberty and limit the use of legal force upon U.S. citizens.

Your examples of violence that harm innocent people are indeed factual cases taken from the war on drugs. But you confuse who it is who aggresses against the innocent and ignore the reason for the aggression.

Why are the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, filled with drug lords and exposed to violence? Why have 20,000 people along the border with Mexico died in the past three years due to drug violence? Marijuana is a plant, a weed of literally no value to those of us who do not smoke. As with any product, its value rises according to demand, and as the law makes this plant more scarce than its abundance would otherwise make it, its value on the market rises proportionally.

The violence you depict and the innocent victims you rightfully decry are results of an artificial market created by the very laws you promote. Marijuana, cocaine and their cousins -- as with barley or malt or wheat -- are agricultural products that can be made into substances that some will misuse.

You say it is "preposterous" to argue that illegality causes the problem in the drug trade, and you make a comparison to rape. But you ignore the reality that rape has a victim who did not consent to the attack; drug use is almost always a choice made by the individual, for better or for worse.

The laws are the problem, and the governments who make them are the aggressors. What would happen if, in an era of increasingly worthless Federal Reserve notes, our government once again made possession of gold illegal? Does gold create "casualties," as you say illegal drugs do? It does not now, but it would if the government forbade Americans from owning it.

The problem is out-of-control government, not drugs. We must create a society in which individuals are free to do as each thinks best, and is then held responsible -- sober or otherwise -- for the consequences of those choices.

Frank Williams

Augusta

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baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/25/10 - 11:48 pm
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"We must create a society in

"We must create a society in which individuals are free to do as each thinks best, and is then held responsible -- sober or otherwise -- for the consequences of those choices."
--------------------------
Absolutely. If only there were more Americans with this attitude and philosophy.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 05/26/10 - 02:20 am
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As much as I may agree with

As much as I may agree with Mr. Williams' view on the legality of drugs and the freedom of choice for the individual, I can not agree if it is from a utopian Libertarian point of view. There must be some Pragmatism in all societies. As Rand Paul has shown, there is no room for Pragmatism in his and his tea partier followers' political pilosophies. Their far right fantasy world of Classical Liberalism is no different from far left fantasy of Anarchism. There must be a middle ground. And my belief is that middle ground must always favor the individual over property.

That said, leagalize the weed.

malcolmkyle
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malcolmkyle 05/26/10 - 05:10 am
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For those of you who are

For those of you who are still living in some strange parallel universe, one where prohibition actually works, may I suggest you return to high school economics class, and learn about supply and DEMAND. Learn that you cannot up DEMAND simply by upping supply. Contrary to popular held superstition, drugs are not PUSHED, the drug dealers are filling a DEMAND not creating one. The DEMAND is here in the US and is impossible to control, but what is possible to control, is the income from that DEMAND. All we have to do is allow legal businesses to meet that DEMAND. Under proper regulation drug use will not rise, as it couldn't get any worse than it is at present.

The real “drug Dons” are the rich and powerful who control the government-licensed drug cartel (Big Pharma). They view people who oppose proper regulation of these unpatentable --thus at present illegal-- substances, as “useful idiots”

Like it or not, there has never been, and nor will there ever be, a drug-free society; the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

An important aspect of Individual freedom is the right to do with yourself as you please as long as your actions cause no unnecessary suffering or direct harm to others. Many among us may disagree with this, and they should be free to believe what they wish, but the moment they are willing to use force to impose their will on the rest of us, is the exact same moment that the petty criminals/dealers, the Mafia, drug barons, terrorists and corrupt government officials/agencies enter the equation. The problems created by self harm then rapidly pale into insignificance as society spirals downwards into a dark abyss, while the most shady characters and 'black-market corporate entities' exponentially enrich themselves in a feeding frenzy likened to that of piranhas on bath-tub meth.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/26/10 - 05:57 am
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When did the far left

When did the far left advocate anarchism? The far left we have today is for more and more and more government.

dashiel
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dashiel 05/26/10 - 06:59 am
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As with homemade wine, so

As with homemade wine, so should it be with homegrown pot.

It would be reasonable to set an allowable limit for the backyard grower's personal use. However, it would not be reasonable to legalize pot solely to fatten up a new revenue cow for the government (as with liquor and tobacco).

Of course pot should be legalized! But careful how you step in them pies. The money saved from unburdening law enforcement and warehousing "criminals" should be more than enough to allow honest, law-abiding citizens to enjoy themselves in peace.

Happy Gardening Everyone!

Techfan
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 07:33 am
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When key lime pie is

When key lime pie is outlawed, only outlaws will have key lime pie. When it is, don't worry, you can still get some. They'll have it smuggled in by armed guards. Of couse, some will grow their own key limes, but the government will institute an herbicide spraying program to irradicate them. They'll send military and financial aid to third world dictators, as long as they support the anti-key lime movement. That's ok, but it will just raise the street value. The jails will be full of key lime criminals at a cost of billions, but I'm sure it will be worth it to have these lawbreakers off the street.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 05/26/10 - 07:35 am
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Frank Williams makes a good

Frank Williams makes a good point. The U.S. government learned a lesson with the alcohol prohibition mistake and decided to approach the drug situation in EXACTLY the same manner. This mistake received the support of organized crime, the church and the misinformed public. We now have the war on drugs that is having the exact same effect as the war on alcohol did. Does everyone know Einstein's definition of insanity?

Taylor B
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Taylor B 05/26/10 - 07:44 am
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There is a resistance to

There is a resistance to legalization because we are so invested in fighting the drug war. The war on drugs has killed innocent people, corrupted governments, caused wars, ruined local economies, and militarized our police departments.

I don't advocate the use of drugs. Why does the government advocate violence to control them? I may not be a "pragmatist," but I won't knock your door down in the wee hours of the morning for a bag of plant material.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/26/10 - 07:48 am
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This war on drugs has about

This war on drugs has about ruined out country and the countries that supply the drugs. The problem hasn't decreased at all, our prisons are full, addicts steal to pay for the expensive illegal drugs, kids run up and down the street selling drugs and shooting each other holding their pistols sideways to be cool, while corruption of law enforcement personnel and officials is rampant. We have to do something. Let's, for once, try the other route by legalizing, taxing and controlling drugs.

mooseye
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mooseye 05/26/10 - 08:48 am
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Forget it people! Our

Forget it people! Our government has a track record for not doing the sensible thing. Heaven forbid that some one might be offended or not agree.
Here is an opportunity to do something smart and I will lay odds it will never happen cause it is too simple, like putting hay on an oil spill. I have said for 30 years that we should legalize MJ and put a tax on it and that way the users can help pay for whatever received problems they are thought to have, you know, monster babies and ... Come on people? I know some who have smoked the devil weed for 40 years and more and they are for the most part, in average health and good standing citizens in their communities. I have only ever heard of one teenage girl wreaking a car while under the influence of THC, and I am "so sure" that is what caused the accident.
As was pointed out, it is a weed. Weeds by nature are easy to grow. The markup available to the government would be tremendous. Add to that the lower work load for LE and the courts and jails and it is a double dip.
Yep, makes way too much sense for any American politician to go for it.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 05/26/10 - 08:54 am
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Couldn't we just roll these

Couldn't we just roll these drugs into PPACA. Since the Obama admin still hasn't decided what is and isn't included, it is a perfect opportunity.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/26/10 - 08:56 am
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Funny that you should say

Funny that you should say that, mooseye. There is a member of my husband's family who is 50 years old and has been a pothead for about 35 years. He never smoked regular cigarettes.

Sunday he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

He has a tumor about 1" X 1".

Yep, smoking pot is harmless.

Trey Enfantay
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Trey Enfantay 05/26/10 - 09:01 am
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corgimom - Do you have any

corgimom - Do you have any inspiring words for the 10's of thousands who have NEVER smoked ANYthing and are stricken by lung cancer? You comment is not relevant to anything....

sjgraci
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sjgraci 05/26/10 - 09:06 am
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Once again TTT, I'm not

Once again TTT, I'm not surprised you missed the whole point about Pragmatism or know anything about basic political philosophy. Anarchy is about individuals working for society as a whole with absolutely no government. It is a far left utopian world. Since I doubt you will read a text book on the subject, at least listen to John Lennon's Anarchist anthem "Imagine" "...a brotherhood of man sharing all the world, nothing to kill or die for, no religion, no countries, no possesions..." ring a bell?

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 09:32 am
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Strange, my wife's uncle

Strange, my wife's uncle never smoked anything and died of lung cancer.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 05/26/10 - 10:02 am
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Corgi, how did that guy smoke

Corgi, how did that guy smoke up for 35 years? Its illegal! Do you mean to tell me that pot being illegal doesn't stop people from smoking it? I'm flabberghasted! We need more laws then, right? That will fix this... And funding! Yes, more money. There are machine guns and concussion grenades to buy. Them battering rams don't grow on trees. Of course, the lawsuits for no knock warrants on wrong houses aren't cheap. Police chases wear them crown victorias out. Money money money!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/26/10 - 10:36 am
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I knew a woman that had sex

I knew a woman that had sex for 35 years. Sunday she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

She has a tumor about 1" X 1".

Yep, sex is harmless.

mooseye
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mooseye 05/26/10 - 11:16 am
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if everyone who has broken

if everyone who has broken some kind of law were to stay in bed tommorow morning...

RoadKing09
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RoadKing09 05/26/10 - 12:46 pm
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I'd be on the street by

I'd be on the street by myself. (sic)

afadel
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afadel 05/26/10 - 03:06 pm
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Since the consensus here

Since the consensus here seems to be for legalization, maybe the AC Editor will consider its merits. Good letter, Frank!

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/26/10 - 03:37 pm
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sjgraci.....I certainly DID

sjgraci.....I certainly DID get the point....so how far left do you have to get before Bigger Government isn't goal? The current President is the most far left we've ever had, and he is growing the government to a size we've never seen before.

Chillen
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Chillen 05/26/10 - 03:49 pm
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If this Joe Sestak accusation

If this Joe Sestak accusation turns out to be true (and all indicators are pointing that direction because the White House just confirmed that a job was offered but won't say exactly what job) then we might not have to worry about Big-Government Barry much longer.

He looks like he needs a break anyway, he's aged about 10 years in the last 18 months. It's a tough job for a Marxist community organizer.

DaddyFrog
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DaddyFrog 05/26/10 - 04:28 pm
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Just like the comedian

Just like the comedian Brother Dave Gardner used to say," You wanna do away with crime ? Make everthing legal !" I think I'll go out and ride my motorcycle 100mph down Gordon Hwy. because that's what I want to do. If I kill myself in the process, well, that's tough. If I kill you, you shouldn't have been there. If I want to take drugs and destroy my life that's what I want to do. If you have to pay for my medical costs because I overdosed ,you should because I was doing what I was doing what was best for me. That's about how much sense this guy's letter makes.

Riverman1
79144
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Riverman1 05/26/10 - 04:52 pm
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Well, Brother Dave Gardner

Well, Brother Dave Gardner went to jail in 1962 for posession of marijuana possession, you realize. But the bigger point is that we have people killing others now over drugs. Every poster here is trying to decrease drug useage by concentrating on education and treatment. The current plan doesn't work obviously. We spend billions and fund organized crime. Let's try something else.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/26/10 - 05:10 pm
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Daddyfrog, using your logic

Daddyfrog, using your logic we should also criminalize all unhealthy foods, as you're paying for their health costs. That's how much sense your post makes.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 05/26/10 - 05:44 pm
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Ohhsweet, they are already

Ohhsweet, they are already trying to do that, although slowly through mostly taxation and "trans fat bans."

The thing that seems so odd to me are the politicians who fight against stricter gun laws fight for stricter drug laws. They don't even see a glaring parallel between the two issues. Gun laws protect criminals, and drug laws provide the legal risk to raise drug prices to profitable levels.

The politicians and the public need to realize that there is no legal punishment bar too high for drug dealers. You can't stop it through forbidding it. Its too expensive and dangerous to the public's safety.

Its not about wanting to get people stoned. Its about economics. Supply and demand. The government reduces the supply through drug enforcement, the black market reaps the rewards. This is too simple a concept for our leaders not to understand, so it must be not in their best interest to pursue.

Almost 20% of the people incarcerated in GA are non violent drug offenders. At $250 a day to keep them in jail, we can no longer afford it. Release these people and let them get back to work and support their families so we don't have to. Fill prisons with violent offenders and keep them there the whole sentence. That is what's in the best interest of the public.

Justnosey
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Justnosey 05/26/10 - 09:59 pm
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If they would stay in their

If they would stay in their own home and smoke and not interfere with my rights, I wouldn't care. Legalize it. But it will be just like alcohol. Don't come looking to me for welfare, disablility payments, help for your drug addiction or help you pay for your house cause you blew it all on cheap government taxed weed. Don't get on the highway and endanger my life while you go fetch your next smoke and don't smoke that nasty stuff within a mile of me in public cause I don't even want your fifth hand smoke. I reserve the right to pepper spray anyone blowing it in my face.

soldout
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soldout 05/27/10 - 08:42 am
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All sin is deadly. Abusing

All sin is deadly. Abusing your body is a sin. Drugs abuse( including legal ones) your body and create problems. If you don't want to control anything make everything legal and then there are no law-breakers and jails but still sinners and who receive the results of their sin. There is no stopping sowing and reaping.

reader54
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reader54 05/27/10 - 09:09 am
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The most deadly and addictive

The most deadly and addictive drug, known to man, is tobacco. If tobacco was made illegal, you would witness unparalleled corruption and violence. When tobacco was prohibited in prisons, the price rose to $20 PER cigarette and the theft and violence associated with the prohibition exceeded all other causes combined. Prison is a mini-society within a larger one. Is there any instance of prohibition working? The "War on Drugs", as the "War on Terror", is simply opportunities for public corruption and corporate profits.

reader54
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reader54 05/27/10 - 09:27 am
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BTW, The poppy fields of

BTW, The poppy fields of Afghanistan are the money source fueling terror organizations. In light of that fact, ask yourself why they aren't our number one target. With our surveillance tech. and military power in the region, destroying those fields would be much simpler than trying to destroy an ideology. The only logical explanation is public CORRUPTION. A War on Public Corruption would solve most of our problems. Have you ever heard a public official suggest such a problem or solution?

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