Monday, October 29, 2007

Squandered Resources in War on Drugs

The Birmingham News published the following letter from me in today's edition.

Squandered resources in war on drugs:

Bravo for News staff writer Dave Parks' article "Drug problem worse based on new data" (Oct. 21). It painted a very clear picture of where police, court and correctional resources are being squandered in the government's failed and costly "war on drugs." It's really a war on marijuana consumers, who are the most numerous but least problematic of all substance users. So much for the theory of safety in numbers.

The fact that more than half of arrests and prosecutions for all drug violations were for simple marijuana possession shows the police and courts have no real interest in targeting large dealers. After all, with no large dealers, there will be no small users to round up for prison or drug court programs. This clearly shows the drug war really amounts to nothing more than a government jobs program, meant to be waged, not won.

What illustrated this even clearer was the quote from Lt. Paul Hogan, head of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department narcotics division. "I don't think we're ever going to stomp out drugs totally," Hogan said.

That's good for him, because it means he will always have a job stomping out the lives of pot smokers, if not the pot itself.

I think it is safe to say the government has become addicted to marijuana smokers. Without us, they would be forced to work on murder, burglary, robbery and auto theft cases, of which the clearance rates are about 17 percent statewide.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City

I had edited this slightly and sent it again but I guess they didn't get the new one in time. A correction that needed to be made is that murder clearance rates are higher than the state average of 17%. Robbery, burglary and auto-theft rates are about 17%. I didn't word that properly in my letter so it looks like I am saying murder clearance rates are only 17 %. They are higher. For anyone who cares to look at the rates they are here all the way back to 1995.

1 comment:

Christie O'Brien said...

Sad...but true. We need Ron Paul...or Loretta Nall...for President!
The war on marijuana smokers has been going on way too long...and these numbers are astronomical.