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Make Love, Not drug war

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Make Love, Not drug war

Unlike Rev. Fran Cook (Talking Ish: "A 'Gang of One'" by Karen Shugart, April 11), I see the solution to the gang problem as simple and easily within government's reach. In fact, I would suggest that it can be eliminated by a simple congressional vote: repeal the drug war.

Just as in Liquor Prohibition in the '30s, today's Drug War has moved the drug industry not into extinction, but rather into the black market. Why are there no cigarette dealers standing on neighborhood street corners? Why aren't there turf wars over beer? It is because those are legal products and can be sold in legitimate businesses. That isn't true of illicit drugs. Since demand can't be banned, a supply is provided by criminals.

That's how the gangs get their primary wealth. Legal bans raise the price of drugs, making them very profitable. And the risk of punishment pales in the face of that wealth. That same wealth turns dealers into visible models for kids, making kids an easy target for gang recruitment. End the ban and the black market will collapse, and gangs will lose their hold over youth.

The moral basis for the drug war is that drugs ruin life. However, even if we grant that, that very argument undermines the case for the drug war. A drug user may destroy his own life, but the drug war destroys communities and a generation of youth. Which is the proper subject for our compassion?

-- Christopher Cole

Press Secretary, Libertarian Party of Mecklenburg County

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