Pubdate: Tue, 01 Aug 2000
Source: Daily News-Sun (AZ)
Copyright: 2000, Thomson Newspapers, Inc.
Address: 10102 Santa Fe Drive, Sun City, AZ 85351
Email:  Allan Erickson


Thank you.  Your editorial, "Legislation Fit for a King -- or Dictator" 
(July 20) is right on target.  Our war on (some) drugs is eating at the 
very fabric of that document you mentioned -- um -- oh yeah, the Constitution.

Our prohibition against illicit drugs is the greatest threat to our 
liberties ever.  The scale of corruption involved is immense, reaching its 
soiled tentacles through all levels of our government, from local police 
departments to our commander of drug-interdiction forces in Colombia.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the planet -- 5 
percent of the world's population and almost 25 percent of the world's 
prison population -- and legislation like the Methamphetamine 
Anti-Proliferation Act only serves to further fuel the trend toward 
absolute government and police control.

While Nat Hentoff is to be commended for highlighting this legislative 
assault, he is hardly responsible for its "unearthing."  Drug-policy reform 
activists have been struggling for nearly a year trying to draw attention 
to its absurd intrusions upon our constitutionally guaranteed liberties.

I am a volunteer for The Media Awareness Project (, 
an online archive of nearly 41,000 drug-related news articles.  MAP, 
respected worldwide by journalists and researchers, is one of the 
organizations that folks like drug czar Barry McCaffrey wish would go away.

MAP, the Drug Policy Foundation, the Lindesmith Center and many others are 
dedicated to educating the American people on the tyranny involved in our 
current zero-tolerance hysteria.  And the hue and cry against these 
policies is made up of more than the "druggie" fringe.  Folks like George 
Schultz, Walter Cronkite, conservative columnist William F. Buckley, and 
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson are calling for a cease fire in this 
war.  Even Arizona's late, great, conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater knew 
the error of these terrible policies.  To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower, 
beware the Military/Police/Corporate/Industrial/Prison Complex.

Judges, cops, prosecutors and just plain folks (like me!) around the nation 
are saying "Enough!"  We are not, however, crying "Uncle!" This land is our 
land, and the Bill of Rights and Constitution were placed in the care of 
the people, not the institutions.  Your paper's voice is that of one of a 
growing group of journalists who now are saying something is greatly amiss 
in the "Land of the Free."

Allan Erickson, Eugene, OR
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D