Pubdate: Sun, 12 Mar 2000
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2000 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Rick L. Meredith, Tampa


Re: Letting police search without suspicion erodes
freedoms, by Robyn E. Blumner. --

Robyn E. Blumner's March 5 column repeats our forefathers' warnings.
As Benjamin Franklin eloquently told us: "Those who would give up
essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve
neither liberty nor safety." And as we continue giving up more of our
precious liberties in search of more safety, we are losing both
liberty and safety. Proof of this can be found by looking at the
recent history of the drug war.

In the name of keeping our children safe from dangerous drugs, we have
waged a 30-year war on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and
American citizens. Nothing in written history has ever eroded the
Constitution or the Bill of Rights more than the drug war. In more
ways than one, it has been the costliest war that this country has
ever waged. Politicians and the people whose livelihoods depend on
this war will quote various statistics to try to prove that we are
winning this war and tell us that for the sake of our children, giving
up a few of our precious liberties is only a small price to pay.

Of course, these same people will not tell you that the drug war has
brought us cheaper, purer and more readily available drugs than there
were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. And they do not want you to know that
there are no drug-free high schools or middle schools in America or
that we are incarcerating nonviolent people at an exponential rate,
and for every college that we build we are also building 10 or more
prisons. Yes, I agree. Illegal drugs are a major problem of our
society. Because they are not regulated, they are easier for a
teenager to obtain than alcohol or tobacco. They have corrupted police
officers, prosecutors and even a few judges. History has proven that
prohibition does not work, and giving up our liberties is no way to
fight any problem. For without liberty, there will never be any order.
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