Pubdate: Sat, 08 Apr 2000
Source: Lincoln Journal Star (NE)
Copyright: 2000 Lincoln Journal Star
Contact:  PO Box 81609, Lincoln, NE 68508
Fax: (402) 473-7291
Section: Letters to the Editor
Author: Scott Childers


I agree with Sylvester Salcedo's commentary in the March 30 Journal Star. 
But just as our "War on Drugs" has ravaged Colombia for 30 years, it has 
had untold effects in our country as well. Our prisons are bursting at the 
seams with so-called criminals, ordinary citizens who use drugs.

The "War on Drugs" has cost us billions of dollars in tax revenue that 
could have been used much, much more wisely.

Furthermore, there is such a lack of trust by citizens toward police 
officers that witnesses of real crimes, violent crimes, are unwilling to 
come forward because they fear incriminating themselves. These hostilities 
between officers and civilians are increased when the officers are pressed 
by their superiors, whether they are within the force or outside 
politicians, to employ illegal search and seizure tactics to find these drugs.

The worst part of all is that the whole idea of drug illegality is 
unconstitutional. Since when does the government have the right to tell me 
what I can't do so long as I am not injuring another person?

These laws were passed without any kind of popular vote but rather by an 
act of Congress in the 1920s. And when the issue of the legality of drugs, 
such as with (medicinal) marijuana, does appear on some sort of ballot, its 
legality is overwhelmingly supported.

In addition, by making drugs illegal the government contradicts itself.

Abortion is legal in this country because a woman has the right to do what 
she wants with her body. Shouldn't we be able to legally toke on a joint -- 
if that is what we want to do with our bodies? Christopher M. Hussey, 
Lincoln Saving the state I have a few brief notes regarding a recent letter 
to the editor that mentions the use of ethanol fuel as detrimental for a 
variety of reasons.

I cannot argue for or against ethanol from a mechanical or automotive 
standpoint. I can, however, suggest that a carburetor or fuel system exists 
that does work due to the fact that I use the fuel in my own vehicle.

Nebraskans are developing and marketing a variety of renewable natural 
resources. They include biomass fuels, wind and solar power and compost.

These three nouns in the same sentence might engender visions of 
granola-eating peaceniks ending the world as we know it by some subversive 
manner. Remain calm. A simple fact is that the money spent on fuels 
developed in Nebraska stays in Nebraska. It might even be possible to 
increase the amount of biomass fuels and lubricants produced here to the 
point that a significant portion of Nebraska's population, i.e., our 
long-suffering farmers, could become somewhat self-sufficient.

The possibility of benefiting our rural economy on a personal level was 
enough motivation for me to change the floats, tune the carb, and burn as 
much corn as I can in my car. Besides, the closet hippie in me likes the 
fact that it burns cleaner.

Scott Childers, Omaha
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart