Pubdate: Sun, 19 Aug 2001
Source: Tribune Review (PA)
Copyright: 2001 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Thomas Gillooly
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


It is incredible that someone as articulate and seemingly intelligent as 
Janet Baxter (Letters, Aug. 11) can equate giving clean needles to addicts 
with giving weapons to murderers. She ignores the obvious and crucial 
difference between the two: The murderer uses his weapon to harm others, 
while the addict uses a needle to harm only himself.

The Declaration of Independence states that the sole legitimate purpose of 
government is to secure our rights. John Stuart Mill elaborated on this 
libertarian philosophy when he wrote, "The only purpose for which power can 
rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against 
his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or 
moral, is not sufficient warrant."

The "War on Drugs," like liquor prohibition before it, is nothing but the 
coercion of others "for their own good." Yet to this end, the government 
spends billions, spies on citizens, seizes assets on mere suspicion, jails 
hundreds of thousands, even kills innocent people.

I expect our descendants will look back in disbelief at our generation's 
sacrifice of money and effort, lives and liberties, all for the goal of 
preventing some people from ingesting, injecting or inhaling substances 
that other people think they shouldn't.

Thomas Gillooly

Forest Hills
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