Pubdate: Sat, 05 Jan 2002
Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Copyright: 2002 Charleston Daily Mail
Authors: Myron Von Hollingsworth, Keith Sanders
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


I respond to the Daily Mail's Jan. 1 editorial, "College: Those who 
sell drugs should not get federal aid."

The Drug Enforcement Agency criticizes ethnic cleansing around the 
world from Hitler to Milosevic but practices it daily with its drug 
war. In the October 1999 edition of High Times, Jello Biafra says 
that DEAland's drug war is ethnic cleansing American style.

If your readers doubt this, they should ask themselves why white drug 
users well outnumber non-white drug users but a majority of those 
dying, doing time, losing voting rights and losing college aid for 
non-violent drug crimes are people of color.

African-Americans make up 12 percent of the population but it is 
estimated that they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug 
offenses and 58 percent of those convicted of drug offenses.

It seems the government has no problem giving college aid to 
convicted rapists and murderers but not to a convicted possessor of 
one joint. Now, to use a favorite ploy of the paranoid, 
propaganda-peddling prohibitionists: What kind of message are we 
sending to the children?

Maybe the corrupt politicians and media are required to adhere to the 
party line of prohibition because law enforcement, customs, the 
prison and military industrial complex, the drug testing industry, 
the "drug treatment" industry, the INS, the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, 
the politicians themselves et al can't live without the budget 
justification, not to mention the invisible profits, bribery, 
corruption and forfeiture benefits that prohibition affords them.

The drug war also promotes, justifies and perpetuates racist 
enforcement policies and is diminishing many freedoms and liberties 
that are supposed to be inalienable according to the constitution and 
bill of rights.

Myron Von Hollingsworth
Fort Worth, Texas

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I must take issue with your Jan. 1 editorial concerning the 1998 
Higher Education Act.

Contrary to your claim, the law's ban on federal student aid was in 
no way targeted solely at dealers; it clearly applies to anyone 
convicted of any drug-related offense, including simple possession.

Considering that we arrest some 650,000 Americans each year just for 
simple possession of marijuana, the distinction is a crucial one.

Note that convicted thieves, murderers, and rapists face no ban on 
student aid - - only drug offenders are targeted. Users and abusers 
of more dangerous legal drugs, like alcohol and tobacco, are also 
exempted from the ban.

The Higher Education Act is so badly flawed that even Rep. Mark 
Souder, R- Ind., outspoken drug warrior and author of the law, is 
fighting hard to change it.

The ban merely discriminates against poorer students who need the aid 
most. After all, upper-class drug users needn't worry about losing 
financial aid -- and it denies them an important opportunity to put 
their lives back together after a run-in with America's overzealous 
morality police.

Keith Sanders
Oakland, Calif.
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