Pubdate: Fri, 29 Nov 2002
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2002 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Harold Kyriazi
Note: The writer is vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh


I just finished serving as a juror in the brutal murder case of the 
commonwealth vs. Asaki Howard, in which a verdict of murder in the first 
degree was rendered ("Woman found guilty in death," Nov. 23).

It is an all-too-common-sounding case, where a hitherto-peaceful mother of 
three needed money for the cocaine she craved and ended up murdering, or 
participating in the murder of, her friendly next-door neighbor, a 
76-year-old woman.

I cannot help but note that if not for our failed, draconian drug laws, the 
crack cocaine Howard needed each day would've cost $2 rather than $200, a 
habit that could easily be supported by delivering newspapers or flipping 
hamburgers one day a week.

Howard never would've been led to contemplate robbery, and her personal 
medical problem with substance abuse would not have escalated into a 
tragedy engulfing us all.

Drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition before it, leads inexorably to 
violence on many fronts, making us all significantly less safe and 
indirectly leaving all those who support such policies with blood on their 

Harold Kyriazi

Schenley Heights
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