Pubdate: Sat,  7 Dec 2002
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2002 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: Robert Merkin


For me, the only mystery is why District Judge Thomas Gilbert went blabbing
his guilt - for the Class Z misdemeanor of taking two puffs from a joint
passed at a rock concert - to the press and public. I certainly hope he
understood the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination
better when he sat on the bench.

I know pot-smokers in each of the professions Joy Platteborze lists ("Forget
the Excuses," Nov. 24). These legislators, judges, teachers and law
enforcement officers use marijuana responsibly at home, just as our doctors,
firefighters and pilots drink alcoholic beverages responsibly off the job.

If some magic wand could fire every professional and public official who
smoked marijuana, our communities would suffer a catastrophic loss of
talent, skill and dedication. Our most important professions would be left
with those who possessed just one dubious virtue: Perfect obedience to a
brain-damaged, foot-shooting and largely racist law which should never have
been passed and which, I sincerely hope, will soon be repealed. 

After 14 years of gang violence, public corruption, and ridicule and
contempt for law and government, alcohol prohibition was finally repealed.
Who remembers those Americans who refused to drink a single beer for those
fourteen years? Who praises them? Why? 

Bad laws beg good citizens to break them. Lawmakers should recognize their
fundamental obligation not to pass bad laws or to promptly repeal them.
Americans have never, and will never, obey them.

Robert Merkin

Northampton, Mass.
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