Pubdate: Sun, 31 Mar 2002
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Michael Simon, Alan Reiner, Redford Givens


I suppose if you discount financing criminals, corrupting police, 
corrupting  government officials, and drive-by shootings  then prohibition 
was a success.

Let us also not mention the people blinded or killed by adulterated alcohol.

We ought to leave out high schools filled with drunken children. Or the 
children absent because of too much drink.

In fact prohibition of alcohol was so successful that if anyone proposed 
the experiment again they would be laughed out of town.

If only drug prohibition could be as successful. Actually we are lucky. It 
is. Except so far no one is being laughed out of town except the 

Obviously we are much smarter than we were in 1933.

Michael Simon
Rockford, Ill.

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I don't know what Mr. Nash was smoking when he wrote the Mar. 21 letter 
"Alcohol Prohibition Was Not a Failure," but I do know that he is missing 
quite a few details of history, and the legalization movement.

To start, alcohol prohibition WAS a failure. If it wasn't a failure, it 
wouldn't have been repealed 13 years later. The death rate from alcohol 
QUADRUPLED and thousands of other people went blind, all from drinking 
unregulated alcohol

Likewise, the crime rate dropped almost 50 percent after prohibition was 
repealed since the black market and associated organized crime disappeared

We didn't see a crime rate like that again until Nixon declared the "War on 
Drugs" in 1968. Though the drinking rate went up after the end of 
prohibition, we've accepted that it is well worth the consumption rate to 
reduce the death and crime associated with a black market.

Secondly, no one is suggesting abolishing all prohibitions. The only 
prohibitions that should be removed are the ones on consensual vices, like 
drug consumption. They are unconstitutional and have been failing for 30 years.

As long as the drug user is doing no harm to anyone else but themselves, 
they will ignore the drug laws.  Laws are meant to protect the community, 
not to protect an individual from himself. Hence, driving under the 
influence of drugs, and committing any other crime while on drugs would 
remain illegal.

I'm sure that everyone would love to eradicate all drugs, just as Lincoln 
would have liked to eradicate alcohol, but it's not a realistic goal. The 
best we can do is deal with the problem, and learn from the mistakes of 
history instead of repeating them.

Alan Reiner
Arlington, Va.

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Donald Nash dissembles in his attempt to justify Alcohol Prohibition.

First off the health benefits of Alcohol Prohibition were dubious at best 
because of the thousands of cases of brain damage, paralysis, liver 
destruction, coma and death caused by bootleg liquor.

The Metropolitan Insurance Company reported paying more claims for alcohol 
caused deaths in 1926 than in 1920! So much for health benefits. There's 
also the troubling little fact that more drinking alcohol was being used in 
1933 than in 1920 when Prohibition began. There were more speakeasies at 
the end of Prohibition than there had been saloons at the start.

Al Capone and his henchmen were not bombing and murdering their competition 
because they were a bunch of drunks. Prohibition created profits were the 
source of their crime wave. Ditto for today's drug war. Alcohol Prohibition 
ended because the policy caused a hundred times the damage that drinking at 
its worst had ever done. Likewise for today's lunatic drug crusade.  (See: 
The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit 

It's worth remembering that Eliot Ness and the revenuers never put the 
booze barons out of business. Repeal and a regulated market for adult 
alcohol use did that. Regulation works for alcohol and regulation will work 
for drugs.

Prohibition, on the other hand,  has never worked for anything, anywhere, 

Redford Givens
San Francisco
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