Pubdate: Mon, 17 Nov 2003
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Vancouver Courier
Author: Kirk Tousaw


To the editor:

Allen Garr (rightly) criticized the Vancouver Sun and Province for their 
sensationalist reporting of the Vancouver Board of Trade report on property 
crime ("Notes from the front lines of an urban myth," Nov. 9).

Mr. Garr pointed out that property crime in B.C. is decreasing, and that 
many cities have worse problems. All true, and the Courier is quite correct 
to slam this type of reporting.

On the other hand, the pot ought not call the kettle black. Sunday's 
Courier also contained a bit of sensationalism, and a paucity of critical 
reporting, in its coverage of drug arrests ("Accused robber arrested for 
drug dealing"). In particular, the Courier missed a real chance to analyze 
the link between bank robberies committed by drug addicts and the current 
system of drug prohibition in Canada.

You see, drugs are cheap to produce. The reason they are expensive is that 
they are prohibited. So, if 90 per cent of bank robberies in Vancouver 
occur because addicts need money to buy drugs, the culprit is not the drugs 
but, instead, prohibition. Every time we read about a "drug-related" 
robbery, shooting or other crime, we should mentally replace "drug-related" 
with "prohibition-related."

The same goes for stories about unsafe grow-ops; they are only unsafe 
because cultivating cannabis is illegal. Better yet, the reporter putting 
the story together could make the link. In this particular story, the print 
devoted to the amount of drugs seized by police this year would have been 
much better spent educating the public about the true cause of most 
"drug-related" harms-our prohibitionist policies.

Kirk Tousaw,

Policy Director

BC Civil Liberties Assoc.
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