Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2003
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2003 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Andy Tevelonis


I thought I was listening to a joke when I heard about federal authorities
arresting 55 people for manufacturing/distributing drug paraphernalia in
"Operation Pipe Dreams" ("Pittsburgh probe nets 55 in national head-shop
bust," Feb. 25). This is a stupid, pathetic waste of taxpayer dollars.

If I were the feds, I would keep quiet about this farce of drug-law
enforcement; instead, they are grandstanding. They are basing their success
as enforcers of drug law on arrests that are marginally unconstitutional.
These are pipes, folks. Yes, they are primarily for drug use, but they are
not drugs.

DEA chief John Brown would disagree: "People selling drug paraphernalia are
in essence no different than drug dealers. They are as much a part of drug
trafficking as silencers are a part of criminal homicide." Somebody ought to
remind this guy that silencers are not part of criminal homicide; the person
pulling the trigger is the root cause.

What's the answer to our nation's drug problems? Some have suggested that
the justice system needs to be improved so that drug felons are kept off of
the streets. Some have even suggested that parents should take a more active
role in teaching and demonstrating (and monitoring) good judgment to their

These are good ideas; arresting pipe sellers is not.

Andy Tevelonis

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