Pubdate: Thu, 01 May 2003
Source: Aldergrove Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Central Fraser Valley Star Publishing Ltd.
Author: Alan Randell
Note: Headline by MAP


Editor, The Star:

Re: "Pot grower gets jail time, probation", Apr. 24.

Jailtime for growing a plant! Are we mad?

Please make some changes to the way you report drug

Drug prohibition was initiated almost a century ago as a means of
"controlling" blacks, Chinese and Mexicans by banning the drugs used
by those minorities. Today, the police are happy to utilize these
racist laws to harass those whose lifestyle and/or skin colour offends
them, while the politicians are content to let an innocent minority
suffer as they troll for votes for being "tough on drugs."

Notwithstanding drug prohibition's odious origins, our political
leaders tell us drugs are now banned because they're harmful. Well if
that's true, why do we not ban alcohol or tobacco? No, the purpose of
banning some supposedly harmful recreational drugs and not other
harmful recreational drugs has nothing to do with protecting users
from harm. Drug prohibition remains as it was a century ago: A
cynical, manipulative campaign to entertain and distract the majority
by persecuting an innocent minority.

Now, how should a conscientious newspaper editor report drug busts?
Some might protest, "What else can I do but report what happened?" But
there's a sinister side to reporting "just the news" when it comes to
drug busts. The steady drip-drip repetition of countless drug bust
stories lulls the public into complacency about these terrible events
and they become less and less inclined to voice any protest. Reporting
one drug bust as straight news may persuade the public to question the
law. A thousand drug bust stories only tends to make people bored with
the whole issue and to convince them that drug users "only brought it
on themselves."

You may find it helpful to reflect upon the challenges faced by the
media of Nazi Germany and how you feel they should have reported the
incarceration and slaughter of Jews, assuming, of course, they had the
freedom to do so. The internment of Canadians of Japanese descent
during World War 2 is another example of government's propensity to
crush an innocent minority. After thinking this through, hopefully you
will consider changing the way you report drug busts which likewise
involve the government ordered punishment of innocent people.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Include the comments of those, like me, who oppose these

2. Include the comments of the victims, i.e. those arrested and their
families and friends as well as (with their permission of course)
information on where they went to school, who their parents are, who
their partners are, etc., etc. In short, personalize them.

3. Include the comments of the defending lawyer and not just the
prosecuting one.

4. Ask the drug cops if they expect to be punished for enforcing
prohibition after we come to our senses and end it (or the courts do
it for us) and some sort of truth and reconciliation commission is set
up to find out how we went so wrong. The cops, of course, will bleat
about having a duty to enforce the law. Remind them about Adolph
Eichmann who was hanged for doing exactly that. Helping to enforce
laws that are crimes against humanity is surely itself a crime.

5. Include a summary of your editorial position, if any, on these

If you and your media colleagues continue to suppress the voices of
the victims and otherwise depersonalize them, I fear our evil drug
prohibition laws will be with us for a thousand years. It is time you
began to serve the public instead of our venal drug cops and gutless

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake