Pubdate: Tue, 03 Feb 2004
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Kirk Tousaw
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor, headline by newshawk


I MUST respond to the Letter of the Day from Det.-Const. Terry Denvir of the
Toronto Police Sevices, which contained suggestions for fighting gang
violence (Jan. 30).

Overall, I think his recommendations are good ones (except, perhaps, having
provincially paid security guards in the "projects"). However, even
implementing all of them will do very little to curb prohibition-related
gang violence.

Gangs battle it out over drug turf because the business they are engaged in
is illegal. Legal businesses have recourse to the courts and other
acceptable avenues of conflict resolution. Those that deal in illegal drugs
do not. So they take the law into their own hands. After all, there are
tremendous profits at stake (because prohibition has inflated drug prices

If we ended drug prohibition, we would see swift and dramatic reductions in
so-called "drug-related" crime. Starbucks doesn't battle it out with guns
over coffee turf, does it? And nobody steals to support their latte habit.

Prohibition does not work. We learned that during the days of alcohol
prohibition early in the 20th century.

Those who fail to understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.
And that is exactly what we are doing now.

Kirk Tousaw

Policy Director

B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc.

(Although we don't favour legalizing drugs, there is a certain inescapable
logic to your argument) 
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