Pubdate: Tue, 27 Apr 1999
Source: Telegraph Herald (IA)
Copyright: 1999 Telegraph Herald
Author: Robert L. Day Jr.


I trust I am not the only reader who read with dismay the idiotic
explanation in the April 10 TH by state Rep. Bob Osterhaus for the new
law providing life sentences for meth sales.

What gibberish!

Boiled down to its basics, his comments amounted to: We know this law
won't work, but this is a big problem and we don't know what to do
with it, so we have to look like we're doing something.

It was depressing to see our local representatives, Murphy and Jochum,
going along with this nonsense, although they had the good sense not
to offer an explanation for their vote, which was obviously designed
to avoid looking soft on drugs.

In our current drug hysteria, we seem to have forgotten the main
lesson of Prohibition, which is that attempts to treat substance abuse
primarily as a criminal problem rather than a social and medical
issue, are counter-productive. Once the public gets tired of increased
taxes to buy more prisons and individual cases of injustice caused by
inflexible and extreme laws, we may grow smarter again.

Until then, our local officials, Sheriff Leo Kennedy and County
Attorney Fred McCaw, deserve credit for their honesty and political
courage in pointing out the obvious flaws in our new law, which is
more the product of polls than common sense.

Editor's note: The author is a Dubuque attorney.

Robert L. Day Jr.
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