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    With the murder on April 20th of a mother and her baby daughter by the CIA and the Peruvian government, we have been presented with but the latest in a long and tragic series of victims of the War on Drugs. Only the manic policies of such an arrogant and Constitutionally questionable campaign could lead to firing upon on unarmed and unidentified aircraft. Frankly, even if the plane had been smuggling drugs, it would be equally unacceptable that those involved be thus summarily executed without trial.

    Though the US so far confines its participation in such murders to those in which the triggers are pulled by foreign nationals, here at home we are familiar with no-knock home invasions resulting in the occasional death of an often innocent homeowner; the rampant theft of private property under the mantle of ‘forfeiture laws’, (the proceeds of which directly benefit the seizing agencies); innumerable ‘exceptions’ to the Fourth Amendment (which mentions no such exceptions in its rather short and straightforward language); a violent outlaw subculture of suppliers and users; and many other pathologies, all of which are far worse than the effects of simple drug consumption.

    We forget, and are not often reminded by our public servants, that our grandparents, great-grandparents, and those before them lived and thrived during a period of one hundred and fifty years in America in which there were no restrictions at all on the consumption of heroin and other opiates, cocaine, marijuana, or any other such substance, and those drugs were fairly widely used, especially cocaine and the opiates. Toward the end of that period society selected the one drug that really appeared to cause widespread problems and granted the government a previously unavailable power to make it illegal. That drug was, of course, alcohol. The carnage of outlawry and corruption-- less substantial than today’s-- that followed was enough to prompt our grandparents to quickly reclaim from the government that rashly granted power.

    I can’t identify when it was that we granted similar authority to the government regarding the other drugs, because we never did. Perhaps this complicates the calling to a halt of this insane careening towards a police state which is the only logical destination of this policy. Drugs, after all, can be widely found in prisons. Only measures of control greater than those practiced therein could arguably have any hope of success at prohibition; are we prepared to let this course continue to that point? If we don’t stop it, that is where we shall go, bit by bit, in slow forgettable steps, but as inevitably as nightfall.


    It’s time to wake up. Think of that selfless missionary and her seven-month old daughter and wake up.


© Peter E. Hendrickson