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Glidden on the Drug Problem

August 01, 1988

Glidden makes two fallacious assumptions regarding legalization of drugs: first that the ". . . population of unemployables and illiterates" into which group he lumps "gang members" would turn to theft if the profit was removed from drugs. It is hard to convince young people to become employed and literate when they can make $10,000 a week selling crack. Provide education, take away this insane profit motive, and a great many young people will finish school and get jobs.

Even if it were true, so what? Is his argument that we should not legalize drugs because crime will go elsewhere?

Second, Glidden argues that people can't use drugs and lead happy and healthy lives, and cites alcoholics. Most people aren't alcoholics, and most use alcohol responsibly, and the social balance sheet is surely to the good after the repeal of Prohibition.

Glidden thinks he is really the champion of the addict. The addict already uses as much as he wants! He simply now robs my home to pay the outrageous prices. If the profit is removed, you also remove the addict's crime. You aren't his friend, Mr. Glidden. He needs help and education, not criminal prosecution.

Look at the facts: one-third of all prisoners are there for drug-related crime. Gangs killing each other, and innocents in between, by the carload. Think that level of violence will carry over to the stolen-radio market after legalization? Only when radios are outlawed and cost $10,000! How much of our national budget is used to chase down these criminals, convict them and incarcerate them? How many police officers can we divert to real crimes of violence? How many DEA officials can we furlough? How many professors of philosophy need a sabbatical in South-Central L.A.?

TIM CORCORAN

Los Angeles

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