Every time Bennett opens his mouth, I get scared. I do not take illegal drugs; I do not even drink or smoke tobacco, but it seems that Bennett's plans to combat the drug abuse problem threaten the liberty of every American. His first suggestion was to suspend the right of habeas corpus, the right of a person who is arrested to be informed of the crime he is charged with, and now, after saying that he does not believe that we have "been locking people up in sufficient numbers," he wants to establish "boot camps" for drug offenders.
Shakespeare said that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." To me these boot camps smell like concentration camps and that smell is foul. America already locks away a greater percentage of its population than any country except South Africa and that has not solved our problems.
I do not believe that establishing concentration camps, which could easily be used for political dissenters as well as drug offenders, will make our society any safer, and it certainly will not make it any freer. I hope President Bush will also realize this and in the interest of "a kinder and gentler America" get rid of Bennett. James Madison said, "It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties . . .," quoted in Engel vs. Vitale.
RANDALL H. STONER