The pot problem
Re "Pot shops luring crime, sheriff says," Sept. 2
I think L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca has it backward. If marijuana were to be legalized, there would be no need for medical pot dispensaries, and thus no way for underground drug dealers to "hijack" them.
The Sheriff's Department could then devote all of its attention to more serious crimes and not have to fill up the overcrowded jails with illegal pot sellers.
Richard H. Smith
Maybe the robbery problem stems from the odd zoning for dispensaries, restricting shops to at-risk neighborhoods, or from inadequate police protection. If this medical herb were available at regular drugstores like tobacco, alcohol and medicine, the product could be better taxed, regulated and dispensed to properly prescribed patients.
Polls indicate that many Californians support decriminalization. The Nov. 2 vote on Proposition 19 will show whether voters want our police, lawyers, judges, correctional facilities and county sheriff to spend our tax dollars, time and resources on higher priorities.
No one wants to keep marijuana illegal more than the drug lords.
Legalizing and taxing marijuana could put the cartels and the gangs out of the marijuana business — if Proposition 19 passes and the counties wisely use the regulatory powers it is designed to give them.
Legalization would take away the huge economic incentive for the terrorism, corruption and killing. It would relieve our law enforcement officers of the burden of busting people for marijuana possession so they can concentrate resources on real crimes. Finally, legalization and taxation would channel the revenue from marijuana taxes into essential public services and help balance California's budget.
When a few criminals engage in illegal behavior — here, homicides related to the illegal diversion of marijuana from medical use to street use — it does not constitute the hijacking of an entire program.
When doctors write inappropriate prescriptions, or when patients themselves improperly seek prescriptions for medications, Baca doesn't say that the pharmaceutical industry had been hijacked by criminals.
It's not the industry that's the problem; it's the people who try to take advantage of it.
It isn't pot shops that lure crime, it's the fact that pot is illegal. We only have to look at alcohol to see that prohibition inspires crime. Is it not time to send the cops and robbers home and let adults decide for themselves whether and what to drink, or smoke, in the privacy of their homes?
Making up the rules of war
Re "Military families fault rules of war," Sept. 2
Kudos to The Times for the important front-page article on the military rules of engagement.
It's about time we heard from the families who have lost loved ones because of these absurd, unjust and tragically misguided rules.
Instead, a military philosophy based on rational self-interest would lead to the unequivocal defeat of the terrorists, and save American and Afghan lives now and in the future.
There are those in the military, and military families, who wish to disregard our present rules of combat. Should Americans disregard the lives of Afghan civilians and kill them if they are in our way? After all, many are sympathetic to our enemy. Have we lost all sense of decency?
Frederick L. Boon
No sunny side to the egg story
Re "Egg farms found to be filthy," Aug. 31, and "Scrambling on eggs," Editorial, Sept. 1, and "Egg firm had history of problems," Aug. 28
There's a dismal reality connecting factory farms with the salmonella outbreak.
It's no secret that where millions of chickens are housed in crowded conditions, where Mother Nature tries her own version of "cleanup" with rodents and bugs, there is bound to be breeding of germs that would make many egg eaters quite ill.
In my former hometown, there is a real farm where chickens are given space to roam, are fed food free of hormones and antibiotics, and where the chickens produce healthy eggs.
When small farms were shoved out by the massive ones, the simple caring of Mother Nature was also shoved out.
Since states apparently can't keep eggs, even tainted ones, from being sold across state lines, the federal government obviously has to step up to the plate.
But it seems even more obvious that the abominable conditions under which these eggs are being produced are causing the contamination.
It is time to face the fact that in order for us to cheaply increase our cholesterol consumption, living creatures are warehoused in a horrendous manner, polluting our waterways and endangering our food supply.
What is missing in the debate over more egg regulation is the chicken.