I have a love/hate relationship with the War on Drugs.
It provides such a wealth of subject matter to write about that I shudder to think what might happen if it were suddenly declared over. I might be forced into writing about positive subjects instead.
The War on Drugs has had a profound effect on me. I used to be a proud Republican, but the more I listened to law-and-order Republicans chatter about the dire need for ever more enforcement of the controlled-substance laws, the more Libertarian I became.
I'm still a registered Republican over at the courthouse, but in the voting booth, the Republicans have lost me.
I never pass up an opportunity to write about the War on Drugs. Every time the local drug warriors do anything, I perk right up because invariably one of the warriors is going to say something that makes no sense.
At the city council meeting a couple of weeks ago, our local regiment of drug warriors got up to report on their operations for the last three years. The chief of police - who I believe is a good cop and citizen - told the council that waging war on drugs is difficult. The warriors have rules to follow, the chief explained, and those rules cause problems.
Now I know that the chief believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but it scares me when a drug warrior wearing a badge and a gun stands up at a public meeting and says that the document that makes us Americans causes him problems.
You have to admit, though, the chief is exactly right. It would be so much easier if the soldiers fighting the War on Drugs could break down every door on every house in town and conduct searches. Imagine the drugs they would find.
If drugs are as big a scourge as the warriors would have us believe, they are going to need a convoy of trucks to haul all the illegal substances away. Oh, and for the people without any drugs but who were searched anyway, just try to remember that the Bill of Rights causes too many problems to be of much value when it comes to waging the War on Drugs.
The War on Drugs is confusing for the soldiers fighting it. The local warriors made a bust here a couple of years ago, and they wanted to keep it secret. I don't like secrets, especially when someone has been thrown in jail. I wanted to know who was arrested and why the person was arrested. The old undersheriff was reluctant to share that information with the newspaper.
He explained that if word were to get out in the paper that a bust had been made, then the other drug dealers would lay low and stop selling drugs. If they're not selling drugs, it's just that much harder to catch them.
You can see how confusing the War on Drugs is. The object of the war is to stop the flow of drugs, but the drug warrior told me that the soldiers can conduct the war much better if the enemy continues selling drugs.
Do the warriors actually want to win the war?
If they don't want to win the war, it's time to cease operations, reinstate our rights and try something different. I'm doing my part; I vote Libertarian. Libertarians believe drugs should be legal.
If drugs were legal, our army of drug warriors could stand down and save us huge amounts of money. The soldiers could return to police work, serving and protecting us instead of suspecting us. Instead of gangsters making a killing, legitimate business people could be making a living.
If you're afraid that legalizing drugs would make them more available than they are now, think again. Drugs are easy to find - ask any drug warrior - yet the vast majority of people choose not to buy them. There are better ways to spend time and money.
The War on Drugs is a resounding failure. Drugs still flow freely. The War on Drugs has had some success, however. It has successfully battled the Constitution and helped to quash our freedom.
Michael Holzmeister (email@example.com) is editor of the Lamar Daily News.
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