[HPN] War on Drugs Costs American Lives and Liberties (Commentary)

William Tinker wtinker@fcgnetworks.net
Sat, 8 Apr 2000 08:26:46 -0400


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War on Drugs Costs American Lives and Liberties (Commentary)
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      April 7, 2000=20
      War on Drugs Costs American Lives and Liberties=20
      by Deroy Murdock=20

        Deroy Murdock is a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic =
Research Foundation and a policy advisor for the Cato Institute.=20
      Patrick Dorismond is the latest casualty in the War on Drugs. The =
26-year-old security guard and father of two rose to national prominence =
on March 16 when he and a friend stepped out of the Wakamba Bar on =
Manhattan's Eighth Avenue. Dorismond apparently felt insulted after a =
stranger asked him where he could find marijuana. A dispute reportedly =
erupted. When the would-be pot buyer yelled for help, one of his =
associates stepped forward and allegedly shot Dorismond fatally in the =
chest.=20

      Of course, the supposed drug buyers really were undercover NYPD =
officers. Their effort to entrap an innocent, unarmed man in a narcotics =
sting operation caused his violent, untimely death. Eric Adams of 100 =
Blacks in Law Enforcement laments that Dorismond could "be killed for =
saying no to drugs."=20

      This case immediately became politicized when First Lady Hillary =
Clinton, Rep. Charles Rangel (D - Harlem), the Rev. Al Sharpton and =
other rabble rousers slammed Mayor Rudy Giuliani over the shooting. =
Giuliani has refuted their charges of police trigger-happiness by =
observing that the NYPD fatally shot 11 mainly-criminal civilians last =
year, versus 41 in 1990 under Democratic Mayor David Dinkins - a 73 =
percent reduction.=20

      Lost among these ricocheting accusations is the fact that the War =
on Drugs is largely responsible for killing Dorismond as well as Mario =
Paz. Armed with a search warrant and overwhelming firepower, a SWAT team =
raided Paz's Compton, California home last August 9. They lethally shot =
the retired grandfather twice in the back, then interrogated his widow - =
clad in a towel, panties and handcuffs - and four other residents of =
Paz's home. Officials neither found drugs on Paz's property, nor filed =
charges against his survivors. Mario Paz's fatal mistake was that he =
occasionally received mail for Marcos Beltran Lizarraga, a former =
neighbor suspected of drug dealing. Oops.=20

      Since the days of "Just Say No," this domestic quagmire has lasted =
longer than the Vietnam War. It has killed, detained and bullied =
innocent citizens and non-violent offenders in a futile campaign to =
vacuum every last cannabis seed from America's streets. This fool's =
errand isn't cheap. Between 1990 and 1999 alone, federal anti-drug =
law-enforcement activities have cost taxpayers $81 billion. States and =
cities have spent even more. Meanwhile, low-cost drugs have become even =
more plentiful.=20

      The War on Drugs carried Deborah Quinn to jail in February. With =
one leg and no arms, she barely could get there alone. The severely =
deformed, 39-year-old Arizona woman was caught selling $20 worth of =
marijuana to a police informant. While on probation for that incident, =
authorities found four ounces of grass in her home. So, they sentenced =
her to one year in a secure unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson. =
Arizona taxpayers will pay $126,000 to incarcerate Quinn where she can =
get appropriate medical care. That sum reportedly could padlock four =
murderers annually.=20

      Mohave County prosecutor Jace Zack says that if Quinn "didn't go =
to prison, she'd have a free ride to deal drugs forever."=20

      "Deborah Lynn Quinn may have only one leg and no arms," replies =
the Libertarian Party's Steve Dasbach. "But the people who put her in =
jail have no heart."=20

      Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, meanwhile, employs propaganda =
techniques inimical to a free society. As Salon.com's Daniel Forbes =
recently revealed, the White House's Office of National Drug Control =
Policy allowed the TV networks to re-sell some $25 million in ad time =
the Office purchased. In exchange, broadcasters inserted anti-drug =
messages in NBC's "ER," Fox's "Beverly Hills 90210" and other shows. The =
Drug Czar's office even suggested script alterations.=20

      That's awful, but that's entertainment. Far worse, U.S. News & =
World Report, Parade, USA Weekend and three other major magazines split =
$4.9 million in similar federal credits for publishing anti-drug news =
articles. McCaffrey's office even helped choose writers for two =
anti-drug pieces in The Sporting News.=20

      Czar Barry should be toppled for his Kremlinesque effort to =
manipulate the news. Of course, it takes two to mazurka. The magazine =
executives who peddled their editorial integrity like street walkers =
have earned their pink slips.=20

      The War on Drugs burns through innocent human lives, tax dollars =
and civil liberties more swiftly than a joint at a jazz festival. Cops =
certainly should prevent those on illegal drugs or legal alcohol from =
operating cars and heavy machinery. Beyond that, government should do =
little more than counsel moderation. That's sound advice for adults who =
seek mind expansion, from either marijuana or martinis. As for the War =
on Drugs, it's high time to hoist a white sheet up the nearest flag =
pole.=20









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      | Index of Daily Commentaries | Cato Institute Home |=20

      =A9 2000 The Cato Institute
    =20


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      <HR>
      <BR><!--CHANGE DATE-->April 7, 2000 <!--CHANGE TITLE-->
      <H2>War on Drugs Costs American Lives and Liberties =
</H2><!--CHANGE BYLINE-->by Deroy Murdock <BR><!--CHANGE BIO-->
      <BLOCKQUOTE><I>Deroy Murdock is a senior fellow with the Atlas =
Economic=20
        Research Foundation and a policy advisor for the Cato Institute. =

      </I></BLOCKQUOTE><!--CHANGE TEXT--><!--DROP CAP 1ST GRAPH-->
      <P align=3Dleft><FONT size=3D5><B>P</B></FONT>atrick Dorismond is =
the latest=20
      casualty in the War on Drugs. The 26-year-old security guard and =
father of=20
      two rose to national prominence on March 16 when he and a friend =
stepped=20
      out of the Wakamba Bar on Manhattan's Eighth Avenue. Dorismond =
apparently=20
      felt insulted after a stranger asked him where he could find =
marijuana. A=20
      dispute reportedly erupted. When the would-be pot buyer yelled for =
help,=20
      one of his associates stepped forward and allegedly shot Dorismond =
fatally=20
      in the chest.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Of course, the supposed drug buyers really were =
undercover=20
      NYPD officers. Their effort to entrap an innocent, unarmed man in =
a=20
      narcotics sting operation caused his violent, untimely death. Eric =
Adams=20
      of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement laments that Dorismond could "be =
killed=20
      for saying no to drugs."=20
      <P align=3Dleft>This case immediately became politicized when =
First Lady=20
      Hillary Clinton, Rep. Charles Rangel (D - Harlem), the Rev. Al =
Sharpton=20
      and other rabble rousers slammed Mayor Rudy Giuliani over the =
shooting.=20
      Giuliani has refuted their charges of police trigger-happiness by=20
      observing that the NYPD fatally shot 11 mainly-criminal civilians =
last=20
      year, versus 41 in 1990 under Democratic Mayor David Dinkins - a =
73=20
      percent reduction.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Lost among these ricocheting accusations is the =
fact that=20
      the War on Drugs is largely responsible for killing Dorismond as =
well as=20
      Mario Paz. Armed with a search warrant and overwhelming firepower, =
a SWAT=20
      team raided Paz's Compton, California home last August 9. They =
lethally=20
      shot the retired grandfather twice in the back, then interrogated =
his=20
      widow - clad in a towel, panties and handcuffs - and four other =
residents=20
      of Paz's home. Officials neither found drugs on Paz's property, =
nor filed=20
      charges against his survivors. Mario Paz's fatal mistake was that =
he=20
      occasionally received mail for Marcos Beltran Lizarraga, a former =
neighbor=20
      suspected of drug dealing. Oops.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Since the days of "Just Say No," this domestic =
quagmire has=20
      lasted longer than the Vietnam War. It has killed, detained and =
bullied=20
      innocent citizens and non-violent offenders in a futile campaign =
to vacuum=20
      every last cannabis seed from America's streets. This fool's =
errand isn't=20
      cheap. Between 1990 and 1999 alone, federal anti-drug =
law-enforcement=20
      activities have cost taxpayers $81 billion. States and cities have =
spent=20
      even more. Meanwhile, low-cost drugs have become even more =
plentiful.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>The War on Drugs carried Deborah Quinn to jail in =
February.=20
      With one leg and no arms, she barely could get there alone. The =
severely=20
      deformed, 39-year-old Arizona woman was caught selling $20 worth =
of=20
      marijuana to a police informant. While on probation for that =
incident,=20
      authorities found four ounces of grass in her home. So, they =
sentenced her=20
      to one year in a secure unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson. =
Arizona=20
      taxpayers will pay $126,000 to incarcerate Quinn where she can get =

      appropriate medical care. That sum reportedly could padlock four =
murderers=20
      annually.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Mohave County prosecutor Jace Zack says that if =
Quinn=20
      "didn't go to prison, she'd have a free ride to deal drugs =
forever."=20
      <P align=3Dleft>"Deborah Lynn Quinn may have only one leg and no =
arms,"=20
      replies the Libertarian Party's Steve Dasbach. "But the people who =
put her=20
      in jail have no heart."=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, meanwhile, employs =
propaganda=20
      techniques inimical to a free society. As Salon.com's Daniel =
Forbes=20
      recently revealed, the White House's Office of National Drug =
Control=20
      Policy allowed the TV networks to re-sell some $25 million in ad =
time the=20
      Office purchased. In exchange, broadcasters inserted anti-drug =
messages in=20
      NBC's "ER," Fox's "Beverly Hills 90210" and other shows. The Drug =
Czar's=20
      office even suggested script alterations.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>That's awful, but that's entertainment. Far worse, =
<I>U.S.=20
      News &amp; World Report, Parade, USA Weekend</I> and three other =
major=20
      magazines split $4.9 million in similar federal credits for =
publishing=20
      anti-drug news articles. McCaffrey's office even helped choose =
writers for=20
      two anti-drug pieces in <I>The Sporting News.</I>=20
      <P align=3Dleft>Czar Barry should be toppled for his Kremlinesque =
effort to=20
      manipulate the news. Of course, it takes two to mazurka. The =
magazine=20
      executives who peddled their editorial integrity like street =
walkers have=20
      earned their pink slips.=20
      <P align=3Dleft>The War on Drugs burns through innocent human =
lives, tax=20
      dollars and civil liberties more swiftly than a joint at a jazz =
festival.=20
      Cops certainly should prevent those on illegal drugs or legal =
alcohol from=20
      operating cars and heavy machinery. Beyond that, government should =
do=20
      little more than counsel moderation. That's sound advice for =
adults who=20
      seek mind expansion, from either marijuana or martinis. As for the =
War on=20
      Drugs, it's high time to hoist a white sheet up the nearest flag =
pole.=20
      <BR><BR><BR>
      <P align=3Dleft><FONT size=3D-1><BR><BR>
      <HR>
      <BR>| <A href=3D"daily-index.html">Index of Daily Commentaries</A> =
| <A=20
      href=3D"../index.html">Cato Institute Home</A> | <BR><BR><I><FONT =
size=3D-1>=A9=20
      2000 The Cato=20
Institute<BR></FONT></I></FONT></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></BODY></HTML>

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