To the editor:
We as taxpayers have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on the miserable failure we call the War On Drugs, but instead of learning from our mistakes, we continue to celebrate our follies with articles like the one that recently appeared in your paper.“Gathered all in one place, it really looked like something” commented Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman, regarding the confiscated drugs and weapons from a recent drug bust. “This isn’t going to eradicate drugs in Lawrence — we all know that,” he went on to say. “It did come back,” McKinley said. “Whether we’re back at 100 percent ... that’s hard to say.”
Calculating the local cost of this latest skirmish in the War on Drugs would be an interesting fifth part to your series. What are the salaries of the Lawrence law enforcement officials who focus on drug eradication? The cost to prosecute the multiple defendants in this case? The cost to house the defendants who serve ten-year mandatory minimums? The cost to children who lose their mother or father to the ten-year minimums? And please remind me what the “benefits” are if the drugs and guns simply return to our community by new dealers who replace the old ones.
Please keep in mind that a majority of all Americans and two-thirds of young Americans (ages 18-32) favor legalization of marijuana, according to an April 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. The war on drugs is a war on people. A war the majority of us do not want and one that we — all of us — simply can’t afford.