Laws Grams Supports More Harmful Than Drugs

Laws Grams Supports More Harmful Than Drugs
Posted by FoM on November 30, 1999 at 11:42:37 PT
Source: Pioneer Planet
I read the Nov. 23 Viewpoint by U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn. I found it sad that he has tried to use his son either for sympathy or to rationalize his support for the current drug laws. 
The fact is that the laws he supports have done more harm than the drugs ever will. Grams and his fellow lawmakers have created a minority of millions of regular drug users who are routinely harassed, have violence committed against them and have their property stolen by the government.The way he has treated his son -- his support for jailing his son and most likely his support for the forced treatment of his son -- reminds me of Carol O'Connor. I still believe he and everyone else who kept forcing his son to go to treatment were one of the major reasons his son committed suicide. I hope Sen. Grams comes to understand, before it is too late, that not everyone can honestly believe the treatment theories, and some people just enjoy, or need to use in moderation, some medications that are considered illegal. The hatred and violence created by laws Grams supports will affect millions of lives for years to come. I will be praying for him and the lives he continues to try to destroy. I will also pray that his son will not be sent to prison for life for enjoying a joint and drinking a beer with his friends.Randy RistesundMinneapolisI began experimenting with drugs in my early teens. I became addicted in my 20s. Through treatment, I overcame these addictions. I want to respond to Rod Grams' Nov. 23 column.I have not talked about my past openly before because of the intense stigma this country attaches to drug use. I decided I would no longer remain silent when, in the town where I live, a man who took the life of a small child and the woman who covered it up received ludicrously short prison sentences.Real decisions, not just sound bites, are needed: Given limited resources in our criminal justice system, who is more appropriately imprisoned, drug users who rarely harm anyone other than themselves, or violent criminals? As Harvard psychiatrist James Gilligan points out, the only drug truly linked to violence is alcohol. Oddly, it is the drugs that decrease aggression (marijuana and heroin) and those that have no aggregate effect on violence either way (psychedelics, cocaine and other stimulants) that have been made illegal.Incarceration is only effective as a short-term consequence. Longer penalties do much more harm than good, as the person retreats further and further from society. To be against the Drug War is not tantamount to being pro-drug. It is a reasonable response to a war that is causing tremendous harm to our society -- a war against our own citizens -- a war we cannot win.Treatment, not long-term incarceration, is the humane way to deal with America's drug users. Joy JacquesCannon FallsSen. Rod Grams tells a truly sad story. Even more sadly, he seems to be missing the whole point of the media and public scrutiny. Had any other parent called the police about a missing child, and had that child been discovered under the same circumstances, under current law the child would have been set in the back seat of the police car and brought straight to a holding cell. His son was given a ride home in the front seat, no charges, no questions asked. While I do not believe those drug laws should even be in place, they are, and should be enforced equally and blindly. The senator may have been acting in the capacity of a caring, loving and understandably worried father, but there is no escaping the fact that the police knew who he was. They gave his son treatment that no normal 21-year-old adult would have received, especially someone with a prior arrest and conviction record. I find it even more ironic that the senator is still proclaiming himself a ``tough on drugs'' legislator after he has seen what the current system does to exacerbate the problem. Apparently, he has missed that point as well. Millions of freedom-loving alcoholics stand as an example of his narrow-minded ignorance. Incarceration is not a deterrent, and in some cases, neither is treatment. There is no easy solution, but why do we continue to make the problems of addiction worse by processing it through the legal system?Christopher A. JosephParma, OhioSen. Rod Grams underscores the reasons we have such a failed prohibition policy. He laments his own son's addiction, blind to the fact that the only real danger his son faces is caused by the laws the senator supports. He compounds his glaring stupidity by saying, ``Each time my telephone rings, my heart stops for a moment, for I live with the fear that this time someone is calling to tell me my son's addiction has cost my child his life.''Mr. Grams, the laws you support have already caused that reality for many parents. American citizens are now denied the right our grandparents once had. They could purchase standardized products of known purity at the corner pharmacy and avoid a fatal surprise overdose. If it were not for prohibitionists like you, there would be no surprise overdoses. What have you to say to the parents whose children you helped kill? Grams boasts of culpability in the killing or jailing of someone's child every day; Grams admits his addictive allegiance to the morally bankrupt policies with which prohibition infects our nation each time he says, ``That is why I will continue the fight to rid our nation of drugs and to protect our children.''Richard MarcheseFairfield, N.J.Published: Tuesday, November 30, 1999  1999 PioneerPlanet / St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press Related Articles:Sons Troubles Give Perspective on Drugs, Justice - 11/23/99 The Law - 11/22/99 Looks How Incident Was Handled - 11/16/99
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: