Friday, October 15, 2004

Drug debate gets heated

Thanks to Preston Peet of for sending in this amusing article on Mark Souder's recent speaking engagement before a meeting of law enforcement officials who convened to talk about the drug problem in Indiana. Souder was invited to speak as a result of correspondence the organizers had with 9th Judicial District Judge Tom Yeager who runs the district's drug court. Things got a little testy.

Yeager said if the federal government is under the impression that illegal drug usage is declining, "They must be on drugs." He went on to say that because of illegal drug usage "you can't run a company." He cited examples of a plumbing company and a trucking company that can't get employees because they can't pass drug tests.

Further, he told Souder, the duty of the federal government is first and foremost protection of its citizens and that it has been extremely unsuccessful in efforts against illegal drugs.

Souder countered that there is indeed a war on drugs and cited figures on how many have died fighting illegal drug trafficking in Colombia. He added that the war may not be as aggressive as it should be, but it is a war. But he also went on to say, "The federal government is not going to fund personnel. Money is not free in the federal government. We don't go out in the national forest and pick it off."

Meanwhile, Loren Lampert, a Rapides Parish assistant district attorney who prosecutes drug cases said, " the federal bureaucracy really stops the effectiveness of what we are trying to do. The federal government's job is to protect our borders."

Souder reportedly "welcomed the input" and cited the Bush adminstration's new war on so-called narco-terroism as a sign of hope because now that terrorism issues are handled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General is more interested in illegal narcotics issues."

It's a fool's hope however, to think that Ashcroft is going to solve anything. He's still pushing the failed idea that stronger mandatory minimums are the solution, an approach the US Supreme Court is predicted to quash when they take the matter up in the near future.


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