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I Got Published!

August 11, 2007, The Spokesman-Review (WA)

Sheriff Should Handle Own Trash

Taking advantage of jail overcrowding, Kootenai County (ID) Commissioners boast they'll put prisoners to work sorting recyclable materials from collected garbage (S-R, 8/09/07, B3). Sheriff Rocky Watson wants a new jail constructed next to the about-to-be-built garbage transfer station.

Unexpected population growth, a nearly full landfill and voters' reluctance to support more jail construction paid for by sales or property tax increases are challenges Watson and Commissioners hope to meet by freely exploiting the slave labor of incarcerated people.

Instead of fretting over full landfills, however, Idaho leaders would earn long-lasting public respect by drafting source-reduction laws and policies that discourage manufacture and distribution of useless packaging and products overwhelming landfills.

Similarly, overcrowding of jails and prisons is deliberate policy. Governments at any time can increase or decrease the rate of arrest and prosecutions. Overcrowding is an excuse to justify greater appropriations, increased taxes and unnecessary new lockups.

Criminal justice careerists pitch overcrowding's evils because they ordinarily sell easily to unwary voters. Kootenai County residents haven't been buying fear mongering and likely won't the next time they're asked to underwrite multimillion-dollar contracts for building another monument to failure.

Visit to learn why Sheriff Watson should clean up his own garbage.

Chuck Armsbury, Colville, WA

December 14, 2007 - Florida Times-Union (FL)

Illegal Drugs: Treat the Addicted

This is in response to Tonyaa Weathersbee's Dec. 10 column.

It is easy for us to hate Henry Manns, the dealer of drugs, just as we hated Ted Bundy, Florida's murderer of young women.

The system could deal with Bundy, but it can't deal with Manns.

The difference between Manns and Bundy is that Manns' customers are willing buyers; Bundy's "customers" were not asking to be murdered.

It is the fatal flaw of drug war logic. Even executing Mann would not reduce drug use, because there are other dealers waiting impatiently to take his place.

The drug war has been building for almost 100 years. It escalated sharply after 1930 with Harry Anslinger's zeal to stamp out certain drugs by punishing anyone who used or sold them.

When it didn't work as advertised, Nelson Rockefeller, then Richard Nixon and then Ronald Reagan stepped up the war.

Academics predicted failure at each step, but they were ignored.

If Americans continue to wage the drug war against dealers and casual users, rather than treating those who are truly addicted, Abraham Lincoln will have been proved wrong: It really is possible to fool all the people all the time.

John Chase, Palm Harbor, FL

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