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Drug-War Justice for the Rich and Powerful
Freedom Daily ^ | December 2002 | James Bovard

Posted on 02/12/2003 4:18:18 PM PST by RJCogburn

Even in these difficult times, a few simple rules can take some of the peril out of everyday life. For instance, if you’re planning to become a crackhead, make sure that you are the president’s niece. And a governor’s daughter. And that your family is rich enough to hire three lawyers to ply every legal trick to prevent you from doing hard time.

Noelle Bush, the 25-year-old daughter of Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush, has been caught with three drug-law violations this year. The first one occurred in January when she feigned a doctor’s name and phoned in a prescription for herself for Xanax, an anxiety drug which the Drug Enforcement Agency places on the list of controlled substances.

She could have been sentenced to five years in prison. Instead, she was sent to a posh drug-rehab center known as the Center for Drug-Free Living. In July, she was caught by rehab-center personnel with someone else’s prescription drugs. That is also a felony, at least when it’s done by those whose fathers are not state governors. The drug-rehab center dropped the hammer on Noelle, sending her to jail for three whole days.

On September 9, in what is now referred to as a “crack cocaine incident,” the Miami Herald reported that “police were called by a fellow rehab patient who complained that the ‘princess’ gets caught repeatedly but is never punished.” Noelle was reportedly caught by rehab employees with crack cocaine in her shoe. Possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony. And as part of her de facto parole from the first drug offense, she was prohibited from carrying any major narcotics in her footwear.

When the police arrived, one rehab-center employee prepared a written statement for them on what happened — but tore it up after a supervisor barred turning over the information to the police. When Orlando police sought to question rehab center staff about Noelle’s alleged criminal conduct, a lawyer for the rehab center rushed to court to file a motion to prohibit them from gathering evidence from the staff. Orange County Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry Jr. ruled in favor of the motion. The Orlando Sentinel headline aptly captured the issue: “Judge Shuts Down Investigation of Noelle Bush.” Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton criticized the ruling: “If this order is correct, then essentially drug-treatment centers are immune zones where you cannot be prosecuted for a drug crime.”

Since the rehab employees would not make sworn statements to the cops, Noelle could not be formally charged. Gov. Jeb Bush was elated. During a campaign stop in his reelection effort, he announced,

“Putting aside my daughter for a second, this is a serious issue. Our drug-court system is based on the fact that the road to recovery is a rocky one, that you’re not going to have every case having a perfect record. In fact, if you look at the drug-court process, very few do. In the treatment facility, if counselors are required to report every violation, then it makes treatment very difficult to work.”

Bush chirped to the Miami Herald, “The underlying function of drug treatment is that it is not a naturally progressive, always-moving-forward, never-stepping-back process.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of blacks and poor folks never get the option of rehab. Instead, they go straight to jail or prison — and oftentimes for decades. Well, unless their father happens to be president or governor. At Noelle’s sentencing hearing in October, as the Associated Press reported, Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead “didn’t specifically give a reason in court for jailing Noelle Bush but told her that he was aware of allegations that she was found with crack cocaine in her shoe while at the treatment center.” It seems rather curious for a judge to make such a casual observation about being “aware” of “allegations” that someone had committed a federal felony while on parole for previous drug offenses. If a judge had mentioned in passing to some defendant that he was “aware of allegations that you committed a murder” or “aware of allegations that you raped three ladies and a sheep” — the comments would have sparked controversy. But not for Noelle.

Perhaps, though, the judge was implicitly acknowledging the wrongfulness of treating drug addiction in the same way that violent crimes are treated. That would be a positive sign but wouldn’t it be better to apply it to everyone rather than just the rich and politically influential?

Punishing the rich and powerful

Noelle was sentenced to spend 10 days in jail as penalty for her “contempt of court.” Luckily for Noelle, Congress did not include “contempt of court” under the list of federal offenses that are harshly punished with mandatory minimum federal sentences.

Governor Bush, who also prides himself on family values, did not bother attending the court hearing in which his daughter was sentenced to 10 days in the slammer. (She was to be kept in special protective custody so that she would not experience the brutal jail conditions that many other Floridians endure.) Bush reportedly stayed away because he was concerned that his appearance might turn into a media event.

Instead, at the time of his only daughter’s sentencing, he was busy doing a television interview. And then later in the day he had a big fundraiser. His wife (Noelle’s mother) also did not make it on Noelle’s big day. An aunt by the name of Dorothy Koch did do Noelle the favor of showing up for her hearing and sentencing.

At the same time that Noelle has been treated far better than the vast majority of three-time drug offenders, her father denounced allegations that his daughter got special treatment as “completely unfair” and “absolutely wrong.” He promised, “When this is all said and done I’ll be able to speak freely about it.” No doubt after his reelection.

Noelle is no doubt a very a fine young lady, and like anyone else, it would be cruel and inhumane to lock her away when she is suffering from a mental or psychological problem that is producing her drug addiction. There is nothing in her conduct or demeanor that morally justifies allowing politicians and prosecutors to destroy her life simply in order to add another statistical notch to their drug-war bragging rights. There is no evidence that she has assaulted, molested, or murdered and no evidence that she poses a threat to the safety of others. There is no evidence that she has an evil intent and thus there is no justification for stripping her of her rights and freedoms.

The problem lies with people such as her father and uncle, people who rose to political power by promising harsh treatment to nonviolent drug offenders. After his daughter got caught the first time, Jeb Bush pulled out his hankie and blubbered in front the audience of a Florida drug-war policy conference. Yet, as Stephen Heath of the Drug Policy Forum of Florida noted, Bush waged “a vigorous 12-month campaign against a proposed ballot initiative that would allow Floridians the right to drug treatment for first and second nonviolent drug possession offenses” — the same kind of treatment that Noelle received.

Rather than giving favored treatment to the family members of the rich, famous, and politically connected, it would be far more honest to recognize that consuming drugs is not an act of war against fellow citizens and should no longer be a criminal matter. Drug addicts do enough abuse to themselves without politicians coming in to kick them when they are down.

Perhaps the only lesson Bush will learn from this is the need to build a higher Iron Curtain around drug-rehab centers — so that, if his daughter or other well-heeled people who can afford to attend such centers commit any more felonies, Floridians will not hear about them. Or perhaps he will simply hire a few more spinmeisters to distract public attention from his hypocrisy. If he gets really lucky, Florida state police will seize a whole trunk full of heroin or cocaine going up Interstate 95 from Miami — and the resulting celebration will be sufficient to make most Floridians forget about Noelle’s little dust-up.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: drugskill; wodlist

1 posted on 02/12/2003 4:18:18 PM PST by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn
Article by a Libertarian whack-job. Nothing to see here...move on!
2 posted on 02/12/2003 4:21:28 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: A CA Guy
And you can rebut the facts?

Please do then. Which statements are false?

3 posted on 02/12/2003 4:41:45 PM PST by DAnconia55
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To: A CA Guy
Article by a Libertarian whack-job. Nothing to see here...move on!

Its possible for even a Libertarian to be right now and again.

4 posted on 02/12/2003 4:45:04 PM PST by lucysmom
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To: A CA Guy
Typical liberal tactic, demonize and name call your opponent to distract from the content.
5 posted on 02/12/2003 4:56:24 PM PST by Bob Mc
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To: Bob Mc
The messanger and the message are both tainted to no end with or without my opinion of them.
6 posted on 02/12/2003 4:59:33 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: lucysmom
Why wait for hell to freeze over or watch them close enough to waste all that time?
7 posted on 02/12/2003 5:01:09 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: DAnconia55
Begin with the "Freedom Daily". Rename it Anarchist Incorporated" and you have a clean fresh honest slate to start with.
8 posted on 02/12/2003 5:03:00 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: RJCogburn
Seems to me to be a real parodox (or some other such mind challanging situation). Rich people on drugs don't have to resort to crime to obtain their next drug fix, but poor people on drugs do. Thus the poor drug users are dangerous to society (as they will rob and kill for more drug money) while the rich ones are not dangerous. Does this mean that the rich are privledged to do the drugs because they harm no one but themselves?

As a Christian I know the harm that drugs do to a person even when that person (like Nicole) is not harming society, and so cannot condone the use of them. And yet at the same time, common sense is saying to me, is this not unlike other perks like fancy clothes, alcohol, cars, if you can afford them (because you or your family has worked hard to have enough money)and you don't care what harm it is doing to you (just as people who eat McDonald's Burgers everyday don't care that they are killing themselves) then so be it.... if you cannot afford them, then no deal, they are off limits to you. I am wrestling with the whole thing. As a "free" society should we allow people to do their own selves harm, if they are not harming others?

Let's discuss it. Any input? I am listening.
9 posted on 02/12/2003 5:04:45 PM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy
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To: A CA Guy
It appears there are NO space aliens. But if there were, this would be a bad idea.

I ask again : Can you refute the author of this article, by specifically naming which statements about Noelle Bush and her treatment by the law in the article are lies, untruths or distortions?

10 posted on 02/12/2003 5:07:46 PM PST by DAnconia55
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy
Rich people on drugs don't have to resort to crime to obtain their next drug fix, but poor people on drugs do. Thus the poor drug users are dangerous to society (as they will rob and kill for more drug money) while the rich ones are not dangerous.

Then by your own admission, you see the criminal imorality of keeping drugs illegal.

What happens to an item when it is made illegal? Does the price go up, or does the price go down?

You have just proven to yourself that the drug war causes crime that would not exist (at least at the same level it does), if drugs were legalized.

11 posted on 02/12/2003 5:10:15 PM PST by DAnconia55 (And the small added bonus of having our freedoms restored (and taxes reduced?) is nice too...)
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To: DAnconia55
haha... aliens appear to have hijacked by reply to CAguy...

Right reply, wrong copy/paste.
12 posted on 02/12/2003 5:11:39 PM PST by DAnconia55
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy
As a "free" society should we allow people to do their own selves harm, if they are not harming others?

One question that comes to mind is who is defining 'harm'? The person who is doing 'harm' to themselves, or am I, or you, or somebody else doing the defining?

13 posted on 02/12/2003 5:20:56 PM PST by RJCogburn (Yes, it is pretty bold talk......)
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To: DAnconia55
Hi, the site was down and I was working.

Bottom line, this should be an "alleged" article because this is an "alleged" event.

The factor none of this article takes into account is whether the current sitting Governor of Florida who was up for re-election could be targeted through his children for political puposes?
Add to it that his brother was in a contentious bid for the Presidency where the opposition went ballistic and vowed to do damage to both Jeb and GWB.

It is not impossible that the Judge saw that the whole issue was a set-up to use the daughter of a targeted political figure to ruin Jeb's re-election bid.
Perhaps the whole alleged issue was in actuality a hoax or a set-up by Democrats to spoil the re-election or Presidency!

Everyone is so fast to assume a newspaper story is gospel.
When you add to it that is from a Libertarian cell, you just by nature have to see the flags waiving.

If it's Libertartian, it is almost always weird stuff.

Regarding CA, we have laws putting first time offenders into programs. After that they get a cleaned up record.
We don't finance everybody through rehab after that, but we mostly only have violent drug offenders in our jails.
1/3rd of them are illegals by the way.

But in general, if it's Libertarian...RUN!

The one point that is true is that if you work hard and earn good money you can better afford a higher quality in life style or can care for your children and any problems they go through better.

What Jeb's daughter needs to do is the same as the rest of the illegal drug users... Get straight and learn to take REAL responsibility in life.
14 posted on 02/12/2003 8:14:26 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: A CA Guy
"The factor none of this article takes into account is whether the current sitting Governor of Florida who was up for re-election could be targeted through his children for political puposes?"

So we should just let it go? Jeb Bush's daughter is a criminal and that isn't news?
15 posted on 02/12/2003 8:23:22 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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Alleged crack head:


16 posted on 02/12/2003 8:33:16 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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Also, there were reports of Noelle Bush's spotty driving record. She has been involved in four crashes in Leon County between 1999 and 2001 and has been ticketed more than a dozen times since 1995, records show.

That from a Google search. Not sure how accurate it is.

17 posted on 02/12/2003 8:45:17 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: A CA Guy
targeted for political puposes... the whole issue was a set-up... Perhaps the whole alleged issue was in actuality a hoax or a set-up...

Mr. Carvile, your master got away with it already. You can stop now.

18 posted on 02/12/2003 8:48:33 PM PST by steve-b
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To: A CA Guy
I understand the facts!; whats the point of the article? Other than an attempt to smear Jeb Bush for the acts of his adult daughter. What does the author propose ? She be put in general custody, so another prisoner can take her hostage and in turn hold the whole state of Florida hostage to his(or her) own demands? Come on man if you dont like Jeb just say it! Don't work fiction, if you have fact Jeb personally intervened present them please.
19 posted on 02/12/2003 9:15:46 PM PST by KingNo155
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To: Stew Padasso
I don't know that she did anything "after" she went into therapy. You are assuming something actually happened without knowing ANYTHING about the truth.

You already have her being guilty when this "alleged" story in fact could have been about Jeb's daughter being set up in an attempt to ruin a Florida re-election for Jeb and a to perhaps create political black-eye for the current President George Bush.

With all the crap the Democrats do, you are far to ready to assume this whole story to be as it is reported here or in the news. You pointed out the judge threw this out. Could be because it was a set-up.

But, this is a drug issue and Libertarians LOVE THEM DRUGS. Being there is no moral ground to stand on regarding this issue for Libertarians, I can understand the desperation they use in grasping "alleged" incidents to make "alleged" points while using their "alleged" reasoning.
20 posted on 02/13/2003 12:10:35 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: KingNo155
She probably hasn't yet done anything to be put in general population over.
As I said, more than likely a set-up and probably that is why the judge threw it out.
I think Jeb is a good guy and a major target as is his brother.

PS: Due to the target the daughter would be, she would never be in general population if she DID do anything.
That would put her at risk that far surpasses the average person.
21 posted on 02/13/2003 12:16:41 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: steve-b
What are you on? I said Democrats would probably do something like that as a set-up to ruin re-election for Jeb.

How do you equate that to me being a Carvile for the Democrats when I am saying Deocrats could have been trying to set this up?

You make no sense....
22 posted on 02/13/2003 12:19:57 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Stew Padasso
If she was a "certified" crack head she could lead the Libertarian's "alleged" party as the grand-Pooh-baa!
23 posted on 02/13/2003 12:23:19 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: A CA Guy
Libertarians LOVE THEM DRUGS.

False. Libertarians LOVE THAT FREEDOM.

24 posted on 02/13/2003 6:05:30 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: A CA Guy; steve-b
How do you equate that to me being a Carvile for the Democrats

He's equating that to you being a Carville for Jeb Bush.

25 posted on 02/13/2003 6:06:45 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: RJCogburn; A CA Guy
'Bush waged “a vigorous 12-month campaign against a proposed ballot initiative that would allow Floridians the right to drug treatment for first and second nonviolent drug possession offenses” — the same kind of treatment that Noelle received.'

What a rank hypocrite.

26 posted on 02/13/2003 6:07:52 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: A CA Guy; *Wod_list
But in general, if it's Libertarian...RUN!

When the facts are against you, you must run from the truth.

27 posted on 02/13/2003 6:10:13 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: RJCogburn; MrLeRoy; DAnconia55
Special rules for special people are part and parcel to Prohbition. If they went after the rich and powerful the same way they go after everybody else, the Drug War would end in short order.

Congressional Family Drug Offencers Escape Mandatory Sentences, Get Favorable Treatment

28 posted on 02/13/2003 6:14:48 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: Wolfie
"My dad's a politician and I don't have to go to jail" BUMP.
29 posted on 02/13/2003 6:32:02 AM PST by ActionNewsBill
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To: RJCogburn
"Bush reportedly stayed away because he was concerned that his appearance might turn into a media event."

If the author doesn't think this is exactly what would have happened, he is extremely naive.

30 posted on 02/13/2003 6:44:03 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: RJCogburn
Noelle Bush is not the only individual to have been given the opportunity to enter a drug treatment program instead of go to jail. I can think of any number of celebrities that this has occurred with, and I read about this offer being extended to 'regular' people in my hometown paper pretty frequently.
31 posted on 02/13/2003 6:45:56 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: MrLeRoy
"What a rank hypocrite."

Yeah, IF this really happened. There are those who like to take the truth and crank it up several hundred notches. (For example, were there terms in this law that were onerous and THAT was why Bush was against it?) There are also those who like to spew outright lies in order to further an agenda.

I'd like to see the evidence of this claim before I buy it hook, line and sinker.

32 posted on 02/13/2003 6:53:11 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: MEGoody
were there terms in this law that were onerous and THAT was why Bush was against it?

No, he was just against it.

http://www.naplesnews.com/02/05/florida/d782900a.htm

MIAMI — Gov. Jeb Bush called a ballot proposition that would allow some drug offenders to escape imprisonment by entering treatment programs "misleading" and said it would "destroy" Florida's drug court program.

Bush, addressing 45 graduates of Miami-Dade County's drug court Friday, said he was disappointed with the state Supreme Court's decision Thursday to allow the proposition onto the 2004 ballot.

"This amendment would destroy the best drug court system in the country," Bush said in an address simulcast to similar graduation ceremonies statewide. "It would require that first- and second-time offenders, irrespective of what their crime was, be given treatment. What the drug court does is provide services, but also says there's a consequence."

But the Campaign for New Drug Policies, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization that is spearheading the proposed "Right to Treatment and Rehabilitation for Non-Violent Drug Offenses," maintains that their proposal does include consequences, in some cases more severe than the penalties doled out by drug courts.

"When you wash out of this program, you go to jail. When you are removed for cause from your treatment program, you go to jail," political director Dave Fratello said. "And if it did replace the drug courts, it would replace them with a bigger system that's virtually identical."

33 posted on 02/13/2003 7:11:56 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: A CA Guy
The factor none of this article takes into account is whether the current sitting Governor of Florida who was up for re-election could be targeted through his children for political puposes?

ROFL! So because you're running for office, your children are EXEMPT FROM THE LAW?

The factor none of this article takes into account is whether the current sitting Governor of Florida who was up for re-election could be targeted through his children for political puposes?

Yeah, those SNEAKY Democrats made her smoke crack! Now THAT'S dirty politics.

Everyone is so fast to assume a newspaper story is gospel.

I suppose those court records and arrest reports are libertarians plots too! Damn, we're good.

Pretty pathetic response. Worse than I expected.

36 posted on 02/13/2003 6:48:16 PM PST by DAnconia55
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To: DAnconia55
"ROFL! So because you're running for office, your children are EXEMPT FROM THE LAW?"

Not what I said, what language do you comprehend.

37 posted on 02/14/2003 12:56:15 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: lastcowboyhung
Sounds like you are practicing some Libertarian acceptance speech in Columbia there.
38 posted on 02/14/2003 12:57:27 AM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: DAnconia55
What happens to an item when it is made illegal? Does the price go up, or does the price go down? You have just proven to yourself that the drug war causes crime that would not exist (at least at the same level it does), if drugs were legalized

You are right, the drug war DOES cause crime, and like I said... I am struggling with the whole issue in my own mind. I can see that legallizing drugs would lower the price, probably omit the criminal element as there would be no high profit in it, allow all the money spent on the "war on drugs" to be used to treat the adicts, etc.All well and good! But at the same time, I am thinking that as a nation do we become more immoral by condoning imorality? Do we send the wrong message to our young people when we say drugs are "legal"? Or would things eventually even out sort of like when we ended alcohol prohibition? I don't know...

39 posted on 02/14/2003 3:10:27 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy
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To: RJCogburn
One question that comes to mind is who is defining 'harm'? The person who is doing 'harm' to themselves, or am I, or you, or somebody else doing the defining?

GREAT question! And probably like all else there are degrees of 'harm'.... one might be just temporarily slightly impaired (like when using alcohol) and just need to be responsible enough to not drive etc. while in that state, or one might be frying one's brain and doing irrepairable damage to oneself. One might be able to enjoy a state of uforia with good music and friends, or one might be (while under the influence of drugs) leaving one's mind in a state where, as many of us Christians believe, "demons" creep in.

I have no doubt in my mind that abortion is not only 'harmful', but immoral as well! PERIOD! But as for drugs... while I know they can be 'harmful', I am still not sure they are actually immoral?

40 posted on 02/14/2003 3:24:03 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy
as a nation do we become more immoral by condoning imorality?

To legalize is not to condone; society is more than just government.

Do we send the wrong message to our young people when we say drugs are "legal"?

Government is not the proper channel for sending messages to young people (or anyone else).

41 posted on 02/14/2003 6:09:20 AM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: MrLeRoy
"To legalize is not to condone; society is more than just government."

Yep, and throwing money at it is not the answer either.

Churches, volunteer organizations, friends and family are better suited to address these challenges, not federal bureaucrats and LEO's with their retirement plan at risk. They are not concerned with ending the WOD, only an increase in their budgets.

If in WOD fantasy land, everyone were to stop using drugs, where would all the bureaucrats go? What would they do? The sad truth is that they know there is no end and their future is secure on the backs of drug addicts.
42 posted on 02/14/2003 1:13:33 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Stew Padasso
Churches, volunteer organizations, friends and family are better suited to address these challenges, not federal bureaucrats and LEO's with their retirement plan at risk. They are not concerned with ending the WOD, only an increase in their budgets.

Funny how some "conservatives" want government raising kids when it comes to drugs.

43 posted on 02/14/2003 2:00:40 PM PST by MrLeRoy ("That government is best which governs least.")
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To: MrLeRoy
Conservative America. Shed your responsibilities to faceless bureacrats.
44 posted on 02/14/2003 2:20:49 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Stew Padasso; MrLeRoy
Both of you make excellent points. I am a conservative, Christian Republican.. right on the edge of being a Libertarian... it's just that I can't take the whole "Ayn Rand" philosophy because it conflicts in part with my "Christian" side..... yet on the issue we speak of in this thread, I think I have to agree with you. We are going about the "war on drugs" with a no-win approach.
45 posted on 02/15/2003 2:39:12 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy
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