The following is a letter to the editor which I am submitting to the Boston Glove and Boston Herald. I urge others who agree to send letters on this topic - I think it's the most important thing we can do to fight not only for drug-law reform but basic freedom of speech.
A little advice on sending letters to the editor, from my own experience: be sure to find out the precise requirements that your newspaper has for such submissions. Newspapers will often reject letters for purely technical reasons; for example, the Boston Globe requires that one include one's full address and daytime telephone number, though they only print the name and city.
Here it is:
The arrest of Kevin Elders on drug charges is a deeply disturbing incident for all those who value that most fundamental of human rights: freedom of speech. The timing of this accusation - almost five months after the alleged cocaine sale is said to have taken place - suggests that the young Elders may have been framed by law enforcement authorities; even if their accusation is true, however, it is virtually certain that this action was taken in retalia- tion for the Surgeon General's public remark that legalization of drugs is an option that ought to be studied, as a way to discourage and frighten others from speaking out in agreement with her.
The awful truth becomes vividly obvious: the drug-war establishment despe- rately wants to prevent any serious, public discussion of alternative approa- ches to drug policy. Why? Perhaps they're afraid that in an open, honest discussion, their position will prove to be indefensible. An understandable fear - after all, all the most significant studies of drug policy ever con- ducted recommended decriminalization, including the LaGuardia Committee Report (1944), the Report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (1973), and the Report of the California State Research Advisory Panel (1990).
This crude attempt by drug-enforcement authorities to silence dissent is simply McCarthyism all over again. But it will become increasingly difficult to carry out. Because a growing number of prominent citizens, including Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, former secretary of state George Shultz, mayor Kurt Schmocke of Baltimore, and numerous other mayors, representatives, judges, police commissioners, prison officials, doctors, attorneys, educators, clergymen and other concerned citizens have joined together to call for an end to this failed drug war that is destroying our cities. Enemies of free speech, beware.
13 Chandler St.
Arlington, MA 02174-8516
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