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‘Strike Force’ just the latest drug war boondoggle

Robert Hur, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, talks about the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force, a crime fighting initiative between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to reduce violent and drug related crime in Baltimore City.
Robert Hur, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, talks about the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force, a crime fighting initiative between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to reduce violent and drug related crime in Baltimore City. (Baltimore Sun Staff/Baltimore Sun)

Your recent article, “Feds, Baltimore police unveil a permanent ‘strike force’ targeting drug gangs, suppliers” (Sept. 4), described another government activity that is disconcerting but not surprising. The federal government seems completely unable to learn from its past activities, continuing to do the same things in the “War on Drugs” but expecting new results.

Over the past almost 50 years, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent in a failed attempt to control “illegal drugs” (an arbitrary sub-set of chemical substances that have either an open or black market). Thousands of people (especially members of minority populations) have been incarcerated for possession or sale of these drugs, devastating large segments of our population. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution proved to most intelligent people a futile attempt to control alcoholic beverages, but the government (at all levels) didn’t or couldn’t learn its obvious lessons: increased criminal activity and violence to produce and sell a desired product to a ready market.

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If we really want to reduce drug gang violence, legalize these drugs and spend the money saved by not creating these doomed “strike forces” to help addicts and re-train others convicted of drug-related felonies. The government needs to have the wisdom to discontinue the war. We all want the amount of violence to decrease (including the violence committed by the DEA and police), but this “permanent ‘strike force’” is definitely not the way to do so. So sad that citizens continue to allow their money to be misspent for no positive effect.

David Griggs, Columbia

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