Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Let those dopers be

Yesterday we posted on an obituary in the “L.A. Times” regarding the death of an influential Chinese anarchist. It was an odd day for The Times because it also ran this Op-ed piece by the former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper.

It’s called “Let those dopers be”:,0,3428942.story?track=hpmostemailedlink

“I’ve never understood why adults shouldn’t enjoy the same right to use verboten drugs as they have to suck on Marlboro or knock back a scotch and water,” says Stamper who is not for the decriminilization of marijuana, but for its legalization.

A cop for 34 years, it is Stamper’s opinion that, “our draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go.”

Spending a few paragraphs on how our approach to drugs has worsened the situation, Stamper notes, “In declaring war on drugs, we’ve declared war on our fellow citizens. War requires ‘hostiles’ – enemies we can demonize, fear and loathe. This unfortunate characterization of millions of our citizens justifies treating them as dope fiends, evil-doers, less than human.”

Hey, this cop sounds like Ba Jin (“Death of an Anarchist,” October 18).

Read the piece. He even proposes an outline for how legalization might work.

A judge in Spain has issued an international arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers who fired from their tank on a hotel filled with journalists and took the life of Spanish cameraman Jose Couzo. According to the Associated Press, Justice Santiago Pedraz issued the arrest order “because of a lack of judicial cooperation from the United States regarding the case.”

highwayscribery did an in-depth piece on Couzo’s death here:

the scribe will read from "Vedette" to the accompaniment of guitarist Omar Torrez on December 15 at 33 1/3 Books & Collective at the corner of Alvarado and Sunset.

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