Monday, September 10, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 13


 
 









 

American drug laws lack compassion

Ellen Simonson

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of
circumstances, become his own."
                                                                                               -- Thomas Jefferson

The Personal Responsibility Amendment is a proposition that has been steadily gaining popularity in my home state of Michigan for years now. The
proposition deals with drug laws, specifically those concerning marijuana. Its purpose is to reform the current, inexplicable hysteria surrounding
marijuana and replace it with a more sane and responsible approach.

If it passes, the PRA will eradicate the use of taxpayer funds for drug rehabilitation, return the right to grow hemp to American farmers, legalize the
medicinal use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision and remove penalties for limited recreational use of marijuana by adults (in private homes,
away from children and automobiles).

According to one conservative estimate, the "War on Drugs" costs the American government (and, therefore, American taxpayers) $609 per minute
-- and, as more and more people from both sides of the political spectrum are beginning to realize, it isn't working.

Ex-Michigan governor and current Secretary of Transportation John Engler himself co-sponsored a bill in 1982 urging the federal government to
legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

Michigan's not the wealthiest state -- it's not unheard of for high schools there to end the scholastic year three or four months early due to lack of
funds. Obviously it's only a matter of time before Michigan realizes there are better ways to spend its time and money than on busting recreational
pot smokers, right?

Wrong, of course. Last week, two men were shot and killed by police at Rainbow Farm, a campground in Cass County, Mich.

Rainbow Farm is somewhat legendary among Michigan liberals as a place where activism is continual. The campground offers cheap rates, regular
concerts (Merle Haggard was a recent performer) and, of course, "the beautiful rolling hills of Southwestern Michigan." It is one of the gathering
places for those activists who are working to put the PRA on the ballot in Michigan.

Grover T. Crosslin, 47, was shot and killed by an FBI agent Monday after allegedly pointing a gun at the agent. Crosslin was facing a bond
revocation hearing because police said he had held a festival on his property, in violation of the terms of his release on previous charges.

The next day, Rolland Rohm, 28, supposedly pointed a gun at a state trooper and was shot to death. It is also alleged that occupants of the
campground shot at a news helicopter and an unmarked police plane.

The Rainbow Farm incident hasn't generated much outrage yet. Perhaps Crosslin and Rohm seem unimportant to most: deadbeats who deserved
what they got. But I hope "Rainbow Farm, Mich." will someday mean as much to those concerned with liberty as "Ruby Ridge, Idaho" or "Waco,
Texas" do today.

Yes, the government had the right to prosecute Crosslin and Rohm for the laws it believed they had broken. But nobody had the right to kill these
men. Even convicted killers get trials, appeals and the right to a (relatively) painless death.

Crosslin stated his goal as a "more sane and compassionate America," and was shot to death by his government in accordance with laws that
millions understand are not only ineffective -- they're wrong.

Simonson, a senior English major who likes
sanity and compassion, can be reached at ellen_simonson@yahoo.com.


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