James Gierach of Palos Park was in Morris last week.
Even though he ran for governor once, his name is still not going to be recognized by most people.
The fact that he was willing to run a hopeless race against the popular Jim Edgar in 1994, shows he is willing to tilt at windmills.
Edgar won re-election in 1994, defeating his main opponent, Dawn Clark Netsch, and carrying all but one county in Illinois.
Whether anyone thinks Gierach is still tilting at windmills will depend on their view of drugs and whether they should be legalized.
Gierach is now a leader in the organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He, as well as the other leaders and speakers in the organization, have worked in law enforcement and were involved in the war on drugs.
Anyone can join and the organization claims more than 10,000 members in 90 countries around the world.
A system of regulation and control is far more ethical and effective than prohibition. Legalizing drugs will save lives, reduce disease, crime and addiction and save tax dollars, according to the organization.
Gierach said the problem has only gotten worse since President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs about 40 years ago.
He noted that in the drug war, both the drug lords and the drug agents are on the same side. The drug lords in the United States, Mexico and other countries in the world, don’t want drugs legalized in the United States.
That would eliminate their main source of revenue.
Gierach said the drug laws are responsible for the thousands of murders which have occurred in recent years in northern Mexico.
Today, he said, AIDS in the United States is largely spread by people using dirty syringes.
Anyone who has been around Grundy County or any other county with a small population knows that even a marijuana possession arrest was unusual in the 1970’s.
Now marijuana arrests occur almost daily and arrests for cocaine and heroin possession are becoming more and more common.
With two interstate highways cutting through Grundy County, Illinois State Police now make regular arrests here involving large quantities of drugs being moved around the country.
There is no question that over the years, drugs have become more available.
Whether this is because of prohibition or in spite of it is open to debate.
Without prohibition, there might be more drugs readily more available.
Because it is difficult to know what would happen if drugs were legalized, the people of the United States are not ready to take that step now.
But if things do not change in the war on drugs, people will eventually decide we have to do something different and legalization is an obvious option.
By MICHAEL FARRELL
morris daily herald
Saturday, June 12, 2010
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