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Rebecca Schoenkopf captured the absurdity of the Bush administration's war on marijuana ["George Bush's Joint," Sept. 26] better than anything I've ever read. She isn't the only one laughing at Bush Drug Czar John Walters and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Teenagers—their target audience—are laughing, too, with possibly tragic results. Last year, ONDCP carpet-bombed the airwaves with hysterical anti-marijuana ads telling teens that if they smoke a joint, they were likely to commit date rape, run over little girls in driveways or shoot their friends. What happened? Adolescent use of marijuana shot up last year in nearly every age group. Far scarier, use of hard drugs skyrocketed, too. Use of heroin by junior high students rose 60 percent in the past year, and use of cocaine was up in every grade level. Not only are kids laughing at ONDCP's preposterous anti-marijuana ads, but they're also tuning out much more important warnings about drugs that are truly lethal.
Bruce Mirken Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C.
I enjoyed Schoenkopf's piece on marijuana. The only item I would add regards public safety. As a police officer, I know that every hour spent looking for pot by officers reduces public safety. This year, we will spend roughly 10 million hours looking for pot under a kid's front seat—after we already know that driver is not intoxicated. Meanwhile, drunk drivers sail past these traffic stops and kill 18,000 innocent people.
Officer Howard J. Wooldridge (retired) Member, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc) Fort Worth, Texas
I'm having zero tolerance for cannabis (marijuana) prohibitionists and their terrorizing ignorance, so I was pleased to read "George Bush's Joint." Biblically, medically and recreationally, millions of citizens use cannabis responsibly without incident and are tired of the various forms of government discrimination and deceit directed toward them. Caging humans for using cannabis is so mean-spirited, dysfunctional and uncivilized that it should be asked if cannabis prohibitionists really even comprehend what they're up to.
Stan White Dillon, Colorado
Thanks to Matt Coker for calling The Orange County Register's Steve Bisheff on his lack of honesty in presenting Register readers with Rex Hudler's mea culpa [A Clockwork Orange, Sept. 26]. Bisheff exhibited the same kind of skills made famous in journals throughout the former Soviet Union. But then, Hudler sounded like a defector returned to a totalitarian regime who had been reprogrammed to erase any taste of freedom left in his memory bank.
Bisheff quoted Hudler as saying, "There are perfectly legal medications you can use to help you sleep. I just made a bad decision." No doubt he was more comfortable using marijuana, probably due to the lingering effects of the toxic corporate drugs that are government-approved for use in our free society. Hudler went on to say, "My message . . . is that drug use is bad. It is harmful. Look what it has done to me. It nearly tore me down."
Sorry, Rex, but marijuana didn't tear you down. While you were using it, you were a great guy who did much good in the community. It was the prohibition against marijuana that took you down.
While people like Bisheff, Hudler and others fearful of economic loss continue to buckle to government pressure to deny the benefits of marijuana as medicine, I'm proud to be counted in that significant segment of our society identified by Coker as "those who believe our country's prohibition of a harmless, natural substance like marijuana is stupid, outmoded and corrupt." Even if Bisheff doesn't want to acknowledge we exist.
Rick Root Westminster
I enjoyed Nan Kappeler's "Kid Jocks" [Sept. 12]. She did a good job describing what goes on. I was amused by Gary McKnight's statement that he hadn't heard of any parents at Mater Dei holding back their kids. It is a common occurrence at the school, and everyone knows it. The program lists the players' dates of birth, so it isn't hard to figure out.
Jon R. Haddan Newport Beach
In replying to criticism of his recent piece ["Fear of a Brown Planet," Sept. 5], Gustavo Arellano side-stepped substantive argumentation [Letters, Sept. 19]. He attempted instead to engage in repartee and, in doing so, missed the point. One of the most dogged claims against MEChA is that of racism, embodied in a slogan widely attributed to MEChA: "For the race, everything. Outside the race, nothing." Arellano denied this slogan is MEChA's official policy, dismissing it as "a Chicano chant dating from the 1960s." Yet that very quote is found on MEChA's own website, in the group's "El Plan de Aztlan" (gladstone.uoregon.edu/~mecha/plan. html). Had Arellano checked primary source data, he would have seen that MEChA does indeed institutionalize racism in its creedal statement. At best, Arellano's failure to check such data is negligent, and at worst, it's dishonest. Either way, it's bad journalism.
Leland Edward Stone Buena Park Gustavo Arellano responds: It's not enough that I have to write 3,254 words correcting misperceptions of MEChA. Now Stone expects me to stop my very exciting research into the origins of bread in order to explain the rudiments of academic research. The website Stone cites as evidence that MEChA is a racist organization is the website of a single MEChA chapter in Eugene, Oregon. It is not the MEChA website. It is not "primary source data" in any conceivable way. Nor is it enough to assert that the slogan is "widely attributed to MEChA"; I'd like to widely attribute my shoe to Stone's ass, for instance, but I won't. I'll just make this last point, and then get back to my food review: using Stone's illogic, I might just as reasonably conclude from David Duke's membership in the Republican Party that all Republicans are former Grand Dragons. Now, back to my oven.
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