Drug Task Force
Bo Shaffer's Presentation
At the Boulder County Commissioners hearing on
"The Boulder County Drug Task Force" 3/25/04
I'd like to start with a quote from Benjamin Franklin.
God grant that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on it's surface and say "This is my Country"
We have an opportunity here, today, to stand up and be counted as being squarely on the side of Freedom and Liberty. I strongly recommend to all of you, that you take the time to read Bill Masters book, Drug War Addiction. Bill Masters has been a Sheriff in San Miguel County for over 25 years, and as a former drug warrior, knows both sides of the issue. Lest you think he is a lone voice, I point out that there are a number of Law Enforcement personnel and Judiciary that have also seen the light of Freedom and agree totally with him. Among these are the sheriff of Pitkin County, the former police chief of New York City, and Judges William Sanderson and James Gray.
In my handout, I have included statistical evidence of the damage that this so-called "Drug War" has inflicted upon this country. Very few of us remember Prohibition, but I'm sure your parents and Grandparents told you tales of it. It was billed as The Great Experiment.......and it failed miserably. Just as Prohibition gave rise to Organized Crime in this country, so has the "Drug War" created 10 times as much damage as was ever envisioned. Much as the Second Amendment opponents try to lay the blame on inanimate guns, the dangers cited by Drug Warriors are all meant to make you terribly afraid of inanimate drugs. The truth of the matter in both cases is that it is the ultimate responsibility of each individual to behave in a socially accepted manner. The addicts stealing, the collateral killings, the drive by murders by drug kingpins, the clandestine labs......these would all be eliminated if drugs were de-criminalized and treatment was made available to addicts without fear of retribution. Do American adults handle other, legalized drugs well? That is certainly up for debate, but the bottom line is, you are not violating the law to possess tobacco, alcohol or Prozac. You only violate the law when your behavior becomes irresponsible. In the history of mankind, it has never been documented that marijuana has ever caused accidental, negligent, or deliberate death. Why are substances that are proven to be deadly, legal......and marijuana and other substances not? It is a God given Right to make your own decision on what to put into your own body. Not the DEA, not the Chief of Police, not Congress.
A wiser man [Bill Masters] than me, once asked this question of conservatives:
"Have you taken up your duty, not just to guard the Second Amendment, but are you truly the shield, the protector, of that beautiful but fragile lady we call Liberty? Do you stand beside those who are harassed and arrested because of the color of their skin? Do you sit back while your neighbors are dragged off in the middle of the night for what they choose to put into their own bodies, not for any actions? Do you honorably and respectfully uphold the rights of others to speak their truth, no matter how opposed it is to yours?
Liberty is a harsh mistress. You cannot pick and choose what you like and dislike about her. Liberty will not change her principles for you, no matter how much you claim you love her. She will stand fast in her demands for total acceptance. If you can't receive her, she will recognize you as a false lover and leave you. And when you hear that door slam, it will take every tear in your eye, every ounce of blood in your veins, and all the nerve in your heart to win her back."
I will close with one more quote from Mr. Franklin, my favorite.
Those who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.