Union Democrat staff

Children refugees

of drug violence

To the Editor:

What are the children on the southern border fleeing? The overriding cause of the violence today in Central America is our War on Drugs, an unending and fruitless effort to protect individual Americans from self-destructive behavior. This new Prohibition makes the Italian Mafiosi of old look like Boy Scouts. We've created a Darwinian selection of the worst. Every drug lord removed is instantly replaced by the most evil of his lieutenants. By turning easily grown plants into gold, we perpetuate a nightmare of criminal opportunity.

What democracy would have the highest incarceration rate in the world, one in four black Americans imprisoned in their lifetime? Our criminal justice system is ensnared. War on Drugs legislation funds and corrupts our public safety agencies. Prisons become profit centers and California officeholders kowtow to the powerful CCPOA. US foreign policy is skewed: billions fighting cocaine from Colombia, heroin from Afghanistan, cannabis from our national forests - squeezing a balloon.

Yet when addicts seek help, they find closed doors. Tobacco kills 400,000 to 1 1⁄2 million Americans annually, alcohol 40,000, about the same as automobiles. Illegal drug deaths are primarily crime related. Let's be honest and treat substance abuse as a public health problem, with adequate funding, generated by legal sales to adults - regulated, quality controlled and taxed.

The refugee children are fleeing unrestrained, increasingly violent gangs, such as the Mara in Guatemala. Their enormous power, even their existence, derives from our War on Drugs, the ultimate price-support program.

Parents sending children on the horrifying road to our southern border are desperate, and we, with our insane drug policy, are collectively responsible for sixty plus thousand gang related deaths to date, just in Mexico, a number greater than American soldiers killed in Vietnam.

When will this insanity end?

Paolo Maffei


Solutions needed for homeless camps

To the Editor:

I am writing about the homeless camps in Sonora. The one off the highway and there are also people living under the bridge on Mono Way by the Peppery.

I drive down the highway and I see several tents and GARBAGE. I also see garbage and toilet paper all over when looking over the bridge on Mono Way.

I understand there are homeless people but what I don't understand is that these people are going to the bathroom wherever they want. Whoever allows this and thinks it is OkK you need to put port-a-potties out there for them and clean up the garbage, this is disgusting. How can this be OK? What about the signs on the side of the road saying $1,000 fine for littering? I think this is way worse.

It is not like all of the homeless people have anything to do (like work) so maybe cleaning up their trash and toilet paper could be their job.

In my opinion this has to be some type of health hazard. I sure would hate to live close to either of these camps and have well water at my house. I do have a well but luckily people aren't going to the bathroom in my backyard.

Something needs to be done.

Christine Leers