America's Drug Wars
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Paralyzed Police

I live in an area in Maryland where multiple jurisdictions come together: Montgomery County, Takoma Park, and Prince Georges County. Because of this the drug dealers in the area know they can live in one place, buy their drugs in another area and sell or deal in a third area. All of the police forces are understaffed and underfunded.

The area is also a United Nations of diversity, so many crimes and drug dealing go unreported. Those of us who do speak up and give the police names, addresses, and leads are getting discouraged because nothing happens. The line that we're given is "it takes time." I don't doubt that investigations and undercover work are time consuming. When you live with it day in and day out, saying it takes time doesn't cut it. This "it takes time" has been going on for more than two years and the drug dealers continue to do business.

Maybe we should all become drug dealers. If it takes the police two or more years to investigate and build a case, we could make a lot of money in the meantime and get out of jail, for instance, after 12 months. That way, we could make money, not get caught, and not have a record.

This is why I call the police "paralyzed"—like the old woman in the shoe, they have so many drug dealers, they just don't know what to do. If drugs are such a big business, why doesn't the government take over the market, legalize it, and tax it like liquor and tobacco? It would be a great money-maker. Why not?

Lora Meisner
Takoma Park, MD

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