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By the numbers

I'm writing about Michael de Yoanna's April 27 cover story, "Pot shot: Mason Tvert's movement to legalize marijuana is causing reefer madness."

Suppose another country had almost no drug problem. Suppose that country had less than a small fraction of 1 percent of our drug arrests. And suppose that country had almost no "drug-related crime," and that its robbery rate was a tiny fraction of our robbery rate.

Do you think it might be wise to carefully observe that other country's drug policy? And that we should model its drug policy?

Well, there is such a country: The Czech Republic, the only country in the world where adult citizens can legally use, possess and grow small quantities of marijuana. (In the Netherlands, marijuana is quasi-legal not officially legal.)

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 people. The United States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000. The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000. The United States' robbery rate is 145.9 per 100,000, according to our FBI.

In other words, the Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1/585th of our drug arrest rate, and the Czech robbery rate is less than 1/72nd of our robbery rate.

According to our drug-war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause people to use other, much more dangerous drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin. Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic.

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock to hard drug use, not a gateway?

Could it be that the vast majority of our so-called "drug-related crime" is caused by our marijuana prohibition policies?

Could it be that if we keep doing what we have been doing, we will probably get the same results? Should we throw another trillion dollars down the drug-war rat hole? Or should we do something different dramatically different?

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.

Is he high?

In "Pot shot," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers was quoted saying this: "I find this group's message particularly troubling ... It's a moral relativism message that we have two evils, and [in their assessment] marijuana is a lesser evil than alcohol, so [they] promote that evil ... There's another alternative here: Let's promote sobriety as an alternative to intoxication of any form."

Is this guy cracked?! He is obviously not dealing in reality. If this "high ideal" of everyone staying sober all the time worked in the real world, then when Nancy Reagan said to "just say no," we wouldn't have a drug problem now, would we?

We need real progress on this issue, not platitudes and ideology.

James Stepp

Orlando, Fla.

Police beat

As a police officer, I arrested about 400 drivers for DUI of alcohol and 2 for DUID (both intoxicated on prescription pain killers). In 18 years of police service, I went to zero calls for service generated by the use of marijuana. Pot, like any mind-altering drug, is a poor choice, and I urge everyone to be as drug-free as possible. However, chasing pot users is a horrible waste of good police time.

Officer Howard J. Wooldridge (retired)

Member, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Washington, D.C.

Zoltan is right

Letter writer Chris Jones ("Defeating the purpose," April 27) has it all wrong.

Zoltan Malocsay's extensive presence on trails on and around Pikes Peak has done plenty to ensure the protection of natural resources. It keeps people on the trails, versus random bushwhacking. His Trail Guide of the region and other books on getting around to see beautiful Colorado have given people direction and a destination, versus random or chance travel on roads and trails where they don't belong.

I do not know Mr. Malocsay personally. I have met him a time or two for mere seconds. But I have seen him around the usual suspects in support of trails and open space on occasion for the 15 years I have lived here, and I know that he has contributed plenty to our natural resources.

Opening up areas of natural resources to the public, with focus and direction, makes plenty of sense. There is no reason to keep people out.

Joanne Peterson

Colorado Springs

Easterner go home

To Ken Cleaver:

So, how did you land such a nice gig as a professional smart-aleck? How can I get one?Where do you live? I've seen Bedford, N.Y., and Denver addresses for you. We native Coloradans always love it whenEast-Coasters come out here and tell us we don't have any culture.

Next timeyou're here, bring me a slice of New York pizza and the New York Philharmonic. Leave the New York arrogance at home. By the way, I'm a liberal Democrat. You make us look bad.

Mike Wall

Colorado Springs

Fix this

It saddens me when I see someone writing about consequential music as if it were nothing more than a trend in fashion.

Last week, Kara Luger wrote, "Tori Amos is so last year, kids; try a little Regina Spektor when you're needing a Quirky Piano Chick fix!"

It's too bad that each of the unique musics of both Ms. Spektor and Tori Amos aren't being allowed by Ms. Luger to stand on their own substantial merits. Surely, Ms. Spektor's work will soon enough be likewise relegated by Ms. Luger into the dustbin of "has-been," when it continues to have plenty of value. I'll still be enjoying both artists.

Richard Handal

Silver Spring, Md.

He's hungry

Does not the Indy critique restaurants around town anymore? It's been several weeks, if not months, since the last restaurant review that I can remember reading. Bring them back!!!

Michael Ortiz

Colorado Springs

In the cage

Si se puede?

I am a proud daughter of immigrants. On Monday, in support of my parents and other undocumented immigrants, I attended the local rally in Colorado Springs.

People all over the country participated in a day of protest against the dehumanization and criminalization of undocumented immigrants by boycotting school, work and shopping. In Colorado Springs, thousands gathered in Memorial Park. As I listened to the speakers and the crowd optimistically shout, "Si se puede" ("Yes, it's possible"), there was energy and excitement in the air.

But after simply standing around for hours, the crowd became restless, and we demanded a marcha. However, the organizing group, American Dream, heeding the advice of the police, refused to allow us to march, insisting that we only had permission to "demonstrate" within the boundaries of the park. Still, people pressed on, and eventually, the organizers informed us that we would be "allowed" to march around our cage (aka Memorial Park). If we stepped one foot outside the park, we would be arrested.

Furthermore, the emcee made this outrageous statement: "Escondan su bandera Mexicana porque no queremos ofender a nadie." ("Hide your Mexican flags, because we don't want to offend anyone!") Did they also want us to hide our faces and the rest of who we are? The majority of us at the rally were Mexicans and proud of it, so why should we be forced to hide our flags and our culture? What's next? Are they going to ask us to paint our faces white and only speak English during our rallies, which keep us caged with set boundaries and times?

This week, we had an opportunity to show our communities that we immigrants are not criminals, and that undocumented immigrants deserve to be treated with basic human rights. Yet, in reality, we failed.

In the 1960s, the African-American community rose up and changed society by demanding that they be treated as equal human beings. Will the Latino community ever find this courage?

Megumi Esperanza

Colorado Springs

By the book

There is much truth foundin the words of Ms. Eva Syrovy's April 20letter, "Migration is history." However, when one wishes to migrate to another country, the road to migration beginsinone'shome country.

There are no laws being proposed to keep immigrants out of the United States. What some of our legislators are trying to do is stop the tide of illegal immigration into this country, while others are trying to find ways to allow those illegal immigrants already in the United States to remain in the United Stateswhile working to gain citizenship.

Oneproblem with the latter is that it promotes illegal immigration, instead of helping stem the flow of illegals into this country. Under current law, children born to illegal immigrants in the United States will have the opportunity and pleasure of running for the office of president of the United States if they so desire.

Granting amnesty to those who enter this country illegally provides themwith rights not granted to United States citizens who have run afoul of the law herein the United States.In some states, such as Florida, a man or woman convicted of writing bad checks and sentenced to a period of time in prison cannot vote for a candidate running for any public office. Why should illegals begranted amnesty, and therebygranted rights denied those born and raised in the United States?

Yes, there are needs for revamping immigration laws so that they "better serve this nation." Every sentence contained within the immigration laws must be looked at. That includes how to prevent illegal immigration, and how many immigrants this country can take in each year withoutfurtherstressing the physical and social structures of this nation. These laws must demand that all legalized immigration begins in one's home country.

Bobby McGill

Valrico, Fla.

March right home

Mexicans illegally entering the United States provide a good example of what's wrong with the theory of globalization. They come, not because they love to leave their homeland, but because Mexico, like much of the world, is controlled by wealthy patrons who keep a death grip on power.

So, the masses of Earth are expected to work for a tortilla or a bowl of rice. Free trade has the appearance of a growing economy, but it is a false and temporary hope. It empowers large suppliers to exploit any humans on Earth who are hungry. It's worse than slavery, because when one worker drops of exhaustion, another one will step in at no loss to the owner.

Labor laws cannot prevent the abuse, because rules extend no further than a national boundary. So when illegal immigrants to America march for their rights, in reality, they are marching for loss of rights for workers of Earth. They are asking America to lower its standards, like Mexico.

What they should do is march home and demand their rights there. Then they can enjoy the love of their wives and kids and hopefully live life happily. At home.

Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

Wide open borders

There is very little discussion about the next 11 million illegal immigrants. Unless they put 10,000 National Guard on a 2,000-mile border (five per mile), plus the border patrol, you will not stop the next 11 million.

There are millions of unemployed people in this hemisphere who will keep coming here unless stopped.We sympathize with the unemployed, but we cannot absorb millions more. Plus, the terrorists cannot be stopped without closed borders. This is jeopardizing the security of the United States.

While we are spending billions and millions on security, and leaving 2,000 miles of border wide open, this is insane.

Irwin MacLeod

Colorado Springs

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