12-30-07, 09:33 PM #1
Research suffers as scientists dodge drug smugglers
A botanist who used to work on his studies in various remote parts of the Sonora, Mexico, mountains says that work now is being left incomplete because of a health problem that developed for him on the job.
"I got kind of allergic to pistols being held to my forehead," botanist Richard Felger said in a report on the impact drug smugglers are having on various scientific endeavors. He was unable to complete studies on jaguars, insects, bats, fish and other subjects of scientific inquiry.
Biologist Karen Krebbs said she used to study bats in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the border between Arizona and Mexico but she got tired of dodging drug smugglers. She saw caravans of smugglers and criminal aliens with guns and backpacks full of drugs. She dove under bushes or behind rocks to hide, but she got tired of it and quit the research. "I'm just not willing to risk my neck anymore."
The report said scientists working on a variety of projects along the southwestern U.S. border are making the same decision.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has stopped providing new research permits for most projects because of the criminal activity. Scientists who do go into the area are required to sign statements acknowledging the National Park Service will not guarantee their safety from "potentially dangerous persons entering … from Mexico."
"Biologists are stuck in the middle" of what appears to be "a kind of arms race," said Jim Malusa, who maps desert vegetation. He said the impact on research is "chilling."
What's the solution? What do we do about this?
12-31-07, 06:12 PM #2
Originally Posted by sandy
Regardless of what anyone thinks about the rights of free citizens to become intoxicated and to choose the risks they take, the second-order effects of drug prohibition are invariably worse than the direct effects of the drugs themselves. The reason is that it is impossible to eliminate the use of a popular commodity through legislation; all that happens is that it shifts to the black market.
Drugs were available in the Soviet Union. Drugs are available in America's prisons. Drugs are available in America's schools. These are highly regulated environments with intensive oversight, and people inside them still find ways to obtain drugs--because they can ALWAYS find someone willing to take the risk of providing them in order to earn the enormous profit that a black market guarantees. (That's Econ 101a, a subject in which few Americans are literate any more.) In the adult civilian environment, in which people are constitutionally required to enjoy a far greater level of freedom, it's difficult to even substantially REDUCE drug use through legislation, much less ELIMINATE it.
But the consequences of the resulting black market are ruinous. During America's disastrous thirteen-year experiment with alcohol prohibition, an entire new economic power sprang up: the Mafia. It's only in the last 25 years that the Mafia ceased to be a major headache for law enforcement, and only because they got so big that they started taking over legitimate businesses in traditional corporate warfare, which is entirely legal. Anyone who has butted heads with Bank of America, one of the country's most capricious and consumer-hostile institutions, can thank Prohibition for giving the Mafia enough money to branch out into the respectable banking business after the San Francisco earthquake made Californians desperate for loans from people who always had extra money lying around.
Another second-order effect of Prohibition was the sudden appearance of women in taverns, since drinking had become merely "naughty" instead of "wicked," and therefore "the cat's pajamas," or "cool" in more modern slang. Children were recruited into the liquor business because the legal system was reluctant to prosecute them and even if it did they weren't locked up for very long. They also began to regard mobsters as role models as they drove around in their fancy cars, while their honest, hard-working, school-educated fathers took the streetcar. Disputes between rival dealers or between dealers and obstinate customers could hardly be taken to the courts, so they were settled in the streets with tommy guns, often catching innocent bystanders in the crossfire.
Prohibition was repealed by a landslide, with teetotaling Mormon Utah casting the deciding vote.
Today we see all of the same second-order effects with the prohibition of other popular drugs. With a few new wrinkles. The drug business is international since most drugs can't be easily brewed in bathtubs like gin, so doctors in Third World countries are getting caught in the crossfire.
But if you think that's the worst of it, you aren't even close.
Heroin is a $15 billion world market. Since it's a black market commodity, those profits don't go to the stockholders of Anhaeuser-Busch, or the American Tobacco Company, or Coca-Cola, the wealthy but peaceful panderers of legal drugs (the latter to CHILDREN). Do you recall where most of the world's opium poppies are grown? An unruly backwater called Afghanistan? The headquarters of Al-Qaeda? Much of that $15 billion goes into the coffers of the organization that funds anti-American terrorism throughout the Islamic world. Al Qaeda is bigger than the Mafia, it's big enough to buy off entire government departments. America is not going to "defeat" Al Qaeda when it has that kind of resources, and even if we manage to run it out of Afghanistan it will just relocate to some other squalid place like Burma where poppies grow just as well.
The second-order effect of our War On Drugs is the availability of billions of dollars for weapons, training camps and technology for anti-American terrorists.
Is drug prohibition worth it?
12-31-07, 06:19 PM #3What's the solution? What do we do about this
The first way is to hire Mexican scientists to do the research that needs to be done. I'm certain that there are highly qualfied scientists that will be able to perform what needs to be done.
Secondly is to send armed escorts with her whenever she travels. This will ensure her safety and keep those unwanted smugglers at a distance from the guards.
Third you could always use satellites to zero in on wherever you want to study. There are very fine opticle cameras orbiting the Earth that see within one foot.
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