Letter: A lesson worth re-learning

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

Hilarious to read Ændrew Rininsland's column "Legalize By 2010." [Apr. 2 Gauntlet].

I am a 74-year-old American not holding his breath for legalization in 2010. We simply have too far to go.

Consider that decriminalization is being touted as a way to free police resources to go after "kingpins." We Americans should know better. Our "noble experiment" to stamp out alcohol in the 1920s was, in effect, "alcohol decriminalization" because we arrested bootleggers, but not drinkers. Police resources focused on men like Al Capone and Roy Olmstead. But it didn't work because we had forgotten the law of supply and demand: clamping down on supply, while ignoring demand, increases profit and attracts more violent, reckless men.

Finally, the perception of failure, and a growing disrespect for the law, persuaded Americans to abandon the noble experiment.

I doubt that Americans will relearn that lesson by 2010.