This is What a Drug Legalization Activist Looks Like
You've likely already seen the explosive mainstream media coverage of Tuesday's superb press event by our friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I wanted to share this image that didn't make it into the papers:
As we marched from the National Press Club over to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to deliver LEAP's report to the drug czar, many people on the street paused to stare. Who were these well-dressed men and women walking past the White House with a camera crew trailing behind? If they watched the evening news or read the paper the next morning, they now know the answer.
They are police, prosecutors, and prison wardens working to end the War on Drugs and they couldn't possibly have expected their message this week to reverberate any louder than it has. They are the definition of credibility in the drug war debate, and it is literally impossible to possess an informed opinion on these issues until you've carefully considered the concerns of these professionals and contemplated the solutions they propose.
That's why it's just such a shame – and really quite revealing – that the Drug Czar didn't invite them in when they arrived at his office to present the findings of LEAP's report. I know why I wasn't let in (I've written like 900 things condemning various drug czars for an exhausting array of outrages emerging from that office and wouldn't have stepped inside even if they let me, lest I might never be seen or heard from again). But I was just there to observe.
With us on Tuesday was Norm Stamper, who served as Police Chief of Seattle immediately prior to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. Their professional credentials are so remarkably similar, yet one relies on his vast experience to work towards fixing fundamental flaws in our drug policy, while the other cowers in his ivory tower in Washington, D.C. as he endeavors desperately to defend decades of unmitigated waste and destruction.
We'll see who history remembers as a champion of justice.
Our image posting system doesn't seem to allow a long enough caption to identify all of the LEAP marchers pictured above. Here is the rest of the caption, courtesy Eric Sterling: From Left, Howard Wooldridge, Executive Director, Citizens Opposing Prohibition (retired detective, Bath Township, Michigan); Eric E. Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (former assistant counsel, Subcommittee on Crime, U.S. House of Representatives); Norman Stamper, LEAP (former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA, author of Breaking Rank); Leigh Maddox, Special Assistant State's Attorney, Baltimore City, MD, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Law, (former Captain, Maryland State Police); Neill Franklin, Executive Director, LEAP (former Major, Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police); Matthew Fogg, LEAP, (former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal); Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Corrections, Cheshire County, Stoddard, New Hampshire; (not shown, Terry Nelson, former supervisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security).