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January 19, 2005

Yet Another Drug Trade Related Slaying

An article in the Ann Arbor News today reports that federal indictments have been handed down against seven people for the killing in 2001 of a rival participant in the illegal drug trade, and for running a drug operation that brought marijuana and cocaine from Detroit over to Ypsilanti. According to the article by News report Tom Gantert, one of them, Terrance Smith, age 22, is already serving a life sentence for what it call "another drug related slaying" in 2002.

The article could have described the killings more precisely as "drug trade related" rather than "drug related." Smith and his cohorts didn't kill people because they were high on drugs at the time -- at least that's not what usually happens -- Smith and company were fighting a "war over money," as Baltimore's former mayor Kurt Schmoke has described it, using violence to control drug turf and secure for themselves rather than their competitors.

Substitute "alcohol" for the words "drugs" or "marijuana" or "cocaine," and change one of the seven's names to "Capone" and "Ypsilanti" to "Chicago," and the article could have run 80 years ago during Alcohol Prohibition. In the years following repeal of Prohibition, the national homicide rate decreased by 50%. Similarly, only some form of drug legalization can ultimately bring this kind of violence to a stop. Let anyone doubt how important it is to end violence, even violence against supposed "bad guys," consider how it would feel to live on a street where such a murder takes place, or how unlikely an investor is to open a business there. The violence affects us all.

Visit mlive.com's News Talk section to start a thread on this issue, or click here for letter to the editor information.

- Dave Borden, DRCNet

Posted by dborden725 at January 19, 2005 08:02 PM

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