Editor, Dallas Morning News
You editorialize: "The recent shooting death of a 27-year-old Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Ariz., is yet another reminder of the high cost of keeping drugs off America's streets."
No. The tragic death of an American hero--one who volunteered to put his life on the line so that we may have a secure border--is the price we are paying (among many others) of keeping drugs ON American streets. How many street sales of alcohol or cigarettes have you seen or even heard about? Once we make marijuana as legal as alcohol and cigarettes, it will be sold in stores, regulated, and taxed.
Nobel Laureate in economics Milton Freidman explained in irrefutable terms why the War on Drugs can never be won: If there is a demand, there will be a supply. That is an immutable law of the free marketplace. Prohibition can not, does not, has never, and will never work, no matter how many trillions of dollars and lives of American heroes we throw at it.
Remember Vietnam? To quote Bill Moyers, President Johnson's press secretary during the Vietnam build up, "The War on Drugs is another Vietnam." Like Vietnam, we are sending American heroes to die over a cause we will look back on and say, "What a horrible mistake it was."
That's no way to treat American heroes.
TEXT OF EDITORIAL:
Border slaying U.S. should press Mexico to help locate killer 06/13/98 The recent shooting death of a 27-year-old Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Ariz., is yet another reminder of the high cost of keeping drugs off America's streets. Every family in America at risk of having drugs destroy the lives of its sons and daughters should acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice made by Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick. The young man who joined the agency in 1996 after immigrating from Russia in 1988 was fatally wounded by marijuana smugglers west of Nogales. U.S. border guards seize eight to 10 tons of marijuana in southern Arizona each month. "This is the worst incident of violence along our stretch of the border," said a Border Patrol spokesman in Tucson. "We see it as an indicator of the increased flow of drugs across the border and the smugglers' willingness to use violence." How true. The border has become a hot spot ever since U.S. anti-drug agents began closing down drug smuggling routes through the Caribbean to South Florida a decade ago. Agent Kirpnick was the first agent to die in the line of duty in the Tucson sector since 1983, but he was the fourth agent to be shot since mid-1995. In a similar incident in Texas, Border Patrol Agent Jefferson Barr was killed by smugglers near Eagle Pass on Jan. 19, 1997. Additional Border Patrol agents were being assigned to the border even before the latest incident of violence, but the issue now is one of justice. One smuggling suspect has been arrested by the Border Patrol.Washington should urge the Mexican government to cooperate in tracking down the other four suspects detained by Agent Kirpnick before he was shot. Mexican officials already may have arrested one. The Mexican government should act as a good neighbor by trying to identify the agent's killer and to extradite him to the United States to stand trial here.