Drugs, Porn, and American Motherhood 

Americans decided long ago that drugs are bad, and rightly so. But how bad are they? Bad enough to warrant the inexcusable death of a 35-year-old Baptist missionary, Veronica Bowers, and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity. Flying over the Amazon River, a Peruvian Air Force fighter mistook Bowers’ Cessna for a drug-smuggling plane, then took aim.

Of course, the suits behind U.S. drug policy in Washington, D.C., can’t wait to pin the blame on Peru. Try as they might, we all know who’s at fault. It lies squarely on our nation’s insane, costly and ineffective “War on Drugs.” We set the stage for this tragedy. Our mandatory minimum sentencing policy gives drug dealers more prison time than rapists and murderers. Roughly 25 percent of America’s 2 million prisoners are serving time for drug offenses, according to the Department of Justice. After all this we still haven’t directed enough funds into treatment facilities. No, we’d rather build prisons. No wonder the demand for drugs remains brisk.

Get ready for more of the same. President Bush’s leading Drug Czar candidate, John P. Walters, promises stiffer federal penalties for the possession of marijuana, longer stays of incarceration for drug offenders, and is a major proponent of militarizing the war on drugs in both Peru and Colombia. Look for more downed planes, and buy stock in companies that build prisons.

• In another case of treating the symptoms instead of the disease, our state’s Porn Czarina Paula Houston continues to wring her hands over her inability to control children’s access to Internet smut. She worried mightily at a recent panel discussion at Utah State University, attended by 200 students, a Lutheran pastor, ACLU legal director and Evan Olsen, the Cache Valley dairy farmer and former legislator who established Houston’s office by way of his legislative bill.

ACLU’s Stephen Clark reminded everyone that the Internet is an international phenomenon with no borders and no central control, so people can still download porn from Asia or Europe. Pastor Barry Neese reminded people that everyone must take responsibility for what they expose themselves to. So turn off the TV. Or, if pornography is so bad, get rid of the computer. This was lost on Olsen, who insisted that Ted Bundy and Gary Arthur Bishop took the murderous path after viewing porn. It’s amazing how many people cling to this argument. Has it ever occurred to them that perhaps Bundy and Bishop were fishing for excuses? (Why did I murder? Porn, of course!) Has it ever occurred to them that throughout history more people have been murdered over religious issues—the Inquisition, Israel, Northern Ireland, the Mountain Meadows Massacre—than over naked bodies? Where’s a religion and indoctrination complaints ombudsman when you need one?

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