Making a difference: The war on drugs |

Making a difference: The war on drugs

Recently, the publisher of The Union newspaper, Jeff Ackerman, wrote a column regarding our efforts in combating illegal drug activity in our county. Although I like Jeff and believe he is sincere in his beliefs, I sincerely believe he is wrong.

He wrote a number of things I could easily rebut, but let me focus on this one in particular in reference to a recent marijuana raid performed by our Narcotics Task Force.

In this case, Mexican Nationals, illegally in our country, were illegally growing marijuana, illegally trespassing on government property, illegally using the water we as taxpayers support, polluting our forests lands, posing a threat to hikers and recreational enthusiasts, supplying an illegal drug that is proven to act as a depressant and contain harmful compounds, and fully knowing what they are doing is illegal.

Okay, so here is Jeff’s quote: “It made great headlines, but if you read between the lines, it won’t make a difference. Especially not to the so-called Mexican cartel leader who probably sent a handful of poor laborers up here to plant and grow pot.”

Speaking about reading between the lines, do you catch my disappointment at this type of reasoning? Poor laborers who shoot at law enforcement and the general public do not have my sympathy.

This brings to mind the story of the wise man that walked along the beach and saw a young man reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean. He asked the young man what he was doing, to which the young man replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Truly, the so-called “wise” man had something to learn from this young man.

We are going to continue picking up starfish and throwing them in the ocean, because it does make a difference. Every illegal drug we take off the street, every criminal we put in jail, every defendant that is sentenced to time in custody helps to make our community better. Drugs off the street will not be consumed by your friend, your neighbor, your family member. Every criminal we retain in custody will not be able to burglarize your home, steal your car, assault your brother, or infringe upon your quality of life.

Proposition 215 has been a nightmare. The great majority of marijuana is not being used and grown medicinally as was intended. Our office receives calls daily from neighbors at their wits end regarding marijuana gardens next door and the frequency of suspicious traffic coming and going.

People are fearful in their own homes. They have concerns about their children being subject to offensive situations. Not to mention the rank odor and the realization that your property value has now declined.

Proposition 19 is just another nightmare waiting to happen. I hope the good people of Nevada County and the state of California educate themselves and don’t allow themselves to be fooled by the false hope of increased taxes and lowered crime level.

Proponents often refer to the Amsterdam, Holland, model. It’s not working there either! Holland is working toward eliminating its lax drugs laws.

We in the Sheriff’s Office will continue to use the resources we have to protect the safe community in which we live and work. It is the right thing to do. Illegal drug use contributes nothing to the community. We will continue to make a difference, one undertaking at a time.

Keith Royal is the Nevada County sheriff.

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