- - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Wesley Pruden’s “A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis” (Web, July 21) suggests that much of the immigration crisis is a result of the war on drugs. With respect, I believe that is a mistaken view.

Like Mexico, Canada also shares a border with the United States, but it does not have a problem with drug-related gang violence — because most Canadians are prosperous enough to have better things to do.

If we legalized drugs or Americans stopped using illegal drugs, it would make the problems in Mexico and Central American worse, not better. Would all those unemployed drug-gang members just starve to death quietly? Not a chance. They would turn to kidnapping and piracy. Count on it.

Personally, I think the “war on drugs” has been stupid and a failure, but be careful what you wish for. Right now, getting rid of the demand for illegal drugs would remove an important safety valve.

The problem with Mexico is poverty. That poverty was deliberately created by the Mexican oligarchs through their policies of encouraging people to have more children than they can support, taxing honest labor and using the funds to bail out bankers who made bad investments, and allowing government-protected monopolies to crush the free market. Until these issues are addressed, there will be violence and crime there, drugs or no drugs.

TIMOTHY GAWNE

Birmingham, Ala.

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