By Patrick Osio
What’s wrong with this headline (SD U-T May 11, 2008), “Drug raid has SDSU concerned on image”? How about being concerned about the young adults who lost their lives to drugs instead of the University’s image? How about the rampant usage of drugs not only on campus but elsewhere? How about the over 17,000 annual deaths due to drug usage in the US? And, how about the carnage taking place on a daily basis in Mexico due to its war against organized crime attempting to keep drugs out of US users’ hands?
When the news hit about the SDSU drug raids, the national press had a field day. Most online newspapers invite comments from readers. The SD Union-Tribune’s readers’ comments mostly from young adults were appalled not at the drug usage but about the raids themselves how dare authorities invade the campus and betray students. There was but one (at the time I checked) comment expressing heartfelt sorrow to the family of the young lady student who lost her life due to a drug overdose. Likewise in the Los Angeles Times report, there were over 600 comments posted. The overwhelming majority taking exception not on the drug usage, but on how foolish laws prohibiting its usage are.
Here is a sampling of comments (excerpts):
“It makes sense that fraternities are involved in drug trafficking, an organized group of young men who trust each other is the best type of organization for meeting the demand among college students experimenting with drugs.”
“The drugs are only illegal because of the misguided laws we have now and should get rid of.”
“Drugs are on every campus. And the people who died due to overdoses died from choosing to use drugs, not from the dealing of drugs.”
“It seems rediculous to me that officials are calling this single bust on one campus a break through... Every college student in America knows the reality when it comes to the drug infestation across ALL College Campuses.”
“We need to legalize marijuana to take the profit for drug cartels out of it…”
“To all the parents and people who think that SDSU is now ‘safe’ and ‘drug-free’: You have got to be kidding me if you think there are less than 100 kids on a campus of 34,000 students who either do or sell drugs.”
“What a waste of money and time! There are terrorists and serial killers out there, why are we wasting our police enforcement’s capacity to control violent crime on arresting stoned students?”
“This is absolutely ludicrous. 76 students arrested for possession, that requires a serious investment of resources: manpower, time, research. Is that really what we want the DEA doing? Arresting 18-20 year olds for possession? Isn’t there a gangwar with the Mexican army just over the border?”
“Yet another story of the police out to lock people up for consentual crimes. No one forced anyone to buy or take drugs. Why lock up people for things that hurts no one else than those willingly involved?”
What about the expression that using drugs is a consentual crime that hurts no one else? No one else? Policemen, soldiers, prosecutors, journalists and innocent bystanders including children are killed almost daily in Tijuana and elsewhere in Mexico attempting to stop the flow of drugs to those very students who claim it hurts no one else. And in so doing, we brand Mexico as lawless, and a place to avoid until they get their act together.
SDSU should stop worrying about its image and start a concentrated campaing to stop the warped perception on drug usage. It could start by bringing the widows, mothers and children of some of those killed in Tijuana to talk to the studentbody along with some of local parents who have lost children to drug overdose.
Maybe by meeting real people affected by their actions, young adults may realize their usage is largely responsible for the carnage across our border and that overdose deaths destroy families’ lives and it does hurts others.
So SDSU, stop worrying about image, and take leadership on an issue that is costing human lives and destroying entire families on both sides of our border.