Re: "Smoking out tourists?" (July 6), it would be good for Dutch legislators to think strategically before enacting social legislation to coerce a particular behavior. First, and most important, how will it be enforced? Overenforcing can cause more societal damage than the behavior itself, if left alone. In the event of such blowback, what will be the remedy? Usually the remedy is to escalate the enforcement, since legislators are loath to admit a mistake, even their predecessors' mistakes. We Americans remember the 1920s' lesson of national Prohibition, and can only watch as the Dutch begin to move in the wrong direction.
For enlightened modern thinking on "drugs", study the Swiss experience since 1994 in stemming a tide of overdose deaths and AIDS caused by IV drug users. It has been so successful that even UNODC is backing off criticism of the Swiss. As for cannabis, by U.S. standards, it is already decriminalized, since the penalty for trade in soft drugs, up to 100 grams is a fine equivalent to up to a week's normal income, and no jail time. —John Chase, Palm Harbor
Gaga the Great
Re: Bill Holdship's "In Defense of Gaga" (June 8), very well done. And someday all these ignorants will have to admit that — when you break it down to the essential — the five most important, pop landscape-shaping figures in pop history are: Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Gaga. —Rob Meier, Winterthur, Switzerland
In response to Larry Gabriel's column, "At least no one got hurt" (July 6), Marcus Adams posted:
Yeah, I know, not all brothers in the city of Detroit under the age of 50 wearing hoodies (do-rags, saggin', etc.) aren't coming to jack me. Yeah, I also know that everyone who works for the city and school system is not corrupt, and most Detroiters probably do have a valid drivers license and insurance. As a child I lived in Detroit, graduated from high school, and generally had a good time. But that was back in the '70s, when I was a little too high to see clearly. I'm a black man over the age of 50 who lives in western Wayne County, and my relationship with Detroit is that of fear and night classes at Wayne State. I've tried adopting that "don't fuck with me" look that even little kids have. Thankfully, WSU has more cops than most townships, which makes me feel safe. I know that most residents lack the resources to leave or even move to those neighborhoods where the cops and council members live. So, help me out, Larry. Why do you and so many others who can leave choose to stay (and put their kids in public schools), pay the highest taxes in the state, and receive so very little while living behind iron gates? I understand the lack of manufacturing jobs, the role of race, etc., but damn! With the exception of a few pockets — the Green Zones of WSU, Indian Village, Harbortown, to name a few — Detroit's getting to be like those movies 28 Days and The Road. I'm really not trying to be facetious, just trying to understand.