Sunday, December 27, 2020

Milliron Monday: A Letter to Obama 12 28 2020


Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Difficult to believe that 2020 is drawing to a close. Where has the year gone? Lockdown, pandemic, mask, social distancing... whew... we all deserve a better New Year! 

To end 2020, it seems fitting to post Dr. Smith's letter from 2009 to President Obama. We are in the throes of a Presidential transition, after all. 

From Dr. Smith...

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations! Along with the vast majority of the world's population, I'm delighted that you are now the man!

There has never been a more appropriate time or pressing need for audacious action.

First, we should legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, which would generate untold revenue and eliminate most crime, since most drug related crime is caused by money. The better the interdiction the more expensive the drugs and thus more crime. Cheap legal drugs mean lots of money for the U.S. government, but none for organized crime and obviously a $6.00/a day habit has no social consequence compared to a $600.00/a day habit. Our shameful prison population would be quickly reduced by about 50%. Cheap, clean drugs from a government health source would reduce hepatitis C, aids, etc. and each time a drug purchase was made the addict would be exposed to help, education, and counter-addiction strategies in a legal, safe, confidential non-threatening environment. Our current system is a dismal and expensive failure so why not talk to folks in Holland and see how the idea has been working for them. A trillion or so a year at almost no cost would come in handy right now.

P.S. Your reaction (and mine) to this idea is probably to blow it off as perhaps an interesting concept, but totally impractical and unacceptable due to political unpalatability and moral, ethical, religious, and emotional issues, but stop a minute and think. Alcohol can be a terrible taskmaster and we all personally or peripherally know of the tragedies that can accompany its use. Always was and always will. However before prohibition ended, remember Al Capone types and Valentine's Day massacre were events, which are now almost unheard of because alcohol is now legitimate, available, and cheap. Not to mention the billions in revenue produced. Look at your daily newspaper or police blotter or TV news and there is almost no mention of crime related to legal personal addictions to alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine. A veritable artesian well of trillions of dollars badly needed by the government goes untapped in drug money other than graft. Marijuana is well known to the largest dollar agricultural commodity in most states, but being criminalized and unregulated causes only trouble rather than producing billions in state, local, and federal revenue.

There would be little point in criminals recruiting addicts for money if drugs were cheap and legal. Addiction has been and will be with us always, but ending drug prohibition can stop the associated social consequences of crime, graft and corruption.

A vibrant economy and functional social programs produce meaningful work and negate many of the gateway factors to drug abuse. We know that prison time graduates hundreds of thousands of hardened criminals with connections each year besides impoverishing breaking up those families. No other society imprisons the percentage of the population that we do. You can balance the budget in just a year or two and eliminate most crime with the one bold stroke of ending this era of drug prohibition.

Enjoy the journey to 2021!

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

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