I am writing in response to Hank Sims’ article “Dope and Duped” (“Town Dandy,” Oct. 29). I too watched the A&E special with mixed feelings, noting the insightful interviews but felt frustrated by the exaggerated suggestion of a climate of fear and violence in Humboldt County. I have lived here my whole life and continue to find this area to be a generally peaceful, rewarding place to live in just about every way. As Andrew Goff’s character in the same issue’s “Seven-O-Heaven” notes, “Pretty sure I still feel safe here.”
That being said, we definitely should not turn a blind eye to rising crime rates in the city of Arcata (or anywhere else in the county), but let’s slow down a bit and remember our U.S. history before we let the rest of the country continue to pin the problem on the drug itself. The Prohibition era of the 1920s provides us with a perfect parallel problem and solution. In the years after FDR signed the Cullen-Harrison Act of 1933, violence associated with the black market on alcohol declined, suggesting that what we need is not more funding for law enforcement to fight an unwinnable war but a sweeping legalization of marijuana.
Many of us would like to see president Obama follow in FDR’s footsteps in more than one way. Let’s hope he gets things together on this important issue. And one more thing: Hank Sims, you are my hero.
Jorgen Roberts, Arcata