Connecting the Dots? | Freyne Land

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Connecting the Dots?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Gov. Jim Douglas said Thursday that the Public Safety Department under Commissioner Kerry Sleeper has been working with the Vermont Grocers' Association, providing guidance to grocers in dealing with the spike in armed robberies at Vermont mom-and-pop stores.

In recent weeks, Douglas said, there have been 18 armed robberies at convenience stores across Vermont. It’s something we need to take "very seriously."

“The problem, as you know, is drugs,” said Gov. Douglas.  “In many of these cases, I think it’s fair to say most of them, the suspects are apparently going after money to feed their drug habits. In some cases it’s illegal drugs. It may be heroin or crack cocaine. In other cases, it’s prescription drugs that they’re seeking to abuse. That’s the bottom line in a lot of these cases and it just shows how important it is we take the drug problem in our state very seriously.”

But some, like Windsor County States Attorney Robert Sand, say it’s the current law-and-order approach to drugs that is the fundamental problem. Sand, the son of a federal judge, has been a prosecutor for 15 years. 

In a recent op-ed in the Times Argus, Prosecutor Sand wrote:

As a career prosecutor, I see strong indications that our enforcement model may actually be counterproductive to public and personal safety. Violence spawned by the war on drugs continues to plague our communities. Violence exists in the form of assaults and murder by drug sellers as a result of deals gone awry or territorial disputes. We see violence in the form of robberies and burglaries by users stealing money or guns to purchase or trade for drugs. And, to a much lesser extent, we see random violence caused by drug-impaired people unwilling or unable to control their behavior. Drug policy reform, to include regulated access to drugs, could substantially reduce all three types of drug crimes.

“Prohibition does not work,”  Sand told the Rutland Herald's Susan Smallheer. “We should have learned that with alcohol”. It’s time “to rethink our drug laws,” says the States Attorney.

Says the governor?

“I don’t agree with that,” Douglas told reporters. “I think it’s important for the safety of our public and their health that we continue to maintain restrictions on illegal drugs. As you can see we’ve taken it very seriously with the round-up in Barre, the St. Albans bar raid, recently. We’re doing as much as we can. The Department of Public Safety is doing a good job.”

But, Governor, don’t more arrests only prove how the "drug problem" has gotten worse under current policy, not better?

Our jails are full.

We already have to ship out-of-state.

"Inmates," that is.

*STATEHOUSE JOKE OF THE DAY:

The Senate President Pro Tem, the one and only Peter Shumlin was not in the building Thursday. Putney Pete's said to be in New York City on personal business for two days.

You know what that meant, don't you?

With Shumlin out-of-state, Jim Douglas was acting governor!

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact web@sevendaysvt.com.

About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Bio:
Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More By This Author

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Freyne Land

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation