Whatever Mike Beebe wants, Mike Beebe gets, it seems. We're pleased to learn that he wants an effective animal-cruelty law. For several legislative sessions, animal lovers have urged enactment of such a law, but their efforts have been blocked by special-interest groups — the Farm Bureau, the Poultry Federation, the livestock industry. These profess to fear fanatical prosecutors misusing the law. Not until animals are given the vote, and begin making campaign contributions, will there ever be any real danger of elected prosecuting attorneys recklessly filing animal-cruelty charges against solid citizens, but opponents have stuck to their story nonetheless. Now Gov. Beebe has speculated aloud that he might possess sufficient influence to still their opposition. If so, Arkansas would be a kinder, better place, and probably safer too. All the multiple murderers turn out to have abused animals in their youth, and there are more of these potential offenders in the streets than there are prosecutors primed to harass farmers and ranchers. Denying incipient Wayne Gacys and Jeffrey Dahmers the opportunity to torture small creatures might help calm their savage psyches. Couldn't hurt, anyway.
Give truth a chance
There's an old saying, attributed to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and various others, about a lie going halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. The government's anti-drug propaganda machine spits out fast-moving falsehoods 24/7, using taxpayer dollars for fuel. This is an administration that can always find money for unworthy causes.
The Drug Policy Education Group, headquartered in Fayetteville, tries to narrow the gap between lies and truth, and, though small and slightly funded, does a pretty fair job. In response to the drug warriors' claim that “Marijuana is a gateway to the use of more dangerous drugs,” DPEG quotes actual studies to the contrary. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, for example, found that “adolescents who used marijuana prior to using other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, were no more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder than other subjects in the study.” The drug-warrior myth that “Reducing penalties for marijuana offenses would send the wrong message” is equally refutable. “Marijuana prohibition has tempted over 900,000 teens to become sellers of marijuana,” DPEG says. “This has made illegal marijuana more available to the young than beer. Marijuana has been used by well over half of the young by the time they reach age 21. Regulated trade for marijuana would reduce youth access to this intoxicant, as it does for alcoholic beverages … ” The DPEG website is at www.dpeg.org. Contributions are accepted.