(Published in the Farwell TX / Texico NM State Line Tribune, 6-6-2013)
We can debate the merits of the failed War on Politically Incorrect Drugs 'til the cows come home, but my observation is that prohibition- for "the common good", "for the children", or "for your own good"- always brings negative consequences.
In fact, I think the evidence is clear that the current prohibition, and the enforcement efforts related to it, have destroyed more lives (and trampled more liberty in the process) than all the drug abuse that has occurred since humans first discovered that ingesting certain substances made them feel different than normal.
And now I see that Farwell is joining the ignoble ranks of those who use trained dogs to "alert" on these forbidden substances.
It's faulty "science". Yes, the "drug dogs" are trained to alert to the smell of drugs or similar odors, but dogs have a strong desire to please their pack leader. This quickly translates into "I'll say I smell something because I know that's what my Alpha wants". Even imperceptible unconscious signals quickly train the dog to do what is wanted. Just like magic, you get the excuse you needed to violate the Fourth (and Ninth) Amendment- with the dishonest collusion of the Supreme Court.
Can dunking witches be far behind?
In past societies witches were "discovered" using similarly questionable tactics. Burn the accused with red-hot iron, and if they survive unharmed, they are innocent. Or tie them up and toss them in the cow pond; if they sink they are innocent, if they float they are guilty and can then be killed without burdening your conscience. "They had it coming." Everyone "knows" it's reliable, because the authorities insist it is.
Do I think abusing drugs is a good idea? No. I think it's stupid. But abusing "law" and violating liberty in the name of criminalizing drug use is even worse.
These trained dogs are just for the convenience of the police and are damaging to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness- which are the only justifications any government can ever have for existing. When society is structured for the benefit of police, it is a police state. This has no place in Farwell, or anywhere else liberty is given lip service.