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halloween 2003 roundup (coming soon)
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  xThursday, October 17, 2002

serves me right for taking the day off


I'd read Counterspin Central's take on Jeb Bush's recent statement that his daughter Noelle must deal with her own drug problems, and while I was too busy to do much blogging, I took note of it for a later disagreement. Today I find that Dodd and Susanna have beaten me to it, but here I go with my two yen's worth.

I have absolutely no problem with Bush's recent statement. Jeb Bush is a politician, and I think it's fair to assume that some political calculus was involved, but I see no reason to assume that his statement was anything other than heartfelt and the result of a very difficult family situation. Indeed, one of my objections to the entire Noelle saga is the perception it created that somehow Ms. Bush is receiving lighter-than-usual sentences that most people caught up in what I see as a futile and poorly managed war on drugs enjoy, and one that's in marked contrast with the Governor's own tough-on-crime rhetoric. In recent developments, Noelle Bush was sentenced to ten days in jail for violating the terms of her probation. She will be allowed to resume drug treatment after the jail stay. Ten days in jail is no day at the beach, but it does make one wonder if a third chance at treatment would be the standard offering for anyone charged with repeated drug offenses.

Many comments on Dodd's and Susanna's posts pointed out the pain of having a family member who's addicted to drugs, and I certainly share the sentiments. I found Governor Bush's earlier declaration that Noelle's alleged crack possession was a private matter when Florida law clearly defines it as a crime to be inconsistent at best with his hardline public stance on drugs, if not downright hypocritical. But the point is that Bush seems to believe--and I gather from comments left on Susanna's and Dodd's blogs that at least some on the right agree--that drug addiction is indeed a personal problem best dealt with by treatment, with the very real prospect of punishment if the addict does not make the effort. I couldn't agree more with that stance; it just makes sense that the best approaches usually involve both a carrot and a stick. My problem is with bogus and fruitless laws like mandatory sentencing that let a legislator (of whatever party) proclaim that he or she is "tough on crime" but that come with a slew of unintended consequences, especially when they are unevenly applied. I may not support Jeb Bush politically, but I can certainly sympathize with his personal difficulties an hope that it has some enlightening effect on his policies.