We talk about the War on Terror. The number of years it has raged on. The victories along the way. The lives lost by Americans, and others, committed to the cause along the way.
But there's another war that has been going on even longer, right here in our streets, and sometimes under our own roofs, that has been raging far longer and cost far more lives. I'm talking about the war on drugs.
Experts, strategists and political pundits often debate about the gains America and its allies have made in the War on Terror since it began following 9-11.
The same could be asked - and often is, with disappointing response - regarding the war on drugs in this country.
And, contrary to popular belief, that war is not just being fought in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Detroit and other major metropolitan areas around the country.
It's time to open our eyes to the fact that it's going on right here in the streets of Spencer. Perhaps not to the same extent as the bigger cities, but it exists without a doubt, and regardless of the size of its presence, the problems it creates in families, and the risk it creates in lives, is still far too great to remain unchecked.
My issue is not with the user. Not condoning or endorsing the behavior by any stretch, but anyone who chooses to begin taking, or continue to use drugs, with all of the information available out there today are in obvious need of help.
And help is available, but the user must seek it.
If we really want to "win" the war on drugs, I would suggest we turn up the heat on those providing them to the users.
It's time to step up the penalties for dealing - and I mean in a big way. Make the penalty for anyone caught manufacturing and/or distributing methamphetamine similar to someone charged with attempted murder. Isn't that what we're really talking about? Just because the death isn't instantaneous, doesn't make handing meth to someone any less deadly. Or coke. Or heroin. Or unprescribed medication.
People who take that first hit can become instantly addicted, and in their search for the next high, death can certainly be an end result. And the dealers are very much aware of that as they pass along the fix to their next victim.
What charge would someone face who deliberately gave someone poison? Are you aware of what's mixed in with some of these drug concoctions? Some pretty toxic stuff.
Personally, I believe dealing drugs should be a capitol punishment crime - in states that offer such solutions for criminal behavior. People argue, "That won't stop drug dealers." Well it would stop that one.
That can be the new war on drugs motto: "Ridding the Nation of Drugs One Dealer at a Time."
The war on drugs will not end until the penalties are severe enough to make it no longer worth the dealers while.