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Shame won't win the war

The shame campaign launched against those involved in illegal drugs is not only an exercise in futility. It is also a manifestation of naiveté. It is not going to work. Whether you pursue it negatively, i.e. signs go up to identify the homes of pushers and addicts, or positively, in which case signs are similarly posted to ID homes that are drug free.

It will not work because it proceeds from the misguided premise that those involved in drugs can still be shamed. Well, they cannot. Time and time again they have proven by their own actions that shame is the least of any and all possible barriers that stand between them and illegal drugs. If they could not even care less if they die as result of illegal drugs, do you really think they care enough about shame?

The attempt to put a positive spin to the shame campaign by focusing on clean members of the community is likewise a deflating and exasperating jab at nothing. What, for example, does putting a sign proclaiming a home as drug free hope to accomplish. Those who live in clean houses know they are clean and expect others to know as well. They do not need anyone to put up signs that state the obvious.

To be sure, those behind the campaign, whether in the positive or negative sense, must be fired by some noble and lofty purpose, of sincerely wanting to help in the overall effort to combat the scourge of illegal drugs. But the best of intentions are no guarantee the anticipated outcomes can be achieved. For there is the very real danger that the initiative can get hijacked by unscrupulous persons for purposes its initiators may not have foreseen or anticipated.

There is, for example, the real chance of the shame campaign getting used for political harassment or worse, as a means for racketeering, such as extortion. A host of dire possibilities makes a shame campaign too risky a proposition to undertake in exchange for an intended benefit that is too puny and uncertain. It makes the whole exercise a very risky investment indeed.

The only real solution, if at all, for the drug problem is to proceed in the direction the government has already taken, minus of course, the terrible lapses committed in the course of its continuing operation. Law enforcers must remain professional and not be overwhelmed by the tremendous trust and confidence the president has reposed on them.

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For it is not the trust and confidence of the president that will eventually win the war against illegal drugs. Such trust and confidence is just a temporary morale booster given at a time when such morale booster is needed. Eventually, trust and confidence is not what makes the difference in the fight against illegal drugs but the tremendous responsibility exercised by everyone with great passion, diligence and care.

Responsibility is the only guide anyone needs to make a good accounting of himself. Trust and confidence can be withdrawn. Responsibility is engrained in the character. Once so engrained, it will be the defining measure by which everyone is weighed. The fight against illegal drugs can be won aggressively, if responsibly. No need for other initiatives, like a foolhardy shame campaign.

jerrytundag@yahoo.com.

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