Walt's World with Walter Jones
One thing about getting old is that you have lived through a lot of history.
People of my age remember when there was no TV and no computers. We appreciate how our world has changed and if they are like me, they are amazed at he change.
I do not go through a week without remarking, " aren't computers wonderful." This is usually after I discover that a computer chip is doing something to change my life.
Let’s face it, computer chips are in nearly every product we use.
I also remember arguing with my teenage friends if we would ever get anyone into space. Seems quaint now, but we had some heated arguments back then.
There are still things that blow my mind. I still can't believe that people will pay good money for a bottle of water that is far cheaper coming out of your tap. But that is probably better left for another article.
What really bothers me today is the war on drugs. It is often said that we are fighting a losing war on drugs. No surprise there. You would think that the powers that be would be smart enough to learn from past mistakes. You would, of course, be wrong.
You would think that prohibition on alcohol, back in the 20s and 30's would have taught the powers that be that wars against popular drugs do not work.
Prohibition of alcohol was enacted in many counties and was repealed in just as many. In fact there has been some who say since we can't win the war on drugs lets legalize them and tax them like we do alcohol.
I might be persuaded to do this with marijuana, but not with the hard drugs. There is a better way and we have a model to work from.
So getting back to when I was younger, alcohol was my drug of choice, and was the overall choice of most of the teenagers of my day. This was in the mid to late 50s. This is not to say that nobody used drugs at this time, because even in Amherst you could buy drugs, but they were not widely used.
This was because of the attitude of the day, which was that anyone who used drugs was low class. So mostly attitude kept us drug free.
This all changed when a man called Timothy Leary began experimenting with LSD and got trapped in his own drug. He began advocating the use of drugs. A slogan back then was "turn on, tune in and drop out." It hit a chord with the young people of the day, and the hippie rebellion was born.
What an attitude changer that was, musicians got in on the act wrote popular songs and started us on the way to our drug culture of today.
Another drug that was popular back the was nicotine. Cigarettes were popular. I started smoking at 12 years of age. But in our defence, we had no notion that it was bad for our health.
I want to get to cigarettes since the war on smoking has proven to be somewhat successful. The government went the right way on this, by trying to change people’s attitudes. Cigarettes, cause cancer, it is a dirty filthy habit, it changes your appearance and only losers smoke.
This is a complete change of attitude since I started smoking, when it was considered cool to be a smoker. Smoking has decreased to the point where only 25 per cent of the population smokes. It could decrease further, except the powers that be seem to have lost interest and are spending our tax money chasing illegal cigarettes sales.
This brings me back to the fact that instead of using the government in this article, I chose to use the powers that be and one of these powers is lobbyist, in this case the tobacco companies lobbyists.
While we may think that it is only the government that controls our lives through laws and taxation, there are people of power in this country that put pressure on our elected officials and get them to bend to their will, but again that is for another article. My thesis is that given the will the government could win the war on drugs. Will this happen? Probably not, there are a lot of vested interests who would lose jobs and a great deal of financing if this occurred. So don't hold your breath just yet.
Walt’s World appears periodically in the Amherst News.