The city Department of Health is reportedly preparing to introduce a new needle exchange program in the communities of Queens. The goal of the program is to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS through the sharing of dirty needles.
The program is well-intentioned and may indeed save lives. But the program will also facilitate the commission of a crime. It is illegal to sell, buy or possess heroin and speed. It would be hard to argue that making it easier to get needles will not make it easier to abuse these drugs.
The Department of Health is looking for community support for the needle exchange. Communities will have to weigh the benefits of reducing the spread of AIDS with the potential damage that accompanies facilitating the abuse of illegal drugs.
In its sincere desire to save lives, the DOH is making a deal with the devil. What if the exchange reduces the chances that drug users will die of AIDS but increases the likelihood that they will die of an overdose?
What message will the exchange send to children who do not do drugs now?
Community leaders should think long and hard before giving the nod to this program.
Two years after 9/11, it is both amazing and sad that there are people living in New York City who still think that the CIA is the bad guy. Protesters carrying signs and chanting in rhyming couplets picketed last week outside the Manhattan office of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) in protest of what they fear is increasing cooperation between the CIA.
The devastating attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was made possible by a breakdown in domestic and international intelligence. Had the local police, the INS, the CIA and the FBI been sharing information and working closely together, it might have been possible to stop these attacks before they happened saving thousands of lives. Today we are a nation at war with international terrorists who think nothing of inflicting massive injury on innocent Americans in order to advance their extremist agenda. It would be foolish and weak not use reasonable means to prevent the next attack.
The demonstration was organized by a group calling itself The Campaign to Demilitarize the Police in protest of the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) Enhancement Act that was jointly introduced by Maloney. They chanted, Carolyn Maloney, go away. We dont want the CIA.
This was an excellent opportunity for the congresswoman to assert that despite being part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party she recognizes the importance of the work done by the brave men and women of the CIA. These agents risk their lives daily to track the movements of terrorist organizations.
Sadly, instead of defending the CIA, Phil Kraft, a spokesman for Maloney, groveled before the protesters. Kraft whimpered that his boss shares the concern over the idea of the CIA conducting local law enforcement, adding she has stated that any extension of power by the CIA is something she would oppose aggressively.
How can Maloney share the concern with people who would do away with the CIA?
Apart from the Campaign to Demilitarize the CIA, we think most New Yorkers and most Americans want the CIA to inform the FBI and the NYPD if they know there are people making bombs in Astoria. We think Maloney agrees with this and we hope in the future she will find the courage to stand by her convictions.
©2004 Community News Group
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