Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - March 10, 2008

Just say no to drug testing

James Werrell has been correct twice recently in his column: Valentine's Day should be ignored, and the drinking age should be lowered to 18. However, the Herald's editorial board should point out the silliness of the proposed drug-testing of state officials, sparked by the charges against Thomas Ravenel.

The dutiful cynic must presume Ravenel to be the tip of an iceberg, while most people prefer to presume he suffered a moral failing atypical of a Republican politician. There is certainly nothing atypical about a wealthy person with coke up his nose, and there is very little state lawmakers can do about that fact of life.

Unless the drug-testing is randomized, it would be purely symbolic and rhetorical -- politicians acknowledging the values of their constituents while maintaining lives contrary to those values. Urinalysis tests for illegal drugs can be easily thwarted in several ways, which makes it impossible to be certain someone is drug-free. Some drugs aren't detectable 30 days after use; some can be flushed out with large amounts of niacin. Does it make any difference to have someone in office who has only been sober for 30 days, and who might resume using the drug(s) as soon as he or she tests negative?

Even if the testing is random and some officials are caught with positive results, it's ambiguous overall. Is it better to have an effective, popular official who secretly smokes marijuana, or a hack no-talent who's dead sober? It would make more sense to test only those officials who are performing poorly, then do a statistical analysis to see if there is causation between illegal drug use and poor performance. Also, unless poorly performing current officials are fired, it makes no sense to test prospective ones who have not yet had a chance to prove anything on the job.

The people in favor of the testing might be naive about the subject. One of my roommates in college passed a pre-employment drug screening by strapping a flask of heated clean urine to his thigh under his pants, and passing it off as his urine sample. He got the job.

That is an example of the absurd tactics people use to thwart persecution by an idiotic establishment. I have enlightenment for naive people: Users of illegal drugs program your software, solve your crises, engineer your gadgets, fix your computers, teach you calculus, compose your entertainment, wait your tables and sit in your White House.

Speaking of the White House, I cannot end this letter before mentioning the artificial distinction between alcohol and illegal drugs. It is every bit as bad for an official to be drinking as to be doing any illegal drug. Case in point: George W. Bush, whose alcohol-damaged brain has been blundering from the mountaintop for seven years. It almost need not be said, but if we were to commit fully and test our state officials for alcohol use, we'd have many vacant offices.

Garret Stevenson

Rock Hill

Thanks to man for being honest

I would like to publicly thank a wonderful person that works at your local Wal-Mart in Rock Hill.

I came down for a week to visit friends and family in the area, and had to stop at my favorite store, good ol' Wal-Mart. After shopping, we loaded up and headed to Taco Bell when I realized I didn't have my purse. So, we immediately turned around leaving the food behind. When we arrived to the parking lot, we found nothing! My friend and I asked the men who were in the parking lot bringing in the carts if they had found a purse, and they had.

I went inside to retrieve my purse only to find that every penny was still in it! So amazing, because my not very smart self had over $1,000 in cash in it.

So, to the man in the yellow jacket (sorry, I didn't catch your name) you are a life saver! There should be more people like you in this world.

And to the management at Wal-mart, that guy deserves a raise for doing such a great job at what he does!

Kelly Reidell

Syracuse, N.Y.