Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Hurricane is Coming

Hurricane sandyHurricane Sandy is making its way to my hometown and it looks like it will come quite strongly. The storm will come in a torrent, flooding the streets and blowing the trees. There's no telling what it might mean so we'll only have to wait and see what will come to use right now. Now I do not have school tomorrow or Tuesday. The hurricane very well may do what it did last year, but it looks like this time it will be even worse. I feel deja vu more strongly than I ever have before. 

I feel sick. I keep thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it. I have a suitcase packed in my room in case I have to evacuate of my most prized possessions and a plan to get out if I have to. We're not even by the shore so we'll probably be fine but... I still can't help but wonder what will happen if things are bad enough. My anxiety is going off like a broken alarm clock even though I haven't had any anxiety attacks so far.

I don't know why I am so nervous but I am. This looks like this will be Hurricane Irene and the Virginia disaster combined. We have a generator, of course, but still... People have their trash bags on the street right now (stupid) so there will be trash everywhere. All of the leaves on the trees will be blown right off of the tree and the trees might even be knocked over and uprooted. My shore house might be flooded, if it's even there at all. The whole idea of it makes me sick to my stomach. I keep imagining all of these terrible things that might happen to us. 

I also can't help but think of the bigger picture. Why has the temperature been so erratic? Last year it snowed and this year, it's only a little chilly. There have been so many different natural disasters too. I know what it all adds up to and it scares the hell out of me. I'm wondering how long this earth will last before we ruin it all (because yeah, it's not like we've been doing nothing about it but we're producing pollution like crazy and humans have been breeding like rabbits). Heck maybe the apocalypse of the Mayan calendar will come in 2050 or earlier.

On the bright side, I'll probably have some time to read (being as electricity will be limited, I probably won't spend most of my time on the computer like I usually do) and some time to bond with my family. I also have time to touch up the science project that was due Monday. The two days that I have off will probably give me a much needed break. Also, I'll probably get some really awesome pictures (with a window separating Sandy and I).

Hurricane Sandy is, needless to say, just another thing that is bring out my neurosis and strange thoughts. Sometimes, I wish that I could be like everyone else and just so calm and collected like they are. Yet I am not.

It doesn't matter what I do or say because it will come anyway. As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is winding its way towards me... as well as everything that I know. How can I not be freaked out by that?

When I was little and it was Christmas Eve, I would fanatically follow Santa Tracker. This is almost like that except it's the hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy is coming to town. 

Friday, October 26, 2012


Looking down is different than looking in. Looking from the inside is different from looking out. Sometimes people from all of these places don't look the same as everyone else.  There are so many perspectives, so many different angles to a situation. One person sees it one way and another person sees it another. Writing is all about perspectives and well, so is life. It's all about perspective.

Lately, my vision has been a bit clouded. It's hard to gain perspective in the web of one's own emotions and thoughts. Yet I know that I must do so, of course.  I have to keep going and pushing onward.

Perspective is interesting. Close up an item might look different than it is when it is far away (it probably does). When you are tangled up in your own problems, you cannot possibly gain perspective. The way you view things is different than the way that somebody else views something.

Perspective helps a person grow as a human being. Without perspective, one is stunted and perpetually stuck in time. It's quite necessary to understand how other people see themselves and everything like that. We must look at other people.

I think that people’s lack of perspective is the reason why the world is so messed up today. If people took the time to see from someone else’s perspective, how could they possibly stage a war? How could they possibly hurt someone else? How could they turn away from someone else? Maybe if people could see from someone else’s eyes, then they might end up actually caring about that person.

That, I think, is why perspective is so important. Perspective gives empathy like nothing else can do.

It’s all of these different views of the world that makes the world as beautiful as it is. That makes it as diverse. If everyone was the same, it might be easier but it would be more boring. We need to preserve different viewpoints and to understand. If everyone stopped being so narrow-minded and judgmental and so sure that they were right, then maybe humanity could actually get somewhere in this world.

So, yes, my views might be getting clouded as of late but that’s not something I should do. I just need to open my mind and try to understand the world. 

Apparently Republicans see this as an old woman while Democrats see this as a young woman

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vehicles of Creativity

A pic I took of my collages
So many people don't know the sensation of being trapped and freed at the same time. I do because I write and I write passionately. However, writing can be quite draining and difficult at times. I love writing but sometimes it has the opposite effect. Fortunately, I have been finding other forms of art. I have been finding art itself and the freedom of photography. It's absolutely incredible. I feel like I'm speeding from the sky then somehow.

Art is an incredible outlet. As much as I love the written word, there's something so incredibly beautiful about an image. I wish that I could actually draw but I can't (I draw anyway from time to time but I do it rather poorly). Instead, I make do with taking pictures and cutting collages and while that's harder to make into art, it is possible. It definitely is a form of expression.

On Saturday and Sunday, I spent the whole day cutting and pasting from collages while I was in the midst of temporary writer's block. It was enough to get me going for the day. Something seemed so rhythmic about it and yet so free at the same time. While books are so abstract and hard to plan out, art is concrete and much freer. It's enough to get me sucked in for good.

An image is immediate. Everything just strikes the viewer at once and, if the image is well taken, immediately felt and understood. Unlike with books, this crosses language barriers. No matter what language one might speak (if they speak any at all), they understand what is being said. That's quite beautiful.

There's a power to art. A simple beauty. There is nothing that needs to be analyzed because it's all right there on the table for you.

As I become an artist instead of a writer, I find myself worrying about strange things. Instead of worrying about style, plot and characters, I think about sharpness, contrast and exposure.

I feel as if I have more freedom and more control. Instead of spending all of my time writing to occupy my day most of the time, I can make a collage or I can take a stroll around the neighborhood to take pictures.
There's an odd correlation between my art and my writing. Being a writer not only makes me a better artist (even though, since I'm starting out as a novice at both, I still have a long way to go) and being an artist is making me a better writer. I suppose it's all about that frame of mind. The same part of my mind that I use to find images to capture and collage pieces to combine is the same part of my mind that I use to create stories; the process comes from the same part of my mind and it strengthens that part of my mind and adds more life to it.

Art has given me a chance to express how I see the world in a way I can't quite do with writing all the time. It makes me feel freer and I will be forever grateful for that.

As I write, my desk is littered with magazine scraps and I have another file with all of my photographs open. Somehow, that sight is starting to make me feel more at home right now.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Parodies and Satires

Parodies are exaggerated versions of the truth. Without parodies, we wouldn't gain nearly as much insight into our society today. As I am writing a parody now, I am truly appreciating the beauty of them.

My parody concerns school in the point of view of a totally evil principal. There's so much gold there! Usually, I have to make multi-dimensional characters that people can relate to in my stories but in parodies, it's unnecessary. I am free to play around with stereotypes and to make them as flat and one-dimensional as I can. It's pretty fun and it’s not like anything I've done before.

Parodies are really silly, first and foremost. That’s the whole point of why they are even made then. They're meant to entertain and they're meant to make people laugh and a lot of the time, they end up succeeding in doing so. What makes them so funny are all of those little specks of truth mixed into them, a truth so distorted that it has been transformed into fiction (like all jokes, of course).

At the same time though, parodies are serious under those layers of silliness. The joker usually has something serious to say under the shroud of comedy, though it probably isn't something apparent to all of it, of course. Parodies zero in on something's weaknesses, criticizing it with a smile rather than a scowl. They accentuate its basest qualities and then they expand on it. While they might make you laugh, they also end up making you think right after thinking about everything.

Many who would get defensive when treated with vitriol laugh when they are shown a parody and they see their own weaknesses in a much clearer way. A society is much more likely to see its own faults when they see them written out. For these reasons, parodies are extremely important to society. Ultimately, parodies are a sign that we are still able to laugh at ourselves, to end up laughing in its face.

For the above reasons, parodies are quite difficult to write. As I write it, I wonder if I am being funny enough. Wonder if my characters are too exaggerated, that they are too far away from the truth that I ended up writing them all from. Yet whenever I find myself thinking such things, I end up stopping myself. I can't really end up doing all of that, though. The thing about parodies is that you can't take them too seriously. I can't take my own writing too seriously either. I mean, usually when I make something funny, it's because I'm not thinking about how to end up making too funny. I don't know what I'm supposed to think when I’m writing it and I think that’s a good sign.

I am one of those contributors to the world, however insignificant of a writer that I am. I am recognizing while I write my parody is that school is incredibly funny and that that makes it gold to write for a parody, of course then. At the same time, I am also pointing out all of the flaws and the corruption in the public school system without ranting it out in a bunch of different blog posts. Maybe it will end up making it much more effective in that way, who knows? I don’t know what to think.

A parody is the reflection of society in the mirror of the world. They are a permanent footprint on the ground of history and for that, I will forever value them.  

Right click on image for save options.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Path to College

The path to college is a road paved by road trips, tours and SATs. It has been a path that I have been prepped for since babyhood. My school has always been "college, college, college."

Of course, that meant that when I missed the time that my school came out with the PSATs, the apocalypse came today. It didn't matter that I heard absolutely nothing about it; I had just ruined my future.

Mom is doing everything she can to make sure I go to a good school. I go to one of the best school districts in my state, I go to Math tutoring to get good Math grades and my mom marks "Hispanic" as my race so that affirmative action applies to me (technically, I'm only half Hispanic but she says that sounds better).

It's no secret that I've been doubting school, the meaning of life and so on. I've been doubting the meaning of college too along with everything else. I can't help but feel apathy descend whenever it comes to school. What's the difference between the community college and James Madison when they'll both accomplish the same thing? I just don't really get it.

At the time when my mom wants me to rev up my grades and get all of these amazing grades, I just struggle putting forth any sort of effort. What difference does it make when I'll get into some sort of college? It just seems completely silly to me.

The whole college process is so fake too and ridiculously competitive. I just don't see the point of it all. Are people joining all of these clubs, getting Distinguished Honors and volunteering for their own fulfillment? No. They're doing it to get into college. There's so passion there, no living life. It's all in attainment of getting even more than their parents ever had.

Before I saw college as the light at the end of school's tunnel. Now, however, I'm not so sure. I feel like all college will give me is student debt and possibly some money to buy stuff. And what's the point of just STUFF? It won't buy me happiness, that's for sure. It won't make me free. One of the only ways I can actually make a six figure salary will be to get caught in a dead-end job that has a long commute, endless hours and stress that will give me high blood pressure and an eventual heart attack (you know, like most of the adults in my life).

I just don't get it. All of this enthusiasm towards college seems wasted to me.

What if college isn't the only way? What if we just took my college money and used it to go on vacation? It's probably stupid but it would be nice. I would love to be a gypsy instead of go to college. However, unless that book I'm sending out to publishers happens to hit the bestsellers list, I'm stuck.

I've heard that I'll blossom in college. That everything will change. Who knows? I've only heard that I'll have to deal with two extra years of what I pretty much already have day in and day out. Maybe I'll actually wanting to learn there though for all I know.

I feel like I'm stuck down this path, that its current is pushing me forward and never to get out. I go through the motions but I just don't feel anything.

I will shake hands and talk to admissions officers and everything like that that I need to do. I just don't know if I'm ever going to feel it. Every step to college feels farther and farther away from the freedom and happiness I so desperately crave.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Every forty seconds, someone takes their own life somewhere in the world ( One of those people was Amanda Todd, a bullied Canadian teenager who killed herself on October 10th. Despite the fact that 30,000 Americans complete suicide each year and many others have attempted it, it is a topic that is still heavily misunderstood by much of the general population.

Fortunately, I have never lost someone that I know to suicide although I'm not unfamiliar with depression. What I know about suicide is limited to the books I read, health class, the media and the little yellow ribbons I see on the windows outside of the classrooms. I've also heard stories about people who have killed themselves near where I live; a neighboring school district had three people kill themselves in one week a few years ago.

The attitude towards suicide and depression is appalling to me. Many people call it "selfish" and "cowardly" and they tell these people to "buck up". Suicidal people are condemned and shamed for how they feel, so much so that they could never ask for help. When they do ask for help from loved ones, these loved ones often tell them ignorant things as they intend to help them even though these things often make things worse. Meanwhile, depression and mental illness are stigmatized despite the fact that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness worldwide. This climate towards it, if anything, will prevent suicidal people from possibly seeking any sort of help.

I don't understand why people call suicide selfish and I never have. I just don't get it. Much of the time, people who are suicidal aren't even rational but they are in severe physical and mental pain. They often see themselves as a burden to their loved ones anyway, even though most of the time that's not even correct at all. Why would you call people selfish for doing what they see as best? That's not selfish at all; it's just tragic. People often ask, "Why didn't they think of their family members?" What a ludicrous question! They probably did. If they didn't, why do they give all of their things away? Why do they often leave notes? When suicide isn't done on impulse, family members and friends often factor into much of the planning and thought process. If anything, I think it's selfish for the family members of these people to want those people to stay alive and keep suffering just for their sake.

It's not even cowardly, either. These people are often so determined to die that they kill themselves in ways that are excruciatingly painful and that goes against every natural instinct they possess. Suicide means fighting to die as your body fights to live. These people are in so much pain that they are willing to go through with all of that. They are in so much pain that they don't naturally shudder at the prospect of death as their bodies have been programmed to do. Suicide is a lot of things, of course, but it's not cowardly by any means. It's disturbingly.... bold.

On a final note, I don't even think it's always right to condemn suicide either. In the vast majority of cases, suicide is not the answer. Oftentimes, things will get better. Yet some of the time, this is not the case. Some people have depression that is too severe for medications to work entirely and those people would probably have to juggle a variety of medications for their entire lives (as their body's tolerance to the medicine increased). In the case of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, their medication often have serious side effects and they would have to juggle their symptoms for the rest of their life. In addition to serious mental illness, there are also people who are in serious situations that cannot ever be completely resolved such as certain physical conditions and emotional trauma. Who am I to say that someone's life is worth living? To make a blanket statement for a variety of situations? In the case of Amanda Todd, I cannot say her situation would have ever gotten better. She might have left school but that picture (and possibly the people who tortured her) would have followed her. However, suicide should be the very, very last resort and should definitely not be taken lightly.

My heart breaks for anyone who has lost someone to suicide and for the people who are or have been suicidal. For anyone in either of these situations, there is help for you and please seek that before you do anything drastic.

Suicide is tragic. Ultimately, that's the only thing that people should say about it because it really isn't anyone's place to say anything else.

1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-448-3000 Boys' Town Hotline

Note: If I triggered anyone with the above picture, I'm sorry! It was the least graphic picture that I could find.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Existentialist Crises

Do I matter? What's the point of life? Am I really just a speck? What's the point of the system? What's the point of a life when I'm wasting it in school, wasting it on a system that is only keeping me down? If I never even existed, wouldn't the world move on and not even be affected by my absence? Do I mean anything at all? What's the point of living if everyone else only cares about themselves and if I can't even liveThese are only the string of questions that I've been thinking about lately and that I wonder about in random moments. Lately, I've been having one of these existentialist crises and I haven't really known how I'm supposed to handle it. Every moment that I'm in school, I can't help but think that it doesn't have a purpose and is only inhibiting me from living my life. I don't even know what to think and how I'm supposed to act about all of this.

This is laughable, I know. Most kids aren't even thinking things like this but they just take things without thinking about it. They go through their monotonous daily lives and they don't even think twice about doing so. I've never been one of those kids, though, and so I stare at them all confused. I can't fit into the system no matter how hard it tries to shove me into its square hole, but I can only look from the outside and stare at them.

Yet that apathy angers me so much that I want to scream. No one cares about anyone else, it seems, and I used to think the meaning of life was living to the fullest and helping others along the way. Yet why do I have to help others if no one helps me? My friends are barely even my friends, it seems. I'm the one who has to call them and I'm the one who has to get in contact with them. If they really cared, they would call. But they don't. The only people that have ever been the ones to initiate contact live miles away from me and some might argue that, because of the proximity of my school friends, they had no reason to call me. I argue, "So what?" If it was up to them, they wouldn't talk to me for the entire summer, I think. It's always been this way, of course. I have lost friends because I've decided I've had enough of initiating it and my supposed "friends" just let it happen. That's not even counting the people who don't even claim friendship. Those people give even less of a shit about me, walking away when I have tripped down the stairs or when others bully other people. If anything, they say, "Oh that's sad" when I talk about a real problem I'm facing or a much bigger problem that someone else is going through but they go on and on and on about their own without even listening to me (isn't politeness a two-way street?). Still, no one cares about anyone else but they only pretend they do.

It's all so fake. People talk about how important school is and grades are and friends are but that doesn't mean anything at all. It's not life. How smart you are and how strong you are shouldn't matter nearly as much as how nice you are and how much you make a difference but that's not how it is. I just wonder what the point of it all is. What's the point of being friends when you're the only one who's trying? What's the point in fighting  when no one else cares? What's the point of fighting for other people when they don't do the same for other people? What's the point of living if I'm not even living at all? I've just given up on everyone else lately. I hate school and I hate humanity and I hate the fact that I feel like my life is a one-way street or some corner I'm stuck in. All of this has made me somewhat of a nihilist lately; before I thought that I made my own purpose, but I don't even know if I can do that.

I just went to a college fair. While I was there, I felt like nothing would change from school. I felt like I was stuck. School so far has been something that I have, up until this point, something that is the bridge to college. But... what's college? More hardship? More work? More useless crap that will never help me? I feel like it will only get me stuck in a job that makes me work for hours and hours and hours only to get even more addicted to material things than I already am. Will I ever be able to be happy and make something of myself?

I don't know the answers to all of my questions. All I know is that I'm angry and that I'm sick of feeling that no one else cares. Now I'm just stuck climbing this existentialist hill.

I just want to be happy and help other people along the way. Can I even do either, though?

Sunday, October 7, 2012


The typical image of a psychic is of a gypsy woman with tarot cards. While that sometimes does fit the image, the average psychic doesn't dress like this but just looks... normal. On TLC's "Long Island Medium", the psychic comes in form of a mother with a Bronx accent. As my family watches the show in fascination, I roll my eyes.

They're nothing new, of course, and have been around for ages. They range from palm readers to diviners to mediums. These people either admit to learning the trade or having a "gift" starting from a young age. And the world loves them.

At this point, I'm hearing all of the voices saying that I'm being too "cold" and clucking at my skepticism. I even have heard, "So what? It doesn't hurt anyone." Sometimes, the former was the truth. I even find getting my tarot cards and palms read to be enjoying and interesting as well as my horoscope. Though I don't put stock in any of it, I find it interesting. My biggest problem is that it's pretty much a scam for those who really do believe it but whatever, it's all in good fun. That's fine.

I only start to care when I see people starting to get exploited. And that is the case when people go to "mediums" in particular to deal with grief as well as a variety of other kinds of emotional problems. The idea of someone taking advantage of that makes me sick.

Of course, I recognize that there are a variety of people who believe what they are saying. Either they have deluded themselves or they truly "hear" these spirits. These people need help. The show "Psychic Kids" actually demonstrates this pretty well especially when it's clear that many children are suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia. However, most of the time, this is not the case. Most of these psychics are deliberately deceitful (in other words, frauds).

A lot of people don't know about something called "cold readings". This is a technique that many psychics use in order to look believable. In this, psychics manipulate people into believing that they are picking up signals from "spirits". Mostly, they make a bunch of indirect general statements or ask a bunch of indirect general questions. It's all probability pretty much. They can tell if they are in the right direction by the expression on the subjects' faces.

For example, I just saw a cold reading done by the woman on that show.
Woman: I'm sensing a car with a hole in it...
(Note the fact that she is using "I'm sensing". She also says "I'm feeling" or "something is telling me" on the show quite a bit, which are vague terms that allow her some access. If she's wrong, she is given a little bit of leeway on this usually).
Man in group: My girlfriend died in a car accident.
Woman: I sense that it was quick and she didn't suffer....

Does anyone see what she did? She made a general statement and someone from the group ended up filling in the information for her. The person fills in the information for these psychics and then the psychics feed off of that, sensing what the person wants to hear.

Why is this wrong, you might ask? Isn't this "helping the person feel better"?

It does "help the person feel better" but under false pretenses. These people are grieving and desperate and often guilty over something. Psychics are exploiting their vulnerability just to make money or to have a show. It's sick. These grieving, vulnerable people are especially prey to cold readings because they will be especially willing to contribute the cold reading and fill in the details that the psychic needs in order to make it work for them.

Basically, while psychics can be fun, they are pretty much frauds and that needs to be recognized. When this is taken seriously, that is dangerous. People deserve better than to be taken advantage of.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Drugs: To Legalize or Not to Legalize

Drugs are the scourge of the public school system and of our society; its impact touches millions around the world each year. Addicts wreak havoc not only upon their families but on the system (both with their crimes and medical bills). Yesterday, I had an assembly about them and the dangerous consequences of using them (in the form of sobbing families and pictures of users/ victims of drug-related crimes). I have to give them credit- pathos is a far more effective tool against drug use than nagging is. That particular officer happened to have lost a brother to narcotics and, thus, even brought people to tears (mostly girls, though, I admit). While it was a much better assembly than most are about the topic, I still believe it was lacking in one important aspect- the incredible complexity of addiction and of the drugs in general. While I appreciate what it was trying to accomplish (and did), this lack of nuance is doing the subject an injustice.

Of course, I think that any drug harder than alcohol (and, by the way, I put pot as a "softer" drug than alcohol) is incredibly dangerous. I think that people should research a drug before they take it and that they have the right to know just how harmful it can be (or as beneficial). In other words, they should be able to access neutral information and information from both sides, which any potential user would be hard-pressed to do as things currently stand.

I'm sure my thoughts during the assembly were quite unusual and more complex than most people's. In addition to thinking about how terrible it was, I also thought, Why isn't this all legal already? 

Are those two thoughts contradictory? Not at all. Much of the harm that he was talking about (but far from all, of course) was a direct result of the fact that these drugs were illegal in the first place.

I know a lot of people are for the legalization of weed and I absolutely agree with them. Before I continue, here's why. While anything that can alter your senses (make you drunk or high) must have some bad effects in my view, weed is pretty harmless in terms of how bad drugs can really be. Yet again, caffeine also has harmful health effects but that doesn't change the fact that it is a drug that is not only legal but present in many of the drinks that we drink on a daily basis. When the case was being made against pot at the assembly, the arguments were far from original and made me roll my eyes.

I'm agree with them, but I want to take it a step further. Legalize everything.

I know the case against legalizing these drugs and I certainly understand it. With the exception of marijuana, illicit drugs are dangerous and very addictive. Simply, the side effects of the drugs speak for themselves. Those against legalization argue that these drugs are too dangerous for the market and those high on the substance are at risk to themselves and others. And yet... It's more complicated than that.

The whole point of making drugs illegal is keeping these drugs away from people. Only... it doesn't. One must consider what criminalization and prohibition mean. As shown throughout history, prohibition never works. As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply- the law of economics says so. People will use these drugs and, if anything, making them illegal will give them a forbidden appeal to people and thus make it use them more. Making them illegal will only force the police to try to stop something that just cannot be stopped when they could be doing things that aren't a total waste of time.

Making drugs illegal will only drive them underground. This isn't only useless, but it also makes the effects of using drugs even more dangerous than they already are. As what happened during the Prohibition (with alcohol), the criminalization of drugs only leads to gang activity and unregulated distribution. There are no safeguards and no guarantees. If people want to get weed in a place where it is illegal, they may very well get traces of hard drugs in their joint or even herbicide (this actually happened to my friend's mom- the government did it, but the weed was sold anyway). Safe inject centers are almost impossible to open up, which leads to higher HIV and hepatitis rates as well as deaths from overdoses. Minors can access drugs much easier and get hooked from a young age (because dealers have no qualms about dealing to a young teenager). Most of all, this underground dealing leads to incredible violence as people fight for the money that results from this situation. It only leads to crime and violence, as well as the profit of disgusting cartels that would stop at nothing to hurt other people. Fighting this violence uses up money and resources and for what?

Not to mention, why are we prosecuting a victimless crime? They are only hurting themselves and their own bodies and they should have the right to do what they want with themselves. They might hurt other people emotionally by their actions, and, while that's sad, it's no reason to make it illegal (after all, people hurt others all the time). Ultimately, addiction is an illness that needs to be treated with professional help. Prison does nothing to help these people; they can still access drugs from within prison even if they're not supposed to. While drug abuse might lead to other crimes such as theft, child abuse and neglect and even murder, those issues should be dealt with separately (for drugs like PCP and bath salts, perhaps they should require users to be strapped down or put in a straitjacket while they are using these drugs so as to not infringe on the rights of others). Prison is not going to solve this problem and it is only crowding prisons with people who are not criminals and costing taxpayer money.

If I could take all of the hard drugs off of the face of the world, I would. Unfortunately, I cannot. However, as I see it, legalization would reduce the harm that comes with drug use. Drug abuse is a terrible tragedy, but I believe that prohibition is not the answer.