Carson City's drug war will be long and deadly

The recent shooting of Carson City Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Stagliano offers up an entrée of reminders that our local law enforcement has a plate piled high with drug-related crime.

Remember, as I have often mentioned, Carson City is a small city of residency.

Throw a sturgeon into a swimming pool and you can get an analogical idea of how illegal drugs thrust their scaly ugliness and bulky dominance in Carson City. But this particular big fish in a shallow pool flaps and splashes only to gain the attention of its ill-fated clientele - not to give our law enforcers a better chance of netting it.

The shooting incident also resonates with ringing sounds through the empty corridors of hollow morality.

To dealers, addicts are just abhorrent substance whores from whom they can pimp the diabolical exchange of money for mind and body sludge. Law enforcers? They're invaders - intruders - who are crossing the territorial lines of drug prostitution business. That's how the dealers see it. So killing whoever is standing in the way of their street hustle is not an act worthy of a second guess. It's that serious.

Whether drugs deaden the mind and then kill the body of its user and abuser, or give cause for its users, makers, and sellers to kill others who intend to thwart or ward off the "high" speed traffic of this omega vehicle for big lifts and major falls, a death chant serves as its soundtrack.

At this week's joint anti-drug session at the Legislature in Carson City, Chairwoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said what I believe to be the most succinct message for everyone to remember when she warned that our city and state drug problems are "... not restricted to meth." Give the lady a cigar! Well, better make it a box of chocolates.

In our fight against drugs, the enemy should be regarded with extreme prejudice. The enemy here are the soldiers of illegal drugs - ALL illegal drugs. This war is much larger than the war our country has stumbled into in Iraq. Much larger. Its death count is greater; its battles are much longer; and it is taking place here. Here! On American soil. Not Iraq. Here! And yet our country's leaders, led by President Bush who plays grand puppeteer to our American youth while sitting on the White House floor with his playmate, Dick Cheney, would prefer to spend money this country doesn't even have on a war that should have ended with one big sky-scraping mushroom mountain of smoke.

As with any war, you judge the existence and extermination of the enemy not by the type of weapon they carry, but by the potential danger of that weapon and the intent to use it. In this case, suffice to say that all illegal drugs have the potential to harm and kill.

Meth stands tall on the hierarchy of deadliness because it is so damn easy to make, which makes it vastly more obtainable. A pinch of this, and a punch of that, and you have Mom's apple pie for the Last Supper of our youth. The finishing culinary touch of dessert to lives yet started. Aperitif to a full-course serving of health detonation.

Though I credit our city and state with their recent series of ant-drug awareness programs and campaigns, I still believe that - as is the case with most wars - we waited too long to make our presence known to the enemy. I know - I'm driving from the back seat. But think about it: Drug abuse is not a new problem, and it is certainly not a new habit. Everything on our country's historical track of progression has led to the invention of things bigger and better. Technology, medicine, travel (Did I say travel?!), surgery. Illegal drugs? In this case, better means stronger and deadlier. The kids of today have more money to buy these illegal drugs that are now so abundant. More people have the diabolic creative ingenuity to produce those drugs themselves to sell in such abundance. So, during life's constant progressive cycle, why didn't we think about the eminent advancement of illegal drug production and use decades ago when marijuana - now the St. Joseph's Aspirin of illegal drugs - was the alleged precursor of a drug age that raised the "high" bar to achieve the self-destructive trophies of heroin, cocaine, crack, and now meth. A lesson in world history teaches us - or should have taught us - that we are always searching for something greater and better.

Bet on it, 10 years from now, illegal drugs will be greater - make that worse - than what they are now. And we need to continue to fight on. But again, a historical lesson in war is that the fight cannot fully stop, this side of mass destruction. No war should end at the first sign that the coast may be clear.

• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at


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