Readers Write: Don't Give Rush a Break

Is Rush a Party Animal?
I guess I take Rush's drug problems differently than you do (Hero or Big Fat Idiot: Rush Limbaugh Should Not Face Prison, Matthew Briggs).

Oxycontin, the drug he bought by the "thousands" is not just a pain pill, it is a party drug that has the same effect as heroin when crushed and snorted. On its face the idea that he was using those thousands of pills only for his pain-induced addiction is goofy. One person, taking that sort of quantity for any time would become a mumbling, drooling lump.

In drug enforcement, trafficking charges are brought purely by quantity involved. The weight of thousands of Oxycontin tablets would be enough to trigger trafficking charges automatically. I can tell you that if there was taped and e-mail evidence of this level of illegal drug purchases on an average American, they wouldn't see it in The National Enquirer, they would see a battering ram through their front door and a warrant only after they were cuffed.

Jeb Bush's daughter was arrested merely for forging one prescription, for 30 pills. This sort of small-scale drug purchase, or using multiple doctors for more scrips, are what addicts who can still function typically do. She was punished under the law, and you rightly point out that Jeb Bush has cut rehab funding. But as the law states, the quantities Rush is accused of buying should be a whole different matter. It is the dealing in recreational Oxycontin that allows the federal government to strangle the ability of honest doctors to prescribe these drugs to those who really need them.

While I support legalization of marijuana (medicinal and recreational), because it is equally or less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol, and the drug war costs far more than the plant does harm, I do not support legalizing the large-scale illegal and unregulated distribution of drugs that can be so easily deadly from overdose or long-term addiction. This issue is not simply an all legal, or all criminal question. If Rush Limbaugh was really caught on tape purchasing such large quantities of this drug he should see prison, if only because it is the law, and until it is changed all who break it should pay the same cost.

As Rush said over and over of Bill Clinton, "No one should be above the law."

Jim Nash

No Time To Be 'Humanitarian'
I'm a strong supporter of criminal justice and prison reform.  I've worked in it for years as Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, TIFA, CURE etc. member.

This is no time to be "humanitarian." It is only when people like Rush Limbaugh and Noelle Bush and their families and followers feel the deep pain of incarceration, death sentences, and all the humiliation that goes with them, that outrageous drug laws and too-long prison sentences will be stopped. Yes, these people are sick, but they can be agents of change if treated like millions of Americans who have suffered and will continue to suffer because they are poor and not politically connected.

Sacrifices must be made. Who better to make them than Rush and the Bush family?

J. Covici
Dallas, Texas

Let Our People Go
If Limbaugh is not incarcerated, we should release from prison all people who were jailed for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Albert H. Platonic

Do the Crime, Do the Time
Hypocrite – that about sums him up. For many years on his radio program, Rush has rushed to pre-judgment on others: "Hang 'em high. Put the drugsters in jail," was his outraged battle cry. Why, I ask, should this drug addict now be accorded any leniency. Use his own dictates on him. He did the crime, let him do the time. A good stiff prison sentence living with the brothers and dopers he so often dissed, should make his future-reporting a little more even-handed.

Put him in the docks and let justice treat him just like any other "not rich and famous" addicted citizen. Let a jury of his peers judge him, as he so often has judged others, and let the legal penalty chips fall where they may. If he skates because of his celebrity, it will be but one more paragraph in the story of the two-tier justice system effectively extant in my America.

Miguel Lanigan

No Double Standards
I have read all three essays about Rush and his drug problem. Although I emotionally concur with the first one, that urged understanding, I feel more resonance with the letters on today's AlterNet.

That is, Rush should face the same penalties that any other citizen faces. I have personally seen how quantities of substance and circumstances that are legal, but could be looked at as suspicious are used against people here in California – especially as it relates to medical marijuana. Too many legitimate patients and caregivers are in jail right now because the government wanted to view the situation through their own lense of intolerance. With the extent of Rush's problem, he would most certainly be seen as a trafficker anywhere else in the country. He should be held to the same standard as the rest of us. I'm sick of the double standard for politicians and celebrities and just about anyone that is white AND rich.

Claudia Little, RN, MPH

Reality Check
Surely it is obvious that Limbaugh's humble onstage confession and willingness to go into treatment for a month was a cover for his unwillingness to go to prison for 10 years. How anyone can continue to be taken in by this liar is beyond me. Stand up if you were born yesterday!

I know of a case where an 18-year-old was the object of a sting – A STING – by the police for a $32,000 drug sale. He is still in prison, more than 10 years later. Since the police could not do their real job of catching a real drug dealer, they made hay with a young man.

Jan Boudart

Have an opinion about something you read on AlterNet? Send your comments to Please include your full name. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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