As this column has been reporting, there is a growing movement in America to "reform" the nation's tough laws against drug dealing. The pressure is coming primarily from liberal and libertarian groups who see the use of narcotics as a personal choice, something that freedom should allow.
That opinion is fallacious in the extreme because of the public safety issue involved.
In 2010, more than 38,000 people died in the USA from drug overdoses -- far more than have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. If you combine two years' worth of drug overdoses, you get more deaths than occurred during the Vietnam War.
The Department of Health estimates that an astounding 22 million Americans, ages 12 and older, currently need rehabilitation for substance abuse.
Also, a variety of studies say that up to 70 percent of all child abuse and neglect cases are caused by parents who are involved with drugs.
Still think drug abuse is a victimless crime?
The pro-drug people often point to alcohol to make their legalization case. Why should one intoxicating agent be legal while another is not? But everybody knows you can have a beer or a glass of wine without losing sobriety, right?
The sole reason for ingesting narcotics is to alter consciousness. It is the apple compared to the booze orange. Comparing drugs to alcohol is an invalid comparison.
People who sell drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin and other opiates are certainly committing a violent act. They are delivering an agent of destruction to another person. Not everyone who uses hard drugs becomes addicted, but millions do. There is a reason certain substances are categorized as "dangerous drugs."
But to hear the pro-drug people tell it, the pushers are victims because some of them are drug addicted themselves. I guess when you become an addict you get a get-out-of-jail-free card. Don't blame drug users for stealing, dealing or mugging. They shouldn't be held accountable for criminal behavior, because they have a disease!
In one of the most absurd things I've seen in a long time, celebrities including Will Smith, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Kim Kardashian and Jim Carrey signed a letter to President Obama asking him to "address the increased incarceration rates for nonviolent crimes."
Nonviolent crimes? Are you kidding me? Ask a parent whose son or daughter is in the cemetery because of an overdose whether drug pushers are committing "nonviolent" crimes.
Since the U.S. began sentencing drug dealers to major prison time (circa 1979), the country's violent crime rate has fallen more than 32 percent. Once vicious crack cocaine traffickers began being sentenced to decades in the slammer, cocaine use dropped 71 percent.
But now the Hollywood pinheads and many other Americans want those tough mandatory sentences repealed.
That is sympathy for the devil. But we are living in strange times. Let's hope Kim Kardashian isn't appointed attorney general.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show ''The O'Reilly Factor.'' Visit his website at www.billoreilly.com.