December 1996, after trememdous charges have been filed against me, I receive this memborable piece - from the desk of Debby Moore -

The discussion of McCaffrey as “the most dangerous man in America” (and other bits of hyperbole) reminded me of the wildlife shows I sometimes watch about the most dangerous animal in Africa -- the cape buffalo.

The cape buffalo is reputed to be the most dangerous animal in Africa -- so much so that hunters often hesitate to hunt it (and certainly won’t without body-bruising heavy artillery) and even a pride of lions will give one a wide berth. There is only one type of predator which can and will routinely attack a cape buffalo and kill it -- wild dogs no bigger than an average terrier.

Their method is to gather around and start nipping at the heels. There is no chance that any of them could inflict a big enough wound to kill the cape buffalo so the buffalo attempts to blow them off by running away -- ignoring them. But the wild dogs can run for miles so the entire pack just runs alongside the buffalo for one mile, two miles, or more, stealing an occasional nip whenever the opportunity presents itself. Eventually, of course, the buffalo tires and realizes he has to turn around and face his attackers head on. When he does that, it is just a matter of time until he is dinner on the table. They will bring him down one small nip at a time until he is tired and bleeding so badly that he can’t fight back.

It is necessary for us to understand where we are in our fight with these people and our current position is a lot like the wild dogs. For years we have been pursing them with an increasing series of nips and bites (letters, columns, and articles) around the nation. While they were a media juggernaut for decades, and have traditionally have more access to the power-that-be in the media, they are too big, slow, and undermanned to deal with the widespread efforts we have generated. We have been nipping them to death.

At this point, the cape buffalo -- with his public pronouncements acknowledging there is another side to this issue that needs to be heard -- has turned back to face the pack of wild dogs. The buffalo is not really enthusiastic about reaching that point in the chase and cannot be expected yet to welcome us in for tea and cookies. It is a grudging admission of our presence and influence, not something which he was out looking to do because he is such a great guy.

This particular buffalo is different from the previous buffaloes (Brown, Martinez, and Bennett) in the respect that he is better educated and, therefore, will be a more formidable foe in the end game. The previous ones were so stupid and ignorant that they would have been crucified in something as simple as the American University setting. But, as mean and dangerous as a cape buffalo can be, he is ultimately just dinner on the table when he turns to face those wild dogs.

So it is with McCaffrey. His knowledge will allow him to defend the current policy much more articulately than the simple-minded like of Bennett and Brown, but at the same time, it will also mean that his staff will become better educated, too. We may not get McCaffrey directly (at least not right away) but the emphasis on actual education in his office will mean that an increasing number of his staff members will get the picture and defect to the other side. Slowly, perhaps, but it will happen.

In addition, McCaffrey will be forced into an increasing series of concessions. The first was the idea that we cannot incarcerate our way out of the problem. Another was the plain statement that alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug in our society. (something which was hotly denied by the two narcotics agents I recently debated -- if there is ever a rematch, I can call them on that point with the words of McCaffrey himself. They have lost a major part of their supporting mythology.) In terms of the public debate, such things are tremendously important and mean, essentially, that it is highly unlikely that we will ever return to the public nonsense of Bennett, et al.

I am not any more concerned with the “danger” of McCaffrey than the wild dogs are concerned with the danger of the cape buffalo. The major thing we should be aware of here is that our overall strategy is clearly working. A letter or column in the Podunk News, like the nip of the wild dog, means next to nothing in itself. But when you start adding them up in the quantities that we have been -- spread all over the nation and the world -- the nips become some serious wounds. McCaffrey has already acknowledged that there is a lot of info on the Internet (I don’t think we would have done that if it hadn’t been for the constant nips) which means that he is aware that, sooner or later, he will have to deal with it in a public forum. As you all may know, I have always had faith that once they acknowledge us and turn back to fight, the game is ultimately over. That was the fundamental idea of the Hoover Resolution and now appears to have happened.

The real message to us is that our current efforts are clearly working and everyone who has participated in MAP and related projects should feel tremendously encouraged. (Please note that this effort is still quite young.) Rather than railing about how “dangerous” this guy is we should be taking note of the fact that the bull has turned back to face us -- because he is now cut and bleeding and really doesn’t know what else to do.

Any prohibitionist is “dangerous” for what they can do to people while prohibition continues. But, given the current situation, I think there is a large pack of wild dogs out there looking at a good steak dinner sometime soon.