PROLOGUE "HOW many people here consider the government to be highly efficient?" Charles Russell adjusted himself behind his lectern and watched his opponent warily. Dr. Terry Gale, a popular professor of criminal justice at Harvard, was good-looking by any standard, with long brown hair tied back in a ponytail and the obligatory tweed jacket and faded jeans. Gale had abandoned his own lectern and was moving back and forth across the stage, preaching energetically to the large auditorium. He was halfway through a highly successful ten-city tour for his latest book and had polished his delivery to a lustrous shine. Crime Does Pay: The Inevitable Failure of America's War on Crimehad clawed its way to the bottom of The New York TimesBest Seller List and was likely on its way to a top-five spot. "Come on, don't be bashful. Let's see some hands. Who thinks the government is efficient?" He motioned toward Russell. "My opponent promises me that he hasn't installed any surveillance cameras in the auditorium, so vote your conscience here." Russell started to frown but caught himself and laughed easily instead. As the director of homeland security and overseer of America's law enforcement agencies, he had been the target of Gale's acerbic wit on more than one occasion. Best to just let it roll off his back. "Okay, I see a few hands," Gale said. It wasn't many-maybe five, all bunched together at the front. Russell glanced down at them for a moment and then out over young faces crammed into the American University auditorium. With no television cameras-something he himself had insisted on when he'd agreed to this debate-the lighting was a little softer and more academic, allowing him to discern detail despite his aging eyes. What he saw was hostility: young, wealthy intellectuals who were there because they bought into Gale's fatalistic antigovernment ranting; children whose lives were still skirting the edges of the real world. Their parents were largely supporters of the conservative values he stood for, but their sons and daughters were still in a rebellious stage. At this age, with their fathers' credit cards still firmly in pocket, they had the luxury to be idealistic. In ten years, though, their loyalties would change. They would want to protect their money from excessive taxation, they would want their opulent homes and neighborhoods kept safe, they would want their children to attend a drug-free school that didn't teach down to the lowest common denominator, they would want to be safe from bomb-wielding fanatics.... "Okay," Gale said, "it doesn't look like we're going to get a lot of hands. Big surprise. Let me ask another question: How many people think private industry is pretty efficient?" Almost every hand went up. "And I'll take that one step further. Obviously there are inefficiencies in private industry, but I'd argue that a lot of them are a direct result of government regulation. Compare the Post Office to Federal Express if you want proof." "Is your suggestion to relieve private industry of excessive government meddling?" Russell cut in. "You're starting to sound like a Republican, Dr. Gale." That got a titter from the crowd-something Russell knew he desperately needed. "Of course not, sir. My point is simply that organized crime is, by definition, completely unregulated, making it almost infinitely efficient. And that, combined with the fact that the U.S. has no comprehensive policy on crime, makes the war on it a losing proposition." Russell considered stepping out from behind his lectern, too, but then squelched the thought. He'd end up looking like Al Gore, trying to be hip. Better to just stick with...what did his son say? Old and crotchety. "I'm not sure that's fair, Professor. Over the past few years we've increased the number of police on the streets, we've intercepted hundreds of millions of dMills, Kyle is the author of 'Sphere of Influence' with ISBN 9780399149344 and ISBN 0399149341.