|The War on Drugs
DRUG ABUSE is a bad thing; it has serious consequences. The effects of DRUG LAWS, however, are far, far worse than the original problem. The vast majority of the typical problems we normally attribute to drugs, are in fact the direct result of the LAWS against drugs.
Let's look at a list of the pros and cons of the Drug War:
It keeps some people from trying and using drugs.
It promotes drug use by children by adding a PROFIT MOTIVE for "pushers" in middle schools and high schools who might actually be your child's "friends".
It causes death by overdose by removing any kind of quality assurance; the potency of drugs in unknown.
It causes death by spreading diseases such as AIDS by making needles illegal.
It keeps patients from receiving the medicine they need to live, and consequently, they die.
It has resulted in absolute violations of the Bill of Rights - search and seizure laws, asset forfeiture laws, government snooping in our bank accounts. It is used as an excuse to infringe on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In a blatant disregard for the First Amendment, you can now go to jail for talking about drugs.
It has an extremely high cost: your hard-earned tax dollars pay for this debacle. Billions of dollars each year are spent on self-destructive government policies.
It is the cause of the present 40-year old crime wave (just like alcohol prohibition). Illegal = Expensive = Lucrative. It makes drug dealers, gangsters, and terrorists RICH!
It is the fuel for gang warfare (fighting over drug territory) which has ruined much of our cities. They use the MONEY to commit violent crime, become well armed (more well armed than the police), kill each other, our police, and innocent people and children in the crossfire.
It takes police concentration and resources off of REAL crime: theft, murder, arson, rape, and fraud.
It causes the corruption and demoralization of police.
It makes police work much more dangerous.
It causes a disrespect for law.
It results in racial profiling & increases racial tension.
It keeps people from "coming out of the closet" - admitting addiction & getting REAL help, because they fear going to prison.
It imprisons hundreds of thousands of non-violent people who will (after jail) never become productive. Mandatory sentences result in someone selling drugs getting more time than someone who commits murder!
It has contributed to the deterioration of the American family - 1/3 of all black males are in prison, on parole, or on probation!
It has killed untold thousands in South and Central America and corrupts governments there.
We have experienced the negative effects of prohibition before – during alcohol prohibition. How soon we forget. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" said Santayana. The difference this time around is we have taken much too long and lost far more before understanding the connection.
This picture is of members of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform. They were disgusted with the violence, the corruption, the gangsters, the death, and the destruction caused by the War on Alcohol. The side of the car says, "SAVE OUR CHILDREN — STAMP OUT PROHIBITION”
Just as during alcohol prohibition, crime and violent crime has skyrocketed since Richard Nixon declared drugs “Public Enemy #1”. Hold up a chart showing the ramp up of crime from 1970 to 2000, and draw a line on the same chart showing the money spent fighting the drug war. It is the same line. After alcohol prohibition was repealed, for 10 straight years, crime and violent crime decreased. The next time you see a crime on the news, make a point to note whether or not it was drug-related. Then think to yourself, "Would this crime have occurred if drugs were not illegal?"
Watch the news and see what is happening on the Mexican border. It is a bloodbath! The drug lords have all the money and all the power and Mexican officials can do nothing to stop it. If you want to end this madness and really put the drug dealers out of business, END PROHIBITION!
Drug addicts will do whatever it takes to get the money needed for the artificially inflated price of drugs. That means stealing your wallet or your car, and maybe your life in the process. When we repeal drug laws, drug addicts will be able to support their habit by working at McDonalds. This may sound callus or unfeeling, but it makes this point clear: they are going to get it one way or another, and when the cost drops to one fifth of its present value, at least they will be hurting NO ONE ELSE but themselves.
Many inner city youths feel hopeless, and are lured away from attending crime infested, low quality, government-run schools, by the prospect of selling drugs. If they live long enough to move up in the ranks, they then can drive a Porsche. Do not be so quick to judge them. What would you do in their situation? Ending the drug war will end the prospect of dealing drugs as a plausible career choice, and these youths will have to stay in school, and if they want cash on the side, they will need to get a real job which builds character and teaches them the virtues and rewards of honest work.
Drug prohibition causes the corruption of police. Drugs disappear from lockups. Some are on the take. Some turn their head. We see it all the time. One great example of corruption is...drugs are being exported from prisons!
It gives the police far too much arbitrary power. Do not anger a policeman. All he has to say is that he found this little pill in your glove box, and you are going to prison for 20 years – mandatory sentence, resulting in the instant destruction of someone’s life.
Sheriff’s departments across the country are now funding a significant portion of their income from property seized from American citizens by using asset forfeiture laws! Obviously, this is a bad idea; police are stealing from the public to finance their own operations. They are, in effect, addicted to the drug war! Some will obviously be against any attempt to end it – it is their sustenance. In 80% of these cases, no one is even charged with a crime!
Before The War on Drugs, police appeared at the front door in a three piece suit with a warrant and asked to enter. Now they show up in full SWAT gear and just break down the door.
The government now snoops into our bank accounts, and wants to put all of our medical records into a database.
There are some who want increased funding to “fight a real drug war”. There is continuous talk about getting “tough on crime”. For more than 40 YEARS, after one “get tough on crime” bill after another, after shredding the Bill of Rights, the drugs keep flowing. These drug warriors are living in a dream world. You cannot legislate morality. In China, the communists assured the world that drugs would not be a problem, because they would have zero tolerance. Indeed, persons caught in possession of drugs, or caught dealing drugs, are tried, convicted, and then taken outside and shot in huge numbers. Even with this extreme hard line deterrent, they still cannot control the flow of drugs in, out, or through China. Is this what we want in America? That is the direction we are moving.
Some say that if we end drug prohibition, thousands of people will immediately start using lots of drugs and the streets will be unsafe. Well, I have news for you - the streets are already unsafe, because of drug prohibition. Ask yourself, if drugs were relegalized tomorrow, would you start injecting heroin into your veins? Of course not! "But my neighbor will!" Give him more credit. Some will, yes. But look at the pros and cons again. The first and only only pro, "It keeps some people from trying and using drugs.", is probably immediately offset by the first "con", "it promotes drug use by children by adding a PROFIT MOTIVE for 'pushers' in middle schools and high schools who might actually be your child's 'friends'." So, some who would not have tried it, will try it, and some others who would have tried it, may never try it. Then you are left with the other eighteen or so "cons".
There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in the legality or illegality of drugs. At least during alcohol prohibition they acknowledged they needed to pass a constitutional amendment.
The War on Drugs is perhaps the most self-destructive policy in which this country has ever been engaged. It is the cause of crime and violence, the reason our cities are unsafe, the excuse for the erosion of the Bill of Rights, the drive for the corruption of our police and government, and the perpetuation of the imprisonment of over a million of our citizens, who did no harm to anyone but themselves.
If we love our country and our children, we must end the War on Drugs.
Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do : The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country
by Peter McWilliams
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