We prohibit addictive drugs. We have done this for years. Why?
When it was discovered that laudanum, for example, was a highly addictive, and destructive, drug, it was prohibited.
At one time the United States saw alcohol pretty much the same way, and went so far as to prohibit it in a constitutional amendment. They eventually understood that this approach would not work, and it was repealed. This time came to be called the Prohibition Era, and is credited with the rise of organized crime.
For that period of time alcohol was seen as a dangerous drug. Users would often become addicted to it, and their whole life would fall apart, so we had to protect them from themselves, and alcohol. That might have been nice, if it had worked. The trouble was that people gathered at “speak easies” where they could drink the forbidden elixir and mingle with both the people who made the beverage, people like Al Capone, and the cops who were supposed to be rooting it out, and destroying it.
So, we had the illegal alcohol, the gangs who made it and fought each other to control their areas, the cops who tried to destroy it, and then we had the cops who got paid to protect it. Somewhere in the mix we had the people who go caught in the cross fire. as the gangs, with their gang wars, shot up neighborhoods in an effort to get rid of the
competition, or even killed people who had seen them kill rival gang members, or even other witnesses. Crime was rampant, and still the alcohol came. Criminals became celebrities and acted as such. More people died, and still the alcohol continued to enter the country.
Prohibition did not work, and so we quit it, at least for alcohol.
We still have prohibition for other drugs. We also still have the gangs who manufacture them, transport them into this country, and then sell them to people who are adversely effected by their use. We also have the occasional law enforcement official who gets paid to protect them. For a number of years now we have had a “war on drugs”, and still they come. Thousands of people have been killed in the gang violence in Mexico. Even here, in the U.S. we have people killed in gang violence as they vie for who will control the streets. Who are we protecting? The drug users? The pedestrian who get shot up by gang members, who don’t bother to aim, as attempt to get rid of their competition.
Is the protection of people who take drugs really worth the death of any law enforcement officer? We have mourned the loss of military people who gave their lives in our wars but, at least those wars come to an end, even if we lost, the problem with the “War on Drugs” is that no matter how many people are killed, either the users, the cops, the gang members, or just the bystanders, the drugs just keep coming, and the criminals just keep making money.
This is the WAR that never ends.
- Vice is Nice for Organized Crime (jeffoakes.me)
- Legalise Drugs, All Of Them, Right? (uber-geek.typepad.com)
- Ernest Drucker: Decriminalization of Drug Possession Doesn’t Increase Drug Use, New Report Finds (huffingtonpost.com)
- 12 Factors That Are Turning American Streets Into a Living Hell (thetruthseeker.co.uk)
- Gangs run rampant in Alamance County (myfox8.com)