Casualties of the drug war

It's not always the sellers or users who suffer

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The drug-legalization movement has made great strides in recent years. At one point in Los Angeles, there were more medical marijuana shops than Starbucks.

Notwithstanding the camouflage of "medical marijuana," the underlying premise of the legalization movement is that it "ain't nobody's business if I do." In other words, that it harms no one else.

That couldn't be more wrong.

Jamaica is seeing violence in the streets of Kingston by gangs supportive of a drug lord there wanted by the United States. That, in turn, can't help the people of Jamaica who rely on the tourist trade.

Those who use and abuse illicit drugs in the U.S. are causing such violence indirectly. On our own Southern border, nearly 20,000 people have died on either side in the past three years, largely due to drug violence. A pregnant U.S. consulate official and her husband were among those killed in an apparent drug cartel hit in March -- as they left a child's birthday party in Juarez.

Iraq and Afghanistan are safer!

Some say the problem is caused by the drugs' illegality. That's preposterous. That's like saying rape is the product of laws against it.

Indeed, a pawn shop owner here was murdered several weeks ago by an apparent user of methamphetamines -- a drug concocted from legal drug-store products. The drug problem is defined by drugs and what they do to people, not by laws against their use.

Drugs last week took one of their more innocent victims in this area: A police dog in Waynesboro was euthanized after its owner said it came in contact with toxic meth-producing chemicals at a crime scene.

There is some disagreement at to whether the dog needed to be euthanized; authorities are investigating, after the veterinarian who put the dog down claimed it wasn't necessary.

Regardless, Po Po was a victim of illicit drugs, directly or indirectly.

Still don't think it matters what you do?

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justus4
117
Points
justus4 05/25/10 - 02:44 am
0
0
The opinion piece failed to
Unpublished

The opinion piece failed to make a point. It's all over the place. The so-called "legalization" movement is gaining support and already old news in some western states, but attaching individual tragedy to the war on drugs is just too easy. African-Americans males are being gunned down by police almost daily, but are they asking for the end to policing? No. A 9 year-old girl was recently killed in a Reality TV Cops show, and of course, the policeman said "the gun just went off" well, being killed by individuals who are specifically supposed to PROTECT should require an extensive review or something dramatic - which it does not. And so, drugs are horrible and contribute to the decrease of a society, but to link every fatility to a drug addict is wrong because there are people also dying at the hands of those who are supposed to be completely free of drugs. And where is all that personal freedom guaranteed in the Constitution? Oh, that only applies to guns and religion...great country, eh?

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 05/25/10 - 03:24 am
0
0
Justus...why are "African

Justus...why are "African Americans" being gunned down daily by police? I'm sure it's just because of their race......I'm sure it has nothing to do with them threatening to kill the police first. Couldn't be that, could it?

malcolmkyle
11
Points
malcolmkyle 05/25/10 - 03:53 am
0
0
Prohibitionists dance hand in

Prohibitionists dance hand in hand with every possible type of criminal one can imagine.

An unholy alliance of ignorance, greed and hate which works to destroy all our hard fought freedoms, wealth and security.

We will always have adults who are too immature to responsibly deal with tobacco alcohol, heroin amphetamines, cocaine, various prescription drugs and even food. Our answer to them should always be: "Get a Nanny, and stop turning the government into one for the rest of us!"

Nobody wants to see an end to prohibition because they want to use drugs. They wish to see proper legalized regulation because they are witnessing, on a daily basis, the dangers and futility of prohibition. 'Legalized Regulation' won't be the complete answer to all our drug problems, but it'll greatly ameliorate the crime and violence on our streets, and only then can we provide effective education and treatment.

The whole nonsense of 'a disaster will happen if we end prohibition' sentiment sums up the delusional 'chicken little' stance of those who foolishly insist on continuing down this blind alley. As if a disaster isn’t already happening. As if prohibition has ever worked.

To support prohibition is such a strange mind-set. In fact, It's outrageous insanity! --Literally not one prohibitionist argument survives scrutiny. Not one!

The only people that believe prohibition is working are the ones making a living by enforcing laws in it's name, and those amassing huge fortunes on the black market profits. This situation is wholly unsustainable, and as history has shown us, conditions will continue to deteriorate until we finally, just like our forefathers, see sense and revert back to tried and tested methods of regulation. None of these substances, legal or illegal, are ever going to go away, but we CAN decide to implement policies that do far more good than harm.

During alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on treatment. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

In an underground drug market, criminals and terrorists, needing an incentive to risk their own lives and liberty, grossly inflate prices which are further driven higher to pay those who 'take a cut' like corrupt law enforcement officials who are paid many times their wages to look the other way. This forces many users to become dealers themselves in order to afford their own consumption. This whole vicious circle turns ad infinitum. You literally couldn't dream up a worse scenario even if your life depended on it. For the second time within a century, we've carelessly lost "love's labour," and, "with the hue of dungeons and the scowl of night," have wantonly created our own worst nightmare.

So should the safety and freedom of the rest of us be compromised because of the few who cannot control themselves?

Many of us no longer think it should!

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 05/25/10 - 05:29 am
0
0
Bravo, Malcolm

Bravo, Malcolm

Lobosolo
5
Points
Lobosolo 05/25/10 - 05:32 am
0
0
Gee, Mr. Ryan, what's it like

Gee, Mr. Ryan, what's it like going to bed thinking you're the most upright man on the planet? Your proselytizing escapes no subject, no issue... Trouble is, when you think you're so right all the time, you never give a second whiff to fact or logic... Sit down and do a little math... The mental exercise might destagnantize your mind... The legalization of medicinal marijuana (or any kind, for that matter) nationally will eventually happen... Related violent crime will disappear, and the coffers of every state and municipality will increase... You rabid right guys always seem to think that you have the market cornered on what the law should allow an individual to do...

slippery 25
0
Points
slippery 25 05/25/10 - 05:36 am
0
0
Very Good Points. malcolmkye

Very Good Points. malcolmkye

Techfan
6464
Points
Techfan 05/25/10 - 06:13 am
0
0
Turn on the television, open

Turn on the television, open a magazine or newspaper, and you will see drug ads, lots of drug ads. Headache/ Take a drug. Balding? Use a drug. Heck, now even if your eyelashes aren't full enough, use a drug. Notice that on about every corner in suburbia there's a Walgreen's, CVS, or Rite Aid? Notice that grocery stores, Wal-Mart, and even Fred's have pharmacies? In this country, we are bombarded with tens of billions of dollars worth of advertising telling us there's a magic pill, ointment, or elixir for everything that ails us. How can anyone claim to be shocked that some would use illegal drugs to satisfy whatever hole they feel they have when since birth they have been brought up in such a legal drug culture?

southernguy08
536
Points
southernguy08 05/25/10 - 06:24 am
0
0
JUSTUS, it is real easy to be
Unpublished

JUSTUS, it is real easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but please tell us all about YOUR experience in law enforcement. Have you ever had a crowd throwing bricks and bottles at you? Ever had bullets fired at you? How would you react to a "one-eyed stare?" The answer is tougher laws, tougher treatment for offenders in prison, and more confiscation at the border. Again, more reason to secure our border with Mexico, where a lot of this garbage comes in because you can bribe any Mexican official to bring anything into or out of Mexico. When I was in service, I went to Indonesia several times. They have the death penalty for bringing drugs in there. Guess what they DON'T have.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 05/25/10 - 06:37 am
0
0
And it could be, Justus, that

And it could be, Justus, that they are in the act of committing crimes and then try to injure/kill the Police.

Techfan
6464
Points
Techfan 05/25/10 - 06:45 am
0
0
So you'd like us to model our

So you'd like us to model our laws after the world's largest Muslim nation?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 05/25/10 - 06:54 am
0
0
I disagree with several

I disagree with several statements and assumptions of this editorial.
"Notwithstanding the camouflage of "medical marijuana," the underlying premise of the legalization movement is that it "ain't nobody's business if I do." In other words, that it harms no one else." The last sentence is an assumption that has nothing to do with the rest of the statement. It's not "it harms no one else", it's "until it harms someone else, it's nobody's business".
Continually railing on the drugs and drug abuse as the source of social problems makes as much sense as claiming that the manufacture of hand guns is the cause of violent crime.
It's my contention that the war on drugs keeps the price of pot and cocaine and meth artificially high so the pursuit of money promotes the violence and the illegality and risk of drug abuse is a lot of the appeal in the consumption of drugs. (Have you ever noticed how much more underage children pursue the acquisition of alcohol than adults?)
It's also my contention that legalizing drugs would drop the value to the level of supply and demand without changing any of the laws dealing with theft, violent crime and vandalism. The billions of dollars spent on the war on drugs could be wasted elsewhere and the prisons that are overloaded (because of simple possession charges) could be emptied.
As far as all of the violent incidents you list in this article, I contend that it's the pursuit of the money, through the artificially inflated value of the cheap drugs, that is at fault. Not the drugs.

chascush
0
Points
chascush 05/25/10 - 07:21 am
0
0
justus4, it is a great

justus4, it is a great country. Maybe you would be happier some place else. Why don’t you try Africa I hear it is really great.

corgimom
41446
Points
corgimom 05/25/10 - 07:27 am
0
0
Malcolm, I lived for 3 years

Malcolm, I lived for 3 years surrounded by addicts. It has nothing to do with maturity and everything to do with chemical addiction.

You keep right on thinking that you are mature enough to control it. Everyone I lived with thought they were, too- until they got addicted.

I saw the terrible lives they led. Nobody deserves a life like that.

There will always be crimes connected to drugs. Just like there are crimes connected to cars, flat screen tv's, etc. Making something legal doesn't stop the crime connected to it.

bdittle
78
Points
bdittle 05/25/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
There was an interesting

There was an interesting article in the NY Times a few weeks ago on how marijuana prices are falling so fast in California because of legal competition that the black market is finding it difficult to compete. Given that free-market solution and the trillions of tax-payer money spent on fighting a war on drugs that cannot be won... legalization should not be dismissed so easily.

IntegrityMatters
0
Points
IntegrityMatters 05/25/10 - 07:43 am
0
0
AC Editorial Staff - I

AC Editorial Staff - I thought you were INVESTIGATING the Po Po matter. There were no drugs or chemicals at the scene. Po Po did NOT die from drugs or chemicals. I know the investigation isn't over, but while that is a serious piece of contention, you need to stop PROPAGATING it knowing it could be false. I'm disappointed.

Riverman1
99546
Points
Riverman1 05/25/10 - 07:52 am
0
0
We have years of spending

We have years of spending billions and have not made a dent in illegal drug use. The crime associated with street drugs can’t be ignored. We have the experiment of prohibition that led to massive organized crime and loss of tax revenue. So what instigated this editorial with such illogical examples?

The violence in Jamaica and Mexico are a direct result of our antiquated laws trying to stop use of drugs. The illegality of the trade encourages gangs and violence. That’s pretty easy to see. What would happen if the trade were legalized, taxed and controlled?

I’ll tell you. We have a model when prohibition ended in this country. Crime decreased and our revenue from the taxes on alcohol increased.

“Some say the problem is caused by the drugs' illegality. That's preposterous. That's like saying rape is the product of laws against it.”
So if consensual sex were outlawed and people had sexual relations it would be their fault and not the fault of the law?

I’m sorry, but the attempted connection of the methamphetamine user to legalized drugs because he bought the ingredients legally is out to lunch. The product of his mixture of components is illegal. The drugs the man was using are illegal, hard to manufacture and will land you in jail.

At least with the dog being killed because his owner thought it came into contact toxic meth fumes, even you admit that action is suspect. Could it be hysteria over drugs caused the man’s over reaction? I’m willing to bet, as the vet said, there was nothing wrong with the dog.

Riverman1
99546
Points
Riverman1 05/25/10 - 07:53 am
0
0
What needs to be done is some

What needs to be done is some of the money that goes into solving crimes and incarcerating the drug using criminals should be used to educate the population to the dangers of drug use. In addition, legal drugs should be sold by special agencies where the addicts can come to purchase the taxed drugs. At that place they can be given treatment options.

We’ve tried it the prohibition way and it doesn’t work any better than it did from 1920 to 1933.

chipshirley
0
Points
chipshirley 05/25/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
.........I CHALLENGE THE

.........I CHALLENGE THE CHRONICLE EDITORIAL BOARD...

Please apply your same logic in this statement..."Some say the problem is caused by the drugs' illegality. That's preposterous."...Please apply that same logic to the Prohibition of liquor.

The fact is that the violence and corruption during Prohibition days were far far worse throughout the USA.

It is clear that by making a multi-billion dollar industry go underground you are simply giving criminals billions of dollars. The drug dealers, or back in the day 'bootleggers' 'rum runners'. must obviously settle all financial disputes amongst themselves. They can't go to the police and say "He owes me money for that weed I gave him."

That is what caused the violence in Prohibition and is causing it today in the illegal drug trade.

The Chronicle Editorial Board would have never ended Prohibition and they would have blamed the violence and corruption on people being drunk.

Have you ever heard of Al Capone, John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonny and Clyde, Ma Barker...all made famous as gunslinger law enforcement for the illegal liquor trade of Prohibition.

afskyefan
0
Points
afskyefan 05/25/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
Legalizing drugs is not going

Legalizing drugs is not going to stop the crimes associated with their usage. I spent three years working in a local detention center and most of the people arrested for burglary or theft were committing these crimes to obtain money for drugs. Drug addicts are not functional. They do not get jobs and work all day in order to obtain money to support their habit. They commit crimes. They may not be locked up on a drug charge, but drugs are getting them locked up.

dcreader
0
Points
dcreader 05/25/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
Legalize it, regulate it, and

Legalize it, regulate it, and tax the crap out of it. That will choke off demand (tobacco) eventually and enrich federal and state coffers. It will also subtract much of the criminal element if it were grown like any other crop.

How is the Chron always calls for less government intervention except when its sensitive morals are outraged?

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 05/25/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
Nope, the chronicle are no

Nope, the chronicle are no Libertarians.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 05/25/10 - 09:48 am
0
0
The National Geographic

The National Geographic Channel will have 3 programs on this evening starting at 7:00 that explore drug use, clinical trials, and legalization.

chipshirley
0
Points
chipshirley 05/25/10 - 09:56 am
0
0
afskyefan I realize that what

afskyefan

I realize that what you are saying bears truth, but that is part of my larger point.

These drugs cost virtually nothing to produce, that's why it's is so crazy for us to try to eradicate their production, when all that does is make it so illegal dealers can charge addicts more than the price of gold per oz for these drugs. Therefore addicts steal and on with the viscious cycle.

Marijuana is as easy to grow as basil, easier even because it grows fast under rough conditions yet it sells for up to $1000 an ounce. Cocaine is no harder to produce than aspirin, but a bottle of uncut coke the size of a small aspirin bottle might sell for $10,000.

If addicts were offered legal treatment an addict could lower the price of their addiction fron $300-$1000 dollars per day to $3-$10 per day. They don't have to risk stealing to get that money.

It is terribly sad that some people throw their lives away on drugs, but it doesn't have to burden our society the way it does now with our present strategy.

southernguy08
536
Points
southernguy08 05/25/10 - 10:46 am
0
0
Congrats CHIP, you actually
Unpublished

Congrats CHIP, you actually managed to post without your usual rant against "rich Republicans."

chipshirley
0
Points
chipshirley 05/25/10 - 11:12 am
0
0
Thanks for reminding me SG, I

Thanks for reminding me SG, I think it's the poor Republicans who are most to blame for the drug war.

Riverman1
99546
Points
Riverman1 05/25/10 - 11:54 am
0
0
Below is a link to what Ron

Below is a link to what Ron Paul has written about the War on Drugs. Scroll down about half way to see his thoughts. He is firmly opposed to the whole matter. I encourage the editors and others to read the thoughts of this genuinely conservative statesman who is not afraid to tell the truth.

Some of his major points are this: "In the last 30 years, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on a failed war on drugs. This war has been used as an excuse to attack our liberties and privacy. It has been an excuse to undermine our financial privacy while promoting illegal searches and seizures with many innocent people losing their lives and property. Seizure and forfeiture have harmed a great number of innocent American citizens."

"Another result of this unwise war has been the corruption of many law enforcement officials."

"Sinister motives of the profiteers and gangsters, along with prevailing public ignorance, keep this futile war going. Illegal and artificially high priced drugs drive the underworld to produce, sell and profit from this social depravity."

http://www.angryharry.com/esWaronDrugs.htm

afskyefan
0
Points
afskyefan 05/25/10 - 12:04 pm
0
0
Chipshirley, it cannot work

Chipshirley, it cannot work both ways. If they legalize the drugs and make it a regulated, taxable industry then the costs will still be there for the consumer/addict. And there will still be people making illegal, non-regulated product for sale on the black market. Either way, the addict will still have to get the money for the drugs from somewhere.

afskyefan
0
Points
afskyefan 05/25/10 - 12:05 pm
0
0
Chipshirley, it cannot work

Chipshirley, it cannot work both ways. If they legalize the drugs and make it a regulated, taxable industry then the costs will still be there for the consumer/addict. And there will still be people making illegal, non-regulated product for sale on the black market. Either way, the addict will still have to get the money for the drugs from somewhere.

Riverman1
99546
Points
Riverman1 05/25/10 - 12:21 pm
0
0
Afskyefan, the point is that

Afskyefan, the point is that making the drugs legal will reduce their costs to a fraction of what they are now. Any profit will go to the government for treatment and education programs that would lower the number of users.

There would not be a black market because the price would already be so cheap there wouldn't be a need to circumvent the system. It would be similar to what happened to moonshiners after prohibition ended.

Plus, don't forget the most important part...crime would drastically decrease. The foreign cartels, gangs here and addicts having to steal for a fix would all be gone.

bdittle
78
Points
bdittle 05/25/10 - 12:22 pm
0
0
There are so many levels of

There are so many levels of the drug issue... yes, you have the addict that will sometimes rob and steal and even murder to get the drug. Then you have the the gang and mafia level of crime which has its fingers in everything from gun running, money laundering, murder, etc. Probably the least reported on is that almost every war or insurgency has a party that is financed with drug money. Anything that could lessen the power of the black market would be more effective than throwing trillions into stopping the flow (because the flow will not be stopped).

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