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Roadmap for America


Drug War Part V: The Hypocrisy We Can Correct




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Disclaimer:
David P. Price, PhD is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

February 1, 2010 | 2,860 views | Post a comment

In The (induced) Ignorance of Power we discuss how the Drug War has been our domestic Vietnam. Vietnam was called the television war and the Drug War has been synonymous. Every night we see handcuffed prisoners paraded in front of the camera like trophies; pictures of the drugs seized; and paramilitary troops kicking in doors. It all makes great drama, but in 40 yrs. has had zero effect on drug use.

Ronald Reagan was one of the finest presidents we ever had, but he did make mistakes. One of them was an executive order allowing law enforcement agencies to keep any cash or property seized in drug raids. The purpose was obvious; to create an incentive for police agencies to go after drug traffickers.

This it did, but early-on created a situation in which police agencies would not share information and would otherwise act with little or no investigation. The result was a number of totally innocent people killed or humiliated by overzealous police officers. (For a consolidated accounting go to Cato.org/raidmap).

Today, thankfully there is more coordination and investigation. But because of the incentive, police agencies still give priority to drug investigations.

Why is this bad? As we discussed earlier, as soon as we arrest one trafficker, another takes his place. It is a viscous cycle that has gone on since the 1970’s. We do nothing objective about drug use which is the real problem. All we do is go after the criminals which are the symptom of the problem.

But by providing an incentive for drug arrests, crime that really affects you and me takes a back seat. Sex crimes, burglary, car theft, fraud, car jacking, etc., are pursued less aggressively. Likewise, drug traffickers are given sentences equal to or exceeding the most vile criminals in our society; rapists. The net result is over-crowding. Therefore, we cannot keep sex offenders or violent prisoners as long as we would like.

As we point out in the book, “Do drug traffickers grab their victims and throw them in vans?” Certainly it is true drug dealers are criminals, but they do not force their victims to comply. Drug users victimize themselves. The drug dealer is merely the conduit. Yet they receive sentences equal to or greater than sex offenders who attack our wives and children!

Burglars who break into our homes, ransack and steal our prized possessions are deemed lesser criminals than someone whose “victims go to him”! This is clearly distorted. Distorted by those who cling to the Ignorance of Power. They believe the way to stop drug use is arrest everyone involved and “throw away the key”. Forty years has shown this approach doesn't work.

All it does is increase violence and reduce space for criminals who victimize law abiding citizens. Certainly drug traffickers are criminals and there need to be penalties for traffickers, but we need to give priority to those who use force against their victims.

Next week: The Hypocrisy We Can’t Answer
 
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