Monday, March 27, 2006

A Long Post in Which I Once Again Flirt with Libertarianism

Y'all, I'm not even sure how to formulate this. Let's start with Kevin, who was kind enough to come by and point me to a quick "how we ended up here" when it comes to gun rights. He quotes a very interesting part of the Dred Scott decision, which I quote here:
[Citizenship] would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.
Just keep in mind "to keep and carry arms wherever they went." We'll be coming back to this. Then we've got Jon, with his Ayn Rand quote:
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt.
Hmmm, as well. As y'all know, I've been following the saga of Say Uncle's friend with interest and Blake has said all I have to say about the issue better than I could. Can a liberal heathen feminist and a conservative Christian gun nut find common ground? On this issue, apparently. Anyway, it was one of Blake's commenters that made me suddenly go "Well, duh." This commenter says
If you don't like the law get em to change it, don't blame the cops for enforcing it. As for me, I don't want felons owning guns or voting. Posted by: TWM at March 26, 2006 07:50 PM
And I stared at my computer screen dumbfounded. Then I read this:
the other side of the Republican coin on immigration is the Bush plan to create a "guest worker" program that is nothing less than the realization of corporate America's wet dream of having a labor force that cannot vote. It would create a permanent underclass of disenfranchised workers
The light went on and I immediately called the Professor and asked, "Why can't people see that rap music and country music are the same?" But what I really meant is that--duh--we've created draconian laws to "punish" behavior that doesn't hurt anyone--like say, outlawing drugs--and the result is not a reduction in the use of drugs but prisons full of poor men. Yes, those poor men are disproportionately black, which means that the war on drugs has allowed the government to find a way to follow the spirit of the Dred Scott decision even now--the war on drugs makes felons out of many black men, which means that they cannot carry weapons or vote. Which means that they cannot legally defend themselves and they cannot change the way they are governed. Both are equally troubling. Black men are left with no way to force the government to hear them. But it's not just black men who are fucked by this--it's really poor people in general. As folks over at Say Uncle and Blake's have pointed out repeatedly, there are all types of felonies, from having too much weed to killing your boyfriend, but the stoner and the murderer are stripped of their rights just the same. And who most needs to have their rights protected? The people who are most often chewed up and spit out by various law enforcement entities. Who do we strip of the ability to hold our government accountable? The people who are most often chewed up and spit out by various law enforcement entities. It's really brilliant, if you think about it. Who's going to best know the ways that the government fucks people over? People who have been fucked over. What can they legally do about it? Nothing, it seems.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Wage said...

"... is there not a necessity for deeply reflecting upon an alteration of the system that breeds these crimes, instead of glorifying the hangman who executes a lot of criminals to make room only for the supply of new ones?" -- Karl Marx

(Just to annoy the people you're probably trying to flirt with.)

3/27/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

I've always had a beef with the "no vote, no guns for life" for the felons. If the idea is that going to prison pays one's debt to society, then the debt is paid. If that's not enough, then keep him in longer, but when he comes out, he should be allowed back into society.
I think it's unrealistic to put a man back into what is generally a violent neighborhood, and then tell him that he can't protect his family for the rest of his life. All because he got caught with LSD at a Dead show 30 years ago?
Then the voting! Talk about taxation without representation!

3/27/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

OK, let's agree that the war on drugs makes felons out of many black men. They chose to break the law, knowing what the consequences were, and some get caught. That didn't keep guns out of their hands before they went to prison and, judging by the rate of recidivism, it sure as hell doesn't keep them out of their hands once they're back on the street again. Do I want guns in their hands? Hell, no. Those are bad people.

As far as 'punishing' behavior that doesn't hurt anyone, who doesn't get hurt? Are you saying that drug use is a 'victimless' crime? It might seem to be if you're the suburban yuppie that uses the crack these young black men sell, or someone enjoying some pot on the weekend. But try telling that to the innocent people and little kids that are killed in drive-by drug and gang-related shootings. Two young girls were shot in Chicago in the last two weeks. One was 14 and the other was 6. The 14-yr old was in her own house at her surprise birthday party.

Should crack be legal? Because it's 'harmless?' Hardly. Should marijuana? That's a grayer area. In comparison, it's pretty benign, and most people in my generation have used it at one time or another without moving on to harder drugs. The culture of drugs in this country has a great deal to do with the continuing problems of the lower class.

And as far as keeping felons from voting, that's a laugh. I doubt that registering and voting was high on their list of priorities in the first place.

3/28/2006 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger W said...

which means that the war on drugs has allowed the government to find a way to follow the spirit of the Dred Scott decision even now
So are you insinuating some big conspiracy here? Are all these drug laws because back in the 50's some governent think tank decided they'd catch a lot more black men and be able to keep them from voting that way? If so, I think you may have been smoking something that endangers your own right to vote.

I'm with Pegg on this one. At least now losing the right to vote is based on a choice and consequences rather than the color of a person's skin.

3/28/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

If only our government was suave and sophisticated enough to impliment vast long-lasting conspiracies! But alas, no, we live in a country where the CIA doesn't share information with the FBI who doesn't work well with the NSA and so on. So, no, I'm not suggesting there's some top down conspiracy against black men.

But what I am saying is that it doesn't matter that there's not a conspiracy. This is the result--that, in their lives, most black men are in the penal system--which means that they're stripped of their rights and thus have no legal way to reshape the government.

It doesn't matter if we believe that most felons wouldn't exercise those rights if they had them. That doesn't make it okay to strip them of those rights.

That's a really alarming misunderstanding of the wording of the Constitution. According to the Constitution, rights reside with the individual--all rights, enumerated and not. It's not for the government to dole out rights based on whether or not we'll actually use them. They are ours whether we exercise them or not and it's not okay to take rights away just because we think whatever group we're stripping of those rights doesn't use them.

Peg, I'm not stupid. I know that there's a vast and dangerous criminal culture built up and necessary to support the drug trade.

I also know that little girls aren't regularly being caught in the crossfire in beer wars.

Why is that? Because alcohol is legal, again. There doesn't need to be vast criminal distribution networks that work outside the law (and thus require actions outside the law in order to protect business) because there are vast legal distribution networks.

Listen, I think using many drugs is bad and, to some extent immoral. But arresting folks for using and selling them has made little difference in their popularity, which then, has translated into little difference in the safety of places hard hit by drug use.

We can't end drug use by making it illegal. That's clear.

But we can end a great deal of crime and violence by making drugs legal, because it takes all the wind out of the criminal culture necessary to supply drugs to the country.

If drugs are legal, what reason do street gangs have to exist? If farmers in the US can grow marijuana, why would folks smuggle it in? If I can go to the drug store and get cocaine, why would young, stupid men risk their lives to sell it on the street corner?

And think of the tax revenue.

That, I'll admit, always baffles me. Here's a multibillion dollar industry and the government isn't getting its cut. Why not? It's insane.

Make it legal, tax it, and build us some parks or some schools or, fuck, even some bombs. Fund social security.

Ha, there you go. You want to fund social security forever? Legalize drugs and take the tax money from drugs and put it towards social security.

3/28/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

If drugs are legalized the government would appear to be, in some sense, putting a stamp of approval on them. Like alcohol and tobacco.

Of course there all the old arguments about 'alcohol kills too' and all those are true, but do I want my 19-yr old to go the the drugstore and be able to buy cocaine? No. Or my kid's teacher being a user? Or my banker? OK, the banker probably already is. Just because people will do it anyway doesn't mean that they should be able to. There are a lot of things people want to do that are illegal.

And the crime and violence of the drug trade will move into the neighborhoods of the rest of us, because my 19-yr old is now an addict and will be breaking into houses and stealing to support his habit.

I didn't mean to imply that you were stupid. My apologies.

I never thought I'd be getting any Social Security anyway, and I'd rather keep it that way if the alternative is legalizing all drugs. And I wouldn't be so sure that the goverment in't getting a cut somehow. They know damn well what's going on, and it's easier for them to throw up their collective hands or ignore it than try to do anything realistic or lasting to curb drug use. Maybe if they started hitting the middle and upper-class users with more substantial penalties, not just fines, but jail time, would they think twice about continuing their receational drug use.

3/28/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Aunt B: But what I really meant is that--duh--we've created draconian laws to "punish" behavior that doesn't hurt anyone--like say, outlawing drugs--and the result is not a reduction in the use of drugs but prisons full of poor men.

But drugs and other such activities do hurt people.

It's just not the business of government to prohibit the use of drugs. It's the job of government to punish those who injure others.

However, your realization that a minority group has been stripped of its political voice is a valid one. I just don't think it was done consciously.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by human stupidity.

3/28/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger bridgett said...

To chime in with an even longer historical perspective on the connection between restrictions on firearm purchase and possession and race in America...

The earliest laws prohibiting the sale of firearms come out of Mass Bay, Conn, and Plimoth colonies -- it was illegal to sell Indian buyers all parts of a gun already assembled. One could sell the lock, the stock, or the barrel, but not all three -- thus, the origin of the phrase we have all used at one time or another. Laws on possession of guns in colonial British North America came into being as part of slave codes -- in South Carolina, for instance, enslaved Africans and African-Americans were by the early 1740s specifically forbidden to carry guns, though in the first years of settlement, they had been instrumental as part of militias and strategically used against the Tuscarora and Yamasee Indians to drive a wedge between groups that might otherwise have been tempted to cooperate. (Remember that many of the first generation of African men in SC partnered with Indian women enslaved as part of the colonial southeastern export trade in Indians...so they, in effect, became part of their wives' nation through their marriages.) After the influx of former Angolan soldiers-turned-enslaved-war-captives into South Carolina and the Stono Rebellion in 1739, SC officials no longer thought it was such a hot idea to allow these veteran fighters go around armed in a colony where blacks outnumbered whites.

Gun ownership -- and everything that sprang from it, such as claims to suffrage based on participation in citizen militias even when one did not own real property, the ability to defend oneself and one's property against violence, etc -- has long been a right jealously guarded by white men (especially poor white men) as a signifier of their race and masculinity that gave them superior rights in the political arena.

3/28/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Church Secretary said...

Hello, all.

Aunt B., please allow me to jump in on the drug thing first. You couldn't have said it better, but I think a couple of the counter-arguments were a bit specious.

Like peg's automatic connection of drugs to guns. Peg, are you aware that the majority of people in prison for drugs are there for non-violent drug offenses?

Not to burst your bubble, Peg, but Aunt B.'s point about the deadliest aspect of illegal drugs-- the violence-- being directly linked to the illegality is a potent one. Even still, I suggest you compare the number of drug-trade-related violence deaths with the number of alcohol-related deaths (I won't include tobacco-related deaths, as the vast majority of those are self-inflicted), then tell me which substances you think are more worthy of prohibition.
And I must reiterate that your substitution of 'drug use' for 'drug -trade-related violence' is highly disingenuous. The anecdotes you listed are truly heartrending, but they weren't the result of people getting high. If we follow Aunt B.'s prescription, we take that violence out of the equation.

This leads me to the next phase of your argument, Peg:
...do I want my 19-yr old to go the the drugstore and be able to buy cocaine? ...Just because people will do it anyway doesn't mean that they should be able to.

I'm guessing that you are not a libertarian, Peg. Seriously, though, this is the Nanny-State mentality at it's worst, in my humble opinion. If your 19-year-old wants cocaine, he's going to find it. Would you rather he got it from CVS, or from Pookie in the 'hood? If people are going to do it anyway, and we think that's a bad thing, shouldn't we try and figure out why they'd want to do such a thing, and help them choose not to do it (the education/treatment approach), instead of forcing them underground to do it, while putting shitloads of people in jail, watching whole communities fall under the clouds of organized crime, etc., etc., ad nauseum (the prohibition/criminalization approach).

Seriously, I'm forced to suppress a cynical chuckle at this point. When are we going to effing grow up in this country? We'll give a guy a slap on the wrist for getting drunk and wiping out a family, but we'll lock him up for two lifetimes if he gives some guys a lift to meet some drug dealers.

And you know what, Peg? I was going to let this last bit go, but it so reeked of N.I.M.B.Y. that I couldn't:

And the crime and violence of the drug trade will move into the neighborhoods of the rest of us, because my 19-yr old is now an addict and will be breaking into houses and stealing to support his habit.

So it's okay if the niggers and white trash suffer from this shit, but keep it away from me and mine? So much for "united we stand."

3/28/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

CS,

Well said on all counts.

As long as we're quoting history, marijuana was made illegal to control the mexicans and blacks. Those craaazy jazz players!
The propaganda was all about how when the black man smokes pot, he goes crazy and rapes white women. For the mexicans, it was a way to keep the migrant workers under control.

All the sob stories point to the same fact: child neglect, burglery and violence are already illegal.
I always worry when the government makes something illegal because it thinks you might commit a crime later on. No thanks. Punish people for infringing on other peoples' rights. All the rest is crap.

I can't believe nobody has made the parallel between abortion and drugs!!!!

If people are going to do something illegal, don't we want them to get the drugs/abortion from a doctor, rather than from some shady criminal in an alley?

We save more lives by not having it go underground, where it breeds other criminal acts.

Do we want to make criminals out of so many (pregnant women)/(drug users)?

It's only illegal in order for rich white men to control women/minorities!

3/28/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

Church Secretary:

My, it's been a long time (never) since I've ever been called
'specious' or 'disingenuous.' I think I might kind of like it.

So I made an 'automatic connection of drugs to guns?' Well, yeah, maybe I did and do, because a good percentage of the murders and shootings in this country seem to be related somehow to gangs, and gangs (all kinds of gangs, not just black gangs) run drugs, so I'll stand by that. And you claim 'the majority of people in prison for drugs are there for non-violent drug offenses?' For what, selling pot to college kids? And they're doing hard time? But that pot (or coke, or heroin) came from somewhere, and just because they are several steps removed from the 'violent' aspects of it doesn't make it any less a factor in the resulting situations or violence. Perhaps not the most important or deadly one, but a factor nonetheless.

And here's me quoting you quoting me: 'Just because people will do it anyway doesn't mean that they should be able to.' Puhleeeeeze. By that reasoning, let's apply your argument that 'If people are going to do it anyway, and we think that's a bad thing, shouldn't we try and figure out why they'd want to do such a thing, and help them choose not to do it (the education/treatment approach), instead of forcing them underground to do it, while putting shitloads of people in jail to child molesters. Or killing puppies. We do, at some point, as supposedly civiled human beings, get to decide that some things are wrong. Nanny-State mentality, indeed. Is that the Libertarian approach to everything? And you are correct, I guess I am not a Libertarian.

I knew that the way I phrased that, as you put it, 'NIMBY' part could be taken the wrong way, but believe me, that is hardly what I meant. I think that drug use and all its resulting ills are a scourge on our society as a whole, and I think that's kind of a cheap shot on your part to accuse me of that.

You want heartrending? My in-laws were both killed in a fiery crash by a convicted felon (drug charge) truck driver. How's that for disingenuous?

There's my cheap shot. Now we're even.

3/28/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

All right, folks. If I catch any of you throwing around "niggers" and "white trash" again, I'm going to print out this post a hundred times and roll those hundred sheets into a log and beat you with it.

In case you don't get my point, let me make it clear. If you want people to be on your side, don't go throwing around words you know they find appalling and offensive.

Yes, we play rough. Let's be careful not to hurt folks in the audience.

3/28/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

My in-laws were both killed in a fiery crash by a convicted felon (drug charge) truck driver.

Was the driver on drugs at the time of the accident? If not, I don't see the connection, unless you feel that he should have never been let out of prison from the drug charge, or never allowed to drive again.
If he was on drugs, there are already laws against DUI, whatever the substance.


a good percentage of the murders and shootings in this country seem to be related somehow to gangs, and gangs (all kinds of gangs, not just black gangs) run drugs

You mean like organized crime during prohibition?

And when all the profits from bootlegging were taken away by making booze legal, the gangs had to move on (and take their violence) to what was still illegal and profitable, drugs.

3/28/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

And you claim 'the majority of people in prison for drugs are there for non-violent drug offenses?' For what, selling pot to college kids? And they're doing hard time?

Yes. Posession of ANY trace of cocaine, heroin, extacy, LCD, mushrooms, or any of a bunch of other drugs, is a felony with minimum prison terms of 5 years. That includes dust, residue, etc.

3/28/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

Was the driver on drugs at the time of the accident?

Well, I guess we'll never know, because by the time they got around to the driver, after traffic on the highway had been closed for 4 hours after the crash, he was probably clean. The man should never have never been allowed to drive or even have gotten a license again, from what we learned afterwards. It was part of his conditions for release and parole, as it had something to do with why he did time in the first place. But thanks for asking.

And the Prohibition thing is really a tired argument and/or comparison, always, because alcohol was legal, and then it wasn't (for political reasons), and then it was again. Do you really want to try that scenario out with cocaine and see where it goes?

3/28/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Cocaine was also legal and then was not. I'd be plenty willing to try legalizing it over the current clusterfuck of a policy we have going on.

So you don't even know that the accident had anything to do with drugs? The guy had a prior drug conviction, then he got into a car accident.

The man shouldn't have had a license. OK. No argument here. Do you want to talk about stronger enforcement of traffic laws? I thought we were talking about legalizing drugs.

Bravo, for your ability to avoid every single point made in opposition to your view.

Relying on emotionally charged, anecdotal evidence as a way to avoid logic, is also a tired technique.

3/28/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

Gee, and here I thought I kind of had some sort of answer to most 'every single point made in opposition to (my) view.'

And 'emotionally charged' and 'anecdotal?' Nice. Pray that something so 'anecdotal' doesn't happen to you some day. Ooops, there I go again! Being so 'emotionally charged' and all.

And for the record, it would be 'Brava,' because I am a female.

3/28/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

I never said it didn't. I just don't pull it out to argue a point.

3/28/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Bridgett:

While "(g)un ownership...has long been a right jealously guarded by white men (especially poor white men) as a signifier of their race and masculinity that gave them superior rights in the political arena," the overwhelming majority of us no longer "jealously guard" that right against other races, or even the opposite gender. We now realize that there is a concerted effort to disarm everyone who does not draw a government paycheck, and that is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

We're happy when any law-abiding citizen makes the decision to be a responsible gun owner.

In fact, we're actively recruiting.

3/28/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Obviously, I'm on the opposite side of Peg in this debate, but I'm curious. Why doesn't her anecdotal experience count? What's wrong with her being emotionally invested in the debate?

I mean, what I'm saying is that there are x number of people who are going to do drugs no matter what we do to stop them and, as long as drugs are illegal, there will be y number of people who will turn to a life of crime to supply those x number of people with drugs. So, I'm saying, if we legalize drugs, we will reduce crime because everyone in the "y" group will be out of a job.

Now, Peg, I could be misunderstanding your position, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you think that keeping drugs illegal actually dissuades some people from doing drugs--that it's not really x number of people but x+z (with z being the people who are too afraid to do them now because they're illegal). And so, even if we reduce some kinds of problems--the problems created by the y folks--we'll still have problems with the x folks and new problems with the z folks.

I'm saying that we have to judge whether the benefits of getting rid of y are greater than the problems associated with x & z. But saying that we just have to accept that some people are going to ruin their lives and in ways that can be especially devistating to the people dependent on them is kind of gross.

I think it's our only real option, since what we've been doing isn't working. But it's not without its alarming grossness.

3/28/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger W said...

Okay, lemme start off by saying, Church Secretary, that NIMBY thing was the single lowest, most disgusting argument I've witnessed in very long time. When does not wanting a crminal activity to spread turn into condoning it so long as it happens to 'lesser' people. Now I feel better to have gotten that out of my system.

If your 19-year-old wants cocaine, he's going to find it.
That's not necessarily true. I've always heard that you can't theft proof your house or car. The idea of security is to make it hard enough to make the thief decide it isn't worth the trouble. Same thing applies here. If it's hard to get coccaine, then lots of people will decide it isn't worth the trouble and just grab a carton of cigs instead.

Reading all of this at once has been interesting. First we started off with 'alcohol causes violence, but it's legal, so we should legalize drugs'. Then we got into 'when alcohol became legal all that violence went away'. I realize that different people are making those points, but we are all talking about the same thing here.

What I'm saying is, there's no gangs running bathtub gin anymore, but there's still an awful lot of alcohol related violence. And it would be the same for drugs. Now you can make the argument that the net result will still be better, but that's one of those things we wouldn't know until we tried. And it's easier to keep the tiger in the cage than it is to get him back in once he's been let out.

But arresting folks for using and selling them has made little difference in their popularity,
Sorry B, I don't buy that. I think there are quite a few people who don't try it because it's illegal or hard to get. If it was legal, then a lot more people would. And with the addictive qualities of some of substances, they'd be hooked before they realized it.

Like I was saying earlier, legalizing wouldn't make the violence go away, it would just change the character of it. Instead of hearing about deaths in a drug deal gone bad, we'd hear about some guy on crack out in Franklin getting pissed because his neighbors dog was barking too much and going over and killing them all. Or some 16 year olds shooting up before the homecoming game and deciding it would be fun to beat the hell out of the other teams cheerleading squad.

And as stupid as it is, Tennessee proves it doesn't have to be legal to be taxed. Our state government is busy making the lives of drug offenders even more miserable by taking their cars for not paying taxes on their drugs, while they're in court trying to stay out of jail for even possessing something they didn't pay taxes on.

3/29/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Church Secretary said...

Aunt B:
I threw down the "niggers" and "white trash" language in the spirit of Jim Goad, not in the spirit of offending the mentioned groups (I am, in sometimes circuitous ways, a member of both groups; so there). I just saw a bit of the "Not In My Back Yard" mentality, and that, to me, usually means "it's okay if it happens to those people, but it isn't supposed to happen here."
That mentality has been used to justify massive inequity in our criminal justice system, especially in drug interdiction and incarceration (I also believe that inequity only helps keep the drug trade booming, but that's just me).
That said, if the harsh terms offend, I apologize, and I will desist and return to the polite and the vague.

To Exador: I can dig it, comrade. Also, marijuana was outlawed after some heavy lobbying by the oil companies. Early in the 20th century, hemp was still being considered for use as a highly versatile industrial raw material. Unfortunately, petroleum (see: plastics) was also being developed for some of the same uses. Thanks to decades of exponential growth in the use of fossil fuels up to that point, the oil barons had more clout than the hemp farmers. The oil barons' lackeys in Congress and in the press managed to drum up public fear of marijuana (a related, but different crop) and lump hemp into the legal prohibitions.

Such is the history of our "war on drugs."

Aunt B.:
And so, even if we reduce some kinds of problems--the problems created by the y folks--we'll still have problems with the x folks and new problems with the z folks.

Word up. This brings me back to my point about the, um, darker and poorer people. The drug war is a political game. It pits the x's against the y's and the z's, and the only ones who win are the drug importers, the prison profiteers, and the fear-mongering, race-baiting politicians. Unfortunately, as long as the drug problem is framed as a poor and minority problem, many 'decent,' middle-class folk will feel comfortable seeing it as a 'war' to be fought on 'those people's' turf. In the end, though, we all lose.

And one more thing about Prohibition: do we not all know that this is how organized crime got its legs in this country? If you make something widely popular (and highly addictive) illegal, it isn't the Little Sisters of the Poor who are going to handle the distribution of it.

Kevin: I don't like guns. Guns terrify me. But, sir, there will likely soon be one more U.S. citizen with a license to own and operate guns. See this rambling tale for more on that.

3/29/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Church Secretary said...

that NIMBY thing was the single lowest, most disgusting argument I've witnessed in very long time. When does not wanting a crminal activity to spread turn into condoning it so long as it happens to 'lesser' people.

Methinks thou doth protest too much, W. I'll read that as a ringing endorsement. As I've said before, if we view it as a problem for "those people" (as we have) we'll see fit to approve of draconian measures that don't actually help anyone, but deepen the harm to the communities upon which they are inflicted.

If it's hard to get coccaine, then lots of people will decide it isn't worth the trouble and just grab a carton of cigs instead.


As an EMS responder, W, I can tell you that people don't choose cigarettes when they have problems getting cocaine. If they really want to tune out, they'll find heroin, crystal meth, oxycontin, or whatever else they can get their hands on. They might puff a few squares on top of that, but let's not be comically naive here. Drug addiction isn't fashion, it is a physically and psychologically debilitating sickness. Sure, it is self-inflicted, but it is a sickness nonetheless. And once people are hooked, they won't settle for Kools. The idea that illegality keeps people from trying or using drugs is wishful thinking that is directly refuted by both our exploding prison population and increasing rates of drug abuse and addiction.

Instead of hearing about deaths in a drug deal gone bad, we'd hear about some guy on crack out in Franklin getting pissed because his neighbors dog was barking too much and going over and killing them all.

This sort of thing does happen (more often under the influence of alcohol if anything, I'll wager), but we have laws against people shooting their neighbors (sober or not). Those might be a lot easier to enforce if the cops weren't busy dodging drug-gang crossfire. I must add, too, that all but one of the dozen or so gunshot victims I've seen (suicides not included) were killed as a result of drug/gang violence.

Our state government is busy making the lives of drug offenders even more miserable by taking their cars for not paying taxes on their drugs...

Stopped your drug trade cold, this has? Or are they satisfied with making more of 'those people' miserable? That does seems to attract a lot of votes, but I think it is time we all grew up and found a better way.

3/29/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm not sure that "Jon"'s Ayn Rand "quote" was actually a quote. I'm fairly certain it was a paraphrasing, and not necessarily a precise one at that. You might want to check into that...

3/29/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

I plucked it from another website (which did claim to be quoting) after googling for the part of it I remembered. It sounds the way I remember it and I have no reason to doubt its accuracy, but inaccuracy is certainly possible, I didn't double check.

3/29/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

What?! You can't count on the internet for accuracy?

3/29/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Mark:

Jon's quote from Atlas Shrugged is verbatim accurate. I read that piece of dreck once, and still have a copy. (Rand was a terrible fiction writer, but an interesting philosopher.)

3/30/2006 11:26:00 AM  

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