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DRUGS: Declare peace in drug war

Letter by Robert P. Sharpe, Arlington, Va. on Aug. 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm with 18 Comments »
August 2, 2011 2:03 pm

Regarding Leonard Pitts’ July 31 column, support for the drug war would end overnight if whites were incarcerated for drug offenses at the same rate as minorities. Racially disproportionate incarceration rates are not the only cause for alarm. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders with hardened criminals is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in anti-social behavior. 

It’s time to declare peace in the failed drug war and begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public health problem it is. Thanks to public education efforts, legal tobacco use has steadily declined, without any need to criminalize smokers. Mandatory minimum prison sentences, civil asset forfeiture, random drug testing and racial profiling are not the most cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices.

Statistics on race and prison:

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/64

(Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy.)

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Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. stetsonwalker says:

    In a recent visit to Seattle in the evening hours (Pike Place and downtown) I was propositioned to purchase drugs no less than a dozen times. Three of the offers came from caucasian people….

  2. geeterpontiac says:

    Sorry, disproportionate numbers just doesn’t tell the whole story or prove the primary source of the difference is racism.

    Generally speaking, the black community is in shambles and is worse off today than 50 years ago economically, and culturally. Out of wedlock children, single parent families, government subsidies that encourage the perpetuation of this nightmare point to a future of further disintegration, despair, and growing violence coming out of the black community.

    The presence of violence is a primary factor in the reason for higher incarceration rates for black Americans.

    Unless we are willing to evaluate honestly the negative results of liberal intervention via LBJ’s Great Society into our black communities and look for a better way to give them a hand up, the results will be the same.

  3. beerBoy says:

    In a recent visit to Seattle in the evening hours (Pike Place and downtown) I was propositioned to purchase drugs no less than a dozen times. Three of the offers came from caucasian people….

    And yet the proportion of caucasian people in jail doesn’t match your experience…..

  4. Or we could go after the head of the snake instead of its tail.

  5. “Unless we are willing to evaluate honestly the negative results of liberal intervention via LBJ’s Great Society into our black communities and look for a better way to give them a hand up, the results will be the same.”

    Poverty will always increase violence, drug abuse and other sociological problems.

    Give it time. The racial balance will increase due to our economic times. MIddle class caucasians will be next in line for incarceration.

    Meanwhile, incarceration of drug “offenders” is money in the bank for the private prison systems.

  6. For those that don’t think there is discrimination in drug convictions, take a look at the wife of John McCain who was guilty of theft of narcotics and never served a day in jail.

  7. BlaineCGarver says:

    In my opinion, the %%%% of the races jailed for drug crimes roughly equals the %%%% of gangs and individuals that use extreme violence to market their drugs. Well to do folks socializing and dealing pot and coke to each other are not in the habit of killing and stealing from each other.

  8. But the people who front the drugs to the well to do pushers are in the habit of killing not just the wayward dealer but the dealer’s family as well.

  9. geeterpontiac says:

    beerBoy said,

    “And yet the proportion of caucasian people in jail doesn’t match your experience”

    You are probably right bB, but as I stated above, the presence of violence is a huge factor in who goes to jail.

    As I also said above, the black community is in shambles. Black on black violence has risen dramatically and is still escalating.

    Simply sit down and read the news and look at the amount of violent crime and what racial groups they are coming out of and who they are targeting.

    http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williamns062211.php3

  10. A good general knows when the battle is lost, and the war on drugs has been a dismal failure. It is impossible to protect some people from themsleves.

    We may as well legalize all illegal drugs and take the profit out of the mix.

    I am not saying that people who use drugs and break the law should be excused. They shouldn’t be, but at the same time I think that many of the robberies and muggings that are going on now wouldn’t happen if drug users could go to the nearest drugstore and get their fixes for $5 or $10 rather than paying a street pusher $100.00 or more

    The two main groups who will keep drugs from becoming legal anytime soon are the church leaders and the politicians who won’t go on the record as being for someting that might cost them followers.

  11. geeterpontiac says:

    “Poverty will always increase violence, drug abuse and other sociological problems.”

    This is simply a liberal/progressive talking point and is incorrect.

    I was born in Seattle and raised in Rainer Valley. I lived two blocks from Franklin High School and graduated in 62.

    As a kid growing up, I ran around with white, black, and Asian kids. We roamed all the way from Franklin northward up to Garfield and played on the playfields at both and at those in between. We would go up at night and play baseball under the lights at Garfield sometimes. It was safe. There were no drugs, gangs, violence, etc to speak of and the black community was dirt poor for the most part and well below what we now call the poverty level.

    But, the black community had something else more important. They had dignity, self-respect, and they worked hard to hold their families together and to raise their children with two parents instead of one. And all this occurred in the face of racism and discrimination that was usually subvert, not overt. Although there were exceptions, black people usually got the dirtier jobs and/or those that didn’t pay as well. But, they never lost their dignity or self-respect in spite of their circumstances. They were a people worthy of admiration for the quality of their character in the face of hardship.

    Then, the government decided to help them.

    As a result, the Dems gained a voting bloc and the black community is in the shape it is in today. The Dems bought a constituency with billions of wasted taxpayer dollars and the life and soul of the black community.

    And liberal/progressives in both parties are still doing it today.

  12. Lyle, a good general only fights a battle when he knows he will win.

    Geeter,
    “Poverty will always increase violence, drug abuse and other sociological problem” Sounds more like a right wing talking point.

  13. geeterpontiac says:

    xring,

    That quote came from KARDNOS and I suspect he isn’t going to take kindly to you calling him a right-winger. :)

  14. beerBoy says:

    geeter – you are attempting to attribute causation to perceived correlation.

  15. geeterpontiac says:

    Just looking at the results of government intervention beerBoy.

  16. Again – perceived correlation does not equate to causation.

  17. geeterpontiac says:

    Unfortuantely, it isn’t just percieived correlation beerBoy.

    The reality is staring all of us in the face. Some of us are willing to recognize it, others can’t fess up to the truth. The implications are too uncomfortable for their political ideology.

    Until Liberals/Progressive face up to the destructive consequences of their failed social programs, there will be no hope of change.

  18. beerBoy says:

    Until conservatives fess up to the destructive consequences of their failed ideology of the Church of the Free Market and the unquestioning fealty to the Military/Industrial Complex, there is no hope of change.

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