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Two Problems, One Solution!

There’s one important thing missing from Obama’s proposal to curb gun violence — ending the “war on drugs”. A significant amount of gun violence (more than from school gun rampages, which get all the headlines) is a direct result of illegal drug trafficking, and the drug trade is a major contributor to the Nation’s homicide rate. Indeed, the peak in homicides during the mid-1980s corresponded directly to a peak in the drug trade, as drug dealers are among the people most likely to carry weapons.

Decriminalizing drugs would not only save lives, it would save the taxpayers lots of money. In fact, if the drug trade is legalized and taxed, it could even be a healthy source of government revenue, instead of funding illegal activities, guns, and gangs.

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14 Comments

  1. wildwood wrote:

    This would be too logical.

    I’ve thought about this over the years, (I’m old so I’ve had some time for this), and I think a big part of the problem is the economy of criminalization. When you think about the many thousands of people dependent upon there being laws against drug use it become apparent that many would be out of work if the laws are changed. The legal system, lawyers, judges, all the court employees, the prison system, the parole system, social workers, health care system, thousands of people whose jobs are affected and sustained by the illegal use of drugs. I have to wonder if a great deal of opposition to changing these laws is because many of the people supported by the illegal drug trade realize that it will hurt them financially if the rules change.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Ongoing Headache wrote:

    Don’t forget that due to the war on drugs…judges,court employees, the court system, the prison system, the parole system, and social workers are all over worked and backed up.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  3. Arthanyel wrote:

    Wildwood – I am sure that is one issue. But we still should decriminalize most if not all drugs. I still have personal issues with legalizing drugs that are physically dangerous and highly addictive, but that is only a few.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    I have some issues with legalization of drugs. In the 60s, I saw people destroy their minds and quit school, who would otherwise have become productive citizens.

    I do believe the laws should be more lax, though. But people do (or should) have a responsibility to be productive in society if they are able.

    Marijuana does cause brain damage when used to extreme. I saw it happen to my brother back in the 60s.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  5. wildwood wrote:

    Ongoing Headache, they are backed up but given the choice of being overworked and backed up most would go for that over no job at all, which is very likely in the long run if we make drugs legal. There would be much less need for legal defense, prosecutors, jails etc. That’s just the first tier of crimes. Just think of all the crimes committed because of people needing money to get their drugs. That would probably decrease to almost nothing as well. Another hit to the legal system.

    Arthanyel, Oh I agree that it needs to be done and I’ve thought that for many years. But I just think it will be much harder because of the “hidden” agenda that some might have for not doing it.

    I have no problem with decriminalizing most drugs. I think they should be doled out at clinics for free. Other than operating machinery or some other job that would put people in danger if they were working under the influence, they should be encouraged to hold down jobs. Drugs produced and doled out by the government would be much safer and thus less harmful than those sold on the streets. Healthcare costs would be less. Taxes would be paid by those who could finally hold down a job. Crime rates would drop.

    I have no idea of the age range that visit here but I think it was back in the early 90′s that 60 Minutes did a segment on the Liverpool Experiment. It was very enlightening and evidently scared the pro-criminalization crowd into a frenzy of denial. In fact, I read that the program, (providing drugs to addicts in a given area), which was by most accounts very successful, was defunded by the Brits in part because of the publicity from the 60 Minutes segment. Maybe someone who remembers the program in Liverpool better than I can comment on it and its success.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  6. no one in particular wrote:

    Maybe the gun manufacturers have become too big to fail. We have to allow anyone to make a purchase.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    I don’t buy the argument that because drugs have (even severe) negative consequences, they should be illegal. Lots of people are destroyed by drinking alcohol, not to mention killing other people when they drink and drive. Does that mean alcohol itself should be illegal and people who drink should be thrown in jail for years at a time?

    Likewise, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death — way worse than drugs. Shouldn’t we make automobiles illegal?

    People die from cigarettes, skydiving, mountain climbing, hiking, drowning in swimming pools, falling off ladders, and many other things. The answer is safety regulations, treatment, and education.

    This seems so obvious to me.

    And before anyone says anything, yes, I think drinking and driving should be very illegal — much stronger penalties even than we have now. Like, if you drink and drive, you have your driving license taken away for a year. If you drive anyway, without your license, you go to jail. I once visited some friends in another country, where people like to drink (a lot), but the penalties for drinking and driving were even more severe. But as a result, people figured out ways to go out and drink without driving. For my friends there, they would designate one person as the non-drinker for each party, and that person would go around and pick everyone up and take them home. They took turns and it worked well. Other people would take taxis or public transportation when they would be drinking. There won’t be good alternatives to drinking and driving until the penalties make it imperative for people to find and develop those alternatives.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  8. wildwood wrote:

    Iron knee that is most likely Norway. We were there about 30 some years ago and even then the laws were very severe. My husbands family loved their very expensive alcohol but no one drank and drove. There was always a designated driver. That’s the way it was. Everyone accepted it and did what was required.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Nope, not Norway. I decided to leave off the name of the country, because so many times people use that as an excuse to ignore an argument. Too many times I heard people dismiss good examples of universal health care systems by saying things like “we don’t want to be like those european socialists”.

    But Norway is another good example. When I’ve visited there it is interesting. Alcohol is so expensive that they don’t really drink socially. When they drink (and as you mentioned, they certainly do) they usually drink specifically to get drunk. I guess since they know they are going to get drunk, it makes sense to make sure they don’t have to drive.

    Friday, January 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    None of these massacres which occurred recently were because of illegal drug trafficking. The people may have been on illegal drugs, but the massacre wasn’t related to drug trafficking.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink
  11. Il-08 wrote:

    IK, obviously it must have been (ugh) France!

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    IL-08 — those darn surrendering socialist frogs? Naw, it wasn’t them either.

    EBDOUG, I wasn’t saying those massacres were due to drugs, just that those massacres, while getting lots of headlines, kill far far fewer people than die from gun violence associated with illegal drug trafficking.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  13. wildwood wrote:

    There was one of the morning talking head shows that used to have a segment where they showed the ones who had died in one of our recent wars during the previous week. Maybe some of our newscasts should do the same thing for everyone who has died of something other than natural causes during the last 24 hours. List them, show a photo if they have one, and list the cause of death. Perhaps for both drugs and guns, this would bring home the true cost of what we are doing and allowing to be done to other human beings. Not nearly as many read a newspaper any more and all these “little” deaths get mostly ignored in the rest of the press. It should not be that way. We should have it put in front of us on a regular basis.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  14. Austin 3:16 wrote:

    Hey Guys – why is it that other western nations that have similar laws on drugs don’t have the same levels of gun violence ?

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink