Pubdate: Sat, 30 Oct 2010
Source: Burnaby Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Alan Randell
Author: Alan Randell
Award: With this published letter Alan Randell receives the MAP
Published Letters Gold Award for 500 published letters
DRUG PROHIBITION PART OF PROBLEM
Re: No easy answers to gang violence, Burnaby NOW, Oct. 20.
Why do we continue to ban certain drugs when it is crystal clear to
all but the most stubborn drug war warriors that not only prohibition
doesn’t work but it causes even more harm – including, of course,
gang violence – than if the users were left alone.
Here are some of the reasons:
. Politicians feel they need scapegoats:
Human beings are suspicious of strangers or those who are different.
Thousands of years ago, such feelings may have been a necessary
factor in survival, but in the modern world, vestiges of this feeling
still remain and we are all susceptible to urgings from our leaders
that this or that minority is a deadly threat to society.
The “good” citizens of Salem hanged innocent “witches.” Hitler
consolidated his power by urging the majority to hate the Jews. Our
present political leadership is merely goose-stepping in Hitler’s
path by distracting the majority away from more serious problems by
demonizing a vulnerable minority, those who use and/or sell certain
drugs. Another advantage for the politicians in banning drugs of
course is that such a strategy calls for bigger and more powerful governments.
. The media needs scapegoats too:
Aside from a few token articles, the media supports any program that
results in people being punished by the law because that is what
(they think) sells newspapers and increases TV ratings.
And like the politicians, editors and publishers just love a law that
enables them to work themselves into a rage about how society is
going to hell in a hand basket because of a few rotten eggs that
should be thrown into jail forthwith and the key thrown away.
Prohibition is perfect for this practice because “it is for the children.”
. Drug users are a minority:
The prohibition of alcohol both in Canada and in the U.S., like all
prohibitions, failed to achieve the hoped for results, but, because
drinkers were the majority, politicians listened and acted to abolish it.
Because the number of marijuana users is increasing, that drug may
well be legalized before long, but the users and sellers of other
illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine will have to wait a little
while longer until their drug is legalized.
Once marijuana is legalized and it no longer possesses the lure of
the forbidden fruit, you can be sure the popularity of another
illegal drug will skyrocket until that drug becomes favoured by the
majority and is legalized and the whole cycle begins again.
. The police favour prohibition:
This is a no brainer, of course. Drug prohibition is the greatest
police employment booster ever.
Alan Randell, Victoria