Friday, October 31, 2008

Say, that's a good question...


District Attorney Daniel F. Conley confesses to taking a bong hit in his college days. DA Gerry Leone admits he “tried it once” as a collegian. DA Michael O’keefe won’t out himself beyond a typical lawyer-like circumlocution that he “did a lot of things that were unwise, unhealthy and illegal” as a youth.
So where do these pot puffing prosecutors stand on decriminalization?
Here’s a hint: all quotes in this report come from a Boston Globe article titled “DAs fight bid to ease penalty for marijuana.”
So how does this work? If marijuana is so bad why didn’t these former potheads end up as heroin hacks and crack slackers today, punching out grandma for her bingo money so they can shoot up and zone out? Marijuana, back in their college days, was known by hardcore drug warriors as a “gateway drug.” One whiff of Mary Jane and you were trapped in the ever escalating spiral of addiction, running from drug to ever harder drug in the all consuming pursuit of staying high.
But these former drug abusers (there is no “user” in the Drug War Dictionary, only “abuser”) actually graduated college. Went to law school. Passed their bar exams. Worked their way up to district attorneys.
So why is pot okay for them but not for you?

Good question. I'd love to see some enterprising journalist in Boston ask them that question, and why lowering the penalty for possession of marijuana is such a bad thing. I am the furthest thing from a stoner, but there are a hell of a lot worse things than certain currently illegal drugs being legalized, as Milton Friedman so astutely pointed out to Bush drug czar William Bennett. Speaking of Mr. Bennett, it should be noted that he also championed the semiautomatic rifle ban later signed into law by President Clinton — no doubt, he argued for the ban as a necessary measure to quell the violence in the inner city fueled by the illegal drug trade. Which brings me to another argument.
I know I am far from the first one to point this out, but it can't be said enough — As long as you have a War On Drugs, you will have a War On Guns to go with it. (Interestingly enough, even the socialists on the NYT editorial board have this simple truth figured out, as you'll see if you click on a certain link brought up by the above Google search.) Because as long as these drugs are illegal, there will be a black market for them, with ionospheric prices and stratospheric profits. And what comes with black markets? Turf wars. And what are these turf wars fought with? Guns. In fact, as long as you have a War On Drugs, it is going to be used as cover for, or folded into, the War On Guns. (Incidentally, heroin from Marseilles was a problem? Marseilles, as in the city in southern France, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea? Wow, outlawing heroin in the United States — you know, the country clear across the damn Atlantic Ocean — worked quite well, didn't it?) It really is that simple. No one will get any argument from me that drugs are bad. Hell, just look at the effects of alcohol and tobacco on Americans — drugs that, I might add, are completely legal. One would think we learned our lesson with Prohibition, but apparently not.
But sooner or later, if there's any hope for liberty, we're going to have to re-think the whole War On Some Drugs thing. No doubt there would be those who would take said drugs and pay with their lives, just as many do with alcohol and tobacco, but at some point one must ask, as Patrick Henry did once upon a time, " Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
(h/t David Codrea, who observes, "Funny, how they get a power fix, and yesterday's liberal-minded become today's blue-nosed puritan fascists." Indeed...)