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Murder and Marijuana both start with the letter M

We’ve been subjected to some pretty extraordinary moronity in recent days.
Let’s start with Right Wing News’ John Hawkins writing in Human Events Online: In Defense of the Drug War. At first I was interested because I thought “Hey, maybe this will be an actual thoughtful attempt to be pro-drug war that will be interesting to debunk.” But no. Tired old fallacies and unsupported false assumptions.
And the kickers in the article that really make it not worth the bother…

  1. Hawkins refers to some specific data regarding alcohol prohibition, and uses as his source… a book by Ann Coulter. How stupid is that? That’s like me giving statistics on relative dependency rates of various drugs and quoting the characters that Cheech and Chong play in Up In Smoke as the source!
  2. Hawkins plays the “murder” card. In “rebutting” the legalizers’ call for not jailing so many people, he notes that we’re not going to win the war on murder, robbery and rape, either. This is that delightful combination of straw man, slippery slope, and reductio ad absurdum fallacies (which also occur elsewhere in Hawkins’ piece).

The murder nonsense also showed up in the Wichita Eagle, where there was an outstanding OpEd by Jack Cole of LEAP: War on drugs has been a whopper of a failure on Tuesday, which was followed by a “rebuttal” yesterday (Legalization would be a mistake) by U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren, who spews the same fallacious propaganda line:

Should we legalize murder because we’ve been fighting it since Cain killed Abel, yet murder persists? Should we decriminalize sexual assault, because the billions we have poured into eradicating it could have been better spent by treating the effects “as a medical problem”?

Now anybody who has at least a 12th grade education knows that this argument is intellectually dishonest, yet we continue to hear it from people who should know better. This leads me to believe that those who say it:

  1. Know better, but are willfully attempting to deceive the public, or
  2. Are so blinded by their hatred of drugs, drug users or the class/social status/political viewpoint/race of people who use drugs, that they are unable to see the faults in their own arguments.

Those in the first category I can do nothing about, other than hope that one day their fate will be that of the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
So let me try a simple exercise for those in the second category who are too blinded for their hatred for all things drug-related…
Imagine, if you will, that through some strange and irrational set of circumstances, the wearing of gloves on your hands has been made illegal (maybe it was to prevent those who had been masturbating from hiding the hair that grew on the palms of their hands — who knows why these laws get passed sometimes). Now in many parts of the country it gets cold, and people would wear gloves to stay warm regardless of the law, and some of them would get caught and put in jail. This had no real effect on the numbers of people wearing gloves (or masturbating, for that matter). So perhaps you suggested that wearing gloves should be made legal — that we should stop filling jails with people who were merely trying to keep their hands warm. But some ignorant moron says “Everyone knows we shouldn’t legalize murder, so we shouldn’t legalize glove-wearing either.”
Do you understand how stupid that sounds?
Now there are plenty of other differences between Murder and Marijuana, including the notion of victim, and there is also the factor to be considered of the actual effective purposes of, and reasons for, enforcement and incarceration (the discussion of which has been unfortunately AWOL in this country in recent years). But ultimately, those don’t really matter in this sense, because even the notion of analogizing the legalization of drugs and the legalization of murder is bereft of logic.
And as we speak of the lack of logic, let us now turn to one who should have excellent intellectual training. Someone who has gone to law school and become a Judge, and even teaches law and finance at a university. Someone like Timothy G. Hicks.
Timothy Hicks was the judge for a sordid case involving two men (Sibson and Weissert) who were involved in selling marijuana. Although the case had many complexities, apparently Weissert hired a couple of men to steal the drugs and money from Sibson, and in the process, Sibson was killed in his home. Anyone seeing this story would see a tale of murder and home invasion, resulting from criminal greed.
But not the Honorable Timothy G. Hicks. According to the Muskegon Chronicle:

Before sentencing Weissert, Hicks addressed what he called a series of “urban myths.”
“Urban myth number one” is that “drug use is a victimless crime,” Hicks said from the bench. “Here we have orphaned children, devastated families.”
Myth number two: ” ‘It’s only marijuana,’ ” Hicks said. “Marijuana is as evil as the rest of this stuff. … Marijuana indirectly caused all the carnage.” […]

Now fortunately Phillip Smith at Stop the Drug War has saved me the time of having to stoop to responding to this reprehensible sewage, and has already made many of the points that immediately jumped out in my mind…

The robbers went after the marijuana dealer because there were valuable items they could take. Would the judge have railed against alcohol if someone had been murdered in a liquor store robbery? […]
I wonder if the judge would call cold, hard cash “evil” because someone robbed an armored car to steal some. […]

I wouldn’t be surprised if he blamed a woman being attractive as a cause of her own rape. And you know, I’ve often heard that escaping criminals have committed murder to avoid being taken before a judge. Wouldn’t that make the judge indirectly to blame for the murder? (It makes as much logical non-sense as Hicks’ position). This man has no business practicing law or teaching students.
It bothers and disturbs me that I had to even write this post. And I find it somewhat ironic that those who write in favor of prohibition always seem not to have full mental acuity, and you find the drug legalizers appealing to intellectual reason and facts.
Marijuana. Murder. Not the same. One is the premeditated killing of another human being, and the other is a leafy plant.

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Update: If you really want to be depressed, check out some of the ignorant rantings in the massive comments section of Hawkins’ blog entry.
2nd Update: Several fiskings of the Hawkins nonsense — from the conservative xrlq: This Is Your Brain on Drug Wars. Any Questions?, from Liberty Papers: A Lame Defense of the Drug War, and from Walter in Denver Dumbest Thing I’ve Read Today.
On the other hand, RightLinx links approvingly to Hawkins, with a moronic addition:

If society feels that making a substance illegal is in its best interest, it should have the freedom to do so.

What a horrendous use of the word “freedom.”

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