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May 2010
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Prohibition Kills

bullet image Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton:

“I hate the Internet”

bullet image Radley Balko notes that referring to forced entry SWAT raids as “militarization” may be an insult to… the military.

bullet image Remember the botched drug raid that sent the old lady to the hospital with a heart attack? Police say it wasn’t a botched raid — that they merely knocked on her door, invited themselves inside to ask her some questions, and rendered assistance when she fell ill.

Police have confirmed that Pruett has no connection or relationship of any kind to Washington.

Dodd said Pruett’s home was never part of the drug investigation, but was on the warrant because the DEA, which was in charge, had obtained information leading agents to believe Washington lived at the address.

“We were there to serve an arrest warrant. While we were there, she had a heart attack. We rendered aid,” Dodd said.

So… 12 police surrounded a home because the DEA thought a bad guy lived there, even though the home was never part of the investigation, and the bad guy had no connection to the lady who lived there. Nope. Not botched at all.

bullet image Why Africans are Dying for a Drink

A combination of bad policies and the lack of legally allowed local alcoholic drinks in large parts of Africa has caused situations where imported taxed alcohol is so expensive that moonshine stills are proliferating — many of them causing blindness and death.

Repealing the chang’aa ban has also found strong support in the National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA). “If the ban on chang’aa is left to continue, people will continue to die because no one knows exactly what the chang’aa they are drinking is made of,” said NACADA’s head, Jennifer Kimani. “The Government cannot control standards for something that is illegal.”

Sound familiar?

bullet image Speaking of prohibition, Mike Meno at MPP notes that the Drug Czar is still having problems with big words:

The drug czar chuckles. “No,” he says, “we’re not exploring prohibition.”

Um… then what are you doing with that $15.5 billion? Office parties?

bullet image Moronic columnist of the day: Michael Coren in the Toronto Sun with Why they call it dope

Make silly jokes about munchies, pompously explain why you smoke up with your kids because that’s the mature thing to do and even be self-righteous about the drug war, but don’t complain when cancer eats away your body and the children become moronic. Remember, it’s harmless and cool.

bullet image Jeralyn at TalkLeft: Why Don’t Marijuana Bills Progress Past Initial Committee Referrals?

Good question.

bullet image New Prime Minister David Cameron calls for more liberal drug laws.

David Cameron […] believes the UN should consider legalising drugs and wants hard-core addicts to be provided with legal “shooting galleries” and state-prescribed heroin.

He also supported calls for ecstasy to be downgraded from the class-A status it shares with cocaine and heroin and said it would be “disappointing” if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at.

Actually, that was five years ago. We’ll see what happens now that he’s Prime Minister. Still, it’s encouraging that he once expressed those views.

bullet image Drug War Chronicle – weekly update of drug war news and analysis from Stop the Drug War.org.

This is an open thread.

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18 comments to Prohibition Kills

  • Cannabis

    I read the Radley Balko piece yesterday and it stuck me that our police are more like mercenaries, and not the professional soldier definition, but more like the Blackwater/Xe kind with the lack of effective accountability.

  • Chris

    That “why they call it dope” article is terrible. The author made no effort to back up any of his bunk science, and all the commenters over there are following his foolish lead. I really hate it.

  • mikekinseattle

    Michael Cohen may be the moronic columnist of the year with that piece of reefer madness. I don’t think he said anything true at all in the article about cannabis.

  • mikekinseattle

    Sorry, the fellow’s name is Michael Coren, but he’s still an idiot.

  • divadab

    Michael Coren is a hack who couldn’t make it in the UK and was picked up by a Toronto tabloid paper. He’s an authoritarian, I suspect with some alcohol-related brain issues. Go on over and pile on – provide some balance for the authoritarian dull-normals who like his drivel.

  • claygooding

    Everyone that wants to stop this insanity needs to send their legislators Pete’s Drug war victims page.
    Add your own personal part of the message,be civil and don’t even mention how you think marijuana should be legalized or any such subject, but hit heavy on stopping the violence.
    Mine

    Dear Sir,
    No matter what your personal convictions or how much special interest groups pay you to support the War on Drugs,it ain’t worth it!
    The recent attempts to stop calling it the War on Drugs nor the ONDCP drug policy will stop the violence and killing of innocents:
    >paste drug war victims list w/ link<

    Only YOU can stop this.

    When I sent it,the pics did not show up but if the legislators get enough of them,they will check the link and see the pics.

  • claygooding

    PS: I also sent a copy to Rep Kucinich for his next budget hearing,so he could ask Kerli if there is any plan from the ONDCP to stop the killing of innocents.

  • claygooding

    David Cameron will probably be the same way Obama is,talking the talk but not walking the walk. It seems that
    when politicians finally reach a position to initiate change,the only thing they change is their mind.

  • denmark

    Good idea claygooding and that’s something I’ll definitely do.

    Here’s a gag me with a shovel story:

    Obama honors law officers killed in line of duty

    By CHRISTINE SIMMONS, Associated Press Writer Christine Simmons, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama paid tribute Saturday on behalf of a grateful nation to law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while safeguarding their communities.

    Americans “rely on a certain order in our lives, a certain sense of security that lets us sleep safely in our beds and walk around our neighborhoods free from fear and go about our daily lives without being the victims of crime. That sense of security doesn’t come on its own,” he said in brief remarks on the west front lawn of the Capitol during Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors officers killed in the line of duty.

    http://yhoo.it/cIdYB7


    Grateful nation? Please, don’t speak for me Obama.

  • claygooding

    Don’t be angry with the police,be angry with the policy makers that created this atmosphere. It is a case of the egg and the chicken,the lies were told,laws were enacted,then the money guys moved in and the rest is history.

  • Chris

    So I’m watching the new movie Kick-Ass right? The plot revolves entirely around drugs. The main character’s girlfriend works at a needle exchange clinic, and illegal drug use is widespread throughout the movie. The plot centers around a good cop who was framed as a drug dealer getting revenge against a major coke dealer and shows how they use violence in the business (cutting someone’s finger off, microwaving them, shooting random people). And all I can think about this how this movie wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for drug prohibition. These businessmen would have to resort to far more difficult ways of profiting from crime if drugs were legal. I really wish everyone else watching it would make this connection and realize that without drugs being illegal, there would be no reason for any of the events in this movie to happen. In a world with sane drug policies, this whole movie would seem absurd. Killing someone because they stole a kilo of cocaine should be as illogical as killing someone over a case of beer. But no, drugs and drug dealers are always the boogiemen in movies nowadays.

  • paul

    I really liked the comments on Radley’s site where the military complains about the term “police militarization” because it makes the military look bad! They almost never just barge into someone’s house, instead they call out for them to surrender, and 90% of armed and dangerous enemies just give up.

    The constant swat team raids serving search warrants are deeply unamerican. This isn’t what we are supposed to be like, this isn’t us. We are supposed to be the land of the FREE–it’s the story of America, it’s what makes us exceptional, it’s why the horrors of the police state can’t happen here.

    But it IS happening and has been happening for many years now. Most people know it is wrong, but our cowardly politicians and the damn yapping media can’t seem to see it. That swat video did more good in a single weekend than years of articles and statistics.

  • ezrydn

    From my time on the force, I can tell you that 90% of the new officers don’t start out with the bad attitude. It’s bred into them over time. Some of us draw the line. I did. And I know others that did. While it’s true that there are some baaaaad cops, I don’t think the majority are that way. They have a job to do and we have a job to do. In order to change law, we have to “flaunt” it. That puts us “in harm’s way.” And, we, in turn, get an attitude.

    It’s a circle that can only be broke with the elimination of Prohibition.

  • denmark

    Please don’t take my comments the wrong way concerning cops. There are good ones out there yes, but they have been forced to enforce Prohibition laws, and in my opinion it would not be a comfortable position to be in.

    And while I understand Obama has to show that he cares and is grateful I don’t want him “speaking” for me. His words are empty and meaningless to so many now that one can almost feel the wave of negativity surrounding him.

    Did get to talk with two sets of friends this weekend over the Missouri video. These are people that have “too much to lose” and basically shake their head yes for legalization but do nothing. After discussing the video, and both own dogs they love, I do believe I’ve gotten them finally turned around in that they have to take a more active role in ending Prohibition. We’ll see, as I’ll keep bringing it up and suggesting ways they can be pro active without putting their lives in danger.

  • ezrydn

    It’s not a drug bust, but, does it matter?

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/16/year-old-girl-shot-killed-police-search-detroit-home/

    A 7-year-old girl has died after being shot by a Detroit police officer who was searching a home for a homicide suspect.

  • Paul

    ezrydn:

    Of course cops do not start out with bad attitudes. Most of them are young and idealistic and want to be good cops helping the community.

    Cops respond to the attitudes of their bosses, who in turn respond to their own bosses in government and politics. The overall institution of policing needs a huge attitude adjustment, and that would come from an end to prohibition.

    There is a negative feedback cycle in police relationships with the public, where the cops run into bad, rude or difficult people every day, and the public similarly has negative encounters with the police, which makes both cops and public dislike each other more and more. The poison of prohibition fuels this dynamic.

    It is one thing to be feared, and quite another to be hated. Fear of cops is unavoidable because cops ARE our second most important crime deterrent (the first being morality/shame), but hate is to be avoided at all costs.

    These raids, and the jail cells packed with petty drug offenders generate hate of the worst kind. Every last drug prisoner, swat raid victim, forfeiture victim and their friends and family have very good reasons to despise cops and the system that hurt them. Roughly 1% of our population is in jail right now, and a much larger number have been in jail at some point, mostly for drugs, and overwhelmingly minority races. All of them hate cops and the system with a passion.

    Prohibition breeds internal enemies of society at an alarming pace. The vast majority of these people are powerless and will just quietly accept what has been done to them, but there are wolves among the sheep planning revenge. We make these enemies at our peril.

  • Bruce

    Hard to reverse course. Hard to top the above post. Right on Paul.