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Reaching the Prohibition Believers

A very good post by David Bratzer at the LEAP blog: Black police officers? You can’t talk about them here

Definitely worth reading.

I’d like to focus on one part of that post, a response David once got from “Inspector Leviathan Hobbes,” the pseudonym for the founder of the Thinking Police Blog.

It’s impressive.

Not only have I been reading, but I’ve been thinking. It’s difficult as a police officer to agree with the legalisation and regulation of drugs. Why? It’s because we see the evil ruination that it has upon addicts. Not only that, but those who are the real dealers, the Mister Bigs, are extremely difficult to bring to justice. Add to this the consequential victims, the ones who have their property stolen to fund habits, and it seems difficult to say to all of them that what LEAP proposes is the way forward. However, after nigh on 20 years of reading philosophy, I’ve fallen foul of the Platonic adage I swore I never would – ‘an expert is someone who knows nothing at all.’

What I mean by this is, just because as police officers or MOPs we see the full impact that drugs misuse has on the wider community, not only on the user themself – and because we know the law inside and out regarding drugs – we can sometimes become blind to the alternatives. Just because the law and societal opinions have been the same throughout the lives of almost all of us, it doesn’t mean it’s right. It doesn’t mean the law was devised because it works. Sometimes it’s wrong. I can point to many examples, as I am sure many of you can. Think about it this way – if drugs WERE legalised and regulated, the Mister Bigs would suffer – the ones who deserve to suffer. Prostitution, a drug-reliant trade, I’m guessing would halve at the very least, as would most ascquisitive crime. You can’t get away from the fact that the majority of acquisitive crime is committed by habitual drug users. Yes, there are issues around the practicalities of this proposal, but they’re not unachievable in the overall aim.

To have someone see the light like that is a beautiful thing.

And it’s also a point that we who are in drug policy reform need to remember…

Not everybody knows, or has been able to absorb, what we know — that which gives us the certainty of our convictions regarding legalization.

We understand that to a certain extent. We understand, for example, that there’s a vast part of the general public that has been propagandized for so long and have not been well exposed to the truth that it’s going to take a fair amount of education and time to get them on board.

And then we know that there’s another group of opponents who will never be interested in reform, either because they are venal and profit from the war on drugs, or because they are sadomoralists. We can write them off.

We have to be more aware of a third category — those immersed in the drug transaction world whose experience has been so skewed that they are already certain that they know the full truth, and are just unable to open up that tiny bit to absorb the legalization message. They’re a hard nut to crack, and tend to be in areas like law enforcement and treatment (and sometimes religion), where they can easily be mistaken for profiteers or sadomoralists.

These people fervently believe in the rightness of the drug war because they have been overwhelmed by the wrongness of the drug world. Ironically, they are so close to it that they are unable to step back and see that their drug war has caused the problems that they want to solve.

But just like with Inspector Hobbes, it is possible to crack that nut, and when you do, you’ll probably have a strong ally. This is another reason why groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are so critical to our effort.

My dad is a retired minister and was very supportive of the war on drugs (he had seen the devastation of addicts in his ministry). I helped him learn why the war on drugs wasn’t the answer, and now every time I visit him, he asks me how long it’s going to be before I succeed in getting rid of this war on drugs!

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10 comments to Reaching the Prohibition Believers

  • WOODBUTCHER

    What i have never under stood about the cop mentality towards addicts is how they can claim that addicts are all stealing to support their habits.I know there are many who do steal prostitute and deal to get what they need. But after 30 + yrs of opiate dependency the last [12 in a methadone program] i can honestly say most of the addicts and users i know work for a living and support their habits through their jobs not by purse snatchings and strong arm robberys .It is refreashing though to see that at least some cops are beginning to see the error of their ways and realizing that Harm reduction and drug habit maintnence is the route to take .A 200$ a day heroin habit is easily afforded by any one who has prescription for 3-4 dollars of morphine a day from the local pharmacy. so why are we still allowing a very few at the top to profit off the misery of the many at the other end of the spectrum of drug use and sales ? This is not even taking into consideration all the innocent people murdered by police raids when they get the wrong address which happens all the time now . How many more people have to be slaughtered in thier own homes by paramilitary equipped police raiding the wrong address and then finding out that they where actually only looking for some one that sold 1 or 2 dime bags of weed to a snitch or some low life narcotics officer and the cops make them out to be some kind of king pin becuase they where dealing a few dime bags a couple times a week to their freinds.

  • malcolmkyle

    No more pussy-footing though!

    Why on earth does anyone think it’s acceptable to want to control certain behaviors, such as the bedroom habits or choice of poison of fully grown adults? Isn’t it high time we evolved enough to get past this crap? Debating whether a particular drug is harmless or not is missing the whole point. are drugs dangerous? I simply don’t care. If another adult wants to destroy their lives with drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, heroin or meth thats their business, not anybody else’s. Their lives aren’t ours to direct. Surely we need to accept, that the only way to truly be free, is that you agree, in return, to allow other people to be free, even if it offends your personal sensibilities. What’s more; if it’s not directly hurting you and you forbid it, then you can be sure that it will create unforeseen circumstances, which WILL have an adverse affect on YOUR wellbeing! — Actually, a large proportion of those arising circumstances may not come as such a surprise to those of us who are capable of paying due attention to historical precedent.

    If you support prohibition then you’re not only a black market profiteer, a sadomoralist. a socialist or a fake-conservative, you’ve also helped trigger the worst crime wave in this planet’s history.

    If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

  • darkcycle

    The wall is cracking, no doubt about it. Mostly due to the escalation of violence that followed Mexico’s escalation of the drug war. The U.S. made a very high profile effort to encourage this new Mexican regime, and the immigration issue, much in the news, is inextricably linked. People have been inadvertantly awakened to the fact that if drugs aren’t criminalized, criminals can’t control their trade.
    The problem is that the media carefully washes (as best they can) any anti-prohibition message from their coverage. Look at Hempfest, this weekend in Seattle. Seafair (a celebration sponsored by business) get’s wall-to-wall coverage on local T.V. So a celebration that draws a quarter of a million people into a tiny, three mile section of waterfront, and is the largest festival of it’s kind anywhere in the world gets coverage too, right? Nope. Two twenty-four hour news cycles and no mention anywhere, anytime. If you didn’t already know about it you would be left completely unaware of it’s existance.
    Control the media, control the message, control the sheep.

  • malcolmkyle

    And a little re-education for our dear comrades on the other side of the hemp curtain
    http://www.mn.ru/society/20100823/188000664.html

  • claygooding

    Malcolm,it is too our shame that America’s insanity has effected every country and it’s people around the globe.
    The sad part is that after we take our right to cannabis
    back from our government,some countries where freedom of speech and individual rights are not part of their society will be caught up in the insanity indefinitely.

  • darkcycle

    Got that right, Clay. Anywhere the leaders feel they need this cudgel to control the population, the drug war will persist. Just as many contries are throwing off the yoke now though. Look to Spain and Portugal.
    More troubling than reasuring is the expansion of the US Drug War to Costa Rica. It may just be coincidence that this comes at a time when the disparity between the rich and the poor in that country is growing at an unprecetented rate. Although I think not, because in traditionaly liberal (some would say sociaist) leaning Costa Rica, this growing gap has already caused some unrest.
    Drug wars are just a great excuse to militarize a country’s police force and crack down on civil liberties. Costa Rica has had no standing army for decades. The people don’t want one. But they do have a police force though. An efficient and mostly uncorrupt and very fair one. With this new expansion of the drug war….look to both of those conditions to change soon.
    I spent a year there in ’79 and had hoped to buy some property there soon, to vacation and maybe spend part of my retirement. This makes me sick to my stomach, and I will not be able to vote for that Obama guy again. No way, this was unforgiveable. Just sickening.

  • malcolmkyle

    Some great comments going down over here at the UK Guardian: http://tinyurl.com/378rxwp

  • For personal reasons I’ll be visiting CA more often in the months ahead… well, I’ve challenged our *cough* friend Linda “it’s a scam people!” Taylor to a public debate:

    the drug war debate challenge… Activist1 vs ae?

    Which of course I’ll be more than glad to do. I suspect tho’ that Ms Taylor is all hot air and no substance and that no such debate will occur. What it has done tho’ is give another big club for fellow reformers at the Hive to beat her over the head with – which they are doing every time she posts. Not that it matters, but heck, I’m fulfilling one of my unspoken obligations (and not a bad bumper sticker) – have you kicked a prohibitionist today?

  • claygooding

    Get her Allen,if it is to be cam cast,I will watch.

  • claygooding

    Had to steal this from your link:

    “There’s an immense divide between the practice of assailing those who disagree with your stance with your standard puerile propagandistic monoconceptual drivel, personal attacks and typical anecdotal testimonials provided by those such as yourself, versus intelligent insights derived through historically factual evidence and facts garnered through the use of the scientifically accepted methods of investigation”. FWright