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Looking for politicians willing to give us a net reduction in stupidity

Good article by Mike Krause, regarding Colorado Senate Bill 250 A Net Reduction in Drug War Stupidity. He details both the good and the bad in the bill.

It’s a shame that’s the best we can hope for from our leaders – a net decrease in stupidity – but that’s better than we’ve had for so many years, where the political impulse has been to double down.

Mike Krause also points out some of the important aspects of the drug war often neglected in political discussion:

Longer sentences for certain classes of crime are fine as a tool of incarceration and separation. But placing drug offenses, including sale and manufacture, in the same sentencing scheme as violent and property crimes is counter-productive, since incarceration does not affect the use or availability of drugs outside of prison. For example, imprison one serial burglar and there is one less burglar committing burglaries. There is not another burglar waiting to take over the newly vacant burglary territory. The same holds true for other predatory criminals. But the imprisonment of one drug dealer (or even an entire drug network) only temporarily disrupts the flow of illegal drugs. As soon as one supplier is gone, another quickly moves in to take his place.

It also consumes the criminal justice system’s most valuable resource; prison beds, distracting prisons from their primary mission of incapacitating violent and predatory criminals.

Ending “extraordinary risk” sentencing enhancements for drug offenses: One of the most irrational theories propping up the failed war on drugs is that illegal drug sales and use are inherently violent and constitute a threat to public safety, this despite the fact that the DOC lists all drug offenses as “non-violent.” Under current law, most manufacturing and sales drug offenses in Colorado are labeled as “extraordinary risk of harm to society” crimes, which automatically increase sentences in Colorado’s presumptive sentencing scheme. But in reality, much of the violence related to illegal drugs is due mostly to drug laws themselves. Violence from disputes between dealers (turf wars) is engendered by prohibition, just as alcohol prohibition caused violence in another era. Robberies and other crimes committed by drug users to support a drug habit are caused in part by the “risk premium” charged by drug dealers as part of their risk of going to prison.

The people are ready for reform. The politicians are cautiously dipping their toes into the waters of slightly less stupid.

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10 comments to Looking for politicians willing to give us a net reduction in stupidity

  • pt

    It may be the same language we’ve been repeating for year and years, but it still feels good every time someone spells it out in a public forum. 😀

  • curmudgeon

    Colorado has a lot of state representatives who will not be re-elected even if they avoid being recalled.

  • pfroehlich2004

    Crazy video of Rio police opening fire from a helicopter in the middle of a residential neighborhood to assassinate an alleged trafficker. Don’t speak Portuguese but people seem to be shocked: http://g1.globo.com/jornal-hoje/noticia/2013/05/acao-policial-em-favela-do-rj-e-investigada-pelo-ministerio-publico.html.

  • primus

    I recall when the cops turned the firehoses on blacks in the excited states, one politician said this was the best thing to happen for civil rights ever. Videos such as this and those of ‘no-knock’ warrant service where they shoot the dog, will do much the same thing for drug legalization. When the ‘ins’ find out that the cops are doing things like this, especially when they find out that the ‘ins’ can also be victimized by the cops, the end is nigh. I predict that with the publication of this video and others, drugs will be legal in Brazil within two years.

  • That’s good news from Colorado. In other good news Fox has canceled “Cops”. Good article on the pernicious influence these shows have on their viewers.

    Speaking with The American Conservative earlier this year, retired LAPD deputy chief Stephen Downing said of the show: “[T]hey show officers violating the Fourth Amendment routinely, manhandling people, not employing the escalation/de-escalation concepts of the use of force.”

    He continued: “The public is conditioned to believe that it is okay for our police to behave in this manner—they see it in fictional movies and television and they see it on COPS, so it must be okay—until they are on the receiving end and personally experience what it is like to be the victim of police misconduct.”
    [snip]
    The show’s legacy also includes the hyping of a stereotype that young Hispanic and black males ought to be viewed with suspicion. Unsurprisingly, a 2002 study found that COPS and other reality programs somehow improved the attitudes of whites and males towards the police, while worsening the attitudes among blacks. Upon hearing the news that Fox had canceled the show, activist group Color of Change applauded the decision as a knock against shows that make their bank “exploiting persistent dehumanizing stereotypes that marginalize Black Americans.”

    • claygooding

      You have to wonder who would put so many shows about cops on TV,especially shows that seem to be selling the successful investigation of all the crimes the on stage police manage to undertake while 90% of burglaries and violent crimes go unsolved,,prolly because the police are too busy watching hydroponic stores and smoking tomato leafs.

  • My theory is if a politician changes gears too fast and is deemed to be “smart”:

    – he risks making the other senators and representatives look bad
    – he (or she) might be held responsible for what they did before they got smart. That would mean having made mistakes and admitting to having been dumb, a luxury not many politicians can afford.

    Hence, a net reduction in stupidity looks good because you never have to stand out too far in an angry crowd.

    That’s about all the sense I can make out of this government. Gives one time to shift investments.

  • Another net reduction in stupidity?:
    Over-Criminalization Task Force In House Could Rethink Drug Laws http://tinyurl.com/buppppz

  • divadab

    i think the main issue making ending the drug war difficult is that politicians are vested in the status quo. Their allies and funders and efforts are devoted to maintaining the status quo. Because they are the main beneficiaries of the status quo.

    The only thing that will make change happen is to make change more profitable for politicians than maintaining the status quo. This is IMHO why I-502 passed – it dangled promises (mostly unrealistic pie in the sky stuff) of tax revenues galore from legalized cannabis.

    There is also an alternative — to punish the the politicians who won;t let go of the status quo by removing them and electing better. This is supposed to be a democracy, right?