Jonathan Hari has a powerful OpEd in The Independent, the latest of the publications to do a series on the drug war and legalization.
To many people, the “war on drugs” sounds like a metaphor, like the “war on poverty”. It is not. It is being fought with tanks and sub-machine guns and hand grenades, funded in part by your taxes, and it has killed 28,000 people under the current Mexican President alone. The death toll in Tijuana â€“ one of the front lines of this war â€“ is now higher than in Baghdad. Yesterday, another pile of 72 mutilated corpses was found near San Fernando â€“ an event that no longer shocks the country. […]
Like Capone, the drug gangs love the policy of prohibition. Michael Levine, who had a 30-year career as one of America’s most distinguished federal narcotics agents, penetrated to the very top of the Mafia Cruenza, one of the biggest drug-dealing gangs in the world in the 1980s.
Its leaders told him “that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they actually counted on it… On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it ‘a sham put on the American tax-payer’ that was ‘actually good for business’.”
Strong stuff that we need to spread far and wide.
And it’s happening.
This article gets mentioned in a tweet by Glenn Greenwald and catches the attention of Peter Dao, who seems to have had little interest in legalization, but is now perhaps encouraged to look at it in a new light…
My objection to drug use is this: of the various ways we can trigger a transcendent state, imbibing or injecting a substance is more addictive and less durable than trance-inducing music, meditation, dance, nature, and physical activity.
This is a roundabout way of approaching that-which-cannot-be-discussed, namely, drug legalization. I raise it because of the unmitigated carnage in Mexico, where dumping severed heads on the side of a road or finding seventy bodies in a mine shaft is now seen as commonplace. It strikes me as an inevitable question: what would happen in Mexico if drugs were legal?
The legalization debate takes place largely out of the spotlight, since few politicians want to broach it. But there are thoughtful arguments on both sides and this one, linked to by Glenn Greenwald, is worth reading:
And so change happens.
Kaptinemo once wrote in comments:
…as a character from a favorite TV of mine show put it, â€œWhen the avalanche begins, itâ€™s too late for the pebbles to vote.â€ An â€˜avalancheâ€™ of drug law reform has just started, and is picking up speed.
Nice analogy. And I believe it’s true. This Independent OpEd is just one tiny part of a whole lot of avalanche that’s happening. No, we probably won’t be able to track any kind of specific success to this article. That’s not how it works.
There is rarely one event that causes a significant change in direction (especially when the drug war has had such momentum). It’s more like the butterfly effect â€” this OpEd will combine with other articles, which will combine with the Just Say Now campaign, and my Why Is Marijuana Illegal and Drug War Victims articles, and Malcolm Kyle’s tireless comments at online articles everywhere, and Kirk Muse’s letters in newspapers, and a speech made by a LEAP member at a Kiwanis Club, and a host of other things.
And at a dinner table somewhere, someone speaks up and says “You know, I was talking to someone at work today and he mentioned an article about the drug war that made a lot of sense. I hadn’t really thought about it that way before.”
And that’s how we win.