Ferguson and the war on drugs

Connecting the dots…

In The New Republic: There Is Only One Real Way to Prevent Future Fergusons: End the War on Drugs by John McWhorter.

So, what will really make a difference? Really, only a continued pullback on the War on Drugs. Much of what creates the poisonous, vicious-cycle relationship between young black men and the police is that the War on Drugs brings cops into black neighborhoods to patrol for drug possession and sale. Without that policy—which would include that no one could make a living selling drugs—the entire structure supporting the notion of young black men as criminals would fall apart. White men with guns would encounter young black men much less often, and meanwhile society would offer young black men less opportunity to drift into embodying the stereotype in the first place.

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29 Responses to Ferguson and the war on drugs

  1. claygooding says:

    Either end the DEA/DOJ grants to law enforcement or make the grants for crimes that have victims such as murder,robbery,burglary,assault and fraud,,until you remove the “bait” from drug law enforcement it is only going to get worse.

    • B. Snow says:

      I saw at least one article and several sentiments & comments this week about this, And the most insightful one showed up in a couple places – But was simple enough that I saw it run thru the chyron bar on either CNN or MSNBC or *maybe Fox Business*?

      ‘Putting an End to Policing for Profit’ – because after decades if this they’ll surely try to keep getting their grubby hands on all that Byrne Grant Cash!

      They’ll start taking people in for Verbal Assault aka flippant remarks to Pigs (Uhm, I mean Cops – well no, how about or “Puhleaze Occifers”), they already do this really = they call it failure to follow commands or instructions.
      [I found some more on this “Failure to Following Commands” stuff – Like, Eric Holder telling a number of Cities they’re killing to many people. But, I also just realized roughly how long this tab/reply has been sitting here open for = I found the Next Thread about Ferguson and thought about putting this there instead but never did I got side-tracked, I gotta get a nap = I’ll finish digging that Justice Department laying the proverbial “smack-down” on Police Departments and sort it all out, and post up a good final draft in the more recent thread later tonight or so.]

      I seriously expect them to start trying to find poor Caucasian folks on the bad side of town and start stopping them for “Driving while White in a (not-really white) neighborhood”… and asking for ID’s with addresses to see if the people live there or ‘have a good reason to be there’…

      Yes, I’m cynical enough to believe that many Cops aren’t particularly racist (that they’re technically more prejudiced). And i have faith in their ability to change the Blacks being arrested 3.7 to 4 times as often for marijuana violations as there white counterparts.

      AKA = “Oh so, You say we’re disproportionately arresting too many blacks? Alrighty-then we can try to work on fixing that bit – we’ll start arresting a bunch more young and/or poor people of other races/ethnicities!”

      They’ll probably try to do this first off = right away, to get the ACLU and related groups up off their backs -(at least a little bit)- about their institutionalized racism.
      The justice department and state/local governments will have to put an End to Prisons existing as a “For-Profit Industry”, even if “privately run prisons” was meant to save tax payer’s money = that was a nifty idea but it came with unexpected consequences.

      I bet folks like Gary Johnson would likely admit that this is the case TODAY – if someone asked him in an interview (*hint, hint*).
      He was big on them as Governor in 90’s New Mexico = Mostly as a free-market small government “solution” to rising prison costs.
      BUT, I’m welling to bet a tidy sum that – He’d happily “eat crow” on that within 24-to-48 hours, *maybe 72 hrs* = tops. IDK how much ass he’d want to try and cover on that, or if he’d take the licks over his past position on that – and start out fresh! (Especially given his new – 1$ a year salaried ‘job’ and all.)

  2. Frank W. says:

    After the thoroughly impolite dust-up of Ferguson is ignored and forgotten, the MSM will go back to ignoring police murders and thievery, and the pundits can all return to the 2016 election.

  3. primus says:

    It is good to see the media showing these events through the lens of ‘drug prohibition caused this’. The more the public hears/reads/sees this connection, the more they will see prohibition in its true light; as a method of social control of the ‘not we’.

  4. When the profit margin is removed from drugs, that is when the excuses will end…of course, we have to take into account the HUGE amount of money laundering occurring in our banks.

    The “war on Drugs” is a cover for the massive money laundering, which is why the maniacs are holding on to their bogus “war” as tightly as they can.

  5. DonDig says:

    It gets back to the laws and ‘executive orders’ that created and enabled this prohibition. That framework must be disavowed and dismantled.
    Until that happens, we’ll keep getting Fergusoned…

  6. Russell Olausen says:

    Just what do you expect from people who have the power to make you dance to any collection of noise? A black ensemble with visiting card embossed with hot lead. Cultural dissidence to match their wheels display, on the roads. Secret pals all up and down the hierarchical ladder, wrapped with festive paper called constitution, bill of rights, et al. Come to the party,rumour has, the Dark Underbelly will play.

  7. Servetus says:

    The drug war adds a complementary effect to the racial intolerance witnessed in Fergusen. It’s a complicated relationship that provides the “institution” in institutionalized racism.

    For instance, one of the prohib’s favorite arguments involves the disproportionate number of liquor stores found in minority neighborhoods. It’s inferred that marijuana marketing will be conducted in the same way. Blame for the situation focuses exclusively on evil alcohol distributors who set up shop within neighborhoods deemed vulnerable to alcoholism and social disruption. As with all prohibitionist dribble, the truth lies elsewhere.

    City planning boards are responsible for locating liquor stores in poverty-ridden areas of cities and towns. Nothing so clearly demonstrates this fact than the city planners in Colorado who are now using zoning to restrict pot shops to these same low-income areas:

    DENVER, August 18, 2014 — Published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, the leading professional and academic planning resource, the study shows that government regulations will likely cause an inequitable distribution of marijuana business throughout the city. Though the impact of dispensaries to the neighborhoods in which they are located has yet to be understood, the research is clear that the majority of allowable land for marijuana business is in the city’s poorest and most ethnically and racially diverse areas.

    Witnessing the marijuana industry boom in Colorado, Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Planning and Design at the College of Architecture and Planning, and former graduate student Eric Ross conducted research to determine if government zoning regulations lead to inequality in the areas of the city where marijuana dispensaries are allowed to locate.

    “Though technically medical marijuana dispensaries provide a healthcare service, they have historically been required to adopt the same zoning restrictions as businesses that sell alcohol, pornography, and firearms,” said Németh. “Generally, stores that sell these types of ‘vices’ are prohibited from locating in residential or mixed-use neighborhoods and are pushed into much less affluent neighborhoods.

    Medical marijuana remains a vice restricted to the outer confines of social civility, although attitudes are changing. Which is why blaming Big Marijuana for vice-zoning in Colorado isn’t going to work. Big Marijuana doesn’t do zoning. Idiots do.

    • Uncle Albert's Nephew says:

      The argument about the “disproportionate” number of liquor stores in minority neighborhoods is one of my pet peeves. I once counted how many blocks it took me to find a liquor store in the Upper East Side in NYC. Along First Avenue in averaged about two blocks. In the “scary” parts of Brooklyn in was more like ten or more.

  8. Atrocity says:

    And right on schedule comes the “leak” that Brown was a pot smoker.

    • Tim says:

      So let me get this straight. Robin Williams’ tox test will take several weeks, but they already know Michael Brown had metabolites in his system?

  9. NorCalNative says:

    Pete, I consider you a Maestro of drug policy.

    The feeding frenzy and digestion by the pool-of-sharks here at the couch is always SUPREMELY enjoyable and fun to watch.

    Thank you for what you do.

    Collectively, we’re working to KNOCK DOWN THAT FIRST DOMINO (cannabis and drug legalization) and that has real and lasting potential for bringing back democracy.

    If we can sway congress on the War on Some Drugs, I’ll have a higher level of confidence in EVOLUTION’S “smart-ape” project and believe it will enable us to take on Big OIL and their damn investors who would kill us all just for short-term money.

    Congress loves money, and White Fear is a money maker.

  10. Jean Valjean says:

    More refer madness from Drug Free Florida Committee. Cannabis cookies will be used as a date rape drug.

    • allan says:

      LOL! Linda Taylor tried that one on me many years back. Paraphrasing here but this is the jist, “so Allan, you’ve never used pot to get an unwilling female so high she went to bed with you?” Something along those lines.

      Further proof of the old adage that cannabis causes the most harm in those that don’t consume it.

      My answer was a simple “bwahaha! Linda, pot doesn’t work that way and I never take a woman to bed that doesn’t want me in it. That doesn’t sound like fun.”

      They continue to ignore the booze soaked elephant in the room. Alcohol is the #1 date rape drug.

      • Jean Valjean says:

        or maybe she really believes that “white women will seek to have sex with negroes” after a puff….a fate worse than death to an impressionable southern gal, i wouldn’t wonder.

        • primus says:

          Wonder how many young white gals took their first hit of reefer, all the while hoping for just such an outcome? I have known gals who went out and got drunk just so they would be able to get all jiggy wid it, deny their inner slut and blame it on the booze.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Tell them that 3000 years ago the Egyptians treated hemorrhoids with cannabis infused suppositories. That usually shuts them up.

          Hey, maybe that’s the reason for that weird “walk like an Egyptian” thing?

          “All the cops in the donut shop say
          Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh” no doubt.

  11. DdC says:

    “Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
    x LAPD Chief Daryl Gates
    Father of SWAT Founder of DARE

    Daryl Gates was picked to be the chauffeur for Chief William H. Parker. During his lengthy tenure as chief, Parker greatly reformed and streamlined the LAPD, bringing in changes to stamp out corruption and improve efficiency. In general, Parker’s reforms had the effect of making LAPD a paramilitary body. To combat low-level corruption, one reform barred officers from having the same patrol area for more than 18 consecutive months.

    Gates is considered the father of SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), which established specialized units dealing with hostage rescue and extreme situations involving armed and dangerous suspects.

    Got SqWAT?

    Anaheim mayor demands federal investigation after cops kill two men in two days
    The mayor of Anaheim, California is asking for federal assistance in an investigation of the local police department after law enforcement officers shot and killed two men in separate incidents over the weekend.

    Anaheim police kill another man, cops filmed firing on women & children at protest

    85 shots: US cops use more ammo per man than Germans per year
    Eighty-five shots: That’s the total number of bullets German police used in all of 2011, Der Spiegel reports. But what does it say when US cops use as much ammo to bring down one man as German cops need to keep the peace nationwide?

    Police brutality story heats up: Anaheim PD faces evidence-buying claims
    Witnesses to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Anaheim, California say officers offered to buy up cell phone footage of the brutality that followed. The circumstances of the shooting are currently under investigation.

    SWAT tries to take down Internet meanie; raids grandma instead
    An Evansville, Indiana SWAT team recently attempted to execute a search warrant that was issued to make an example out of an anonymous Internet user who made malicious remarks on the Web. Instead, they destroyed the home of an innocent grandmother.

    Another drug war victim – Tarika Wilson
    On Friday, 26-year-old Tarika Wilson, single mother of six, who was shot twice by SWAT officers in her home and killed. Her one-year-old son was also shot as she held him and will survive. Two dogs were shot and one died.

    Kathryn Johnston: A Tragedy Destined To Happen
    “They fabricated all the right answers to persuade a magistrate to give them a no-knock search warrant. By 6 p.m., they had the legal document they needed to break into Kathryn Johnston’s house, and within 40 minutes they were prying off the burglar bars and using a ram to burst through the elderly woman’s front door. It took about two minutes to get inside, which gave Johnston time to retrieve her rusty .38 revolver. Tesler was at the back door when Junnier, Smith and the other narcotics officers crashed through the front. Johnston got off one shot, the bullet missing her target and hitting a porch roof. The three narcotics officers answered with 39 bullets.”

    Ganjawar Puppycide

    — just another in a long line of dead dogs resulting from a small marijuana bust.

    A few days ago, SWAT officers of the Fulton (Missouri) Police Department shot and killed a dog while serving a “narcotics” search warrant. The residents of the house asked if they could cage the dog. The officers denied the request, ordering that the dog to be chained to a tree. The dog got loose and was then shot eight times, the first six shots wounding the dog and the last two point-blank, shotgun blasts killing it. After finishing off the first dog, the officers first maced and then turned their guns on caged puppies only stopping when confronted by concerned neighbors.

  12. DdC says:

    The Militarization of the Police
    Has Produced a Murder Machine

    Cops Gone Wild

    Dumbest Police Chief in America … via @dailykos

    “Israelification” of US police state?
    Max Blumenthal, writing on al-Akhbar Dec. 2, uncovers some very ominous recent instances of coordination between Israeli and US police forces in the arts of domestic repression

  13. Ty Palmer says:

    Dedicated, long time reader via RSS. Thank you for the continual feeling of progress. The more of us who are “out” in a positive way, the faster the political change. Cheers!

  14. allan says:

    Incredibly missing from any MSM coverage I’ve seen on #Ferguson is connecting the WOD.

    Well… there’s a reason I laughed out loud when LEAP was formed. Standing together with cops was a foreign concept. Lordy was it foreign. Alien almost…

    And the rare pleasure it was working w/ them in the early days, talking to editors who never failed to ask “LEAP who? What?” And now we’ve got their voices hitting the MSM connecting the WOD to #Ferguson.

    Norm Stamper in Time:

    Militarizing Ferguson Cops With Riot Gear Is a Huge Mistake


    American policing, almost since its inception, has operated as a closed, paramilitary-bureaucratic institution. What we’re seeing on the streets of Ferguson is nothing new. We’ve seen it in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the police response to labor, antiwar, civil rights, and campus demonstrations. What’s new is just how militaristic everyday policing has become in the early years of the twenty-first century.

    But all is not lost. There are many ways to make police more responsible to the communities they serve. Let’s end the drug war that encourages the targeting of poor people, young people, people of color. Let’s flatten steep police hierarchies of power that discourage open and forthright communication within the ranks, and between the people and the police. Let’s invest civilian review boards with investigative and subpoena powers that allow them real oversight. Let’s insist on meaningful community representation in all aspects of police policy-making, program development, priority setting and crisis management.


  15. Damu99 says:

    Any mention of the teenager having cannabis in his system should be met with rally’s for Legalization.

    Had some legal structure been in place someone under 21 doesn’t get access, and anyone found doing so could get some jail time…

    He sure wouldn’t be “Allegedly” strong arming for a box of swishers with limited access to Cannabis.

  16. Tim says:

    Hey Pete:

    I’m in Maine right now, and the usual drug-related ads that pop up on the side are now all for getting concealed carry handgun permits. The geolocation obviously works; I never see them when reading back home in Canada! Wonder if it may be Ferguson-related?

    • Pete says:

      Yeah, the Google advertising algorythms are quite fascinating. The ads that show up on this site are a combination of what advertisers are willing/interested to advertise on a “drug” site, the content of recent posts, and the geographic, demographic, and shopping profile of the reader.

  17. CarolDuhart2 says:

    McWhorter is dead on (and check out the deluded prohibitionist comments on that page)
    The drug war is behind it all: the militarization of police (to fight drug gangs) and the violence over turf (more drug gangs). Abusive policies such as stop and frisk. Stop and frisk is meaningless without the drug war-cops are looking for mostly weed and guns.

    In a post-prohibitionist would, there would be no need for any stop without obvious signs of impairment. No reason to stop pedestrians at all-the concern would be for drivers and those operating heavy equipment. An accountant walking down the street would be of no concern.

    Can you even imagine what a court docket would look like in a place like Ferguson without the drug laws? One murder a year-a handful of domestic violence cases-a few thefts. Heck, would they even need anyone other than the highway patrol and a couple of part-timers? Fewer flashpoints for conflict and easier minority/majority conflicts. And perhaps we could start laying off and imprisoning some of the Darren Wilsons on the force-maybe they can be mall cops or something-armed with a pager and papper spray, they would be less of a threat. And the thin blue line would be less of a line with fewer cops and perhaps better ones.

    • allan says:

      considering that (generally speaking) the clearance rate for rape nationally runs around 15%. There’s obviously no shortage of work for LE once the WO(s)D is ended.

      • CarolDuhart2 says:

        But it’s harder work, more emotionally fraught work, work that takes more time and resources. It’s also work you have to wait to get instead of patrolling and looking for it. It’s work that requires expertise as well-no “I just smelled something” would do.

        There are no “no-knock” stuff needed for rape. No surveillance tactics needed. What about SWAT? Unless it’s a kidnapping on top of that, no need for them either. What happens to all the toys?

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