Damned if we Decriminalize Drugs and Damned if we Don’t; either way Drugs have Damned Us

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Drugs are a problem with no easy solution.  The drug market in the U.S. is fueling horrific crime south of the border.  And most violent crime in the U.S. is related to the illegal drug trade.  This makes a very strong case to decriminalize drugs.  And trust in responsible people to use drugs responsibly.  But then you have stories like this (see Miami Cannibal Attack: Horrific Dangers of “Bath Salts” Drug by Lisa Collier Cool posted 6/1/2012 on Yahoo! Health).

The “cannibal” attacker who gnawed off another man’s face in Miami is suspected to have been high on a dangerous street drug called “bath salts.” Police say that during the zombie-like naked rampage that horrified the world, Rudy Eugene, 31, displayed deranged behavior similar to other horrific crimes linked to bath salts, before being shot dead by police on Saturday.

Bath salts, which have been called the new LSD, cause people “to go completely insane and become very violent,” said Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police told CNN. Also known by street names like “Ivory Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Bliss,” “Dynamite” and “Purple Rain,” bath salts made headlines last year after a torrent of ER visits, thousands of calls to poison control centers, and a number of deaths, including murders and suicides…

Banned in several states, bath salts contain amphetamine-like chemicals that have uniquely hazardous effects on the brain. “If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and Ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes,” Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, told The New York Times…

CNN reports, “The effects include producing feelings of empathy, stimulation, alertness, euphoria, sensory awareness and hallucinations. Other reported effects include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and sweating. According to the DEA, MDPV has been reported to cause intense panic attacks, psychosis, and a strong desire to use the drug again.”

Physiological effects include high blood pressure and increased heart rate, according to a report by WebMD. According to a CDC report of bath salt abusers in Michigan, users risk both psychological side effects and physical side effects.

In fact, according to Huffington Post:

•91 percent of users had neurological damage

•77 percent experienced cardiovascular damage

•49 percent had psychological difficulties associated with the drug

•37 percent of the people who suffered mental health problems reported attempting suicide or having suicidal thoughts related to bath salts

Bath salts are a more powerful drug than previous drugs.  In fact if you add the worse a handful of past drugs will do you get what this new drug will do.  In other words, those other drugs were gateway drugs to this drug.  Which is the general trend in using drugs.  Start out small.  And keep moving up to bigger and more powerful drugs.  Not every pothead may move on to bath salts.  But it is very likely that every bath salts user started out a pothead.  Making marijuana the gateway drug to all other drugs.

A lot of drugs will cause neurological and cardiovascular damage.  And a lot will cause mental health problems and suicide.  Sad but primarily only the user suffers these drug affects.  But when the side effects include insanity, violence, psychosis and murder the drug affects tend to affect more than the user.  Which makes a very strong case against decriminalizing drugs.  Even marijuana.  For it is the rare drug addict that starts off with a drug that causes insanity, violence, psychosis and murder. 

People have moved on from marijuana to stronger drugs.  While all of these drugs were illegal.  So if any of these drugs became legal it is only logical that it will pull more people into the drug-using world.  And help more people up the ladder to stronger drugs.  All the way to bath salts.

So when it comes to the big question of whether we should decriminalize drugs the sad truth is that we are damned if we do.  And damned if we don’t.  In short, either way drugs have damned us.

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In British Columbia 18 People have died in Past 6 Months from Taking Ecstasy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

The war on drugs has been an abject failure.  Drugs have never been more powerful or available.  And the drug economy has produced a criminal underworld that has spread unspeakable violence.  So is it worth it?  This war on drugs?  Decriminalizing drugs would go a long way to end the crime and violence.  But making drugs more readily available would no doubt increase the use of these drugs.  For they are spreading now while they are illegal.  And not just in back alleys.  But into the mainstream of society.   In bars.  In homes.  And on college campuses (see Calgary police link 7th death to tainted ecstasy posted 1/30/2012 on CBC News Calgary).

The toxicology report of Southern Alberta Institute of Technology student Cody Gorlick, 23, who died earlier this month, shows he had ingested ecstasy laced with paramethoxymethamphetamine, a methamphetamine known as PMMA…

“From what we’ve seen in these cases, and it’s very apparent, is that the drug [ecstasy] is not just used at raves anymore, it’s used by people in their homes, it’s used at bars, it’s used at all kinds of different locations,” said Bossley.

In B.C., 18 people have died after taking ecstasy in the last six months, and a 19th death is being investigated.

People say telling kids that they shouldn’t have sex until they are married is silly.  Because these kids are having sex.  After all, that’s a big part of college.  First time away from home.  You know they’re having sex.  You know they are drinking.  And you know they’re doing drugs.  Because they are.  And some are dying from those drugs.  So it’s reasonable to assume that if drugs were decriminalized that more kids would try them.  More would start using.  And more would die from overdoses.

So should we maintain the war on drugs?  Should we decriminalize drugs?  Tough to say.  Because you’re kind of damned if you do.  And damned if you don’t.  But one thing for sure is that the lesser of all evils here is for people to choose not to use drugs.  For if they did it wouldn’t matter if they were legal or not.  But getting them to choose this is easier said than done.  Religion may help.  Getting married and starting to raise a family may help.  For few things grow people up faster than becoming parents. 

And really that’s the key to the drug question.  Growing up.  Becoming mature responsible adults.  Because the sooner we become mature responsible adults the sooner we stop the foolish ways of our youth.

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FT88: “Liberals say live and let live when it comes to sex and drugs but don’t you dare eat at McDonald’s or light a cigarette in front of them.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 21st, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Liberals want us to Treat Kids as Adults when it comes to Sex and Drugs

Liberals want to hand out condoms in school.  And they want to teach school kids how to use them.   They want to give them access to birth control.  And abortions.  Because kids are going to have sex.  No matter what we say.  So live and let live they say.  Let these kids have their fun.  And we’ll deal with the consequences later.  Such as an unwanted pregnancy.  A venereal disease.  Or rape.  Should a young girl get scared and change her mind.  Should a boy not understand that ‘no’ really means ‘no’.  Or believes consent is nonrefundable.  Especially after getting all riled up in school learning about sex.  In an academic setting.  Where it seems like just good clean fun.  Rather than learning it the old fashioned way.  From a parent.  Who tells you to wait until you’re a responsible adult.  Because it’s not just good clean fun.  It’s serious.  And can have some serious consequences.

Liberals would like to decriminalize drugs.  At least marijuana.  Because kids are going to experiment.  No matter what we say.  Marijuana is harmless, they say.  And they poo poo the naysayers who say it can be a gateway drug.  Marijuana won’t make people tire of it.  And look for a higher high.  Because heroin, coke and meth addictions just happen.  Spontaneously.  Just like alcohol addiction.  Some people have a predisposition for addiction.  And the drugs themselves are in no way to blame.  It’s a person’s DNA.  So live and let live they say.  Because drugs don’t addict people.  People do.  Those with a predisposition to addiction.  But it’s not their fault.  They’re just hardwired that way.  So we shouldn’t blame them.  Or drugs.  It just happens.

You see, people are adults.  Even kids.  That’s why we need to treat them as adults.  And if we do they’ll make adult decisions.  Partake in sex and drugs responsibly.  Like adults.  And there will be no consequences we can’t manage after the fact.  Like adults.

Liberals aren’t all that Concerned about Unwanted Pregnancies, Venereal Disease or Drug Addiction

So kids may be adults.  But their parents aren’t.  Liberals don’t want them making ‘adult’ decisions.  Such as what to eat, drink or smoke.  Like kids can about sex and drugs.  No.  Liberals want to use the power of government to make these decisions for adults.  Because they can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.

They want to tax fast food.  And soda pop.  Like they tax cigarettes.  To make them very expensive.  So they can make people choose correctly.  To choose what liberals want them to choose.  And not what these adults want.

You see, liberals aren’t all that concerned about unwanted pregnancies, venereal disease or drug addiction.  But they are very concerned about trans-fat and sugar.  They don’t want you enjoying the occasional McDonald’s meal.  A bag of chips.  A Mountain Dew.  Or a cigarette.  And if they catch you lighting up a cigarette after a meal in a McDonald’s, look out.  You will get a look of contempt and pure hate like you’ve never seen before.  Because you’ve dared to expose children to second-hand smoke.  For kids smoking pot first-hand is one thing.  But breathing second-hand smoke is just unhealthy.  Wrong.  And could scar them for life.  Unlike an unwanted pregnancy, a venereal disease or a drug addiction.

Liberals want Kids to Think Sex, Drugs and Vote Democrat

Why do they want to help kids have sex and do drugs?  Because they want kids to like them.  And they will if they make high school and college as much fun as possible.  They want these kids to think sex, drugs and vote Democrat.  Because liberal Democrats need the youth vote.  For they can’t win elections without it.  And they don’t care if these kids get scarred for life from an unwanted pregnancy, a venereal disease or a drug addiction.

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LESSONS LEARNED #84: “The bigger and more complex government gets the more unintended the consequences.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 22nd, 2011

Prohibition had Popular Support from Wives, Progressives and Organized Crime

The Progressive movement began changing our lives in the beginning of the 20th century.  Thanks in large part to the American Civil War.  After a generation of American fathers were killed by the ravishes of war a lot of sons grew up without a manly role model in their lives.  They had no father to learn manly chores from.  To go hunting with.  To beat the crap out of them when they misbehaved.  To toughen them up for the real world.  Instead all they got was the loving and nurturing stuff from their mothers.  And when they grew up they wanted to be mothers, too.  And nurture the American people.  For mother knows best.

When these children grew up they changed government.  Instead of it being the limited government of their fathers they wanted an activist one.  To make our lives better.  More fair.  And safer.  Which is why they supported the temperance movement.  And took it to Prohibition.  To save the American family.  To stop drunken husbands from beating their wives.  To prevent poverty by keeping the money in the family.  And out of the saloons.   To stop the epidemic of venereal disease.  Spread by prostitutes who frequented saloons.  Trying to get some of that family paycheck.  Before the saloon owner got it all.  So Prohibition had popular support.  From wives.  Progressives.  And organized crime.

This was an unintended consequence of Prohibition.  For the law prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation” of booze.  But not the drinking of it.  And when there’s a will there’s a way.  There were people who still wanted to drink.  And could without facing any consequences for it if caught by the law.  So they kept drinking.  And there was a booming demand.  And a willing albeit illegal supply network to meet that demand.  So life was good.  For those who liked to indulge in inebriating beverages.  And for those who provided those inebriating beverages.  Especially the providers.  Because when you make anything illegal that is in high demand means only one thing.  High profits.

There’s a Profit Incentive for Criminals because Illegal Stuff Costs More than Legal Stuff

At first everyone laughed as they flaunted the law.  It was, after all, a victimless crime.  People wanted to buy.  And the underworld wanted to sell.  No harm.  No foul.  For awhile.  Until the gang violence spilled over into the public streets.  When innocents saw this violence up close and personal.  Some even dying in the crossfire.  Like in Chicago.  Owned for a time by Al Capone.  King of the bootleggers.  Who killed off the competition.  The Valentine’s Day Massacre being the tipping point.  When the cops started fighting back.

The FBI eventually got Capone.  On tax evasion.  But it didn’t end the violence.  You know what did?  The repeal of the 18th Amendment.  And letting the people drink again.  Which they really needed during the depressing New Deal programs of FDR.

By decriminalizing alcohol they removed the profit incentive for criminals.  Because illegal stuff costs more than legal stuff.  So there’s no market for bootlegged liquor anymore.  So the gangs turned to another illegal substance.  Drugs.  Whose criminalization has far worse unintended consequences than Prohibition ever had.  We can trace most violent crime in the U.S. to drugs.  From theft to support a drug habit.  To Capone style gang warfare to protect turf.  To the unspeakable horrors on and south of the US-Mexican border.

The Decriminalization of Drugs:  Damned if We Do.  And Damned if We Don’t.

So what is one to do?  Decriminalize drugs?  Not quite the same thing as ending prohibition.  Drugs are a little more potent than alcohol.  Especially methamphetamine.  Crystal meth addiction destroys lives.  Which is why it’s such a lucrative drug.  You can manufacture it anywhere from chemicals.  And it’s addictive.  Addiction provides a steady demand.  And its chemistry provides a readily available supply.  That you can hide.  Unlike Coca fieldsPoppy fields.  Or marijuana fields.

Meth has a strong foothold in the drug-taking community.  Despite it being illegal.  One shudders what would happen if we decriminalized drugs.  Like meth.  It’s potent.  Addictive.  And popular with the kids.  It takes a fake ID to buy alcohol when underage.  Because there are few pushers selling cases of beer and wine coolers on the street.  But if an adult can buy it legally it could be hard for a drug dealer to pass up the underage market.  I mean, there are no empty bottles or cans to trace back to a store.  And if you’re caught carrying, hey, it isn’t illegal.

So we’re damned if we do.  And damned if we don’t.  The war on drugs has a devastating cost on society.  But the drugs are so harmful.  And helping users break their addiction also costs society.  Broken families.  Lost jobs and careers.  Children addicts can no longer provide for.  Infectious disease.  Overdose.  Violence.  Criminal activity.  And decriminalizing drugs won’t make any of that better.

The Poorer You are and the More Children You Have the More Money You Get on Your EBT

America has been fighting another war.  A war on poverty.  Which probably has been more destructive than the war on drugs.  Economist Thomas Sowell blames the welfare state for the destruction of the black family.  By subsidizing failure.  Providing incentives not to succeed.  A disincentive to be responsible.  The very programs to help the poor have destroyed the poor.  With unintended consequences that have destroyed generations.

This video was from 1980.  Fast forward to today and you can see this put in another way.  Perhaps a little less elegantly.  But it reinforces Dr. Sowell’s argument.  There’s a video on YouTube that praises the EBT card in California.  A program to help poor single people with children.  Depending on the number of children and your circumstances, the government loads a dollar amount on the EBT card.  You then use it like a debit card.  At any store that accepts EBT.  The government then reimburses the store owners.

So the poorer you are and the more children you have the more money you get on your EBT card.  As Dr. Sowell pointed out, this may be a disincentive to be responsible.  And the YouTube video shows this.  We should note, though, that the rapper who made this video said that “it was meant to be satirical and poke fun at a real issue.”  Some have called it inappropriate.  You can judge for yourself after you watch the video.  (NOTE:  If you’re at work or are in a public place you probably should wait until you get home to watch this video.  It contains very graphic language (as in the ‘f’ word).  And may be racially insensitive.  Please exercise due discretion when viewing It’s Free, Swipe Yo EBT.)

Government may have Meant Well but the Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Prohibition made it harder to manufacture and distribute alcohol.  But people still drank.  Because it wasn’t illegal to drink.  At first it was just a game.  Imbibing at the speakeasy.  Then buildings exploded.  And bodies littered the street.  Much like they are in Mexico today.  And along the US-Mexican border.  Because well organized enterprises are trying to meet a lucrative demand north of the border.  That our drug policies made lucrative.  Just like Prohibition made bootlegging a lucrative business.

Unintended consequences are a bitch.  And whenever government tries to fix something we often get something worse.  Prohibition and our war on drugs have given us organized crime to deal with.  And our war on poverty has destroyed poor families.  By incentivizing irresponsible behavior.   And making generations dependent on government.

At every time, though, government meant well.  They always say that they had nothing but good intentions.  But we should remember what they say about good intentions.  That the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #49: “The ‘tolerant’ are intolerant.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 18th, 2011

Liberals Benefit most from a Liberal Agenda

People on the left claim to be more tolerant than those on the right.  Live and let live, they say.  But they don’t really mean that.  For they are very intolerant of anyone who thinks differently than they do.

We’re talking about the far left.  The liberals.  That 20% of the population.  Which excludes a large percentage of Democrats.  And moderates and independents.  We’re talking college professors, public school teachers, the liberal media, the Hollywood elite, public sector unions, liberal politicians, etc.  People who have an air of superiority about them.  Who think they’re better than most people.  And who don’t care to hear any contrary views or opinions.  Because if they disagree with them, those views and opinions are just wrong.

For the ruling elite is always right.  And that’s who they think they are.  Elite.  And they rule.  Or try to.  Either in Congress through legislation.  Or by shaping opinion.  In the elite liberal media.  In our public schools where they shape the minds of our young children (to be good stewards of the planet, to trust government and not private business, that Americans stole the land from the indigenous people, that America was built on slavery and greed, etc.).  In our colleges where they continue and add to the work of the public schools (that we oppress women, that we’re a racist society, that Marxism is good while capitalism is bad, etc.).  In the entertainment world (actors, musicians, etc.) that gives a loud voice to this minority opinion.  In the public sector that grows bigger and consumes ever more of our tax dollars in exchange for support of the liberal agenda.  Etc.

It’s a small community.  Where they take care of each other.  They all have a vested interest in advancing the liberal agenda.  Because they live better than the average American.  At the expense of the average American (through high taxes, tuition, union contracts, etc.). 

Getting the People to Vote you into the Privileged Elite

So we have a minority group enjoying a privileged lifestyle.  Far better than the people paying to support that lifestyle can ever imagine.   In times past, the ruling elite used the power of the state to oppress the masses.  To get the money from them to support those privileged lifestyles.  While keeping them living in fear.  So the oppressed didn’t band together to overthrow the ruling elite.

It’s an effective formula.  And it has worked.  For awhile.  For some.  They may enjoy a few years.  Or a decade.  Or two.  A century.  Until they get overthrown by the masses.  Like the French did in 1789 (the French Revolution).  Or like the Russians did in 1917 (the February Revolution and the October Revolution).  These got pretty ugly.  A lot of people died.  Including the royal sovereigns. 

That’s the downside of absolute power.  You really piss off the people you oppress.  And pissed off people tend to revolt.  Thankfully, in a democracy, you don’t have to worry about that.  You can live the privileged life.  Without physically oppressing them.  You just have to get the people to vote for you.  And you do that by promising them free stuff.  And by demonizing your opponents.

Political Correctness helps to Limit Political Dissent

It’s called divide and conquer.  When you go up against a larger enemy, you try to divide that enemy and attack smaller parts of the enemy.  Because there is no way you can win going head to head.  The liberals, that 20%, cannot go up against the other 80% with any hopes of winning.  So they pick off parts of the 80% and attack them.

Their weapon of choice?  Political correctness.  Today you have to be very careful of what you say.  And how you say what you say.  Because if you don’t you can offend someone.  This helps to limit political dissent.  Because dissenters may say something politically incorrect.  And no one wants that.  Because they tell us in our public schools that that is wrong.  In college, too.  And in the media.  And on TV.  In the movies.  Etc.

And you can use political correctness to demonize your opponents.  If you oppose affirmative action you’re racist.  If you oppose immigration reform, you’re racist.  If you oppose welfare reform, you’re cruel and indifferent to the sufferings of the poor.  If you oppose gay marriage you’re a homophobe.  If you oppose gun control you’re a redneck Second Amendment nut (somehow that’s politically correct to say).  If you oppose Big Government you’re a tool of the special interests and Big Business.  And so on.  If you oppose any part of their agenda, there’s just something wrong with you.  Because you disagree with the enlightened people (that 20% of the population).  And because we see so many people admire and respect these enlightened people (thanks to our schooling, the media, Hollywood, etc.) we should want to be like them.  So people admire and respect us, too.

Divide and Conquer the Single Issue People

Those on the left, that 20%, are very tolerant of what you say or do.  As long as it’s what they say or do.  Because if you think and act like they do, they can maintain their privileged life.  If you disagree with them, then you threaten their privileged life.  You could vote liberals out of office.  You could set performance standards for public school teachers.  You could reduce the power of public sector unions.  You start doing these things and the next thing you know these liberals will have to get real jobs.  And they ain’t having none of that.

So they divide and conquer.  They support gay marriage and call you a homophobe because of your ‘intolerance’ of the gay lifestyle.  So the gays and lesbians support liberals.  They support abortion and call you a religious extremist because of your ‘intolerance’ of women having choice.  So a lot of people who enjoy consequence-free sex support liberals.  (And a lot of women who want to keep the right to choose just in case.)   They want to decriminalize drugs and call you a fascist for your ‘intolerance’ of people being free to put whatever they want into their bodies.  So the potheads and other recreational drug users support liberals.  (Of course, these same liberals will tell you NOT to eat a Big Mac or drink a Coke because they’re just not healthy for you.  Unlike heroin or cocaine.  Apparently.)   They support affirmative action and call you a racist because of your ‘intolerance’ of minorities.  So a lot of minorities support liberals.  And so on.

It adds up.  Get enough of these single issue people and you can maintain your power base.  So they are very tolerant of these people’s views and opinions.  And very intolerant of anyone opposing them.  They do this to persuade as many of the 80% that oppose their liberal agenda to support them.  So this minority of the population can continue to live a privileged life.  At our expense.

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LESSONS LEARNED #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2010

COYOTE UGLY

We’ve all heard the joke.  What’s coyote ugly?  That’s when you wake up with an extremely ugly person in bed lying on your arm.  After a night of heavy drinking.  You’re fairly certain you had sex.  You’re not 100% sure because you can’t remember anything.  But here the two of you are.  Naked.  The circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.  You want to get out.  Fast.  Instead of waking your lover, you chew your arm off so you can slip away quietly.  Like a coyote will do if caught in a steel-jaw trap.

The lesson here is, of course, to drink in moderation.  For when we drink to excess, we sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do sober.  But we do.  Drink to excess.  And get drunk.  And, boy, when we do, some of us really do.  Make a real mess of their lives, too.  You see, drunken husbands do not make happy wives.  Or good fathers.  Especially when drunken husbands beat up their wives, spend their paychecks at the corner saloon, have sex with prostitutes and catch syphilis (which they then pass on to their wives and soon to be born children). 

For these reasons, wives have been behind various temperance movements throughout history.  And they have had modest success.  If you ever found yourself in a dry county thirsting for an adult beverage, you can thank these ladies.  But Prohibition?  That’s a different story.  That took Big Government.  The Progressives.  Who thought they knew best what was for the common good.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Wives have suffered unfairly from the affects of alcohol.  But during the 19th century, their power was limited.  They had to rely on grass-roots movements.  And their churches.  Which had moral authority as we were much more religious back then.  Most drunken husbands knew they were behaving poorly.  When sober.  But things changed in the 20th century.  The powers of the government grew.  This power and new sciences (like eugenics) made some believe they could make a better society by passing enlightened laws.  (And make better people in the case of eugenics).

We call it social engineering.  Using the power of the state to change human behavior.  Well, change it for those who are not apparatchiks of the state.  The elite Progressives, including the ladies of high society, still drank.  For it wasn’t illegal to drink adult beverages.  Only to manufacture, sell, or transport them.  So it was the poorer elements of society who felt the impact of Prohibition.  And the immigrants.  Who the social elites blamed for all the drinking woes.  For people in their strata of society didn’t have drinking problems.  So there was no reason to punish them.  The elites.  They weren’t the problem.  It was the poor.  And the immigrants.  They’re the ones government needed to keep from drinking themselves to ruin.

So while the elites still enjoyed their intoxicating beverages in the safety of their mansions and clubs, Al Capone and other bootleggers fought for turf.  For control of the illegal liquor trade.  Shooting each other with Thompson Machine Guns in our public streets.  That’s a .45 caliber round.  It makes big holes.  And shatters bone.  A lot of these rounds were flying through our public streets.  And they hit more than just gangsters.

Prohibition modified some behavior.  But at great cost.  Congress repealed it in 1933.  In part to stem the liquor violence.  And part because the Great Depression was too depressing sober.

JUST SAY NO

I once worked at a small office in a bad part of town.  One day a woman knocked on the door.  She asked if that ‘short guy’ that opens the gates in the morning was around.  I said no.  Then she asked me if I wanted to have a little fun.  I said, “Thank you, but no.”  My secretary had come to the door while I was talking to her.  After I closed the door, she told me that woman just lost a lot of weight.  And that she probably had AIDS.

Women like her were common in the neighborhood.  They sold sex for drug money.  When they weren’t with a John they were getting high.  Men, too.  One time, this 6-foot-plus behemoth in a skirt was walking in the street shouting something incoherent.  Our driver discovered he was a guy.  When he lunged through his open window while turning at the corner.  I don’t know what scared him more.  The assault.  Or the fact that she was a he. 

By the way, that short guy that opens the gates?  He was married.  And had a couple of daughters.  God only knows what he gave his wife.

Drug addiction is not good.  No one’s life ever got better by being addicted to drugs.  None of these people ever planned on drug addiction.  It just happened.  Somehow.  One day you’re just partying with some friends.  Then the next thing you know you’re turning tricks or stealing to support your habit.  If you have money it’s a different story.  Then you can party until you kill yourself.  John Belushi overdosed from a heroin/cocaine cocktail called a speedball.  Chris Farley, too.  It’s unlikely that the speedball was their first high.  They probably started out with something less potent.  Like marijuana.  The entry drug of choice.  Only when that drug loses its charm do people step up to something a little more potent. 

Of course, if you don’t start, chances are you won’t move up to something more potent.  This was the idea behind Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program.  Stop the kids from starting.  To resist peer pressure.  To just say no.  Her program did modify some behavior.  Kids did use fewer drugs.  But she was Ronald Reagan’s wife.  The Left didn’t like him.  Or her.  So they ridiculed her program as being simplistic.  Discontinued it.  And drug use by kids increased.

GANGSTA’S PARADISE

Like Capone and his fellow bootleggers, the illegal drug trade is controlled by gangs.  And they, too, fight over turf.  But those involved at the street level of the drug trade today are a lot younger.  During the days of Prohibition, kids played with toy guns.  Today, they’re playing with real guns.  Not so much playing but killing each other.  And innocent bystanders.  In drive-by shootings.  Why?  Because drugs get you money.  And money gets you power.  Put all that together and it’s very seductive to kids from broken homes in the hood.  Who have nothing.  And have nothing to lose.  It’s almost romantic.  Fighting.  And dying.  A regular gangster.  Living in a gangster paradise.

Once in, though, it’s hard to get out.  The song Gangsta’s Paradise (by Coolio featuring L.V. from the 1995 Movie Dangerous Minds) laments about that paradise.  “Tell me why are we so blind to see.  That the ones we hurt are you and me.”

You get higher up in the echelon and the violence gets worse.  You can see that on America’s southern border.  And further south.  Kidnappings.  Beheadings.  And other unspeakable things.  Because of the big money in illegal drugs.  Like there was in bootlegging.  Make something illegal that people still want and will buy, and that something becomes a very profitable commodity indeed.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

So what’s the answer?  What is the best course of action for the common good?  We can keep drugs illegal.  And continue to fight the war on drugs.  And watch the violence escalate as people fight to control this illicit trade.  Or we can decriminalize drugs.  Make them easily accessible.  And cheap.  The drug gangs would go the way of the bootlegger gangs.  And the crack/meth whore in the street won’t have to perform as many sexual acts to support her habit.

Alcohol is legal today.  And there are a lot of social costs because of that.  But the majority of people who do drink are not driving under the influence or beating their wives.  Or getting syphilis from a prostitute hanging out at the corner saloon.  Wouldn’t it be the same for drugs?

Kids drink.  Even though they can’t legally buy alcohol.  But the worse thing they can do is kill someone while driving a car.  Or get killed in a car driven by another drunken kid.  Or kill themselves from binge drinking.  Or get pregnant because they got drunk at a party.  Or get infected with a venereal disease because they got drunk at a party and had sex.  These are very bad things.  But they’re not an addiction.  Sure, you can become an alcoholic, but a lot of kids don’t like the taste of the adult beverages they’re consuming.  They’re just doing it for the party buzz.  And vomiting after.  It takes awhile, for some, to get over that hump where those awful tasting beverages don’t taste so awful anymore.  But drugs?  They’re tasteless.  There isn’t a delivery system ‘hump’ to get over.  Which makes the addiction process that much easier.  And where there is only one kind of drunk, there are all sorts of highs.  New and different drugs to explore.  When you get bored with the drug du jour.  So, no.  It probably wouldn’t be the same with alcohol.  It would probably be worse.

THE LESSER OF EVILS

Often the choice comes down to a lesser of evils.  So, to do what is best for the common good, we just need to determine which is the lesser evil.  So which is worse?  The violence from trying to keep something illegal?  Or the social costs of decriminalizing something that is already causing a lot of harm while being illegal?  It comes down to what you, as an individual, think.  And that is, must be, a subjective decision.  And therein lays the problem of choosing what is best for the common good.  It’s an opinion.  Choices aren’t right or wrong.  There’re just different opinions.

And that’s why so few can agree on what is best for the common good.  Different people think different things are better.  And different things are worse.  And, at best, they can agree to disagree.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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