Laws banning Alcohol and Drugs didn’t stop Alcohol Violence or Drug Violence

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 31st, 2013

Politics 101

Prohibition Violence spilled onto the Streets where Gangsters shot up each other with Thompson Submachine Guns

Men have always drunk in this country.  A lot.  After the working day was over they went to their corner saloon.  And drank away their pay.  Getting inebriated.  And making a lot of bad decisions.  Such as drinking away their pay.  Getting into fights.  Engaging the services of prostitutes hanging out at the saloons.  Catching a venereal disease or two.  Taking them home to the wife.  Worse, some of these drunken men were beating their wives.

Alcohol violence was taking a toll on the American family.  In particular on the women in those American families.  This alcohol violence was creating a war on women.  These drunken men were beating their wives.  And inflicting them with venereal diseases.  Causing great harm to their wives.  And destroying their families.  They needed to do something.  And that something led to the temperance movement.  Which ended in Prohibition.  An outright ban on alcoholic beverages.

And it worked.  Alcohol violence on women committed by their husbands decreased.  As did the rate of venereal disease infections on married women.  As Prohibition shut down the local saloons.  And all the problems they caused.  But it didn’t stop everyone from drinking.  There was such a large demand despite Prohibition that others stepped in to meet that demand.  Organized crime.  Prohibition violence spilled onto the streets where gangsters shot up each other, and innocent bystanders, with Thompson submachine guns.  As the profitability of the illicit alcohol trade erupted in violent gang wars.  Allowing crime bosses like Al Capone to take over cities.  And corrupting their police forces.  Causing even more trouble than the original alcohol violence on married women.  So they repealed Prohibition.  And the people could drink once again.  As they always wanted to.

The Illicit Drug Trade picked up where Prohibition left off in terms of Gun Violence

The British were addicted to Chinese tea.  They couldn’t get enough of it.  Or other Chinese luxuries like silk and porcelain.  The only problem was that the Chinese didn’t want anything from Britain.  So as the Chinese goods flowed to Britain silver flowed from Britain to China to pay for their goods.  Causing a huge trade imbalance.  Which the British corrected with the opium grown in India.  And being that opium was addictive more and more Chinese were using opium.  Which reversed the net silver flow.  Allowing the British to enjoy their tea, silk and porcelain.  Which they traded Indian opium for.  Causing an addiction problem in China.  And a destruction of Chinese society.  That the Chinese responded to with the Opium Wars.

Drug addiction has destroyed many families.  And societies.  Throughout the world.  Which is why hard drugs like heroin and cocaine are illegal in most countries.  For they are very addictive.  Drug addicts lose their jobs.  Their wives.  Girlfriends.  And families.  As they sink into addiction without a job they often turn to crime to pay for their habit.  Become thieves.  Or prostitutes.  Where they often suffer abuse.  End up in jail.  Or catch AIDS from sharing needles with other intravenous drug users.  Cocaine use spread in more affluent circles.  While crack cocaine devastated poorer circles.  Which is why most of the world has criminalized these drugs.  Despite this demand remains high.  Cocaine use has fallen in the West.  But only because some users have switched to methamphetamine.  Which is cheaper.  More powerful.  And longer lasting.

Like with alcohol someone stepped in to meet this demand.  Organized crime.  And boy did they unleash drug violence onto the world.  From the street gangs shooting each other (and innocent bystanders) to control turf.  To the cartels higher up the distribution channels.  The illicit drug trade is big money.  Very big money.  Picking up where prohibition left off.  For it is the criminal element that truly benefits from banning anything.  The drug trade is so lucrative that it is now even funding al Qaeda.  Even though Islam strictly forbids the use of drugs.  But they have no problem taking a percent of the drug trade that flows from South America through Africa on its way to Europe.  Where it can destroy European societies.  Something al Qaeda has no problem with.

People already Breaking the Law will not be Stopped by another New Law

There is an epidemic of gun violence in the U.S.  Committed not by people who support and defend their Second Amendment right to own a gun.  For wanting to do that is not helped by shooting lots of innocent people.  In fact if one is prone to conspiracy theories one could say that the rise in gun violence is oddly coincidental to the Obama administration’s pursuit of gun control regulation.  Especially following Fast and Furious.  A program used by the Obama administration to try and stir up anti-gun sentiment.  Like that the current epidemic of gun violence is stirring up.  Which the conspiracy theorist could find a little too coincidental.   But I digress.

The people committing these acts of gun violence are some pretty disturbed people.  They have mental health issues.  Or are extremely angry about something.  Perhaps because they can’t get a job in the worst economic recovery in U.S. history.  Thanks to President Obama’s economic policies designed more for politics and social justice than actual job creation.  Who knows?  The only thing for certain is that this rise in gun violence corresponds with President Obama’s time in office.  For he didn’t campaign on the need for new gun control legislation.  But like his position on gay marriage he evolved to this position.  After witnessing a rise in gun violence during his time in office.

Whatever the cause is will new gun control legislation change anything?  Well, if we can learn anything from Prohibition and the War on Drugs, yes.  It will change things.  It will give organized crime another lucrative illicit trade.  But unlike alcohol and drugs their customers will not be people just trying to get a drink or a high.  It will be hardened criminals.  Who are shooting each other on the streets to defend their turf.  And at all levels of the illicit drug trade going right up to the cartels at the top.  So the criminals will have their guns.  And there will be new gang wars as criminal elements fight each other to control the gun trade.  Which may even increase the gun violence in places like Chicago.  Which is already one of the deadliest U.S. cities.  Despite having some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.

So why do they have more gun deaths in Chicago than most cities?  Because there is a high demand for guns by the criminal element in Chicago.  Will a federal ban change that?  Will it put an end to gun violence?  Did it stop alcohol violence during Prohibition?  Does it stop drug violence now?  No.  A gun ban will not change what’s happening in Chicago.  For guns aren’t causing the gun deaths in Chicago.  It’s the people using the guns.  And people already breaking the law will not be stopped by another new law.

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Grizzly Child Murders not connected to Drug Crime but to Drug Use

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 8th, 2012

Week in Review

One argument for the decriminalization of drugs is that it will reduce violent crime.  Because a lot of violent crime is connected to the illicit drug trade.  So decriminalizing drugs would make more crime-free cities.  That would be a good thing.  A very good thing.  But is there a downside to decriminalizing drugs?  For if people want to get high in their own house isn’t that a victimless crime to begin with?  And by dropping the ‘crime’ from ‘victimless crime’ drug use would just be victimless, yes?  So how could anything be bad that has no victims?  I mean, it’s not like we’re hurting children when adults use drugs (see Two Grisly Child Murders Prompt PCP Crackdown in New Jersey by CHRISTINA NG posted 9/7/2012 on ABC News).

Authorities in New Jersey are cracking down on PCP, a hallucinogenic drug that has been involved in two grisly murders of children in less than two weeks in the crime-ridden city of Camden, N.J…

“Violent behavior with PCP, that’s nothing new,” Police Chief Scott Thomson said. “It’s happening on a daily basis in Philadelphia and urban centers all over the country. But what has us concerned is the attacks on small children…Is something being added [to the PCP]..?”

Osvaldo Rivera, 31, told police that he smoked “wet,” a combination of PCP and pot before he allegedly slit the throats of a 6-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister in the middle of the night in their Camden, N.J., home on Sept. 2…

On Aug. 22, authorities believe Chevonne Thomas was smoking wet before beheading her 2-year-old son Zahree in Camden…

“You’ve got paranoia, anxiety, delusional behavior, hallucinations and then you add to that a disconnect between the mind and body so the person doesn’t feel pain and can behave as if they have superhuman strength,” Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, told ABCNews.com. “The consequences can be dire…”

The effect of the drug mimics the effects of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, extreme stress, delusions and disordered thinking, according to NIDA…

PCP can even do permanent damage.

“If somebody is vulnerable, it would be possible for somebody to smoke it once or twice and develop psychosis that could last months, years or could not be resolved,” Galynker said. “It makes people psychotic and I don’t understand why anyone would ever use it.”

Apparently we are hurting children when adults use drugs.  Sometimes through neglect.  Sometimes by setting a bad example that draws them into the world of drug use at a young age.  And sometimes by killing them.  The people that do are obviously out of their right minds.  And it is probable that their drug use put them out of their right mind.  Which is a salient point.  These children did not die because of the criminal activity associated with these drugs.  They died because of the effects of taking these drugs.  Which would have happened even if these drugs weren’t illegal.  And if some people did this after using drugs it is likely that more people will do these things when there are more people taking drugs.  Which would probably happen if we decriminalize them.

If one smoked a combination of PCP and pot one would have to assume that one smoked marijuana at one time without PCP.  So one drug was probably a gateway to the other drug.  Now with people saying marijuana is so harmless it is probably less harmless than PCP.  And therefore the gateway drug to PCP.  One could even go further to suggest that without ever having used the gateway drug (marijuana) that it is unlikely that someone would experiment with drugs for the first time with something as powerful as PCP.

So there are strong arguments against decriminalizing drugs.  Of course some will counter that it’s not right to condemn all drug users because of the actions of a few.  We don’t bring back prohibition because some drunks beat their wives or cause a fatal car accidents.  Which is a good point.  But here’s a better point.  Alcohol can make you a stupid drunk.  But it won’t make you psychotic.  And when you’re drunk out of your mind you don’t get superhuman strength.  Often times you actually regress to childhood and travel on your hands and knees. So there is a difference between being falling-down drunk and slashing throat-high on PCP.  One is clearly more dangerous than the other.  Finally, who are the people who most want to decriminalize drugs?  Apart from the addicts?  The same people we make wait until they are 21 to drink.  Teenagers and young adults who have a propensity to make bad decisions.  So you know that this is yet one more bad decision from those of us who are least responsible.

Interestingly, we have raised the drinking age for teenagers and young adults but not the voting age.  In fact, there are some who want to lower the voting age further.  Those on the Left, of course.  Who need more people who don’t know any better to vote for them.  Because the older and more responsible people get the more they tend to vote conservative.  Just an interesting side note.  Perhaps we should counter their argument (to lower the voting age) with a simple question.  Do they also want to lower the drinking age?  If not, why not?  It would be entertaining to hear them tap-dance their way around that answer.

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Drug Violence on our Southern Border and Catcalls in New York City are Related – Societal Decay Responsible for Both

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 30th, 2010

The drug cartel violence crosses the U.S. border.  Beheaded body found in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s getting a little violent on this side of the U.S. border.  The latest?  This from AP’s Amanda Lee Myers’ Arizona beheading raises fears of drug violence posted on apnews.myway.com:

The gruesome case of a man who was stabbed and beheaded in a suburban Phoenix apartment has police investigating whether the killing is potentially the most extreme example of Mexican drug cartel violence spilling over the border.

The police think the victim was stealing drugs from the cartel.  And this was a message to others who might be thinking about doing likewise. 

Decapitations are a regular part of the drug war in Mexico as cartels fight over territory. Headless bodies have been hanged from bridges by their feet, severed heads have been sent to victims’ family members and government officials, and bags of up to 12 heads have been dropped off in high-profile locations.

The crime appears confined to members of the drug trade.  It’s a little reassuring for the innocent bystanders close to the crime.  ‘Little’ being the key word.

“I’m terrified,” said [a neighbor], a 47-year-old housekeeper who lives two doors down from the apartment. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never heard of that (decapitation) happening, and it was so close to us … Maybe they’re copying what’s happening in Mexico.”

But it hasn’t been exactly restricted to the drug trade.  There has been some collateral damage. 

While extreme violence has stayed south of the border for the most part, some of it has spilled over into the U.S.

In March, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe – but have never produced substantive proof – that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame for his killing.

In May 2009, a Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who became an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was shot eight times outside his pricey home in El Paso. The lieutenant, Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, was living in Texas on a visa that ICE gave him, and is believed to be the first ranking cartel member killed in the U.S.

Payan described the spillover as minimal, but said it could increase.

And what is the federal government doing to address border security?  Suing Arizona.  And putting up some signs that warn Americans about unsafe American territory.

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons on the rise in New York City.  Young girls harassed near their schools.

In a serious news story about women being harassed on the streets of New York (see AP’s NYC Considers a No Catcall Zone posted on www.nbcnewyork.com on 10/29/2010), the article starts off with a most inappropriate photo.  It shows a woman’s feet in what appears to be 6-inch stiletto heels.  The kind of shoes you’d see a stripper wear on stage.  Or so I’ve heard.  One thing for certain, though, any man looking at the photo is going to imagine a smoking hot woman attached to those feet.  The kind of a woman that burly construction workers would whistle at.  And, to be fair, a woman dressed like THAT may be disappointed if they didn’t.  So it’s a rather poor choice of a photo to use with this article.  For although we know:

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons from strangers are all too familiar to New York City women, who say they are harassed multiple times a day as they walk down the street.

Some men are clearly crossing the line. 

A City Council committee heard testimony Thursday from women who said men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Advocates told stories of preteens and teenagers being hounded by adult men outside city schools and pleaded for government to address the problem.

And what is the city of New York doing about this issue?

Hollaback [an organization formed five years ago to stand up to street harassment] is pushing the city to commission a study, a public awareness campaign and perhaps even legislation, including “no-harassment zones” around schools to protect young women.

Madonna, Brittany Spears and Glee go too far in sexualizing young girls?

Now, what do these two stories have in common?  Although the victims aren’t responsible for the crime/harassment against them, the society that they are a part of is.

The Left wants to give condoms to our kids.  And make abortions available when a pregnancy happens.  We need to be progressive.  Kids are having sex.  We need to stop being so puritan and treat our kids as adults.  Like the television show Glee does.  In that show adults play high school kids.  And their audience is primarily high school kids and younger.  They’ve had some pretty questionable content on that show.  Madonna and Brittany Spears video parodies.  And they’ve appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, dressed as high school kids.  But you could look up one of the girls’ skirt and see her little white panties.  And the same ‘girl’ just did a GQ photo shoot, posing inside a high school.  Again, showing her little white panties.   Of course, these kids are really adults. But they play kids. 

The Left attacks the world of Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best & Ozzie and Harriet.  But you gotta admit this; they didn’t objectify women.  You didn’t see any of them sexualizing young girls.  And New York City didn’t have council meetings discussing possible legislation banning catcalls around schools.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crystal meth supplied by Mexico to meet demand in the United States.

They’re trying to legalize marijuana again in California.  They say it’s no big deal.  It’s no worse than drinking.  And all that talk about it being a gateway drug to the stronger stuff?  That’s just ridiculous.  Then again, that stronger stuff is crossing the border along with the marijuana.  Which begs the question, why?  Who’s using the harder stuff?  People who’ve moved on from marijuana? 

The vast majority of drugs coming in from Mexico and causing all that trouble on the border is marijuana.  There’s big money in Mexican marijuana.  And it will get bigger and bloodier if California legalizes it.  More customers.  And lower prices (legal things tend to be cheaper than illegal things).  The drug gangs will fight to expand their territory.  And fight to not lose any of their territory.  So there’s marijuana.  Also coming in from Mexico is cocaine, black tar heroin and, of course, crystal meth.  Meth is a booming business since they restricted the sale of decongestants in the states.  They have factories in Mexico creating this stuff wholesale.  And shipping it to the United States.  Why?  Because we keep saying drugs are no big deal.

Sex and drugs responsible for societal decay?

Sex and drugs.  Everybody does it/them.  We need to accept it.  Treat kids as adults.  And when there are consequences to this behavior, we play the blame game.  It’s not school condoms and abortion on demand that is making people look at girls/women as sexual objects.  It’s men acting as animals.  For girls/women it’s empowering and liberating.  But it’s primitive animal behavior for men.  Of course, women can’t be empowering or liberating sexually without men.  So men are obliging.  And they’re apparently thinking about it all of the time.  Even when working on a construction site.

And when it comes down to pointing the finger of blame for the border violence, I don’t know if we can point it at just the drug gangs.  I mean, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing if it wasn’t for all those Americans eagerly looking to buy what they are selling.

So, when men whistle at a girl/woman, or there is a drug-gang murder on the border, society’s to blame.  And it’s important to emphasize that the individual victims themselves are not responsible.  It is the societal decay that has preconditioned the predator.   They think it’s all right.  Because everyone is having sex.  And doing drugs.

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LESSONS LEARNED #37: “The Decriminalization of Drugs. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 28th, 2010

Drugs are Killing Some of our Kids’ Cool Celebrity Role Models…and Some of Our Kids

Kids going through adolescence look up to role models.  Celebrity role models who look cool.  So they can aspire to that level of cool.  To have more friends.  Be popular.  To be popular with kids of the opposite sex.  And nothing does that like behaving like a celebrity.  Dressing like them.  Smoking like them (Joe Camel didn’t make kids smoke; movie stars and musicians did).  Having sex like them (in public like Alanis Morissette sings about in You Oughta Know).  And getting high like them.

Black Sabbath fired their front man Ozzy Osborne for his excessive drug use.  Steven Adler was fired from Guns n’ Roses for his excessive drug use.  Adler used the same drug cocktail that killed John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few.  One of Adler’s speedballs, though, gave him a stroke and left him with a speech impediment.  Osborne?  It’s hard to see or hear him and not think ‘drugs’.  Keith Richards, too.  (Some claim that it’s a miracle that either has lived so long.)  Amy Winehouse’ irregular heart beat resulted from a long use of cocaine.  John Entwistle died from a cocaine-induced heart attack.  Ol’ Dirty Bastard died from a cocaine & prescription drug induced heart attack.  Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of a prescription drug cocktail (oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine).  Bradley Nowell died from a heroin overdose just before Sublime’s major label album debut (which included three hits).  Danella Westbrooke lost the cartilage in her nose (and her profile) due to the massive amounts of cocaine she sniffed.  And there are a host of other celebrities whose past drug use is catching up to them in their old age.  Such as David Crosby’s liver disease.  His liver transplant resulted from his many years of drug abuse.

These are some expensive black market drugs.  But this isn’t a problem if you have a lot of money.  If these drugs were decriminalized, they would be cheaper.  And much more plentiful.  Meaning that they wouldn’t be limited to the rich and famous.  If they were less expensive, kids starting their drug exploration wouldn’t have to limit their exploration to the less expensive stuff (stealing from their parents’ medicine cabinet, sniffing butane, smoking marijuana, etc.).  They could broaden their horizon.  And why not?  They’re going to do it anyway.  And not everyone becomes an addict.  Or dies.

The British East Indian Company Used Indian Opium to Fix Their Balance of Trade with China

In the 19th century, mercantilism ruled.  It was all about balance of trade.  Nations wanted to export their goods.  And import gold and silver that paid for those goods.  Both Great Britain and China pursued these policies.  This became a problem for Great Britain whose people grew very fond of Chinese silk and porcelain and other Chinese exotic goods.  But the Chinese weren’t buying anything British.  Great Britain was importing more than she was exporting to China.  This meant there was a net silver flow from Great Britain to China.  And this wasn’t good mercantilism.  For the British.  It was very good mercantilism for the Chinese.  The British needed something to sell to the Chinese.  Something that only they could sell so the Chinese would have no choice but to buy from Great Britain.  And the British East India Company had just the thing.  Indian opium.

And it worked.  It reversed the balance of trade.  Silver was leaving China at an alarming rate.  But it was also turning the majority of Chinese males near the coastal cities into junkies.  Business suffered.  The civil service suffered.  With less available to buy the standard of living fell.  A dysfunctional civil service compounded that problem.  Rampant opium use was undermining Confucian values.  The Chinese begged the British to destroy the Indian poppy fields.  The British replied that, with the huge Chinese demand for opium, if they didn’t sell it, someone else would.  It would only cost the British their lucrative trade.  It wouldn’t solve the Chinese opium addiction problem.

Well, that led to war.  Two of them.  The Opium Wars.  Neither of which ended well for the Chinese.  They lost a lot.  Chinese coastal cities became virtually British.  Hong Kong became British.  Trade favored the British and other foreign nationals.  It led to much bitterness and resentment.  And to the Boxer Rebellion in 1898 to throw the imperialists out of China.  Which didn’t work all that well either.  But the British did help the Chinese to break their opium addiction.  If the Chinese worked from within to reduce consumption, the British would cut back on their opium importations.  Opium use declined in China.  As did opium imports.  With the decline in consumption, no new sources of opium rushed to fill an unmet demand.

The Americans and the Russians to Collaborate over Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields, The Netherlands Making their Legalized Marijuana less Legal

Well, there are still poppy fields in Southwest Asia.  And a high demand for heroin not too far away.  In Russia.  And it’s killing them.  Literally.   Some tens of thousands die each year from overdoses.  The collateral damage (broken families, lost jobs, the spread of AIDS from shared needles, neglected children, etc.) from drug addiction probably touches 10 times that number.  And the drug trade crime kills who knows how many more.  From the poppy fields in Afghanistan through the Central Asian states into Russia herself, there is an explosion of violence for this lucrative drug trade.  How bad is it?  Russia may return to Afghanistan to help the Americans in eradicating these poppy fields and shutting down the drug laboratories.  (For those who do not know, the Russian/Soviet war in Afghanistan was Russia’s Vietnam War.  And, let us not forget that both of these wars became proxy wars between America and the former Soviet Union.  So America and Russia working together in Afghanistan is a big thing).

Russia is even advising America against the ballot initiative in California to legalize marijuana.  Viktor Ivanov, Russia’s top drug official, went to Los Angeles to campaign against the ballot proposal.  He warned that legalizing marijuana will start a downward spiral into drug addiction.  We can understand heroin.  But marijuana?  A soft drug?  The Netherlands have long had legalized marijuana there.  It works there.  Why not in California?

Well, Netherland has had its problems with its marijuana coffee shops and cafes.  There’s been trouble in their border areas.  Tourists coming in just to get high.  And a lot of people have been going there.  Business is booming.  High demand.  Which have brought in crime as people vie to supply that demand.  There have been problems with school kids so they’ve banned these coffee shops/cafes within certain distances of schools.  And they’ve been selling a more potent cannabis, which is knocking the casual user on their ass.  Or impairing their motor skills.  And, with the rising amount of trouble from the drug tourists, they’re restricting sale to Dutch citizens only.  One other note.  Drug enforcement has been stepped up at Schiphol airport.  Why?  To counter a rising cocaine traffic coming in from the Caribbean. 

Drugs, Drug Wars and the War on Drugs Take their Toll as they Kill and Destroy

Kids are experimenting with drugs.  They’ll start with the softer stuff.  Like in the Netherlands.  But they’ll probably move on to something more potent.  Like in the Netherlands.  There appears to be a progression.  From less dangerous drugs to more dangerous drugs.  You can bet that John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, et al, started their drug use with something less dangerous than cocaine-heroin speedballs.  And look at them now.  Of course you can’t because their dead and buried.  But you get the point.

Epidemic use in China destroyed a millennium-old culture.  Ended a dynasty.  Caused multiple wars.  They finally kicked the habit.  With the help of the British (who helped give them the problem in the first place).  But the poppy fields just found new users.  In Russia.  And elsewhere.  It’s so bad that former enemies are joining forces on a former battleground to fight a new common enemy.  And the Russians are warning Californians not to legalize marijuana.  We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of the Cold War where the Soviets would have helped that initiative pass to help bring down their one-time enemy.

Drugs are a problem.  A big problem.  They kill and destroy.  Drug wars kill and destroy.  As does the war on drugs.  Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.  So what to do?  Well, imagine two worlds.  One where drugs are plentiful and cheap.  And one where no one uses drugs.  Which world you’d rather live in?  Which world do you want your children to live in?  I thought so.  And there’s your answer.

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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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