Democrats make it Easier for Women to Drink, Smoke Pot and Catch Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2013

Week in Review

According to Democrats, Republicans are at war with women.  Because they hate women.  For they want to restrict abortion.  And they want women to pay for their birth control.  Republicans also want women to marry and raise a family instead of just pursuing a career.  The kind of thinking they had in the Middle Ages.  And the Republicans are always talking about God and religion.  Trying to shame women from enjoying their sexual side.  Preferring their women barefoot and pregnant.  Not out having a good time.  Drinking and smoking pot as they please.  And going home with anyone they please to enjoy sexually.  This is what being a modern woman is all about.  The freedom to do whatever the hell they want without any moral judgment.  Just like a man can.  Women have made progress.  But they have a long way to go (see Why female potheads still feel ashamed by Hayley Krischer posted 9/14/2013 on Salon).

Here’s the thing about women and weed: Women generally don’t want to discuss their habit out of fear of being judged or compared to a cartoon. Think Milla Jovovich’s stoner character in “Dazed and Confused” — she had no lines whatsoever and merely stared off into space, and, okay, she painted a Gene Simmons face on that statue. Worse, if you’re a mother, you keep your weed habit secret because you don’t want to be seen as a negligent parent…

Though movies have portrayed men getting high in groups for decades (just this summer Seth Rogen and co. smoked their way through the apocalypse in “This Is The End”), there’s a complete lack of women who smoke weed in pop culture, as Ann Friedman points out in New York magazine: “There are a few depictions of women smoking at home as a way to blow off some steam and bond with each other…

This is exactly why a 43-year-old friend of mine, and a mom of two young boys, won’t discuss her weed smoking with other women. “I don’t want to be judged,” she says. “I think in general women are supposed to be more responsible and something about it is irresponsible…”

Perhaps, eventually, the broader acceptance of smoking weed will spread to women. Two recent examples: Lady Gaga and Rihanna both dressed up as bedazzled cannabis queens last year for Halloween. (Rihanna dressed as a weed bride with a bouquet of bud. Lady Gaga covered her nipples with sativa leaf nipple pasties.) And there’s an opportunity for women to create their own statement about marijuana in the future without feeling so, ahem, paranoid. I saw some hope after a conversation with my 21-year-old cousin, a senior at Oberlin, who says most of her girlfriends freely smoke weed. “People think it’s cool if girls smoke weed.” And then as an afterthought she added, “It might also be because of my environment.”

For the most part smoking weed is illegal.  So it is irresponsible.  Especially if you have children.  As parents don’t want their children to see them breaking the law.  For if breaking the law is okay then it must be okay not to listen to your parents, too.  “Do your homework, clean your room, don’t drink until you’re of legal age,” says a kid’s parent.  “But you smoke pot and that’s illegal,” says the kid.  “Damn,” says the parent.  “Then I guess it’s okay if you break the law and drink.”

No doubt a lot of mothers want to hide their weed habit from their kids to avoid exchanges like this.  Which will be easier to do if they hide it from everyone.  If she smokes with another mother this other mother could talk to her husband about her getting stoned with her friend which can be overheard by this other mother’s kid.  That kid tells his friends who then tell their friends and the next thing you know they kick this stoner mother off the PTA.  So it’s still an uphill battle for women to get high.  But at least they are making progress elsewhere.  Closing the gap between men and women.  Something that should make Democrats happy (see Number of female DUIs soaring across the country, statistics show by Emily Alpert posted 9/12/2013 on the Los Angeles Times).

Women make up a bigger share of arrests for driving under the influence than they did decades ago, but little attention has been paid to how to halt or handle the trend, according to a report released Thursday.

Federal statistics showed that women constituted nearly a quarter of DUI arrests across the United States in recent years. In 1980,  the number was just 9.3%, but the percentage has risen almost every year for three decades, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Yet most research on drunk driving focuses on men…

The Canadian group found some common threads among the female offenders: Almost all said they faced a stressful event such as a breakup or death in the family before their arrest. More than three-quarters said they used at least one prescription medication for anxiety, depression and other disorders. And more than half were single, separated or divorced.

The report also found that the women fit into three categories: young women who drink to “fit in” at house parties or bars; recently married women who drink to cope with loneliness after their children are born; and divorced older women or empty-nesters who begin to drink later in life.

When women married and raised families they were drinking and driving less.  Because they were happier.  For over half of the women with a DUI were single, separated or divorced.  That is, they were not married and raising a family.  They were not happy.  And because they were not happy they drank more.

So who, then, is fighting this war on women?  Those who are doing everything to make it easier to drink, get high and have sex?  That leads to more unhappiness and more drinking?  As well as an explosion in sexually transmitted diseases?  Or those who champion marriage and family?  That leads to more happiness and less drinking?  And fewer sexually transmitted diseases?

You probably should ask mothers what they want for their daughters.

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Kids are Smoking about as much Pot as Grandma and Grandpa are Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2013

Week in Review

The Sixties gave us hippies and free love.  And the Seventies gave us stoners in junior high school.  Growing up apparently hasn’t changed much for these stoners (see Drug Use Drops for America’s Youth, Rises in the Over 50 Crowd by MIKE LEVINE, ABC News, posted 9/4/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Drug use among America’s youth is dropping, but it’s booming among people over 50, a U.S. government survey released Wednesday shows.

Last year, the rate of illicit drug use among children and teenagers 12 to 17 years old dropped to 9.5 percent, down from 11.6 percent a decade earlier, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest national survey.

Meanwhile, illicit drug use among adults 50 to 64 years old has increased in the past decade.

Specifically, illicit drug use among adults 50 to 54 has more than doubled since 2002, reaching 7.2 percent last year. For people 55 to 59, such drug use has more than tripled, reaching 6.6 percent last year.

Marijuana is by far the most-used illicit drug among both children and adults, according to SAMHSA, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

At a press conference Wednesday in Washington, officials expressed particular concern about use by those 12 to 17 years old.

“There’s no question that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of adolescents,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde, adding that marijuana use has been linked to “significant I.Q. declines.”

So what were these 50-54 year-olds doing when they were 15 (the average of 12 and 17)?  It was the middle of the Seventies.  The height of Cheech and Chong and stoner humor.  Anyone in school in the Seventies knew what 15 year-olds were doing.  Getting high.  Some kids just reeked of marijuana in school.  Some would smoke a joint before school.  Some would cut class and get high.  Much of junior high is a foggy memory to them today.  Having fried a considerable amount of brain cells in those days.

Kids today still smoke more pot than Grandma and Grandpa.  Unless their Grandparents were getting high in the Seventies.  Here’s a test you can do to find out.  Knock on the door and whisper, “It’s Dave.”  If they say, “Who?”  Whisper louder, “Dave!”  If they then reply, “Dave’s not here” and begin laughing you know they were listening to Cheech and Chong in the Seventies.  And probably spent their spare time getting high.  Which is why they are still getting high.  Once a stoner always a stoner.

Which does not bode well for today’s youth.  About 10% of 12-17 year olds are smoking pot.  And that’s with it being illegal.  Imagine what it will be like when more states decriminalize it.  And this isn’t Grandma’s and Grandpa’s pot.  Pot today is far more potent than it was in their day.  And will cause more long-lasting damage.   So they probably won’t even remember why “Dave not’s here” is funny when they reach the ripe old age of 50.

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Teenager High on the Legal Drug Salvia throws Baby to the Floor

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2013

Week in Review

A lot of people say marijuana is no different than enjoying a few beers.  At least, those who want to decriminalize it.  And, no, they say, decriminalizing marijuana will not encourage more adults to use it.  Or kids.  For kids are too busy doing their homework and doing chores around the house for Mom and Dad to be thinking about getting high.  Throwing up the ‘what about the children’ argument is just a red herring.  Only responsible adults are interested in getting high.

So you won’t see any difference in our children’s behavior when we go from marijuana being illegal to being legal.  And very accessible (see Legal high warning after baby is grabbed out of pram and thrown to floor ‘by teenager who’d smoked Salvia’ by Paul Cockerton posted 7/5/2013 on the Mirror).

A teenager who had taken a legal high grabbed a baby out of a buggy and threw it to the floor today.

Police said a woman in the street with her child saw a man apparently in some distress and went over to talk to him.

He then grabbed the baby, threw it on the floor then left the scene in Newbiggin, Northumberland at around 3.20pm…

Northumbria Police later said another teenager was in hospital having smoked a cigarette which contained a substance called Salvia.

That boy, a pupil at Ashington High School, was in a stable condition having collapsed.

The force said the 16-year-old who was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an infant in nearby Newbiggin had taken the same substance.

Hmmm.  Seems like some kids are getting high.  Marijuana is illegal so they get high with something that is legal.  Salvia.  Which made one kid physically assault a baby.  And put another kid in hospital.  Something few people do after a couple of beers.  Of course, some will blame the Salvia.  And say had these kids smoked marijuana they would have just gotten silly like that Spicoli kid in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  (Warning: The following movie clip shows naked women in Playboy centerfolds in the background).

But the point is this.  Kids want to get high.  They use Salvia because it’s legal and easy to buy.  But they’d rather have marijuana.  Like Spicoli.  And once it’s no longer illegal they’ll find a way to get their hands on it.  Because these kids want to get high.  As proven by their use of Salvia.  Ignoring this fact will put a lot of our kids onto the path of further drug use.  Abuse.  And addiction.  As they start chasing the dragon.  Trying to find a better high.  And the easier it is to start their drug addiction the worse their drug addiction will be.

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

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2010

Like Father like Daughter – Even after You’ve Quit Drugs and Gone Conservative

It was about the 7th grade when kids I knew were getting into drugs.  I can remember being at a McDonald’s once after a high school football game (I went to that game with my brother and his friends).  Some of my 7th grade classmates were there.  When one saw me he pulled a joint out of his jacket and waved it in front of me, saying, “Do you want a doobie?”  He was an old friend.  He became a burn out.  I didn’t.  So he made fun of me in front of his new stoner friends.  Incidentally, a couple of these stoner friends are now dead.

One of those guys was a pretty good friend of mine.  I turned him on to Monty Python.  He could do all the voices.  And the skits.  Had them all memorized.  Funny guy.  He became a stoner in high school.  He tried to get high off whatever he could.  He came to school with a busted lip once.  His father punched him.  When he caught him sniffing gasoline in the garage.  His father tried to help him.  Knock some sense into him.  Maybe he did.  For when he died in a car crash (he was doing something like 80 on a 35 mph street and tried to pass someone.  Clipped the guy’s rear bumper and flipped his car over and over again), he wasn’t driving stoned.  He was driving drunk.

I once worked with a guy who was a reformed burn out.  He was a hardcore stoner in middle school.  Skipped a lot of school to get high.  Then he had a kid when he was in the 11th grade.  He then quit school, quit drugs and pumped gas.  Changed his life.  He became super dad.  He was a conservative and father of 5 when I met him.  Sometimes when he was talking to you he’d stop in mid-sentence, lost.  He’d then laugh and say something about all those lost brain cells he’d like to have back.  He had dreams of sending his daughter (an honor student) to that conservative college in Michigan.  Hillsdale College.  He wasn’t happy that she wanted to go to a party school instead.  But, at least, she was going to college.  And she did.  Until she got pregnant.  And dropped out.  Like father like daughter.  Well, sort of.

Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop – ‘Cool’ Equity for the Responsible Drug User

Once upon a time it was sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Now it’s probably a little more hip hop than rock and roll.  But it’s still the same.  Young kids engage in risky behavior.  They don’t practice prudence in their choices.  For them, it’s all about the id.  The pursuit of pleasure.  And the avoidance of things unpleasant.  In other words, childlike behavior.  Even though we should know better.  Pleasure now.  Pain never.  We’re only here for a short time.  And it would be a shame that if you died young you didn’t have a lot of pleasure first.

A lot of kids get pleasure from getting high.  Drugs are a part of sex, drugs and hip hop, remember.  Not only is it fun, but it says cool all over it.  Rebellious.  You get some ‘cool’ equity with the ‘in crown’.  Until someone dies.  But after a suitable period of mourning, life goes on.  I mean, the kid who dies, why, they were just stupid.  Those who say that will say it can’t happen to them.  Because they get high responsibly. 

But there are addictions.  And there are fatal overdoses.  There’s AIDS passed via shared needles.  Heart attacks from cocaine rushes.  Neglected children as a parent gets high in the next room.  Violent crime by someone whacked out on PCP who can feel no pain.  Organ failure (we exclude drug addicts from transplant lists because their drug use will only kill their new transplants, too).  Broken marriages.  Lost families.  Dead children.  Ruined careers.  Stroke.  Diminished motor functions.  Etc.  Of course, these people all wanted these things to happen.  Because all drug users who haven’t yet had these things happen to them say these things never will for they are responsible drug users.  And as my daughter often says, “Yeah, whatever.”  The carnage of drug abuse begs to differ with the responsible users.  There is a social cost to drug use.  And it’s a pretty hefty price at that.

Sex and Drugs Make Happy Pimps

Not yet mentioned are the costs we incur because of the illegality of drugs.  Victim crimes.  And, of course, victimless crimes.  When something is illegal, it becomes expensive.  Very, very expensive.  And one of the downsides of being an addict compounds the problem of trying to pay for these expensive drugs.  Drug addicts have erratic lives.  They live from high to high.  Which doesn’t mesh well with an 8-hour work day.  Some can.  For awhile.  But eventually the addiction takes control and they lose their jobs.  So, to support their habits, some become thieves.  Do a little breaking and entering.  A little pock picking.  A little car jacking.  Eventually ending up in jail for the same reasons they can’t get regular work.  The addiction takes control.  And they make dumb mistakes.  And get caught.

And then there are those who are not stealing but selling.  Sexual favors.  Desperate for their next fix, they walk the streets looking for a john.  The pain of withdrawal will make them take great risks.  Some johns may beat them up.  Rob them (for what little they may have).  Kill them.  They may receive a sexually transmitted disease.  Or pass one on.  They may get pimped out buy someone who pays them in their drug fixes.  Until they’re no longer marketable.   In which case their pimp may throw them back onto the street.  Or worse.  And if she dies?  So what.  There are always more where she came from.  Sex and drugs.  What pimp could ask for anything more?

Addiction is a powerful thing.  People will do things they never thought they would for their next fix.  Combine that with the illegality of drugs and it’s a very profitable enterprise.  Not for the uses.  But for the dealers.  Who get a very high price for their product.  And an addicted customer that must keep buying. 

John Lennon and Nancy Reagan May Have Agreed to ‘Just Say No’

America’s southern border is bleeding.  The U.S. demand for illegal drugs is a coveted market.  And drug gangs are very protective of their territory.  Drug violence is appalling.  Much like it was in the days of Al Capone during Prohibition.  Even worse.  In Capone’s day, they may have sent a message to a cop by shooting him.  Today they behead a cop and send the severed head back to police headquarters to get their message across.  And the violence is spilling over into civilian life near the border.  Kidnapping.  Ransoms.  Murders.  It’s so bad that the federal government has posted signs on American soil advising Americans that they are not safe on that American soil.

So there are two sides of the decriminalization of drugs coin.  The one is the social costs of drug use.  They’re illegal now and the social costs are staggering.  Decriminalizing drugs is not likely to reduce addiction and all that comes with it.  On the other hand, illegal drugs are expensive which makes addiction that much more costly.  Which makes some users resort to crime to support their habits.  And it empowers drug gangs.  It would appear neither choice is very appealing.

Of course, there is one option that would get rid of both problems.  Like Nancy Reagan said.  Just say ‘no’.  And if people just said ‘no’, that lucrative U.S. market would disappear.  No addiction.  No drug wars.  Imagine that.  A world in which there were no drugs to kill or die for.  Even John Lennon, a recovered heroin addict and peacenik, could appreciate that.

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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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