The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Defying Gravity

by Bob Newland

Thank you, Mike, and Hello Bill & Everyone. Right off the bat, I have to take issue with Mike (wouldn’t be me if I didn’t). I am NOT a one-issue guy. I am a two-issue guy.

The issues are Liberty and Justice. Both are smeared with the blood and s
not and lies of the so-called War on (Some) Drugs, not to mention the bodies of the innocent killed in the crossfire between two vicious groups of people--those who want to make a living in the illegal marketplace and those who think it is their place to prop up that group's profit mechanism.

In 2007, 2723 murders in Mexico were attributed to illegal drug businessmen killing each other and those who got in the way. The 2008 tally was 5612. As of June 14, 2009, 2902 people have died in the violence, often in a quite gruesome manner. The toll this year will exceed 6000, probably by a lot.

The deaths themselves don’t provide an adequate measure of what is being done to Mexico by the drug war. The police are paralyzed—either they cooperate with the gangs or they, and often their whole families, are dead. If they cooperate and are found out by some other agency—the army, most likely--they’re imprisoned or tortured or shot by that agency.

Cabinet ministers and judges are on the take, often under the same threats as the cops.

The stimulus creating the mayhem is competition over access to the US market for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and—by far the largest portion monetarily—cannabis.

For those who pay attention to such events, one thing is glaringly obvious. The US could cut the violence to almost nothing overnight with the simple stroke of a pen, by legalizing cannabis (or “marijuana,” if you will). I would prefer all drugs be legalized, thus allowing regulation, taxation, and control. But legalizing marijuana is at least politically feasible, and only the more myopic believe it would increase, rather than decrease, problems.

Since about 85% of the market numbers involved are related to cannabis, one could surmise that about 85% of the violence would disappear as the bottom dropped out of the retail prices, about 90% of which reflect the risk involved in bypassing law enforcement.

What would be left would be a few hundred violence-oriented people with guns, but no money to bribe law enforcement, which would then have incentive to protect their communities from whatever crime the crazies would turn to for self-support. A few weeks, and things would revert to something near normalcy.

When the “problem” of marijuana is solved by that wave of the wand, so will most of whatever problems there are with the other illegal substances I mentioned. Why? Because, in reality, the problems of cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are promoted and borne by so few folks that they really don’t amount to a pinch of shit in the overall scheme of things.

Any other approach to the “problem” of marijuana and other “drugs” is nothing less than an attempt to repeal the law of gravity.


Michael Sanborn said...

The problem with writing quickly is that sometimes the message is not clear.

I should have said Bob is viewed by many as a one-issue kind of guy. He isn't, which is why he's here.

Bob is capable of interesting repartee on any current news topic.

Bill Fleming said...

Bob, you're just making too much sense, man. Your construct's not nearly convoluted enough for any legislature to comprehend. Besides, where then will all the secret money to do all the secret stuff come from?

p.s. I suppose sooner or later, one of us will have to post something that the other one might disagree about. I'm thinking smoking ban, what are you thinking?

Cigarettes and Centerfires... said...

You want construct?



Smoking ban? Boooooring.


Bill Fleming said...

Bob and I just finished a book lately that describes how addictions drive cultures and economies.

"Food of the Gods" by Terrance McKenna.

He points out (among numerous other things) how Europe's addiction to sugar led to the establishment of slavery in the new world.

Clearly, marijuana use drives a significant black market as did alcohol consumption in the days of prohibition.

So yeah, Bob, I got your construct, right here, pal.

Donna said...

Hi Bill and Bob-
Bob I know you,and respect you, though I do not always agree with your opinions ! I know you will have many issues to discuss here and I am looking forward to them all.

Just an FYI to you both that it is very refreshing to me what Michael has done with the variety on this blog. I love to come and see what food for thought he has for us. I would hope that you both keep that flow and not make this into a "Bob and Bill Battle It Out" blog. Disagreements are well and good,and an excellent source for expanding one's views, but they can get very tedious after awhile.

Bob Newland said...

Hear, hear, Donna. I agree.

And when you disagree with me or Bill or Mike, we'd all like to see the points of disagreement. That is what makes a blog interesting.

Michael Sanborn said...

I agree too, Donna. Thanks. (...says Bill F. posting as Mike because it's easier.)

Mike Boutin said...

Isn't it funny how far we've come, and yet how far we have regressed. Compare the lies told about Cannabis now, to the comments made by the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.........."Prohibition, goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes...and strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded" and in a letter to the Hohner harmonica co. he said...."Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.” Now What?