How anyone can defend drug laws is beyond me. Consider the following:
During the past 15 years or so of drug warfare in Mexico, there have been around 200,000 deaths resulting from drug war violence. 200,000 people, dead. Not because of drugs, but because of the drug war.
That’s not all. There are also more than 70,000 people, including Americans, who have simply disappeared in Mexico. Here one day, and gone the next. Their bodies have never been found. That’s not because of drugs. It’s because of the drug war.
Some of the deaths and disappearances were brought about by drug gangs. Others were brought about by drug enforcement personnel. Either way, it’s the drug war that caused those deaths and disappearances. If there had been no drug war, those people would not have had their lives snuffed out or disappeared by the drug war.
The deaths and disappearances, of course, have not come to an end. The drug war continues to produce more deaths and disappearances on a continuous basis.
How can anyone actually defend the drug war knowing this? How do they sleep at night knowing that they are supporting a program that brings death and disappearance to multitudes of innocent people? How do they go to church every Sunday and not be wracked by a crisis of conscience for supporting a program that wreaks so much death and so many disappearances? How do they live with themselves?
Of course, many drug-war supporters respond, “Jacob, we mean well. When we support the drug war, we don’t want it to kill or disappear people. We just want to rid society of drugs.”
But who cares about their good intentions? Why should their good intentions matter? Why shouldn’t their drug war be judged by its actual consequences, year after year, rather than by the good intentions of its supporters?
Meanwhile, a modern-day hero of the drug war crowd, Philippine dictator Rodrigo Duterte has had his drug-war goons killing suspected drug violators for the the last 5 years. He is the poster child for U.S. drug war proponents who have, for the past several decades, maintained that the secret for “winning” the drug war has been simply for the government to really “crack down” on the drug violators.
Well, Duterte has been “cracking down,” with his goons serving as judge, jury, and executioner. They don’t bother with arrests, prosecutions, trials, and incarcerations. They simply kill the people who they believe are violating the government’s drug laws. That includes 60 children, according to an article in Business Insider. If what Duterte has been doing to “win” the war on drugs isn’t “cracking down,” then I don’t know what “cracking down” is.
But here is the kicker: Despite and these deaths — along with immunity granted to the police — Duarte and his drug war goons have still not “won” their drug war. The killings go on.
The same holds true in Mexico. Following the suggestion of many U.S. drug warriors, some 15 years ago the Mexican government began “cracking down” in the drug war by employing the Mexican military. That should have done the trick, right?
Wrong! The drug war violence only escalated, along with the massive human-rights abuses that came with military involvement in enforcing drug laws.
Did I mention that more than 100 journalists have also been killed in Mexico’s drug war?
What is so perverse about all this death, suffering, and mayhem is how utterly unnecessary it all is. If drugs were legalized, the drug war violence would disappear, immediately. That’s because there would be no more drug gangs, drug lords, or gang warfare. All of those groups would be out of business overnight.
Note the supreme irony: The state wages war on the drug dealers and, in the process, tens of thousands of people are dead or disappeared as a result. Meanwhile, no matter how many drug busts are made, new drug dealers and drug gangs quickly replaced the old ones. Yet, if drugs were legalized, all those violent drug dealers and drug gangs would be gone immediately given that they can only compete in an illegal market, not a legal one.
Add to all the deaths and disappearances such things as asset forfeiture, police and judicial corruption, racial bigotry in drug war enforcement, mandatory minimum sentences, overcrowded prisons, evisceration of the Fourth Amendment, and the destruction of liberty that has come with the drug war.
The question naturally arises: Why do the American people — and, for that matter, the Mexican and Philippine people — permit this evil, immoral, and deadly disaster of a government program to continue?