April 10, 2005

Command Performance

Miss Flynny from Divine InnerBitchin' had the idea; it might be cool to see a variety of bloggers take on the same subject all at once, a sort of impromptu text-based debate on a specified topic - she calls it Command Post. The idea is that one blogger presents a topic on Saturday, and throughout the week any takers just hop right in and blog on that topic. The following week, the topic's host will pick his or her favorite post, and pass the baton on to the blogger who wrote it.

This week, Miss Flynny has appointed me to ask you good folks a question to be answered on your own site, being the wonderfully intrepid soul that she is. I enjoyed writing my response to last week's query, so I'll gladly take up the mantle. Any and all are encouraged to participate. The more the fucking merrier, I always say!

Remember, though, that Queenie is on the down-low; I'm way, way too neurotic to handle much linkage. Don't link back to me, link back to this post, at Flynny's. Help a woman keep her cyber-wig on, darlin'. You know how I get when my slip is showing.

If you'd care to, though, do leave a link to your command post here, in the comments. I will post every one in the updates with all alacrity, so that any of my dear readers who care to may join the fun. I'll post my thoughts on the subject - some of which might surprise you - sometime later in the week.

Here we go - and you know this is just so predictable and typical:

The War on Drugs. I'd like to hear your take on it - with regard to public policy, foreign policy, legalization, tightening of controls, the prison system - anything goes, any slice of the pie you care to take. Of course...if you wanted to share any hazy and mostly-embarrassing memories with us - Queenie style - please, please do. It lessens my shame over my own lurid youth.

That's all from me, for the moment. Have at it!

UPDATE: Dear Circa Bellum is the first to take the plunge - you can read his adventures here. That was a close shave! Reminds me of that time on the way to Charlotte to catch the Dead at the new Coliseum...

Also, be sure and check the comments, where my friend Key left her opinion.

Aha! My beloved Velocipater joins the fray. Listen to the man! He knows whereof he speaks!

Ooh - a long and thoughtful post from the Polyanna of the Blogosphere (and a damned good friend), the one and only Margi Lowry. Go see.

At last! Our gracious meme-progenitor checks in - Miss Flynny!

Finally, my own views are in the extended entry. You've still got until Saturday night to participate, and on Sunday I'll be announcing the next host. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write on the subject!


I've procrastinated on posting my take because I know that so many people, like Miss Flynny, have such strong opinions on the positive effect of the war on drugs, and have such horrible life-experiences to back them up. While I am NOT in favor of across-the-board drug legalization, and while I do think that, viewed as a whole, some drug use has a deleterious effect on families and, by extension, society as a whole, I have several problems with the way in which the current "war on drugs" is being waged. I think the gubmint has gone about it in entirely the wrong way, and, as such, the war on drugs is a miserable failure.

Look - have you seen stats on drug-related crime in the seventies, before the drug war got down to brass tacks, before the Reagan years? From the little bit of research I've done on the subject, it looks like said crimes were committed on an exponentially smaller scale than they were in the eighties, or the nineties, or in the new century. Also, these statistics seem to point to a localization of drug crime, isolating the problem to major cities. Today drug-related crime is everywhere, even here in bucolic Sylacauga, and it doesn't show any sign of slacking off.

Why is it everywhere, now? Because it fucking pays, that's why.

What the drug war has done is to drive the value of illegal substances through the roof - an ounce of gold sells for a fraction of the cost of an ounce of cocaine. While the war on drugs has made these substances more dangerous to deal in, it has also made the business more profitable by orders of magnitude. The market hasn't slowed; people have been getting high on one substance or another since the beginning of recorded history, and the laws of supply and demand apply in this case just as much as they would if we were talking about lumber or barrels of oil.

Any time people are desperate, unable to feed their families, locked into an unending cycle of economic misery, they are going to turn to whatever is available to them to make a profit, to help them out of their straitened circumstances. Wait a few generations, watch children grow up in those same circumstances, in those neighborhoods where the dealer man is the biggest, baddest motherfucker on the block, and you're going to have an army of young ones who want to be just like him. That's what we're dealing with today. Prison is no longer even a deterrent, because - over the years - going to prison became a mark of cool, a major signifier of street cred. Kids see the profitability of selling drugs, and they want in, no matter the cost. What do they care if selling or doing drugs "ruins their life"? They don't even have any hope for a "normal" life. Getting high is the fucking bright spot in an otherwise barren existence. Selling drugs is the only way they can see to get any power or respect at all.

I don't have the answers. I don't know how to stop the cycle, and I'm not even sure that it can be stopped, at this point in its progression. I am in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana, because I truly believe that it is far less dangerous than alcohol, or even tobacco, and also because our prisons are full of non-violent weed offenders - people that would otherwise be paying taxes like the rest of us - and I think it is ridiculous to incarcerate someone for such a trifle. Also, it's becoming more and more expensive to keep all of these people in jail. Would I legalize heroin, though? Hell, no. Crack cocaine? No way.

Again, I don't know the solution...but if I were in charge for a day, I'd start by initiating a program that subsidized the educations of young inner-city men, in exchange for a mandated period of service in the school system, as teachers. Give these inner-city kids some hope, give them some role models that they can look up to, and put some big, large menz in the classroom to keep discipline so that a positive learning environment can be fostered. I'd also like to see marijuana sold under the government aegis, and I'd like to see 'em tax the fuck out of it, redirecting the profits into rehab, education, and job training for more serious abusers.

Finally, I'd like to see us stop using the term "War on Drugs". It isn't a war on drugs, it's a war on drug-users, and the government has no business waging a war on its own people. You want to really fight a drug war? Stop opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Put an end to coca-bush production in South America. Rechannel the efforts of the DEA into border control. Fight it where you can win it - because I doubt very seriously that people are ever going to stop wanting to get high on something. History tells us that it ain't going to happen. I'd just like us to make sure that that something is as mild as possible, that the individual can't make a profit selling it, and that the lion's share of the proceeds goes towards removing the issues that drive people into destructive addiction in the first place.

Posted by Queenie at April 10, 2005 01:15 AM

May I just leave my opinion here?

I think that we should be issued PRA cards. (Proven, responsibile adult) Over 25 in age, gainfully employed, taxpayer, never hospitalized for alcohol induced liver failure or drug overdose.

The card entitles holders to a ration of those substances deemed safe by the FDA. Not on the list would be crack, meth, and the like. On the list would be weed and a variety of painkillers.

I have a dream.

Posted by: Key at April 10, 2005 02:07 PM

Oh, you just had to go and pick this one, didn't you. I've been purposefully avoiding it, but now I feel a rant coming on. It won't be pretty.

Posted by: Bane at April 10, 2005 04:00 PM


Posted by: Circa Bellum at April 10, 2005 04:35 PM

I''m going to post mine here as well. I'm going through a divorce and even though this happened about 20 years ago, God only knows what kind of thing the stbx will try to dredge up against me.

This is true and now it's funny as hell but it damn sure wasn't then:

At about age 16 my friends and I enjoyed nothing more than finding a quiet spot and smoking "hand rolled cigarettes". Pretty normal behavior for kids that age back then.
We were all terrified of being caught by our parents for doing drugs. Pot, and a little beer now and then, nothing hardcore.
So we found this great place that was quiet and very seldomnly did anyone come around there so we felt safe to go there for our "activities".
One evening though, we are all sitting around as we had done dozens of time and BAM! lights came on EVERYWHERE! it was like the sun had suddenly came up, it was so bright you couldn't see anything in front of you.
It was the cops and we just knwe it was a drug bust and here we were caught red handed....or not quite. IF we ditched the dope, they could never pin us for dope possession right?? So that's what we did. Bad idea! We should have taken the pot wrap and been done with it.
The cops loaded us into seperate cars. Took us down to the juvenile detention center and called our parents. We of course denied the pot. (we would have ben MUCH better of had we told them why what we were doing there.)
Little did we know that we hadn't been picked up for pot. It seems that someone had been vandalizing the cemetary and holding satanic rituals there, including decapitating black cats in the middle of pentagrams with black candles and all.THAT is what we were charged with.
Now, all of us eager to be "charged" for pot, it was too late since we had done such a great job of hiding our "stuff", it was never found.
We all had to attend 12 weeks, 3 times a week of sessions dealing with anger management, vandalism and pretty much subjected to being exorcised.
We all swore if we ever got caught again, we'd just pony up with the pot. Luckily we were adolescents and under the legal adult age and therefore our names were never released and it didn't go with our record into our adult lives.
I don't know if they ever caught the real perpetrators or not. All I knew is I wasn't going near that or nay other cemetary for as long as I lived.

Sorry so long. :o)

Posted by: dawn at April 10, 2005 08:45 PM

I have a few thoughts on this myself.

I think I MUST make a post. Problem is, two jobs means no time.


I'll post a link here when I can manage to be coherent about this topic.

Excellent, excellent subject, my dear. For a number of reasons.

Posted by: Margi at April 12, 2005 03:41 PM

You must be psychic dear. I have been reading a tome regarding the Chagras and the assassination of Judge John Wood, so this topic is fresh in my mind. Doesn't mean I'm coherent about it, however.


Here 'tis.

Posted by: Margi at April 12, 2005 04:10 PM

I'm in, at the last minute...of course.

Posted by: jmflynny at April 14, 2005 10:02 PM

For the sake of clarification...

I don't necessarily think that the "war on drugs" has worked that well either, and I agree, if it's a war, then take it to the source. I do, however; feel very strongly about the subject of legalization.

And, as usual, you've provided a well thought out opinion on the subject. There was no need to procrastinate.

Posted by: jmflynny at April 15, 2005 05:36 AM


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