Skip to comments.Speaker supports alternatives to the war on drugs (EXPLOSIVE ALL EXITS NO WAITING BARF ALERT)
Posted on 02/16/2003 8:46:15 PM PST by new cruelty
Nora Callahan knows firsthand the effects of America's war on drugs.
Her brother was indicted for a drug conspiracy in 1989.
After he was sent to prison for 27 years, she began trying to educate the public about how drug laws have increased the prison population.
As executive director of the November Coalition in Colville, Wash., Callahan travels nationwide talking about the drawbacks of punitive drug laws. She speaks tonight at Savannah State University.
Jails and prisons are clogged with people serving sentences for drug offenses, many of which are non-violent, Callahan said. A drug arrest in any family, Callahan says, is frightening introduction to conspiracy statutes, government's liberal use of informants and guideline-sentencing laws,
"We are dedicated to abolishing destructive prohibition laws whose enforcement does far more harm than any intended good," Callahan said.
According to the November Coalition -- a nonprofit founded to give a voice to drug war prisoners and their family members -- one in four prisoners nationwide is serving time for a drug law violation. In the federal system, these people make up about 60 percent of the prison population, Callahan said.
"We call it a war on drugs, but it's actually a war against our own citizens," said Lisa Lane, founder of the Savannah group, Coalition of Compassionate Drug Policy Reform.
The group supports treatment for drug offenders -- not prison -- and opposes mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which takes away judges' discretion, Lane said.
"Not only does treatment work, whereas incarceration does not, it's also less expensive," Lane said. "It's fiscally much more responsible to put our money in something that works, instead of continuing to put our money into this failed drug war that shows no sign of working."
Yah, like the guy up the road from me who got shot in a no-knock raid. Trouble is, the cops had the wrong address.
If you truly see the drug war in such simplistic terms, you must not have debated it very intently. It's pretty easy to make a case that the cure is worse than the disease. See any random drug war thread for details.
That sucks about the guy up the road from you who got shot in a no knock raid because the cops had the wrong address.
Yeah... well.. "That sucks" doesn't really sum it up quite completely for his family I'm sure.
All drugs should be legalized. The black market dries up, the funding of terrorist activities through the drug trade would end, and We The People would no longer have to fund a war on our own citizens so that cultural authoritarians could feel warm and tingly whenever someone went to jail over things like posessing a dried plant.
Who loses in this scenario? Drug dealers/cartels, terrorists, cultural authoritarians, the incredibly bloated government agencies responsible for the upkeep of the war, and prison construction companies. Which of the 5 are you part of, that you have so much enthusiasm for their cause?
Ah, I see your problem. Yes, it is difficult to understand debate when you confuse the meaning of two words that mean very different things. I don't have the time for extended tutelage, but I'll try to help you out here.
I can easily forgive this particular mistake because French intellectuals (for example) make it all the time over war in Iraq. It's pretty easy to make a case that Sadaam must be removed from power (would you not agree?), but the French denigrate our policy by calling it "simplisime" (simplistic), which it clearly is not.
"Simplistic" means over-simplified, which typically means that essential details have been left out or intentionally ignored.
"Easy to make a case" mean that the case is pretty straightforward, but does not imply there's anything logically wrong with it.
Someone who lumps all drug users into a single despicable bucket, and who believes any attempt to help them deserves a barf alert, is clearly being simplistic. Consumption of drugs, just like that of alcohol and tobacco, is a more complex issue that that.
However, the case against the drug war is indeed easy to make from several directions - innocent lives lost, complete ineffectiveness, erosion of civil rights, preposterous amounts of money spent, etc. And the case for the drug war is much harder to make (though with anything that damages people, there is indeed such a case).
A "simplistic" debater (on either side) would claim, as you seem to, that there was no case at all for the other side. I do not claim that pro-drug-war people have no case at all - merely that it's not a very strong one, and that it's easy to make a strong case against the drug war along the lines of lives lost, liberties lost, money lost, etc.
I wish you well in your quest to better understand the English language, and use it more effectively in debate. I'm sure it will benefit you - for example, your posts will be a lot less likely to be moved to the back room, so you'll have the privilege of debating more Free Republic posters.
I agree. I believe the same about alcohol and tobacco, so I just say no to all of them. They are all nasty habits, all dangerous to one degree or another.
That's a completely separate issue from whether they should be legal. We (as a society) decided, correctly I believe, that prohibition of alcohol was a bad idea, despite the harm alcohol causes. I believe exactly the same case holds for illegal drugs.
This is another important point to understand about debating the issue. Saying something should be legal is not the same as saying that it's a good idea. Assuming that someone is against the drug war just because they want to use drugs is false far more often than not.
That's not what is going on here. Taking something that was illegal for a number of decades and now saying that it should be legal sends a completely different message.
Look what happened with abortion. Making that legal may not have sent the message that it was a good idea, but it sure increased that activity, didn't it?
"Assuming that someone is against the drug war just because they want to use drugs is false far more often than not."
This is a perfect example of moral relativism. That is, "Drugs are bad, I don't do drugs, I'm not in favor of others doing drugs, but they should be legal and if you choose to do drugs that's up to you."
IT is fine for an individual or group to debate the above issue - even adopt a position that says the group will tell you how to act.
It is an entirely different issue when it is a government that is going to make a morality-based decision for you and enforce it's decision against you via it's enormous police power. The cost-benefit analysis of the WOD leads one to the inescapable conclusion that it does entirely too much violence to all our liberties and the Constitution (not too mention specific examples of violence to innocent citizens) to continue. It will never be effective in reducing drug use - but it will be very effective in destroying our privacy and liberties.
You act as though we don't have a say. Also, you're acting as though our (not "the") government isn't doing what the voters want them to do. I think they are. Over-zealous at times, yes, but the voters in this country do not want marijuana to be legal. (gasp!)
And isn't it surprising how many of the *new* members are acutally the same old incumbents.
They must have been reëlected because they did such a good job last time around.
First, as is often pointed out this nation is not and should not be a democracy. There are quite a few areas that should not be subjected to the will of the majority. Second, the voters in California do want marijuana at least partially legalized, but the feds wouldn't permit it. Is federalism only a good thing if the states do exactly what you want?
It truly IS simple. Either we want people to choose what they do with their lives and bodies, or we want the government to get involved and make the decisions for all of us.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.