Skip to comments.The war on guns: Joel Miller explains how drug cops are killing 2nd Amendment
Posted on 06/30/2004 3:29:33 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
When anti-gun agitators wish to hack away support for Americans' right to keep and bear arms, they must utter only one word: crime. It's the catch-all, the single basket into which they toss all their rotten eggs. The problem of crime, they say, can be solved if we just get rid of all those danged firearms.
In "The Real War on Crime," for instance, members of the National Criminal Justice Commission note, "We know that some things work to make us safer," after which they lament that "Congress is unwilling to enact laws to significantly curtail the deadly firearms that are now available on the streets." To effectively fight crime, they say, "Our Congress needs to enact meaningful gun-control legislation at the federal level that applies to every state and locality."
The reason many of those "deadly firearms" are on the streets and being used in crimes (rather than defending the innocent from them) is that the law-abiding find it tougher to get firearms because of already existing gun-control legislation. And worse, because criminals are not real big on following laws to begin with, the statutes don't prevent them from acquiring weapons. In short, people not prone to killing others go unheeled, while thugs carry and, tragically, use firearms.
Most people around this issue with even an inkling of respect for the Second Amendment already know these facts. Outlaw guns, goes the saying, and only outlaws will have guns. What many do not realize, however, is that the war on crime used as the pretext for banning guns results directly from the war on drugs.
Take it back to the subject of gun violence. From the earliest days of drug prohibition (1914), thugs and organized crime were drawn into the trade just as they were when alcohol was made illegal in the 1920s. And just as the liquor trade during the Ignoble Experiment, the illegal drug trade remains fraught with violence and murder.
As I explain in my new book, "Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America," gang crime flourishes under drug prohibition, as it creates all the right incentives, market and legal factors for thugs to prosper. And their bloody effects are devastating. Earlier this year, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton blamed street gangs, whose activity is currently tied almost inextricably to the drug trade, for more than half of L.A.'s annual homicide tally.
It's been this way for decades now. During the 1980s, the activity of Colombian cocaine gangs in Florida made shoot-outs and images of blood-red sidewalks almost nightly fodder for television news.
More than fodder for anchormen and journalists, however, it was also, and more ominously for gun supporters, fodder for anti-gun politicians and activists, who stepped in to propose the most unobvious solution to the problem. Scrap the assault weapons, they said, which was truly a curious tactic because even the government acknowledged that violence was only a symptom of the real problem the underground market created by drug prohibition.
Under prohibition, notes a 1989 U.S. attorney general report, "the normal commercial concept of contracts, in which disputes are adjudicated by an impartial judiciary and restitution is almost always of a financial nature, is twisted ... into a system where the rule of law is replaced by the threat of violence." In other words, the illicit nature of the trade drives the crime. The real culprit is the law itself.
By and large, it's not the student potheads who threaten and shoot others. It's not the weekend coke sniffers who have any intention of shooting folks. Rather, as criminologist Scott Decker showed in a 1995 study using Justice Department numbers, the people in the drug biz who pack heat with deadly intention are usually dealers the thugs.
The unobviousness of the gun-grabbers' solution is really seen here: Drug dealers are already breaking laws for which there are tremendous legal repercussions: confiscation of property, lengthy mandatory jail time, etc. What makes these people think dealers will be observant of gun laws? Maybe they're on something.
We sure were.
Conservatives who agreed with Reagan and Bush's drug-war crackdown tactics (and always complained Clinton didn't do enough) got bitten in the pants by the policy because law enforcement crackdowns did little but amplify gang violence. Not only did enforcement efforts drive gangs onto each other's turf with bloody consequences, showdowns with police got more desperate and violent as well.
As I point out in "Bad Trip," as the drug war has intensified over the decades, police and dopers have entered a Cold War-like arms race in which one side is forever trying to outgun and overpower the other. Since police are both obstacles to payday and bringers of punishment, dopers do what they must to resist them and that means more firepower. So as violence increased, so did the calls for banning the guns we conservatives were vociferously arguing we had a Second Amendment right to keep and bear.
We didn't want thugs to have and use them, obviously, but using guns to shoot cops, rivals and innocent bystanders was already illegal. That only left banning the guns of the law-abiding in a dragnet approach to the problem. Little did we realize the seeds for banning firearms were buried in our own misguided call for drug prohibition. In trying to jail the dealers, we were feeding the Brady beast.
Much of the answer to the problem of gun violence lies in respecting all of the Constitution as much as we respect the Second Amendment. Like 90 percent of what government does today, the national charter provides no warrant for drug prohibition. But by providing an excuse for one abrogation, we've allowed the abrogation of all especially the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment in particular.
It comes down to a simple reality: As long as the drug trade is illegal, prohibition will foster and exacerbate crime and violence. And as long as it does that, gun-control fanatics and vote-hungry politicians will be able to leverage the situation to undermine our right to keep and bear arms.
Why did the War on Alcohol require a constitutional amendment, while the War on Some of the Other Drugs did not?
It isn't that simple. Cops, screws, "rehab," and property siezure are all big business. Law enforcement in the U.S. is rotten to the core. It is no longer effective against non-drug crime. Even rape and murder solution rates are way below historic norms. This is a very very bad problem, and ending the Drug War will be just the first step to solving it.
Because the modern way to trashing the Constitution is incrementalism.
Because the New Deal opened the door to government unlimited by the Constitution. There are no rules now.
Because today's prohibitionists are one-worlders and steeped in their methods.
Joel needs to quit smoking that stuff.
When he beats you with facts, attack him with stupidity.
Any time a government bans something and there's a demand for the banned product or service, a black market will sprout up to fill that demand. That's basic Econ 101.
That's true. Unfortunately, they squander this advantage with their totally unenlightened positions on immigration and the War on Terror.
Heroin and Cocaine are not grown in the US. The original laws banned their importation.
HRC : "We are going to take things (money) away from you for the common good."
FR : Boo, hiss, string her up!
Libs : "We are going to take guns away from you for the common good."
FR : Boo, hiss, Out of my cold dead hand.
All pols : "We are going to take some drugs away from you for the common good."
FR : Hurray! Screw those damn drug addled hippies.
So, using some of that logic, we should open the borders to everyone and anyone to prevent illegals from coming through? (Not that they aren't open now...) Sure, they wouldn't be "illegal" any more, but there would be such a surge in numbers we couldn't handle it. (Not that we can handle it now...)
Laws are the only things that keep some people from using drugs. Take the laws away, and you'll see a lot more drug abuse, more access to drugs by children in their own homes, etc. I don't want to clean up that mess.
The criminals will find new high-priced black markets and human degradation to deal in. If they have to sell pot or whatever at reduced legal market prices, they won't be making the money they are now.
FR : Hurray! Screw those damn drug addled hippies.
That just about sums it up.
Yeah, that's right.
The only thing keeping me from shooting up heroin and becoming an addict is the fact that it is illegal.
There's an additional 2nd Amendment issue that goes along with the WOsD: How many kids are being force fed "mental health drugs" in school? This is another face of the Brady Beast, as once a person is prescribed any medications for mentla health reasons, they are no longer allowed to own firearms. Never.
So, right in our schools, they have removed the right to keep and bear arms from millions before they are ever old enough to own any firearms.
Additonally, the 2nd isn't the only victim of the WOsD. The 4th has taken a heavy toll as well. Not so heavily under president Bush, but 'toon was horrible with it. Notice that the DEA isn't this president's private hit squad, and the number as well as frequency of no knock search warrants has decreased (at least in the news).
Simple economics, and simple constitutional law show the WOsD to be a total failure. If you enact laws that drive the price of a product that is in demand, there will be people who step in to exploit that market. Unfortunately, the exploitation is on both sides of the law anymore. Lastly, there is no reason for us to pay for the warehousing of individuals arrested on first time drug busts for simple possession - that should be a financial penalty only. ($30,000 per year average incarceration costs US wide, for nearly 700,000 people during 'toons tenure. Out of just over 2,000,000 prisoners, almost 70% are behind bars for drugs. That's stupid.)
Excellent post. I've read about that a few years ago and was astonished. The big Pharmies are the biggest dope pushers in the world. Oddly enough, it's purely legal to give your school kid prescribed drugs that permanently alter his / her brain.
Didn't most of the school shooters take those powerful abti-depressants?
Well, it seems like Gub-mint has found a huge loophole here to permamently ban people from ever getting firearm licenses.
Exactly. The problem of drug abuse is not a Washington problem. It can't be dealt with through top-down command and control solutions. Bureaucrats will never be able to arm enough cops and build enough jails to get rid of it. Its a problem that has to do with individual character, the family, and faith in this country. We have to change people's outlook. We're not going to win by locking up every druggie in the country's prisons. The WOD is a failure and its time we gave it up before it takes away in the process more of our hard-won freedoms.
There's a demand for illegal aliens; consequently, a black market has developed to assist the illegal alien market. I'm simply stating basic Econ 101. You can see it working in now with both parties assisting the black market in illegal aliens by refusing to enforce the laws.
The black market in illegal aliens will lessen somewhat when illegal aliens are forced to follow the rules and wait in line and become legal, according to whatever rules are established and enforced by congress.
Governments, even totalitarian ones, have never succeeded in shutting down black markets. It's just a fact of supply and demand economics.
If there's a demand for something, there will always be a market for it. The fact it may be illegal just increases the attraction of the forbidden good. That's what we have with drugs and prostitution.
I knew that in 1980.
Pure baloney. You can't find one study anywhere to support that.
Believe it or not. Anyone who drinks too much alcohol on a regular basis (many liberals come to mind) is in the risk zone. Make drugs legally available at their own specialty shops, and you'll surely see an increase.
Like the free-sexual revolution, when drugs are an acceptable part of society, it brings more problems than it solves. Abortion, anyone?
It amazes me that many people who call themselves "constitutional conservatives" support the WOD without question. The WOD cause many, many more problems than it solves.
Sure it is. So is eliminating all guns from society. Enjoy your statist pipedreams. I'll enjoy knowing that your comments can be summarily dismissed as kneejerk polemical sophistry of little weight or value. Thanks.
I'll ignore your straw man about the Second Amendment, which I do support and let you know that our founders, with all moral intent, punished adulterers and sodomizers as criminals.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!
And where do drug users fit in to your scenario?
Seems to me you are going a little overboard with your accusations.
Unless you equate responsible drug use with homosexuality and adultery.
Although you sort of have the right idea, you've carried it to an illogical extreme..
The answer is to CHANGE the laws..
Firstly, authorizing medical use without ending up with federal charges against you..
Although there are exceptions, bad apples in the medical community, the vast majority of doctors and nurses will use many of those drugs properly and effectively.
Secondly, licensing and taxation..
Even with requirements for a license to buy and sell, and a federal tax equal to that on alcohol, prices would be much lower than street prices are now..
No profit motive, no crime.. affordable prices, no crime.. medical supervision, no crime..
I could spend a couple days of my time researching to prove the point, digging up all the stuff I've read over the years, but I don't really want to waste my time..
There will always be some abuse of drugs just as there is of alcohol.. You can't change human nature..
But prior to prohibition, the prohibition movement was actually succeeding in changing america's drinking habits through education and information campaigns..
Ever heard of "taking the pledge"? That was the prohibition movement.. It was working..
When prohibition passed, all of their good work went to hell in a handcart.. We ended up with organized crime, and illegal booze everywhere, as most citizens, normally law abiding, virtually "looked the other way" when it came to enforcing prohibition, and even refused to convict most bootleggers.. ( jury nullification at it's best )
By the way, prohibition was responsible for the increased popularity of marijuana as a recreational drug of choice.. replacing the prohibited alcohol...
As did other drugs, as a replacement for good old booze..
Prohibition also resulted in the 1934 Gun Act which put all those severe restrictions on the "Tommy Gun" and other automatic weapons, as well as the Sawed off Shotgun, or Coach Gun, one of the most popular personal weapons of the time.. ( Shotgun... The REAL "Gun that Won the West".. )
So, like Mr. Miller says, it is laws like the present Drug laws that encourage criminal activities in search of profit.. That end up taking away YOUR GUN RIGHTS.
I'm not calling for outright legalization of all drugs..
I'm just calling for some common sense..
Morphine, even Heroin, can be used medically, but is so highly restricted, and the penalties for "perceived" over-prescribing so severe, that doctors are afraid to simply relieve the pain of TERMINAL patients..
Cannabis, or marijuana, which cannot be shown to EVER have killed Anyone through overdose, has less effect on brain cells than alcohol, and benefits cancer patients by decreasing nausea and increasing appetite, is completely prohibited for use and cannot be prescribed by doctors as a medicinal drug..
Additionally, Hemp is a cash crop that cannot even be grown in this country..
Agricultural Hemp wouldn't get a FLY HIGH..
Drugs are not bad..
Let me say that again..
DRUGS ARE NOT BAD.. DRUGS ARE NOT EVIL...
Drugs are used to make people's lives better, to cure disease, ease pain, correct conditions, etc., etc., etc..
It is the ABUSE of drugs that is bad..
Even Alcohol, when used in moderation and with discretion, is beneficial.. Belladonna, a known poison, is used medicinally, and is a beneficial muscle relaxant..
Castor oil is made from Mung Beans, the basis for Ricin..
Laws don't keep people from taking drugs..
Americans take tons of drugs every day.. Even children are doped up on a form of Methamphetamine, RITALIN..
It's personal responsibility that is required, not laws..
When conjoined with some medical supervision or advice, most if not all of the drugs we spend Billions on prohibiting, could be handled by Free Americans with responsible attitudes..
Lastly, some hard core opinion..
While I have stated above I am willing to accept some regulation in place of restriction and prohibition,...
Personally, I would legalize (decriminalize) all drugs..
I understand there would be a sudden upsurge in drug overdoses and related deaths.. But it would soon come back down and level off at a fairly low rate..
And those that die?
Obviously, they had non-survival traits.. Probably all Liberals and socialists, and we're well rid of them..
I'd rather they kill themselves off than my having to do it, some night in my home, defending my family..
With a gun made illegal by a stupid War on Drugs..
Hoo boy, another WO(s)D thread...
This has probably been posted ad naseum on other threads, but I thought Id throw it in any way.. ;)
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it 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. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."
- Abraham Lincoln: Speech in the Illinois House of Representatives, Dec 18, 1840.
Well, you could say prohibition didn't work, but you then also have to say legalization doesn't, either.
There are plenty of countries that have tried the legalization route, with terrible results - INCREASED crime, and many more addicts.
So, I can't be convinced that legalization is the way to go.
Medicinally, I agree that there should be appropriate use, but not to use drugs in the "legal" treatment of addicts, which hasn't worked in the past. And I think doctors are just as afraid of a patient or relative's lawsuit if they provide too many drugs to a patient, so "controls" are only half the problem.
"Unless you equate responsible drug use with homosexuality and adultery."
Responsible drug use? Very telling.
It took a Constitutional amendment to change the status of alcohol from legal to illegal.
Drugs were never legal,
You must be kidding. Coca Cola was orginally a cocaine concoction. And legal. Morphine was legal, and it and other modes of opium were the active ingredient in many patent medicines in the later 1800's, up until the KKK 1910's.
The people like and respect guns as much as they hate the tweaker drug users, so don't expect bans on all guns to ever be allowed to stand long anywhere in the USA IMO.
Vin Suprynowitz in his book “Send in the Waco Killers” raised this very point - if you look back at the 1800s, both alcohol and drugs were legal. It was acknowledged in the 1910s that the FedGov did NOT have the power to control alcohol production, distribution, and consumption under the Constitution, so a constitutional amendment was needed to make it happen. But the very year that a consitutional amendment was passed to eliminate Prohibition, Congress passed laws to control the production, distrubtion, and consumption of drugs ... with no outcry that the Consitution did not allow it. After all, with the Roosevelt as President, a Congress that passed laws to prohibit a farmer from growing wheat on his own land for his own consumption, and a Supreme Court that upheld such laws, banning drugs was no big deal.
This topic is also covered in the History Channel program “Hooked: Illegal drugs and how they got that way” (or something to that effect) which I see repeated every month or so.
Or go onto the net and do some research.