Letter to the Editor: Bad drug laws led to officer’s death

decriminalizing drugs
Photo courtesy of The Grio

This Letter to the Editor came in response to the coverage of the Ogden shooting on Jan 4, 2012, which led to the death of Agent Jared Francom of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force. The suspect in the shooting is described by family members as having used drugs to deal with mental issues they say is derived from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Yet another law enforcement officer dies in order that unconscionable transnational corporations, and their media enablers, can continue to abuse, addict and poison us for obscene profits.

According to the CATO Institute, ending prohibition would save roughly $41 billion of expenditure while generating an estimated $46 billion in tax revenues. – http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/DrugProhibitionWP.pdf

Thanks to prohibition we now have far more people locked in cages than would normally be the case. Apart from the fact that these extra prisoners are not contributing economically to society, it also costs $50,000 per annum to incarcerate them. Additionally their families often go on government assistance, and it’s again the average tax payer who has to pick up the bill. Their kids may be taken into care or raised by foster parents, again with tax payer money. Now add to all this the court costs, jail costs, and the salaries of all those people that have to deal with the enforcement of prohibition, like police officers, judges and public defenders and you’ll start to get a fair idea of why “Black Thursday,” Oct. 24, 1929 happened during the period of another of our great experiments – alcohol prohibition.

* The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
* 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population at year-end 2009.
* 2,292,133 adults were incarcerated federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2009, that’s approx. 1 percent of US adults.
* Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or parole.
* In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, or incarcerated) in 2009 — about 3.1 percent of adults in the U.S. resident population.

Prohibition has helped fill our prisons and jails to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for so called ‘drug offenders’. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. Prohibition takes violent criminals and turns them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries, including our own. Our drug laws are also funding the Taliban and al-Qaeda whose illegal opium profits allow them to buy weapons and pay its fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan police officer.

Maybe many of the early Prohibitionists did not really intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide, or put once in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system. But similar to our “Great Experiment” of the 1920s, the prohibition of various other drugs has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality & corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, a mind-boggling incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have far more sensible policies.

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

Malcolm Kyle, New York City, New York

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  • curtislb January 7, 2012 at 12:55 am

    After seeing many children neglected while their parents are getting high on a regular basis, I can’t agree prohibition is a bad thing. If drug use only effected the user but it doesn’t. Society suffers as well. Drug users neglect responsibilities and are a burden to their community. They endanger others. No, there’s no such thing as responsible drug use.

  • Malcolm Kyle January 7, 2012 at 7:36 am

    curtisib, you’re erroneously assuming that prohibition lowers usage rates but all historical evidence on the effect that alcohol prohibition had on usage rates tells us the opposite is true.

    Here are the main paragraphs from the address of His Eminence, Cardinal Dougherty, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the Catholic societies of the Archdiocese on New Year’s Day 1931:

    “Having heard the report on behalf of the members of the Total Abstinence Society, it occurs to me to say that when the law prohibiting alcoholic drink was passed, many thought that there would be no further need for our temperance or total-abstinence societies. Hence the practice of giving a pledge against intoxicating liquors to boys and girls at Confirmation was discontinued. There seemed to be no need of it.”

    “But, unfortunately. Prohibition has not performed the miracles that were expected. According to experts, such as judges, public officials, social service workers, and others, there is as much, perhaps even more, drunkenness and intemperance today than before the passage of the Volstead Act.”

    “When in the past did we see young men and women of respectable families carrying a flask of liquor when going to social events? When did we see young girls, not yet of age, drinking in public, perhaps to excess, cocktails and the strongest kind of intoxicating liquors, and perhaps being overcome by them? That, today, is not an uncommon sight.” 

    Alcohol is a factor in the following:

    * 73% of all felonies * 73% of child beating cases * 41% of rape cases * 80% of wife battering cases * 72% of stabbings * 83% of homicides.

    Apart from the fact that legal drugs kill far more people than all the illegal drugs combined, debating whether a particular drug is harmless or not is missing the whole point. Are drugs like Heroin, Meth or Alcohol dangerous? It simply doesn’t matter, because if we prohibit them then we sure as hell know that it makes a bad situation far worse. If someone wants to attempt to enhance or destroy their lives with particular medicines or poisons, that should be their business, not anybody else’s. Their lives aren’t ours to direct. And anyway, who wants to give criminals, terrorists and corrupt law enforcement agents a huge un-taxed, endless revenue stream?

    A great many of us are slowly but surely wising up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation which is what we already do with alcohol & tobacco, clearly two of our most dangerous mood altering substances. But for those of you whose ignorant and irrational minds traverse a fantasy plane of existence, you will no doubt remain sorely upset with any type of solution that does not seem to lead to the absurd and unattainable utopia of a drug free society.

  • curtislb January 7, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I highly doubt drug usage will lesson with the end to its prohibition. Other factors that have to be considered are how fast and how strong people are addicted to various drugs and how much they effect human behavior. Many drugs are believed to be more addicting and their effects more consuming.

    “If someone wants to attempt to enhance or destroy their lives with particular medicines or poisons, that should be their business, not anybody else’s.” The problem is those that destroy their lives don’t just destroy their own, they destroy others’ lives in the process. Those around them must pay for their destructive paths.

  • Kirk Smith January 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Why didn’t they arrest him at the Walmart, where he was working the graveyard shift ?? Sounds like Keystone cops in Ogden to me.

  • Dr Andrew White January 8, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Everyone lost in this case.

  • Malcolm Kyle April 13, 2012 at 2:11 am

    curtisib, like it or not, there has never been, and nor will there ever be, a drug-free society; the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

    An important aspect of Individual freedom is the right to self-medicate, or to do with yourself as you please, as long as your actions cause no unnecessary suffering or direct harm to others. Some among us may disagree with this, and they should be free to believe what they wish, but the moment they are willing to use force (paid for with our hard-earned taxes) to impose their will on the rest of us, is the exact same moment that the petty criminals/dealers, the Mafia, drug barons, terrorists and corrupt government officials/agencies enter the equation. The problems created by any possible self-harm then rapidly pale into insignificance as society spirals downwards into a dark abyss, while the most shady characters and black-market corporate entities exponentially enrich themselves in a feeding frenzy likened to that of piranhas on bath-tub meth.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

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