Wesley Leonard: Our Puritan characterization of ‘crime’
“We need to find out why people turn to Islam. Then we can provide reeducation.”
Now consider this:
“We need to find out why people become addicted. Then we can provide treatment.”
Why does one sound like compassion when the other sounds like persecution? You knew what “provide” meant in the first statement, right? What did it mean in the second statement?
People frequently discuss drug users’ woes absent their input, and absentminded the woes of prohibition.
Whether a person does or does not officially need opiates for physical pain separates the citizens from the criminals, the people who get legit drugs from the people who don’t, and sometimes the living from the dead.
People who die from fentanyl-laced drugs and “drug-seekers” are the same people. Our system protects people from the clean drugs they want. People would use a pharmaceutical grade drug over a street drug 100% of the time, if they could.
We live under a bizarre “medical use only, except for cigarettes and alcohol” regime. Some people drink more than their doctors advise. People smoke even though everybody thinks it’s a pointless addiction. These actions are not considered criminal. Yet the dangers of other drugs are put forward as explanation for their illegality!
Typically, in a criminal case, there is an injured party, a specific alleged offense, and the perpetrator is innocent until proven guilty. Get caught with drugs and none of that is necessary. “Drug users harm themselves and everyone around them” suffices.
When there is no legal age it’s not about protecting people for a while, it’s about protecting them forever. In the fog of unconditional paternalism, that solid bit of advice, “If a friend pressures you to use they are not your friend” loses its contextual significance… as do warnings about the specific dangers of specific drugs.
Combined with the forbiddance of prostitution, the ban on the drug trade amounts to the exclusion of large segments of commerce from legal protection, and a Puritan characterization of “crime” that puts the police at war with a large faction of the public.
Do you know what happens when you vote for public funding to study the “causes” of addiction? They torture rats and monkeys; they stare at brain tissue through an electron microscope; they conclude that I have a brain disease, and they use that to continue their war on me under the new auspices of pity instead of the old auspices of hate.
Why do people trust their government? The mainstream media has repeatedly reported that the U.S. intelligence agencies are involved in the international drug trade. People get exited, then the reporting stops, then people go back to saying, “We should target the traffickers who are bringing these drugs into our country.” I think the American public has a brain disease.
You have no right to use force against someone because you disapprove of what substance they put in their body. If people want to know what they can do to help drug addicts it’s this: put the gun down.
Wesley Leonard lives in Grass Valley.
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