Today at The Daily Bell, we are treated to another apt post, this time regarding Britain’s seemingly newfound about-face on the war on drugs. Towards the end of the post, the authors point the spotlight on the US war on drugs. Yes, you know that beacon of freedom, The United States?
The post excerpts a recent article which I have partially reposted here (I have bolded some parts):
On Jan. 12, four days after the Tucson massacre, Sal and Anita Culosi settled a lawsuit against Fairfax County, Va., police Detective Deval Bullock. Five years earlier, Detective Bullock had fatally shot their son, 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi, during a SWAT raid on his home. The reason for the raid: Culosi was suspected of wagering on college football.
Official government violence against nonviolent Americans and residents occurs daily. And for the past 30 years, it has been increasing at an alarming rate. From the early 1980s to the mid-2000s, University of Eastern Kentucky criminologist Peter Kraska has conducted an annual survey on the use of SWAT teams in the United States. Until the late 1970s, SWAT teams generally were used in emergency situations, but beginning in the early 1980s, that changed. Police departments began using SWAT teams to serve drug warrants. Mr. Kraska found that the number of SWAT deployments in America increased from 3,000 per year in the early 1980s to about 50,000 by the mid-2000s. That’s about 135 SWAT raids per day. The vast majority was for drug warrants …
The massive increase in SWAT tactics during the past 30 years has been driven by several factors. The first … is the martial rhetoric of the “drug war,” which public officials utter daily … The second factor driving the increasing use of SWAT teams is a federal policy that allows local police departments to procure surplus equipment from the Pentagon for free or at a fraction of its cost. Millions of pieces of equipment designed for war are now deployed to crack down on neighborhood poker games, illicit massage parlors, even businesses operating on outdated permits. Doctors accused of overprescribing pain medication have faced SWAT teams, as have Buddhist monks who overstayed their visas.
In my own research, I’ve found 46 examples over the past quarter-century in which a SWAT raid led to the death of a person who hadn’t committed any crime, much less a violent one. These include people killed when a SWAT team raided the wrong house and bystanders caught in the crossfire when a SWAT team raided the right house. I’ve found another 25 cases in which a nonviolent offender someone suspected of violating laws against gambling, marijuana or the like was killed.
I know to many people, 100 lives is hardly noteworthy, but the tragedy remains. Nonviolent offenders and even innocent bystanders have been killed by their government, the same government that is supposedly necessary to protect its citizens. Apologists for the state will argue, like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or anywhere else the US government operates, collateral damage will take place. Collateral damage is “statespeak” for murder. It sounds better as collateral damage, as if someones car was dented or something.
Unsurprisingly, none of these stories will be reported by the mainstream media. They are out getting the big stories, like what Charlie Sheen is saying. Case in point, CNN sent 50 reporters to cover the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear catastrophe. To put that number in perspective, CNN is sending 400 reporters to cover an extremely important royal wedding in England. Such is American media and the unthinking majority they seem to cater too.
Luckily, for the thinking population, the Internet exists. Here on the Internet, we are able to access a variety of informational resources from all over the world. We don’t need to wait for filtered (ie mainstream) news from the likes of CNN or Fox. News outlets like these are merely regime mouthpieces. They simply convey the messages the elites desperately need us commoners to believe so they can continue stealing and murdering. They need unquestioned support for their latest war, “stimulus” package or flavour of the month policy and they use the mainstream media to get it.
When it comes to the war on drugs, the mainstream media tows the line. Anyone who dares to question the militarisation of local police forces to combat drug use is a whack-job. There is only one response to drugs, and that is war. This is how simple the American viewpoint is. Drugs are bad. Therefore the state must do something. The state is only good at war, therefore, we must wage war on drugs. Americans seem to love war. We are good at it. Whether it’s a war on a foreign people or a war on a naturally growing plant, it makes no difference (although to be fair, many drugs these days are synthetically created). To the man with a hammer, everything is a nail.
There are numerous consequences because of drug prohibition. Like the prohibition of alcohol back in the early 20th century, it creates a criminal class that would not otherwise exist. We don’t see Anheuser-Busch Inbev shooting it out with SABMiller. The reality is, some people want drugs. As long as people are willing to pay for it, people will be willing to sell it to them. Due to the lucrative nature of the drug trade caused by its prohibition, drug gangs spring up to protect their supply lines (or turf, if you wish). In short, the violent culture involved with drugs is a direct consequence of its prohibition. Furthermore, as a response to the increasing violence, local police forces are militarised. Then comes even more violence, perpetrated by these police forces. When the police murder someone, if the officer is punished at all, it is with a paid vacation. If monetary damages are ever awarded, it is the tax-paying citizen who foots the bill. It is also not surprising that the drug war has not decreased drug use.
Unfortunately, the debate over the drug war usually goes something like this: Oh, you don’t support the war on drugs, then you must agree with drug use. You probably want to legalise it and sell it in convenience stores right next to the candy. The war on drugs is no different from any other war. You don’t support the war on terror? Then you must love the terrorists. You aren’t keen on the war on poverty? Then you must hate poor people. In reality, I don’t support any of these wars because they are simply centralising power grabs. The war on terror, through its use of torture, actual warfare and anti-muslim rhetoric, has created many more terrorists and people who would seek to do harm to Americans. The war on poverty, far from eradicating poverty, has unleashed destitution, unemployment and moral bankruptcy on many of America’s poorest people. And the war on drugs, rather than generating any benefits to society, has stolen taxpayer wealth and ended the lives of countless citizens.
In a free society, citizens live their lives as they see fit, so long as it doesn’t infringe on another’s rights. The mere act of using drugs does not infringe on another’s rights and seeking to punish such nonviolent behaviour is more than counterproductive, it is vile and evil.