The drug czar has gone to great rhetorical lengths to convince the American people that our drug policy isn’t a war any longer, but you don't have to look very hard to see the violence that still erupts daily, not only in Mexico, but right here in our own communities. If you can handle it, I'd like you to take a look at just one example of the incredible violence police use when enforcing our drug laws.
That is how quickly lives are lost in the war on drugs. When police invade private homes in search of drugs, anything and everything can go wrong, and even the slightest misunderstanding becomes a matter of life and death. The victim in this case, Todd Blair, brandished a golf club in terror as armed men stormed his home in the night. We'll never know for sure if he realized they were police. But we do know that only a small amount of drugs were found in the raid that took his life.
That drugs and violence often go hand in hand isn't a mystery to many among us – the bloodshed gripping Mexico is old news by now – but this is a very different kind of drug war violence than the infamous turf wars of the cartels. This is a rare glimpse into the unbelievable level of force our own public servants unleash routinely in order to protect us from ourselves. This man was just a drug user. Whether he ever sold drugs is in dispute, but there's no question that he lived and died in poverty, and not from drugs, but from police who gunned him down in his own home.
So long as we rely on police to lead the fight against drug abuse, the consequences will unfold brutally all around us and people who could have been helped – not to mention innocent bystanders – will be lost to us forever. Mistakes and misunderstandings will continue to occur with deadly frequency, but to a very large extent, the tragic events that take place daily in the war on drugs are not mistakes at all; they are the real and inevitable results of the laws our police enforce and the orders they receive. If heavily-armed pre-dawn drug raids are standard protocol, then people getting shot dead in the dark obviously can't be considered a crime, and it shouldn't be called an accident either.
The movement to end the war on drugs isn't just about making drugs legal. It's also about making it illegal for police to kill our friends and family over small bags of contraband.