How Long Can We Avoid Talking About What?

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A featured post today on the Huffington Post blog by Josh Sugarmann ask Crime is Back -- How Long Can We Avoid Talking About It? The author, referring to an article in yesterday's Washington Post predicts that crime will make it to back to the front burner in the nation's political agenda. One of the causes is the rise, after a lengthy drop in the number of young males in the population. The Plank, a blog published by The New Republic magazine, also predicts today that crime will figure more prominently in 2008 than in other recent political campaign seasons. That scares me. When crime becomes a political issue, reason and creativity tend to go out the window in favor of tough talk and slogans. The heinous mandatory minimums -- the laws that got Weldon Angelos 55 years, to pick just one case -- were the result of politicos focusing on crime. I seriously doubt that Sugarmann favors that kind of sentencing, aligned as he is with the liberal left. That said, the collective "we" have been avoiding talking one of the most important causes of crime, perhaps the most important, since long before the recent years' crime drop even began: drug prohibition. So long as drugs are illegal, young males (and others) will get recruited by the illicit drug trade, will possess guns as a part of that, and will carry the guns wherever they go. Sometimes they'll use them. Whether crime rises or drops, the violence rate in our society and around the world is dramatically greater than it would be if drugs were legal. All the money that people spend on illicit drugs, hundreds of billions of dollars per year, are going into the criminal underground because of the drug laws. How could that not have a serious increasing effect on violent crime? How much longer can we avoid talking about that? Having mentioned the Huffington Post and the New Republic, I'll point that out that Post published Arianna Huffington is herself a longtime opponent of the drug war, as is New Republic Senior Editor Andrew Sullivan. Whatever else should be done about crime, prohibition must get addressed. A conversation about violence that omits the issue of the drug laws is incomplete.
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More crime is drug war success

Dave:

You are absolutely right to be scared about another crime rhetoric wave in America. And yes, fear of crime is how the drug warriors keep politicians and the population in a reactionary deer-in-the-headlights mode about drug policy rather than democratically empowered deliberation mode. With John Conyers becoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee there is a potential for real positive change in drug policy so the demagogues need to drum up the war beat fast.

You have to remember that, for the right wing leadership of the Democrats, the drug war has always been their way to look tough and run to the right whenever they are 'accused' or 'smeared' as being "liberal" by demagogues. These Democrats want the White House in 08 and they will run to the right to win because they know that drug war disenfranchisement has effectively neutralized the electoral power of the poor, minorities and the left. We don't matter to the Jim Crow Democratic leaders like Kerry, Clinton and too many others. They will escalate the Iraq war before they deescalate it. They will increase the drug war in a reactionary fantasy of reducing crime.

The increase in crime is the success of alQaida's http://mysite.verizon.net/aahpat/aq/aq.htm campaign to flood the west with heroin to destabilize western culture. And it is the success of American interdiction. Simple prohibition economics; pressure the black market and it will respond with expansion. Force the price of a drug up in a community and the addicts will simply pass on the price increase to their crime VICTIMS. More crime. That same price increase for addict dealers simply drives them to find and make more customers to keep their cash flow up. More addicts is the result.

See my blog post: Increasing Violent Crime To Be Expected http://leftindependent.blogspot.com/2006/12/increasing-violent-crime-to-...

I rewrote the earlier post

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