War & drugs
The heedless pursuit of folly is a condition of human nature that has been with us through the history of mankind. With a collective refusal to recognize the inevitable and obvious, have pushedmore companies are headed for failure and disaster. The horror of the Children's Crusade is easy to accept because time has become remote. A nation half slave and half free march inexorably to the Civil War is closer in time and consequences, but moderates memory hidden barbarism and fratricide in hopes of glory. Only recently have we dared to admit the cultural ignorance and rejection of priormilitary council that was responsible for national disaster we call Vietnam.
A monster gnawing at the gut of the human spirit compels us to abandon both the cherished values and common sense. Like Don Quixote, we move from reality to find demons imagined and not let anything but carnage and confusion behind. The monster sated our belly laughs and awaits the coming danger imagined.
As Mark Twainobserved, "what you know is not true will cause more damage than what you do not know completely." * What we know is not true and what we refuse to know which is true of drugs form the merits of our current national folly, indeed international.
It is true that the use of illegal drugs is the most serious health problem in the nation. Obesity it is voluntary. More deaths and economic losses arecaused by consumption of legal drugs, mainly alcohol and snuff, which by all illegal drugs. Over 100 million Americans drank alcohol last month. Over 50 million smokers snuff. Nine million Americans smoked marijuana last month, 1.2 million ingested cocaine during the same period and just under 6 million used in last year. The figures for heroin abuse and non-prescription amphetamines are so small thatthey are not even in the same league statistics, and much less in the same stadium in baseball.
Not all individuals who drink alcohol or smoke snuff end up dead or seriously injured as a result, no fatalities were all individuals voluntarily obese. The same is true of those who take illegal drugs: Not all or even most of those who use them are killed, seriously injured or become addicted.Nevertheless, it is our declared national policy of imprisoning all those who possess, sell or use illegal drugs. That policy is pure folly.
The prohibition of drugs does not work. In 1914, when drugs like cocaine were available on the shelves of stores, 1.3% of the population was addicted. In 1979, before the crackdown called "War on Drugs", the addiction rate was still 1.3%. Today, while billions ofdollars are being spent to reduce drug use, the addiction rate is still 1.3%. However, the United States to 100,000 people incarcerated for all crimes related to drugs than the entire European Union imprisons for all offenses. The European Union has 100 million more citizens than the U.S..
The prohibition of drugs is also a waste of money. Local governments, state and federal levels now spend morethan $ 9 billion per year to imprison 458,131 drug-related offenders. Imprison all cocaine users for a year would cost $ 74 billion, but only after building 3, 5 million more prison beds at a cost of $ 175 billion. It would cost $ 365 billion to detain anyone who smoked marijuana last year, five times the total spending for all state and local police, courts and prisons. Would require a multitudeof guards and other prison employees, more than all our military. This is a cost we cannot afford and a project could never achieve, even if we had the money.
More expensive than the money, however, is the price we pay for this failed policy in terms of the decline of public safety, the breakdown of our criminal justice system, erosion of our civil liberties and the pervasive lack of respect...