This week has made some chinks in the armor in the “war on drugs.” First, our secretary of state admitted that the US shares some of the blame for the violence that is occurring along the border with Mexico. It wasn’t a perfect confession of course; She didn’t broach the idea that our laws are what cause the violence, but it’s a start. Acknowledging that our government is partially responsible is a good first step, but I worry that this will lead to a “war on arms smuggling,” or perhaps a “war on money smuggling” instead of the obvious cure to stop the wars.
The other interesting development came from New York state. They are going to repeal a lot of the mandatory sentencing guidelines for first and second time drug offenders and give judges the option of sending people to rehab for other drug related crimes. In addition, they are going to allow people currently incarcerated for those offenses to redo their sentences. This is great move, it’s certainly the humane thing to do. In addition to the possibility of not ruining people’s lives by sending them to jail, the state estimates that it can save upwards of 250 million a year by implementing these policies.
I’m getting the distinct feeling that people are beginning to understand how cruel, costly, and ineffective this “war” really is. People that know me well know that I do not think that recreational drug usage is a good idea, I don’t even drink very often. I do believe that people that use drugs have enough problems without the government breathing down their necks and threatening them with jail time. Maybe you’ve heard that old joke, “What’s the worst thing that could happen to a kid that tries pot? He could go to jail..” I also am convinced that it is the illegality of the drugs that leads directly to the violence and the other crimes committed in order to obtain them. After all, how many times do we hear about people robbing and stealing in order to support their alcohol habit? Anyway, I’m glad to hear that there’s some progress being made, let’s hope the momentum continues to build and we can finally end this war.