MS13

“Mexican drug cartels control drug trafficking in multiple U.S. cities throughout the Southwest and continue to spread over the entire nation” breitbart.com reports. “While government officials continue to claim that the border is secure, a recently unclassified intelligence report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration called Areas of Influence of Major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations shows that the entire nation is under the influence of drug cartels.” So, aside from suicides, disabling drug-dealing gang-banging gangs is the best way to reduce firearms-related crime. Yes, but . . .

there will always be trigger-happy armed gangs in America, regardless of their ethnic makeup or the locus of their command and control. As long as the lucrative illegal drug trade thrives there’s not a damn thing law enforcement can do about it. It’s a lot easier to pass laws that degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms than to eliminate a popular profitable criminal enterprise. [NOTE: I’m not referring to the government here.] One wonders … would drug legalization significantly weaken or destroy the gangs, or would they simply shift focus to other criminal activities and continue their ballistic bad acting?

263 Responses to Question of the Day: Would Legalizing Drugs Reduce Firearms-Related Crime?

  1. The problem is that there are some drugs that you just can’t, in good conscience, make legal. Those drugs will always have customers regardless. Legalizing some drugs might help, but it won’t solve the problem.

    • I respectfully disagree. People who abuse alcohol can/will have all the horrible things happen to them as your average meth head. Including but not limited too, destroying their bodies, abusing and/or killing their friends and family and committing crimes to support their addiction.

      I will concede that a lot of these “hard” drugs like meth, crack and the new synthetics like bath salts and spice are way more unpredictable in the affects on the user and have harsher side effects. But the self destructive nature of substance abuse is the same. Legalize and regulate, its not like drugs that are illegal has stopped anyone who wants to use them from getting them, just made the prices go up.

      • “I will concede that a lot of these “hard” drugs like meth, crack and the new synthetics like bath salts and spice are way more unpredictable in the affects on the user and have harsher side effects.”

        You shouldn’t concede this point at all. It is precisely the illegal nature of these drugs that sustains their unpredictability, contamination, and potency. That these product are illegal means they cannot be adequately tested and safely produced with any consistency. That use of these substances is criminalized raises the risk of their use and makes treatment for use unavailable for most. All of which greatly increase the risk and harm associated with drugs, even before you begin to considered the violence created by the criminal organizations involved in the trade.

      • There are many issues with legalization and or decriminalization of drugs that would ripple across a free society like sand in an earthquake , some of which are , of coarse , known . Most are not known and could possibly be the Pandora’s box that would not be closeable . A short answer to the question would be an unequivocal YES .
        The ramifications to society altogether may turn out to be far worse however than an occasional drug dealer killing another or a citizen popping caps in a crazed addict . The single greatest contributor to drugs , drug culture and drug addiction in our time is the absolute destruction of two loving , disciplining and nurturing parents , raising children with moral fortitude , having a desire to be their brothers keeper and to honor their father and mother .

        • Society didn’t have much drug regulation for the good half of 20th century (sans alcohol), and none at all in 19th, and it managed fine.

        • int19h,
          So what . Society has changed along with the introduction of tens of thousands of man made drugs .
          I don’t actually get the point or the correlation between legalization of drug abuse today and historical regulations on drugs in or before the 19th century . We can not logically compare the two with each other any more than we could say people managed fine without traffic signals on roadways in and before 1890 .

        • Why not? The most popular drugs today were all available (and popular) then also. The comparison with traffic signals is not really useful, because they are regulating something that didn’t really exist back then. But both people and drugs did exist back then, so…

        • Whew !
          After 300 comments on yet another fascinating topic . Good comments , bad ones , smart , silly , simple , complex , raw , tough , poignant , angry , funny , religious , secular , heartfelt and whimsical . Just like other post that draw such complexity and diverse comments , it seems to me to always come back to the same solution . A free people must be a moral people , responding to the needs and suffering of their brothers and sisters within the society they are a part of . There are lots of paths people can take to reach a similar and perhaps suitable standard for maintaining a free and functioning society but the standards themselves should be fairly inflexible . Modesty , humility , compassion and love for each other regardless of appearances , ethnicity , and belief system . Gluttony and basic over indulgence in anything from drugs to sugary drinks to wealth accumulation should be standard don’ts , helping poorest among us , sick , weak , orphans , widows and widowers , depressed and grieving should be standard do’s . I personally believe , as did many of those who set this nation in motion , that the Christian dictates and Christian values offer a supreme set of standards to protect a free people from self mutilation .

        • Why look to such a complex solution when a much simpler solution is so obvious: Spend, Tax and Borrow the deficit!

          So simple; and yet, so demonstrably successful!

        • A lot depends on whether one views the country as a people, or a herd, or just a collection of individuals to climb on to get ahead.

    • Before drug prohibition, all that stuff was legal: opium, cocaine, everything. You could walk into a drug store and buy any of it, after a quick chat with the pharmacist. If a pharmacist sold it to a kid, it was generally a refill for the kid’s parent. There was an illegal market for people who abused them, but it was minor.

      When drugs became illegal, and especially when Nixon started the war on drugs to make them even illegal-er, the potency increased dramatically, the availability increased (especially to children), the dangerous impurities increased, and the price dropped. That’s right: a kilo of coke is cheaper today (adjusted for inflation) than it was in 1965. And it’ll provide several times the high.

      Now let’s look at alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s. Potency increased (more hard liquor, less beer). Impurities went up. I’m not sure about the price. The rate of alcohol poisoning and public drunkenness also went up (because people were binge drinking harder liquor). The violent crime rate skyrocketed. Kids could buy alcohol, because bootleggers generally didn’t ask for ID. And the government used the high crime rate to justify infringements on civil liberties, such as the 1934 NFA.
      What happened after prohibition ended? Potency went back down. Impurities went down. The negative social consequences of alcohol diminished. And violent crime plummeted. Without the alcohol trade, the crime syndicates and their influence shrank. And it became harder for kids to get alcohol than to get cocaine or heroine.

      So yeah, we can legalize everything. And yeah, it will dramatically reduce crime, improve society, and keep kids away from drugs.

    • The problem is that there are some drugs that you just can’t, in good conscience, make legal.

      Such as..?

      All drugs should be “legal” or at the very least decriminalized. If you want to get hooked on heroin, why should the government throw you in a cage?

      • “If you want to get hooked on heroin, why should the government throw you in a cage?”

        The standard socialist response to that it is “It’s bad for SOCIETY.” Or, the Statist variant, “It’s bad for YOU and we are your de facto nanny.”

        In either case, individual liberty and responsibility for one’s own life takes a back seat.

      • Whatever you use to escape “today” is an indication that you are not in it for “tomorrow.” If you are not in it for tomorrow, you are more likely to hash-out the remainder of our existence together today. If you are not “in-it” for tomorrow, you are not in it for my tomorrow, or my grandkids tomorrow.

        Further. Drug (and significant alcohol) users are less likely to hold down a (more) permanent employment and thereby take care of themselves in the long run, and many have to resort to crime to (not eat, but to) further support their habit. They often become victims to suppliers of drugs [we protect the public against predatory lenders, pay-day loans, incorrectly dated dairy products, etc.] If we can’t protect them from drugs, then chuck ALL SUCH REGULATION OF EVERY KIND, and we can do Armageddon right now mf.

        You can say that’s none of my business, but I wouldn’t say it out loud.

        • Did you just copy your argument from anti-gunners? Because it’s basically the same premise; completely void of fact and based entirely upon “suppositions” and emotion. Of course, not surprised, social cons like you are just as statist as leftists.

        • You are making the assumption that criminalizing drugs reduces their use. If it worked, we wouldn’t be 40 years into the War on Drugs and losing.

        • “Whatever you use to escape “today” is an indication that you are not in it for “tomorrow.””

          Quite a fallacious generalization to reduce all drug use to “escape”. It can also be a way to not feel like escaping, so today can be tackled; I know more than a few people who use marijuana that way. Or it can have nothing at all to do with escaping, and just be a way to experience things in a different fashion — for example, I’m told that some classical music is an entirely different experience when enjoyed via/through mind-altering mushrooms.

        • Kendahl, does that mean you support the counter-assumption that de-criminalizing drugs would REDUCE use?

          If so, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell to you…

        • So parents can’t properly raise their kids, and then they blame legal pot on the troubles that result? Do they have the same problem with alcohol also? Besides which I have to note that sale to minors is still illegal, so there is a law… it just works about as well as prohibition usually does.

          Oh, and “marijuana overdose”, seriously? There’s no such thing (or if there is, we don’t know how much you need to take to get there, because no-one ever did). In particular, there’s no known condition that would result in stuff like “He was gray. His heart wasn’t beating and he wasn’t breathing.” from weed. I suspect the kid actually lied to his parents about what he took, thinking that smoking weed would result in less of a scandal than something like amphetamines, which sounds way more likely judging by the symptoms. Well, either that, or the entire story is bullshit.

        • Yeah, they all suddenly and coincidentally became crappy parents at the exact same time that pot was legalized.

        • Of course not, they were crappy parents before, too. They were just able to offload a bunch of things they were supposed to do as parents (like keeping their kids from doing things they probably shouldn’t be doing) to the state to enforce, using other people’s money collected via taxes for that purpose, and limiting the freedom of everyone else in the state while they were at it.

          What else should we ban because “omg kids”? Alcohol? Tobacco? Porn? Violent movies? Guns?

        • Regular pot is much stronger than it used to be, and the synthetic pot can kill much more easily because users have no idea how strong each batch is, coming from different sources. Does it really matter if your heart stops due to the drug’s direct affect, or if you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway? Dead is still dead.

        • >> Does it really matter if your heart stops due to the drug’s direct affect, or if you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway? Dead is still dead.

          Does it really matter if your heart stops when you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway because you are high on weed, or because you’re drunk? Dead is still dead (and in fact, drunk people drive faster than stoned people, because stoned people are aware that their reactions are slower, while drunks believe that they’re actually faster – that’s the difference that makes alcohol that much more dangerous).

          The obvious answer, of course, is that both are bad, which is why you don’t drive when you’re under influence of any substance that affects your mind and/or your reflexes (and we have laws to drive that point home, for both alcohol and weed). What does it have to do with the legality of the substances themselves?

        • “What else should we ban because ‘omg kids’? Alcohol? Tobacco? Porn? Violent movies? Guns?”

          Nice switcheroo from legalizing stuff that’s currently banned to banning currently-legal items. I bet almost no one noticed.

        • You do realize that the things that are currently banned used to be legal, while the things that are currently legal (like alcohol) used to be banned, right? There’s nothing inherently good or evil about any of these things – they’re banned because at some point some people decided to ban them, and often for ridiculous reasons (for example, cocaine was banned largely because of hysteria about “cocainized Negros” – google that phrase to see the context). It behooves any rational person to actually revisit those reasons and see if they’re valid, rather than blindly assuming that banned = bad. And in cases where there’s obvious mismatch between the laws on substances that are otherwise comparable, like weed and alcohol, it’s very hard to justify such selective bans.

          And this is before even getting into the whole personal freedom and constitutionality angle…

        • You can make whatever outlandish claims you’d like, but they are not matching-up with reality as it currently exists in CO. A single “harmless” drug was legalized, and problems went up across the board, both with legal users and not-legal users.

          As a group, we still haven’t learned how to deal with alcohol, which causes (directly and indirectly) thousands of deaths every year. Your solution? Legalize MORE stuff that people, as a group, have proven they cannot handle.

          Yeah, that’ll work.

        • The only outlandish claims that I’ve seen are in that article. I note now that it actually says “according to the advocacy group”, so no surprise it’s full of bullshit. We have the same kind here in WA, and they make the same claims. But when the state itself released its statistics, there’s nothing alarming there. No more car crashes, no more people “overdosing” etc. Sky didn’t fall. Which, of course, was obvious to anyone who did even cursory research on the subject.

          What I know for sure is that, ultimately, the state has no business telling people what they can and cannot put in their own bodies, regardless of anything else. It’s that whole “liberty” thing; you might have heard of it, I hear it’s mentioned in the founding documents of this country a few times here and there.

        • That state that is telling you that everything is just fine, that’s the state that’s collecting the tax windfall, right?

          Probably the same state that decides whether or not the driver gets drug-tested during the autopsies after all single-car driver-only fatalities, right?

        • Nice switcheroo from legalizing stuff that’s currently banned to banning currently-legal items. I bet almost no one noticed.

          And that’s when you realize you don’t have a leg to stand on.

        • As a group, we still haven’t learned how to deal with alcohol, which causes (directly and indirectly) thousands of deaths every year. Your solution? Legalize MORE stuff that people, as a group, have proven they cannot handle.

          Some nursery is missing it’s nanny.

        • Nineshooter,

          The underlying flaw in your assumption that we can look at CO and see some sort of message regarding the wisdom of legalizing marijuana is that it quite simply is too soon for that to have any measurable social effect.

          Societies, even fairly localized ones, are too “viscous” to change that rapidly.

          In logical terms, you are essentially committing a combo Confirmation Bias / Begging the Question Fallacy; you use the premise that legalized marijuana is bad, point to some bad things (claimed by others) that seem to support that conclusion, then announce the conclusion. It is illogical.

          There may well be data at some point that shows CO’s experiment was a ‘failure.’ However, that cannot be from any measurement this year, or the next. These things take time to have effects.

          We should all beware of looking for a specific result and seeing it; that’s about as irrational as it comes, short of purely/blindly making something up from thin air.

    • Thats correct- now that marijuana demand in the US is beginning to be met in places like CO, the mix coming up from the south is changing- more meth, more heroin, less pot.

      I like the Singapore solution.

      • For those unaware: Singapore has an extremely harsh drug policy, up to and including death penalty for possession. Furthermore, there are several situations in which possession is assumed and does not need to be proven (e.g. knowingly being on the premises where drugs are consumed). Furthermore, search warrants are not necessary for police if they “reasonably suspect” drug consumption. From a US perspective, such policy would shit all over the Bill of Rights.

        But seriously, do you advocate corporal punishment and death penalty for victimless crimes?

        • I hear it goes to the extent if Singapore customs suspects you are under the influence of drugs they can forcibly take a blood sample and if drugs are present in your blood, that is considered ‘drug possession’ and dealt with accordingly.

          “Dealt with accordingly” can mean the death penalty.

      • It may take a generation or two at least to really see an effect on violent crime. It will require a fundamental cultural shift among those currently established in the ‘drug trade’ to find new, hopefully ‘better’ outlets.

        Anyone looking for the ‘immediate gratification’ result after a year or two is bound to be disappointed.

        • Yep, and the state/local governments will wait until everyone is well-hooked (probably not formally addicted, just really comfortable with regular use) before they start to raise the taxes on these items. Over and over again. Then folks will try to make or smuggle and sell “untaxed” drugs, just like we get right now for untaxed booze and cigarettes.

          So, we’ll have any new problems that crop up, PLUS all the old problems (now related to taxes on each drug) all over again! Sounds like a winner to me! Not.

        • What’s actually happening is the reverse of that – it looks like the states are about to start a tax war over weed. Case in point: Washington taxes it at a whopping 37%, while Colorado has it at 15%, and Oregon at 17% (plus up to 3% local). Since WA and OR share a border, this results in cross-border shopping for significant savings (which is especially easy as Portland is literally right across the border). It’s not even new – people have been doing that before because OR has no sales tax – but it’s going into high gear because this is something that is best bought every once in a while in bulk, and the savings are significant. So now WA has to see some of that revenue go elsewhere or else lower its rates. It remains to be seen what it does, but I very much doubt that they’d want to raise it anytime soon and lose even more.

        • I live next to a state border. The neighboring state does not tax clothing at all.

          One would think that would give them a huge advantage in pricing, right?

          Wrong.

          What happens is, retailers in the state with no taxes on clothing raises their retail price so it is juuuuuust below the taxed price for the same item in the other state. And the difference goes straight into their pocket. Consumers do not benefit at all, and the state with no taxes on clothing has less money to work with to provide city/state services.

          It may take awhile, but this is how it will shake out, if the state/local governments stay out of it. But they won’t; they CAN’T.

        • Well, I know people who live at WA/OR border, and I can tell you that it certainly does work the way I described here – prices are lower in OR, so people who live close enough go there for their shopping. It’s a well-known perk of living in Vancouver, WA (which is right across the border) in particular. It’s also well-documented that weed prices in OR are lower than anywhere else in the country, so the same effect can be reasonably expected there.

        • Give it time.

          Hey, you could track it for us! Do some comparison pricing, and track it over the next year or two, for locations near the border!

          After you see it for yourself, maybe you’ll believe it. Then again, maybe not…

        • “Consumers do not benefit at all, and the state with no taxes on clothing has less money to work with to provide city/state services.

          Eh hem. **Cough**

          Excuse me, there, I had something in my throat.

          Consumers DO benefit in the long run when less money is funneled into government.

          Good grief. I can’t believe there’s someone arguing for more tax revenue over private commerce…so The Almighty State can provide “services.”

          What, pray tell, services does your state NOT provide now that you think they need more money to provide? Be specific, please?

          Marx and Engels would be proud that you got a lot out of Chapter 2.

        • No, “Sport,” I quoted what you wrote directly and responded to that statement. I was not talking about “your state” vs. any other state.

    • Irrespective of what the actual outcome of legalization might be, we have to consider the political realities. There are too many interests standing in the way of a wholesale repeal of drug laws. That isn’t going to happen just because it IS/MIGHT-be/we-BELEIVE it to be the desirable or constitutional position.

      We seem to be well-on-our-way toward the legalization of pot. That will prove to be an important step. If the legalizing States can manage to maintain reasonably good-order (not much DWHigh, etc.) then the legalization movement will continue to spread. And, those of us who have doubts about the efficacy of drug-laws can continue to promote the legalization process.

      It took a long time to get to the current era where some States were willing to consider legalizing pot. While the next species of drug to be legalized will probably go more quickly we should not expect it to fall like the next domino. We might be better off looking to other countries’ alternative approaches such as, for example, maintenance programs.

      We ought to take care not to seem to be “promoting” drug use; merely, instead, trying to de-criminalize it. We ought to advocate diverting the enforcement resources toward education, detoxification and programs that will divert youth from drugs-as-a-way-of-life toward more constructive activities.

    • The vast majority of people doing drugs in this country (and others) are content with “soft” drugs. The whole “gateway drug” theory has been roundly debunked in any case, but to some extent the illegality of both soft and hard drugs contributes to it actually working somewhat: kids hear about the supposed horrors of weed and heroine, then try weed and find out that it’s 1) not actually addictive, 2) easy to use in moderation, and 3) doesn’t ruin your life. They then know that everything they’ve heard about weed is basically bullshit, and incorrectly assume that everything they’ve heard about other stuff is similarly bullshit. And opiates are nasty in that even a single use is enough to cause physical addiction…

      In any case, possession and use of any drugs should never be illegal. If we collectively decide that some drugs are just too destructive, we should make it illegal to manufacture and distribute them, but possession is inherently a victimless crime, and as such should not be a crime at all.

      • Even casual users seem to think they are not impaired. Employers have the right to pay impaired v. Unimpaired wages.

        But Y E S 19th

        You are not interested in tomorrow if you ain’t getting by today substance free.
        Not everyone can do drugs and have this taco stand keep working. You need the rest of us sober enough to provide what it is likely we could not if impaired. That makes you a damned vampire-tick because you suck 2x, and you want to drag some, but not all, others into the fold, because you can’t always afford Doritos and bus fare, and anal lube, and your dope, on the same day.

        • I have no idea what you are actually trying to say. Taco stands? Doritos? Vampires?

          It would seem that of the two of us, you’re the one who is high on something.

        • Ignore him, he’s just some old fart shacked up in some cabin somewhere still working on his manifesto.

    • Why not? I mean if the effects of legalizing those drugs are less harmful than the effects of criminalizing them, how can you Moraly justice any prohibition. The only moral justification for taking away people’s right to consume what they want is to protect the public. If the drug war does more harm than good then that moral justification is pretty much shot.
      Now one may argue that keeping some drugs illegal does more good than harm, but science and history are not on the side of that argument so far. Countries that end prohibition still have drug problems. Their drug problems are usually smaller than the ones they had under prohibition but largely the same. What they don’t have are the drug war problems and expenses. Like most products of the progressive era( including gun control) prohibition is a failed social experiment.
      Harm reduction programs on the other hand work. They are not a cure for all societies ills, nothing is, but they do make the drug problem smaller not bigger.

    • When a drug is available on every streetcorner, even if it is a suicide drug, legalize it. If anyone can get it anyway, keeping it criminalized just keeps anyone from respecting any law. If you cannot, or will not, enforce it, repeal it. I don’t even care how horrid a particular drug is made out to be by the nanny state, and neither did Barry, he tried most everything, and STILL was elected to two terms as president. The drug laws are stupid and unenforceable, and, yes, contribute to firearm and other violence.

  2. It would reduce violent crime whether firearms are involved or not.
    It would also take a huge chunk of money out of organized crime bank accounts. It would also make Mexico a lot safer. And lifting their ban on civilian gun ownership would help a lot too.

  3. The problem with legalizing drugs is the government replacing the revenues, fines and forfeitures that result from criminalization of drugs. There is also the employment of those in the prison, legal, and policing industries that would negatively affect the economy. It’s all about money.

    • Sammy, I would venture to say that the enforcement of the drug laws costs far more than we recoup in fines and the such.

      Legalize, then use some of the money we spend making criminals out of users to provide treatment and re assimilation into society. Spend a bit on proper drug education for our young ones as well.

      • With all respect. I would say based on asset forfeiture laws, and taxes imposed of the salaries of those “enforcing the laws” is an overall plus for government and the economy. I think we are interfering with Darwin, mis-allocating resources and enriching criminals by having prohibition in place. Kind of like ” If selling drugs is illegal, only criminals will sell drugs”. Alcohol prohibition did nothing but turn citizens who were otherwise law abiding into criminals.

        • Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but “taxes imposed of the salaries of those “enforcing the laws””… aren’t most (all?) of the people enforcing the laws (I assume you’re referring to cops, DAs, DEA agents, FBI, etc., ie Law Enforcement) government employees, and therefore paid by the gov’t? I don’t see how the government could make a net gain paying out Y amount of salary to a person, then recouping 25% of Y back, in the form of income taxes on that salary.

      • Exactly. And no government agency ever asked for its funding to be cut. If you’re part of the judicial system then “costs more than it takes in” is irrelevant as long as you can simply mandate the public foots the bill.

        • Re RocketScientist

          In my opinion it doesn’t cost the government anything to pay anyone. The money used for salaries comes from you and me. ROI has never seriously been a consideration for the bureaucracy because they do not produce anything of value in an economic sense. Studies of running shrimp and allowing thousands of up armored hummers to fall into the “wrong hands” help me come to that conclusion. I feel the prohibition of drugs is impossible. We have had a “War on Drugs” for ever it seems and there are more and deadlier substances developed for abuse than when we started. Additionally it has been fairly well documented drugs have been used as social engineering tools.

      • yeah but he’s saying that all the people involved in and employed by the drug war, it’s not so simple to put these people out of a job. they won’t go quietly, they almost certainly have debts that they would default on. and there likely wouldn’t be replacement jobs available to them all upon legalization.

        • The last thing we need to worry about is unemployed DEA agents.

          Our fundamental problem is that our society has become addicted to believe that if “it” is a “problem” then by definition, the solution is “government”.

          This form of addiction might work in some societies. By illustration, one might imagine that the society in an isolated place like Iceland might be quite happy to solve all it’s issues by assigning some level of government to deal with each one. Yet, that doesn’t mean it works in every society. Our American society might be very ill-suited to cope with this addiction.

          When our Federal government is determined to exercise control; and, the communities most adversely suffering from drugs combine with the communities most fearful of intrusion of drugs agree to let the Feds handle it – well it’s not going to be easy to break that coalition.

          In a society that demands that “SOMETHING” must be done, then some viable alternative needs to be offered. Voters addicted to government control are not going to embrace libertarianism immediately. The alternative on offer might be merely a placebo, but it needs to be immediate and tangible.

          Fortunately, there is a lot of money available to work with. Whatever billions of dollars are being spent on the War-on-Drugs can be re-assigned to some alternative; e.g., basketball courts. It’s got to be cheaper to incarcerate youths in basketball courts compared to prisons. It’s got to be cheaper to incarcerate habitual users in detox camps vs. prisons.

          Voters, both inner-city and conservatives, are probably convinced that the War-on-Drugs isn’t cost-effective and would welcome an alternative approach. Will they accept legalization without some plausible scheme to discourage use? I think that’s unlikely.

    • law enforcement just makes a lateral shift to combat child porn and human traffickers, all the same techniques and technologies can be utilized the same (so no need for retraining) and this allows us to go after crime that actually has victims.

      • The problem is mission creep. There are not that many child pornographers so they will make new laws making new things considered child porn so they have more people to lock up. Better to concentrate on victimn, violent and property crimes. Let’s face it there are plenty of unsolved rapes, murders robberies and such in the USA to keep cops busy if they would forget about the stupid drug war and other silly crimes. Also we need to shift money away from law enforcement and into private security. Private security has been proven to be more effective at preventing crimes from happening dollar. For dollar. The private security is simply more accountable to the customer than government.

    • The problem with legalizing drugs is the government replacing the revenues, fines and forfeitures that result from criminalization of drugs. There is also the employment of those in the prison, legal, and policing industries that would negatively affect the economy. It’s all about money.

      That is a false argument. Government spends more employing all those thugs to enforce the drug laws than it brings in through forfeitures and fines. It makes up that difference with taxes. Additionally, those workers provide nothing of value to the economy. They might as well be digging ditches and filling them back in. So putting them out of work for a few months while they retrain their skills would have only the positive effect of reducing taxes. And maybe some of them could get jobs as security at the new drug stores that open up.

      • Maybe, as long as they are careful with their resumes. Anyone discovers they were DEA, ATF, or any of the other completely incompetent and cowardly government agencies, that person will never, ever hire them, not even for minimum wage.

  4. It would just shift focus of the gangs, and also focus of who is doing fun crimes. It would create more addicts and abusers, more people willing to go to extremes for their next high.

    • Not so sure it would create more users. Look at the number of smoker’s. It’s been going down.

      Also people with good family support or community or church involvement probably aren’t going to suddenly find themselves hopelessly addicted and homeless.

      • “Also people with good family support or community or church involvement probably aren’t going to suddenly find themselves hopelessly addicted and homeless.Not everyone has a family support network.”

        The problem with legalizing the highly addictive drugs such as the opiates and amphetamines is that as addiction spirals downward (or upward) is that people become less able to function ‘normally’ and they tend to lose their source of income. (Don’t even start as to how tweakers are the most productive employees, that happens *to a point*, until it doesn’t).

        When the main point of an addict’s existence is simply more drugs, their productivity drops or ceases entirely.

        You don’t need poppy fields to make opiates, much of the work on their synthesis was done in the early part of the last century to ensure a steady supply in wartime. By weight, they can be hundreds of times more potent than Heroin (some of them are *thousands* of times stronger). Its not a particularly difficult or expensive cook given the precursors, a trained organic chemist can produce them in bulk. I’m sure the Chinese can produce them by the ton.

        Legalizing the hard stuff won’t work, unless you find someone to pay for the addict’s room & board.

        • Well, if being illegal actually stopped people from abusing them, then you would be right, but it doesn’t stop people from abusing them, it only makes them criminal and ensure their “help-off” comes through the criminal justice system.

        • I don’t think much would change legalizing hard drugs. The people already doing them would keep doing them and the people who would have done them anyways will do them anyways. I don’t think we will see a massive portion of the population lined up around the corner to pickup their new legal and loosely regulated heroin or fentanyl patch.

          An uptick in users is conceivable, but I think most of that would be people already doing drugs coming out of the woodwork and becoming more public about it. To put it into perspective, think of how many people you know or have met over the years who are alcoholics, publicly or hidden )an as socially acceptable an addiction as possible). Now think of how many people you know or have met over the years, how many of them do you think might already be addicted to drugs like prescription medications or other hard drugs? There is no way to know for sure but the possibility exists if we think of the staggering number of alcoholics there are, how many other addicts are there that can hide it well enough and still be functional or pass it off as another sort of addiction? I’d wager a lot more than anyone really knows or thinks. And sure, there could also be the new users who might be attracted to the idea that they can now get a clean supply of needles and heroin, but I’m thinking that will be very few people.

          Just like carry permits does not equal blood in the streets over parking space disputes, I don’t think most intelligent people will say “gee wiz maybe I’ll try that heroin everyone is raving about because its now legal.” I wouldn’t touch it if it became legal and I doubt the majority of people would. It is obviously playing with fire that burns almost everyone it touches. As it is now I don’t smoke pot because it’s decriminalized in my state (CT) and I wouldn’t if it is legal. As it is I barely smoke (cigars or a pipe occasionally, never cigarettes) and barely drink and I grew up with Joe “Cool Guy” Camel and all those other evil influences.

          Here’s what I think would happen if hard drugs were legal.
          The people already using would continue to use, we might see a few more users as described above. If the government was smart they would tax it but not to a point where illegal sources are cheaper. Now users can access a safe (unadulterated) product at a potentially affordable price. That would eliminate the extreme ends some addicts must go to to meet their addiction if they do not have to contend with a black market, unpredictable price fluctuations and artificial scarcity to drive prices. They could hold a job just like a functional alcoholic then go down to the drug store and buy their day or weeks or whatevers worth of heroin for $26 right next to the guy who is buying his 30 pack of beer at the same price to support his addiction.

          Are addicts the most responsible and dependable people? No. Does making drugs legal or what I have proposed above change that? No. An addict is an addict; those proclivities will never change. What I have proposed above just gives some people a chance to be functional; this will of course not work for everyone. The repercussions for the people it doesn’t work for are exactly the same but less severe since they are generally not dealing with an illegal substance, a black market, and actors (government or other) who may hurt or kill them.

          Is this a fairy tale? I don’t know, maybe. However, many people are functional addicts as it is now. There is also evidence from experimental maintenance programs that dispensed safe amounts of clean heroin and needles, allowed people to be safe, productive, and functional members of society. I don’t see that as any worse than what we do with methadone/suboxone right now; it’ll work for some but not others.

          None of this is any reason to discourage other programs that help people get and stay clean; those can be at least partially funded form tax revenue from the drug sales.

          Would all hell break loose in the short term? Maybe but doubtful; letting millions of people carry guns didn’t cause all hell to break loose. As others have pointed out above, what happens in the short term is no way to measure what will happen in the long term.

          Now a consequence no one ever talks about is what the cartels will do. Do you think they would be happy that drugs become legal and domestic producers pop up to fulfill the new demand? I don’t think so. I think that will be the worst part of it.

          TL;DR
          People already doing drugs would keep doing them but now in a white market instead of black.

        • Geoff, you are assuming that it is a given that the taxpayer will pick up addicts’ bills for them. Once we stop that, and adopt the obvious alternative, “let them starve to death in the streets”, your argument goes away. We cannot save these people, there is no capability, and never will be a capability, for anyone to save them. But absolutely nothing requires the taxpayer to support their habits, just write them off.

    • ” It would create more addicts and abusers”

      Contradicts all actual evidence, but hey, you just gotta drink the drug warrior kool-aid. 🙂

      • Precisely. Just as with alcohol. Substance abuse remains fairly constant per capita regardless of illegally or control measures in place. Some consistent percentage of the population is prone to addiction, the only thing that changes are tastes.

        • But if we wash our hands of the responsibility to control other people’s actions, we would no longer care if people OD or not. Or if an OD is fatal or not. Bye-bye!

      • This is why I’m a proponent of legalizing everything. If we did, eventually we’d see a decline in drug abuse because the people with self-destructive drug utilization behaviors would, well, self-destruct.

        By padding every corner and sharp edge of the world, we’re regressing against evolution.

  5. Unfortunately the real problem is not the drugs. They’re just a symptom of a larger problem. As long as we have large segments of the population that have not assimilated into society, the problem of gangs cannot be solved. Remember, the Italian, Irish, and Jewish mobs predated prohibition. While prohibition strengthened them, it was only one facet of the problem. The real death knell for the old European gangsters came when those ethnicities became wholly a piece of the American fabric.

  6. The DEA only exists to make money and supply job security for themselves. It is not in the DEA’s best interest to crack down on all the drugs, otherwise they would have to find other work for themselves.

    Furthermore, the DEA absolutely cannot enforce these drug laws. They pick and choose which cases are most lucrative to the DEA.

    Legalizing drugs gives worthless drug addicts access to police for drugs that are stolen from them, etc, using public law enforcement for their benefit. In the drug world, there is no enforcement of their own laws except by their own. As a result we get gangland drive by shootings and gang related homicides which the libs chalk up on their own stats for more gun control agendas.

    It’s hard to tell people what they can and cannot ingest. After all it’s their body and their life. As the libs say… My body my choice… right??

    I think the best case scenario is legalization of these drugs, but holding these people responsible when someone is hurt due to their “addiction and neglect.”

    • “I think the best case scenario is legalization of these drugs, but holding these people responsible when someone is hurt due to their “addiction and neglect.””

      We already do this with alcohol and I’d image Colorado is having to do the same for pot.

      Government can replace a lot of the drug war revenue with new tax revenue.

  7. Legalizing drugs would absolutely reduce firearms-based crime. However, it would absolutely need to be coupled with “hug-a-thug” proposals to get convicted drug dealers into the legal white market of employment. Otherwise, you’ll be taking away the only income stream that ex-felon offenders have, and that won’t work out well.

    Simply put, yes: if you legalized drugs, the cartels in Mexico won’t go away immediately, but they’ll be caught flat-footed, and the need for mexico as an entry point to the US for drugs suddenly falls. If you legalize drugs, and especially if you do prostitution as well, the only other crimes left are pretty much ones that everyone agrees are ones with VICTIMS- and then there will be less sympathy towards criminals, less community-based support for these criminals, and hopefully, less asset forfeiture and other perverse incentives that cause so much mistrust of police.

    I don’t understand why the government should know whatever drugs you’re taking; and that if I have adderall with a prescription, government permission slip, and government registration of me it’s ok; but if I acquire it another way (same cognitive condition, no script) I’m a felon. If you care at all about federal government overreach, then the entire system is an abomination.

    • “Otherwise, you’ll be taking away the only income stream that ex-felon offenders have, and that won’t work out well.”

      So what? Dopers are not my business, let them starve. They come after me, I will be ready. If someone else is not ready, well, pretty soon they will be. Becoming an addict is currently rewarded by a completely work-free life, for the rest of your life Uncle Sugar will take care of you. When he backs away, you will need to adjust or die. Adios!

  8. Gotta agree with fishydude here. The appetite for illegal drugs in the US has provided the profit motive that enabled the narco mobs to take over Mexico. If you want to fix Mexico and fix the gang banger problems then this would be a big part of the solution. The 40 plus year old war on drugs has been by any measure a complete failure.

  9. The real trick is how do you eliminate demand?

    As long as you have gangs, poverty and few opportunities in the inner cities, you will never eliminate gangs shooting at each other or selling drugs to support themselves. When you have a culture where drug dealing and being thugs is acceptable you cannot expect change. When an acceptable career path is getting onto welfare, you cannot have change.

    It is a multi-generational problem where you have break the cycle of stupid.

    there are no simple solutions and inner city governments see no incentive to change anything because their power is from dependency on the government like a drug dealer is to his clients of drug addicts.

    • The real trick is how do you eliminate demand?

      Family values and education, which have been in great decline since the country was founded.

      • Addiction, of any kind, has remained fairly constant through history. Values have a role I’m sure, but a stable percentage of the population is always going to abuse substances.

  10. Would Legalizing Drugs Reduce Firearms-Related Crime?

    Yes.

    Will it do so in any way that can be measured with any kind of accuracy?

    Can’t know for sure.

    Look to the states who have already legalized pot…. how have their crime stats changed? And do any of those states have enough data to demonstrate a real trend and not just a change this year compared to last.

  11. Once a government’s prohibitionist policies have fostered the formation of a criminal class the members of that class will not simply fold their camel and strike their tent when prohibition is abandoned. It will seek to maximize its profits in some other way; without the (heretofore lost) inhibition of respect for law and order.

    The lesson for society is, I think, to avoid the formation of a new criminal class via a new prohibition. The advent of “designer drugs” seems to illustrate the futility of such an approach. Following the partial failure/success of the War-on-Drug-A; criminals will shift to drug-B to be followed by a War-on-Drug-B; followed by drug-C.

    I dread the outcome of legalization and its effect upon the people of Mexico. It will be horrendous. Extortion, kidnapping, robbery and other crimes are already problematic; they will have to make-up for lost drug revenue.

    This is NOT to say that we should have continued the Prohibition of alcohol for fear of the shift to gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking. Nor should we continue the prohibition of pot and other drugs for fear of the shift to other drugs or other crimes.

    America is better prepared to cope with the shift of crime from drugs to – e.g., robbery. Americans are allowed the means of self-defense. It may take a generation for Americans to tool-up to meet the challenge; but we can do so. Mexicans do not have this alternative; they must submit to criminals from both the public and private sector – or decide to take-up their natural right to self-defense.

    • I will accept Mexico as being my problem, hell, any of my business, when they apply for statehood. Otherwise, who cares what our own finally moving toward sanity does to Mexico?

      • The last thing I would stand for is Mexico becoming a US State. They are a big enough country to make it on their own; and, they need to find their own way out of their jam.

        My statements were intended to be of general applicability. Mexico is a very acute case from which America deserves to learn.

        In any case, we Americans ought not be sanguine about the outcome of legalization. I can’t imagine Mexico legalizing drugs. It would destroy the cartel system which has a symbiotic relationship to official government. So, that’s not the likely scenario.

        America could legalize pot; or, simply stop enforcing the laws against pot. That would shut-down the smuggling of pot from Mexico (or anywhere else). (We can grow our own if there is no interference from police.) That would cause a huge drop in top-line revenue to the cartels; which will drop to the bottom line. Where will the cartels make-up for lost profits? Kidnapping? Extortion? Trafficking in illegal immigrants? Sex trafficking? Leaching off commerce? Relatively speaking, moving pot from Mexican fields to the US is relatively benign on Mexican civilians. Any or all of these substitute activities will trigger economic collapse in Mexico which will trigger even greater pressure to immigrate to the US.

        Economics is like a house-of-cards; move one and the others are apt to move as well.

        By no means do I think we should refrain from legalization of pot (or other drugs) because of the consequences resulting in Mexico and the blow-back to the US. Rather, we shouldn’t be naive in imagining that legalization of pot won’t have second and third order effects triggered in Mexico.

  12. Im not so sure that solves the problem. Before legalizing drugs we have to consider addiction rates and how many new people will become hooked. Im not sure potentially adding 30 million new drug users nation wide is going to lower any crime statistic, except maybe possession cases.

    Plus if you decriminalize production, transport, and sale of all drugs, you aren’t taking power away from the distributers, you are increasing and legitimizing it. You are turning a multi-million dollar illegal business into a multi-million dollar LEGAL business. I’m not sure the extra tax money is necessarily worth it in this case. When it comes to hard drugs, the cartels already have the knowledge and infrastructure in place to go mass market on day 1 of legality.

    All I am saying is we need to have a serious debate about the positives and negatives before making a decision on something this important. We know the current laws aren’t being enforced when it comes to border security and conviction of violent drug offenders. How about we start with competency from our elected officials before the discussion turns to legalization.

    • It is highly unlikely that there would be 30mil new drug users/addicts. People who choose to do drugs nowadays are going to do so regardless of legality; I doubt anyone ever said “man I really want to try meth but dang it it’s illegal so I can’t.”

      Is there a potential chance of more people trying it? Yeah sure but the biggest benefit from drug legalization is eliminating the stigma that comes with drug use. That stigma and being labeled an “addict” is what causes people, who realize they have a problem, to not go out and seek the help they need because they’re scared about how people will view them. The stigma perpetuates the problem. Legalizing drugs could vastly decrease the amount of addicts in this country because people can be educated about drugs honestly and properly instead of trying to fear-monger kids into not doing something. Then if someone is having a problem with a drug they can go seek help without being shunned from their family/society.

      All the money we waste by locking people up for victimless crimes can be shifted towards education and treatment programs. Drug cartels would be defunded of a multi BILLION dollar industry and many gangs will lose their funding and violent hold over the neighborhoods they control.

      However we will NEVER see this happen in any of our lifetimes because it would actually benefit society as a whole but it would eliminate the jobs of the DEA agents. The DEA and many LE agencies will fight tooth and nail to make sure drugs aren’t legalized regardless of the outcome of it. They will lie, cheat, and steal no matter how many lives they ruin or how many people are killed because all they care about is the big fat sack of government funding that they receive because they kill and lockup adults who have made the conscience decision to put whatever substance they choose into their bodies.

    • The nice thing about legal businesses, they don’t go around just killing people, on account of doing so results in immediate loss of that legality.

      The current laws on drugs are very much enforced. I don’t know if you know, but this country has the single biggest prison population in the world, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Bigger than China, Russia and Iran. And vast majority of it is there because of drug offenses, mostly rather low-scale.

      In any case, there’s no legitimate constitutional grant of authority that would even allow the Federal government to be in the business of enacting and enforcing drug laws. To remind, Prohibition took a Constitutional amendment, but I don’t recall anything like that for War on Drugs. This alone is all the reason you need to dismantle that system.

      • Enforcement is putting a lot of people in prison. However, it isn’t crippling the drug trade which is supposed to be the goal.

        • Lotta people pushing drugs here. Not a lot of people (not many of these same people pushing personal responsibility). I’ve said it before, if we’re not pushing personal responsibility, then we’re essentially just doing ‘anything goes’ [if you play the game out long enough]. If we’re going to do anything goes, we’re going to do my version, and I guarantee you win’t like it.
          ALSO, don’t let me catch you selling your broke-di<K notion of what's 'ok' to kids either.

        • Legalizing drugs *IS* pushing personal responsibility, as opposed to a nanny state. You make your own decision, and you live or die by it. How much more “personal responsibility” can you even imagine?

    • If drugs were a completely legal and above board business, then it wouldn’t be legitimized cartels that would be doing the producing and selling. It would be Philip Morris, ConAgra, and Pfizer. They have the resources to make and distribute products on a huge scale and are already connected to all the legitimate distribution channels. If we’re going to be selling marijuana in packs at 7-Eleven, then Philip Morris has everything in place to make that happen. If there’s going to be pre-mixed heroin injection pens, then Pfizer can put those straight into Walgreens and CVS without breaking a sweat. The cartels can’t compete with that.

  13. pwrserge, nobody on earth has any legitimate authority to dictate to anyone else what they eat, drink or otherwise do with their own life and body. If people actually are aggressive and harm others, they can and should be dealt with by their intended victim and whoever else is available. Currently, there are plenty of laws against assault, murder and so forth.

    Laws attempting to control behavior, prohibiting various foods, plants and substances make no more sense than laws prohibiting guns or controlling their peaceful use and carry method. Ending prohibitions of all kinds would reduce the incentive for all criminals involved. It is not really possible to “protect” people from themselves, especially with prohibition laws.

    Unfortunately, the US government and all of its subsidiaries are among the greatest criminals involved here, and probably reap the greatest amount of the stolen goods involved, so any real repeal of prohibitions is not ever apt to happen as long as people believe government has legitimate authority over their non-aggressive actions and choices.

    • I long ago came to the conclusion that laws against “possession” were at best silly, at worst, downright obnoxious. Laws should be against actual actions, and only those actions that demonstrably harm others through force. (There, one could argue over whether “negligence” in such matters counts as a crime, and at what point it comes into play.)

      Unless you force drugs onto someone, or slip them into his/her food or drink without their knowledge, not even that can apply to drugs. There are more (and easier) ways to misuse a gun in violation of someone else’s rights, than there are with drugs, so there’s simply no reason why anyone who believes guns should be legal, shouldn’t believe the same about drugs.

      Many of the problems we see today that seem to be directly related to the drugs, rather than to the fact that they happen to be illegal, such as lethal overdoses, or the harm from what they are cut with, would actually be considerably reduced if they were legal; legal drug dealers, like pharmaicists today (hell, it would likely BE the pharmacists), would have good reason not to want to kill their customers.

      • The only reason I would regret seeing drug laws repealed, is that we would lose the concept of “as soon as you finish getting the drugs off the street, we can talk about guns”. That has been fun for decades. I suppose we could move to “as soon as all the illegal aliens are deported”, but that won’t be the same for about 40 years.

  14. I’m pretty sure the guy with the shotgun was just on the way to bust some clays and accidentally got pulled into the picture

  15. Yes.

    All the war on drugs does is give increase the welfare mentality of police and the “criminal justice” system. It’s a government make work program.

  16. I have watched the “war on drugs ” rage since I saw Nixon on television declaring it. We have lost this war big time. drug profits drive crime world-wide and corruption too. It is used to shred the constitution and justify egregious police tactics. the number of murders in the western hemisphere would be cut in half. that’s probably 50K lives save a year.

    it is the longest running war in US history, and the bodies and destruction keep piling up. Would bad things happen if we legalized ? yes, But it’s High time we found out if it balanced out or not. no pun intended .

  17. I don’t know if legalizing drugs would reduce firearms-related crime, but I do know that making and keeping certain drugs illegal simply is not working. It’s unlikely that drugs will ever be decriminalized here. Too many people in the government are making a living, and in some cases they are making fortunes, from illicit drugs. That’s the real issue.

    Other countries, like Portugal, have experimented with decriminalization, and those experiments seem to be working. Okay, we’re not Portugal. I get that. Still, we should try because ultimately, it’s nobody’s business what substances people choose to consume.

    • We already have weed legalized outright in, what, 5 states now? Plus however many more with medical marijuana, which frankly is just a thin veneer for legalization.

      It’s happening, and it’s happening rather fast at that.

  18. Of course legalizing drugs would end gun violence. The downside is that the community colleges’ adult education course enrollments will go through the roof. Because really, take away the profit motive of illegal drugs, and immediately every vicious, murderous, bloodthirsty thug in the hemisphere will lay down arms and take up kilns.

    Ceramics courses, maybe leather working, possibly creative writing, definitely woodworking will all become the highly prized peaceful pastimes of monsters formerly committed to lives of inflicting misery and causing mayhem.

    • “immediately every vicious, murderous, bloodthirsty thug in the hemisphere will lay down arms and take up kilns.”

      Kilns?

      Why the energy demands of those things will cause ‘Global Warming, er ‘Climate Change’ and kill us all!!!

      🙂

  19. Gangs may or may not shift their focus to other criminal enterprises; I tend to think that there will always be criminal gangs, but depriving them of easy cash and large profit margins of the illicit drug market would hamper their trade. Nevertheless, decriminalizing drugs would certainly have the effect of freeing up badly-needed prison space…without the mandatory minimum drug offenders taking up bunk space and prison resources, perhaps the legal system would be more inclined to keep the criminals who pose an actual danger to society incarcerated for longer.

  20. I imagine it would reduce violent crime but even more likely it would make movies and music more interesting for me.

  21. What are we going to do with all the convicted drug users in jails and prisons? There are thousands and thousands, maybe millions! If we legalize drugs, do you think all these prisoners are gonna just let that pass? There will prison rioting on a scale not seen before!

    • “What are we going to do with all the convicted drug users in jails and prisons?”

      Burgers will need to be flipped (well, until robotics takes those jobs), floors swept and ditches dug (Drat. The ‘Ditch Witch’ is taking those jobs). and cut yards, etc…

      Well, the world can always use an inexpensive hooker.

      Until the inflatables take those jobs.

      🙂

      • “Inflatables”
        Yeah, I like that, many years ago I had a love affair that was beyond description! Let me tell you about…………………….no wait! I’m on the wrong page!

        Yes it would be nice if all those convicted folks could just go to work! Aint gonna happen! It is very difficult for a felon, or any other convict to get a job. Who would hire them? When we just have a few now and then being released, that’s one thing. But on a scale approaching if not exceeding millions, I doubt if more than 5% to 10% could find employment.
        Add those to the 11.5 million illegals we already have to deal with,………………. I don’t even want to think about it.

        • >> It is very difficult for a felon, or any other convict to get a job.

          That’s one of the things that have to be fixed. In many other countries, information about convictions is considered private, and after the person has served their time no-one outside of the govt can find out or ask them about it, and it’s illegal to discriminate based on it. Some places limit this to non-violent crimes only. Or, alternatively, they place time limits, so basically if you go flipping burgers for 2 years and don’t commit any crimes then you can seal the record.

          For things that were crimes then but that aren’t crimes anymore once the laws are changed, I think the only logical thing to do is to release everyone still in jail for it [alone], and erase all associated criminal records.

  22. Empirically, yes, about 30-40% (based on post alcohol prohibition studies). The law is impotent in the face of economics, and physics. The problem with the theory of harsh penalties for drug crimes is that the cartels can always think of harsher ones, and there will always be a limit to how far the govt can go (whereas, cartels can always firebomb your entire family on flimsy evidence). The other problem is that jail has never cured anyone’s addiction. If anything, jail creates more addicts because what else is there to do?

  23. Interestingly enough, decriminalization of drugs in the Czech Republic led not only to fall of drug-related crime, but also to fall in overall drug use levels.

    As regards US, you can bet your money it would decrease firearms related crime. Even if we take all directly – drug related crimes out of equation and presume it would remain the same, then you are still left with large portion of population that is criminalized for something that would not be worth even a fine equal to a parking ticket in most of Europe. These people get criminal record, often serve time (for crimes they would never end up in jail in most of Europe) which in turn makes it impossible for them to find normal jobs, and that forces them further out of the general society and leads to them procuring income in illegal ways (and that in large for other purposes than feeding addiction habit).

    All these people have their possibilities to return to law abiding society severely restricted. If drugs were decriminalized, most of them would not be even pushed out of it in the first place.

    • People claim this, but honestly, you cannot measure the level of illegal activity. People do not answer honestly. The best you can say is that drug use is down compared to what it was thought to be before legalization – estimates which may or may not have been accurate. There is a strong argument that drug use may not change that much overall, but the type of people consuming it, as well as the reasons for consuming it, will.

      • An interesting point. It holds even when people are afraid that something they do now, which is legal, might become illegal–which is why we tend to disbelieve surveys intended to assess how many people (or households) own guns. Few want to answer yes for fear that after DiFi gets her “turn them all in” wet dream passed into law, their answer could come back to haunt them.

        However, once a drug is *legalized* there could be an amnesty: it could be made clear that you won’t be arrested even if you stand in the middle of Times Square (or local equivalent) and brag about how many joints you smoked every day before the day of legalization.. (You’d be admitting to what is technically a crime, even post legalization, without that amnesty). That might make a “before and after” survey possible. It wouldn’t be possible while the drugs are still illegal, though.

      • The estimates when it was illegal may be inaccurate, but it would seem that such inaccuracy would always err on the side of underestimating it (i.e. some people who actually used drugs would lie and say that they do not if asked, out of fear of being prosecuted; but why would anyone lie and say that they do drugs when they do not?). After decriminalization and/or legalization, you can expect the number of people lying in that way to fall, or at worst remain the same. So if stats show that drug use is lower afterwards, then at worst it has gone down by the amount measured by the polls, and at best it’s gone down even more than that.

        • LE would lie, in order to get more money, power, and control. They would also seek to corrupt surveys and other research to show more of a problem than actually exists.

  24. A black market in anything will result in violent crime in proportion to the level of demand.

    When Prohibition ended, the violent crime rate plummeted by four-fifths. The economic recovery took longer, as a few giant producers grabbed the market and it’s only been recently that the diversity in brewing that existed before Prohibition has returned.

    Just ending the misnamed “War on Drugs” would plunge violent crime probably by three-fourths, maybe as much as happened with Prohibition. But the way it’s ended is also important: for anything that can be grown at home, big corporations should be locked out, and only a “household industry” allowed (there’s an international expert who argued forcefully for this, but I can’t recall his name; he has excellent arguments). For things that require labs, let independent agencies (medical schools, maybe?) establish licensing criteria and let anyone who can meet those run a lab, subject to inspection by independent certifying groups (no government involvement, please!).

    My big reason for wanting recreational drug production spread broadly and not concentrated is that concentrated production inevitably leads to government coercion to maintain market conditions favorable to those with large production — and that means violence.

    • My big reason for wanting recreational drug production spread broadly and not concentrated is that concentrated production inevitably leads to government coercion to maintain market conditions favorable to those with large production — and that means violence.

      Yet here you are advocating having government lock the big corporations out to protect the little businesses, which means violence.

      You really need to work on your libertarianism; you haven’t got the hang of it yet.

      • I have never heard of any sort of violence involving issuance of business licenses.

        And giant corporations are a danger to liberty — something Thomas Jefferson knew and we’ve ignored.

        • You get get fined, then eventually arrested for violating the law against running a business without a license. That’s force. If you resist arrest, they’ll get violent.

          The ultimate penalty for violating any law, ANY law, is violence done on your person. Your laws had therefore better have something to do with violating people’s rights, rather than running a corporation that’s too big in your solitary opinion, and having it move into a newly legal product line.

    • So, let me get this straight. Your main reason for removing the government from being in control of drug prohibitions, is so that you can be in control of drug prohibitions? That sorta sounds like you are a teenager.

      • Someone’s reading skills suck….

        I want to end government prohibition so there will be no prohibition. How did you get that I want to be in charge of prohibition out of that?

        • I dunno, maybe from your (anti-Libertarian) statement that you want to PROHIBIT some companies from participating in the new market?

        • Doing so with government force is not.

          You’re just a typical leftist big-corporation basher trying to pretend libertarianism justifies your stupid fucking prejudices.

          Quit being such a fraud, go back and take Libertarianism 101. Non Initiation of Force. Or admit you’re not a libertarian and label yourself honestly.

        • So your claim is I want to use government force to end government force.

          That could be entertaining, but it just shows your poor reading skills.

        • I’m a Jeffersonian libertarian who recognizes that giant corporations are a threat to liberty just as are giant governments.

        • That would make you a classic liberal. Libertarians generally believe that free markets can take care of themselves (i.e. large corporations will either be brought down by private competition, or if not, then they’re the most optimal market state for the given environment).

        • Anarcho-capitalists believe that. Giant corporations by their very nature will employ coercion to limit their competition, and so long as there is government they will use government to do it. This is why, as Harry Browne pointed out in his work, the regulatory agencies meant to oversee industries always end up being run by people from those industries, in ways that benefit the big companies at the expense of competition. And if there is no government, the giant corporations will contrive to make one, whether de jure or de facto.

          The root principle of libertarianism is self-ownership. To protect the free exercise of that self-ownership, there have to be checks and balances among human institutions. Government is necessary as one element of checks and balances; the downside is that many people have a tendency to believe that governments have rights, or rightful authority, and so they accrue power whether by design or not; merely by having any power at all they attract do-gooders from both rights and left who have their own ideas about what is good for others and want to force those on everyone.

          The solution is to allow no human institution(s) sufficient power to coerce an entire society, or even a significant portion thereof — not government, not corporation, not union, not church, not association of any kind. Just as government must be hobbled and even shackled, so must the rest.

        • Anarcho-capitalist libertarians believe that free (the way they understand them) markets would exist without a government to enforce the institution of private property and prevent economic actors from resorting to brute force against each other.

          Minarchist capitalist libertarians believe that government is necessary to prevent illegitimate use of force and to enforce property rights, and common security in general, but they don’t generally believe that government has any role beyond these two things (and in particular, no role in busting monopolies or otherwise interfering with the market, so long as all actors refrain from the use of force).

          Your position – that government interference into the economy, above and beyond protecting property rights and maintaining a monopoly on the use of force, is necessary to keep the free market free by preventing actors from acquiring too much power – is basically what Adam Smith conjectured (when warning about the inevitability and danger of monopolies). That has been traditionally known as liberalism, and in this day and age we usually say “classic liberalism” to distinguish it from the unrelated modern meaning of the word.

        • Giant corporations might be a threat to liberty; but, not necessarily. The greatest threat they pose is that they have the means to acquire the best Congressmen money can buy. If you agree, then you probably see two approaches: interfere with the marketplace for Congressmen; or, reduce the services Congressmen are allowed to sell.
          Both are blunt and ineffective approaches. However, generally I favor the latter. Allowing Congressmen to sell favors pretty much guarantees they will be sold. Nothing we can do to erect barriers to bribing Congressmen is going to be effective. However, if we as a People decide that the net gain from allowing Congressmen to sell favors is too improbable; and a net-loss in liberty is far more likely – then, we will work to reduce the number of things Congressmen can sell.
          There will always be some things Congressmen can sell. A new shipyard in Newport News; a new magazine in Massachusetts; more rifles from the Springfield arsenal. Yet, imagine, that the items we allow to appear on Congressmen’s shopping lists were limited to these few. How much more liberty would remain outside the reach of Congress?
          Moreover, there were and are “natural monopolies”. Telephone lines; electric power; computer chips. The history of “public utility” regulation of natural monopolies has little to recommend it. Today, the idea of a natural monopoly on telephone lines has become nonsensical. We ought to wonder when this occurred, in the: 1990s; 1980s; 1970s. One thing we realize is that it occurred before the body politic recognized the dawn of a new age. A similar process is occurring with electric power; it’s being divided into de-regulated electricity and regulated transmission lines. Someday, solar may render regulation of transmission lines obsolete. We should wonder where we would be today if government had attempted to regulate Intel as a natural monopoly.
          Generally, we have far more to lose from a powerful Federal or even State government than we have to lose from General Motors or Microsoft.

        • Neither should be allowed. Corporations are NOT people, and so have no inherent rights. Indeed, unless corporate leaders have the unanimous consent of all their shareholders, they should not be allowed any political speech at all, because that constitutes theft of speech from those shareholders who disagree or at least withhold consent.

          If my position is classical liberalism, then classical liberalism is more libertarian than libertarianism, because it hews more tightly to self-ownership than does what you’re calling libertarianism.

        • No, you’re making the same mistake here.

          If someone FORCED you to hold company stock, you might have a point that the board of directors is hijacking your resources without your approval. And incidentally, there’s no reason to think of their speech as any different from any other action they take (like taking on an unprofitable product line, or moving the work overseas). (Somehow what they say in the political area seems to be “special” for you, entitling you to demand that they do things your way or it’s “theft” somehow.)

          If you own stock in a company, you presumably approve of its course of action overall (some things you don’t like, more things you do like), or you’d sell the stock.

          Don’t like what the board of governors is doing? Sell the stock, or round up enough votes to change it.

          You don’t get to buy stock then demand, with your one share, that the board stop doing something you don’t like. And you don’t get to step into someone’s place of business and demand that he accommodate your desire to do something on his property.

        • Thing is, company shareholders (including those people who actually have enough stake in it to have a voice) already have freedom of speech, including freedom to support politicians of their choice with their own money.

          But when a corporation goes and donates money to politicians, it doesn’t do so with the money owned by the people; it’s money owned by the corporation itself. The people (the few ones with enough shares) effectively get to decide what the company will “speak” on its behalf, but they do so with the money that is not actually theirs. Effectively, it gives them a second voice. At the same time, they still enjoy the limited liability protection stemming from having the corporation as a separate entity. This seems a contradiction to me.

          Let me take the “corporation is a [legal] person” analogy and extend it. If corporation is a person, it’s a person that does not possess free will – it’s a puppet, with other persons pulling the strings. Should those people in control of the strings get a second voice through their puppet? I don’t think so. At the very least, if they do, it should be made very clear that it is them speaking, and not the puppet (and not all those other people who are in business of making the puppet move, but don’t actually control that voice).

        • Liberty isn’t perfect.

          I grew up – 60 years ago – in Southern Minnesota. I remember my mother explaining to me that the State legislature caved-in to the dairy industry in the regulation of the marketing of margarine. The legislature didn’t think that they could forbid the sale of margarine. However, they could get away with forbidding the sale of margarine that had been colored yellow in the factory to make it appear to be more like butter. The consumer would have to buy a white-colored margarine product and then hand-kneed a yellow coloring into the white margarine to make it look like butter.

          OK, so, I surmise that it would be just fine with you that a co-op dairy organization would be free to lobby the State legislature; however, an incorporated manufacturer ought to be prohibited. Just make a fine distinction of form-of-organization and you have liberty-of-expression / are forbidden-to-express-your-interests.

          What, exactly, is it that justifies the distinction between unions vs. corporations? What, exactly, is it that justifies the distinction between general-partnerships vs. corporations? “Close-corporations” vs. “C-corporations”? Just as soon as you get a distinction-without-a-difference to suppress freedom-of-expression by one form of organization you will discover that clever lawyers will find an alternative organizational form that successfully skirts that restriction.

          It’s a cat-and-mouse game that we really ought to avoid.

          In centuries past governments tried to carefully regulate the moral hazard of allowing corporations to operate without the discipline of UN-limited liability. Gradually, our societies came to recognize that this form of sparingly-rationing limited-liability of corporations was not really operating in the interest of capital formation. The constraints on organizing in the corporate form rapidly declined. Today, any butcher, baker, candlestick-maker can operate in the corporate form notwithstanding that he holds 100% of the capital stock.

          Get over it. Freedom of speech is such a marvelous good in its own right that it ought not be regulated outside the traditional standards of fraud, blasphemy, obscenity or liable/slander.

        • I know one distinction that would justify the different treatment: whether the organization is a separate legal entity from its members, or not. Thus, for example, a partnership or sole proprietorship is legitimately the same entity as its owner or owners, and they can freely use it for political campaigning – there’s no distinction between them and the organization in that case, as they are fully liable for the actions performed in either capacity. OTOH, in the case of a limited liability corporation, it is a distinct entity with its own legal persona that should not have a political voice (as it’s not a real person). Shareholders still have their own voices, and if they want to use corporation’s money to amplify them, they’re free to extract that money by normal means (selling their shares, or taking dividends, or otherwise “ordering” the company to transfer that money), pay the corresponding taxes on it, and then, once they’re in possession of that money, donate it to whoever they wish.

          I have no idea where unions are in that picture, since I don’t know which category they belong to, strictly speaking. I’d expect them to be more like a partnership, in which case I’m fine with them. If they’re more like an LLC, then they should be just as off-limits to campaign as corporations are.

          Beside which, I also have a general issue with equating political donations to freedom of speech. Speech is, well, speech – it’s when I go and say, or write, or otherwise communicate that message. If I pay someone else to communicate their message, that isn’t exactly speech (and if it were, than any tax on, say, Internet connectivity would effectively constitute an infringement). Thus, while believing in largely unrestricted freedom of speech (i.e. no “hate speech” nonsense etc), I also think that it is not incompatible with regulation of political contributions in general. But that is a separate topic, and orthogonal to whether real persons and artificial legal entities like corporations have the same rights.

        • It’s never so simple as you imagine.

          You suppose that an organization based on a “mutuality” form of organization (think of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company) has a persona identical-to / distinct-from its “members”. Such organizational forms enjoy limited-liability (characteristic of corporations).

          Consider the “limited-liability partnership”. This legal entity has 1+ “general partners” who have UN-limited liability AND 1+ (usually many) “limited” partners who have LIMITED liability. It’s trivial to recruit a “general” partner (e.g., some wino from skid row) to play the role of “general partner” and then capitalize the entity with subscriptions by any number (few or many) of “limited” partners who are protected from liability for the unfortunate decisions of the managers of the “LP” under the direction of the nominal (wino) “general partner.

          You imagine – naively I suggest – that the legislative attempts to “regulate” diverse organizational forms are a reasonable response to the ingenuity of “corporate” lawyers to find ways around the regulatory constraints.

          You admit that you just don’t know why unions are treated differently than publicly-held corporation. OK, so, stick your head in the sand and stay there. Allow the political class to “regulate” individuals, partnerships, corporations, PACs. And, allow the “corporate” lawyers to find the avenues to skirt your regulatory scheme. These clever fellows will discover the “Super-PAC” as the vehicle to frustrate your regulatory scheme.

          Just keep it up. You will forever chase your Utopian goal of an effective regulatory scheme for “speech”.

          Meanwhile, reality will do what it needs to do to accomplish its goals.

          GAME ON!

        • Thing is, I know that regulation of political financing is not “utopian” – it is, in fact, common around the world, and there are quite a few countries that have extremely effective regulatory schemes that largely succeed at reducing, if not outright eliminating, the one-dollar-one-vote (whoever has more dollars, get more votes in the parliament, regardless of elections) approach.

          To remind, the only reason why Super-PACs even exist is because the corresponding regulation was ruled unconstitutional. So it’s not a case of lawyers finding loopholes, it’s a case of legislation itself being neutered.

        • “. . . there are quite a few countries that have extremely effective regulatory schemes that largely succeed at reducing, if not outright eliminating, the one-dollar-one-vote . . . ‘

          I find this hard to believe; not impossible – simply improbable. Can you provide some examples? Name of country and scheme description?

          I suppose it’s possible to accomplish such a feat if the culture of the country is one that values compliance highly. E.g., I imagine it might work in Japan or Switzerland where cheating would bring too much shame upon the person who got caught. Conversely, in a country like ours, cheating at politics is admired in some circles.

          Whatever scheme you imagine its going to require enforcement – at least in the US – and that enforcement would be selective. That makes things worse.

          A friend of mine mentioned an idea that might help. He proposed that anyone could give a campaign as much money as he liked; however, all campaign donations would have to go through a “blind” agent; think of it something like a ballot box. You put your check and a note as to which campaign gets the money in an envelope; send it to the agent. The agent gets the envelope; opens it, credits the account of the candidate and cashes the check. Periodically, the agent mails a check to the candidate.

          Admittedly, a contributor could tell a candidate that he did/will contribute $1 million. However, if the agent is combining that $1 million with enough other contributions and dribbling out the money in random amounts at random times it would be hard to confirm that the contributor was telling the truth about the large size of his contribution. Not fool-proof, but it might help. The scheme probably would have to be implemented only for large campaigns – e.g., President, Senators and Governors not representatives nor dog catchers.

          I don’t have much hope that any scheme regulating campaign contributions will really help. The better any scheme works the harder contributors will work to try to evade it.

          The critical thing is to reduce the size of government and shifting functions from Federal to State and from State to municipality. There will always be plenty of arbitrary decisions in political processes. E.g., whether a shipyard is built in Massachusetts or Virginia is going to be a political decision that gets tipped to one or the other based on considerations having too little to do with the cost of the site or its suitability to purpose. The best we can hope to do is to make as few of those decisions as possible at a level of government farther away from the voters who pay for it. It’s hard to imagine making national defense decisions below the Federal level. However, the Interstate highway system could be managed loosely by regions and funded by State pairs. I see very little justification for a large Department of Agriculture or Department of Education.

          Moving the power of the purse from Federal to State and from State to municipality will do far more to ensure that money isn’t spent on things that are not cost justified.

        • There’s a Bible verse that says of creations of humans, “They have mouths, but cannot speak”. Corporations don’t have mouths — therefore, they have no speech.

          Freedom of speech has to apply to things that can actually speak, which is to say living, breathing human beings. Corporations are pieces of paper, not people, so they can’t have freedom of speech — because they can’t speak. The same is true of unions, and churches, and lodges, and associations; they are all, in terms of government, just pieces of paper.

          For libertarians, this should be simple: allowing paper entities “speech” is ludicrous, since the right of free speech arises from self-ownership. Paper entities are by their nature owned by real, living entities, and thus, not being self-owning by nature, have no rights.

  25. Every time I hear arguments that we should not legalize drugs because of the huge number of people who will begin using them, I think to myself, “If all the drugs were legal, would I begin using them?” And the answer is always no. The next question I ask myself is, “Am I special in that regard?” As much as my mother might argue, I am not special. There is nothing about me that makes my decisions superior than the average person. In fact, I’ll admit that I’ve made some pretty terrible decisions in my past.

    Most of the people I know who support national legalization of marijuana either already use it or wouldn’t use it even if it were legal. I don’t know of anyone who would begin using it that hasn’t already. So if Meth and cocaine and all others were legal, I can’t imagine there would be swarms of new users who held back just because it was illegal.

    All this is also beside the most significant argument, which is simply “FREEDOM!”

    • I voted for legalization here in Washington, and I’ve always found the stuff literally nauseating, as in if I get a whiff, I have to struggle not to barf. But my sensitivities are not a good reason to have a law against it. So, as awful as the stuff is, I’m glad it’s legal now, at least at the state level.

    • Tanner, there is no Freedom, for the people that are working to tear down the bulwarks of what supports and enables it. You want to drive the submarine AND roll down the window.
      How we got here required things that will forever be required in human existence, because we are finite beings hashing it out in a universe that we are compelled to perpetually stuggle against. Stack the WHOLE of human history, and trim off the incongrous fringe and THAT will define what will sustain us.
      THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN DETERMINED. HISTORY HAS ALREADY DECIDED. YOU DON’T GET TO JUST ROLL THE DICE BECAUSE “HEY! POT IS FUN!”
      [loosely paraphrased, TERMS, J.M.Thomas, R., 2012]

    • Tanner, I agree. The laws are currently not being enforced, if I wanted a smoke I would simply light one up. I support legalization, but it will make no difference in my choice of recreational drugs, Tanqueray and tonic rocks.

  26. As for the large prison population of people with drug charges, I say pardon and release them in stages:

    1. Small-time users. Turn them all loose, since they never harmed anyone.
    2. Big-time users. Release them to treatment programs, say six months after the small-time users.
    3. Small-time dealers who never engaged in violence.

    And so on.

      • The system isn’t capable of turning them all loose “on day one”.

        BTW, what “numbers”? You’re seeing numbers where there aren’t any — care to tell us what you’re on?

  27. We DO have large-scale examples of nearly complete legal drugs in America-following the Civil War. Cocaine,morphine,(heroin later),opium among the most prominent. Was it a public health and violence crisis? It depends on who you ask. A lot of objection was “morality”. But we don’t live in a 19th century world. And bangers gotta’ make $…and the gubmints gotta’ make $(how’re you gonna’ fill those for profit prisons)? And po-leece got to patrol to “make us safe”…

  28. Who will sell the newly legalized and regulated hard dope? Existing pharmaceutical companies, startups, former gangs, who? How do they advertise? “Come, buy our stuff, just…not too much at one time, now, okay, please?” How will they cope with liability lawsuits? Will Obamacare cover accidental overdose of lethal yet nonprescriptive narcotics?

    Just wondering.

  29. Decriminalization and legalization are not necessarily the same thing. Removing the harshest penalties against users and even traffickers will reduce the risk associated with involvement in the drug trade. This will reduce the profit margin. Policies that are focused on reducing/eliminating the revenue stream to the large Mexican drug cartels will eliminate their influence over the Mexican government and the Mexican people. The cartels are large employers. If we drasticaly reduce their income they will have to downsize.

  30. I once asked a Colonel why the U.S. didn’t just by the Afghan poppy crop at wholesale. We owned the country the farmers would get paid and we could have attempted incentive to grow other things. (A lot doesn’t grow there!)

    His answer. “The U.S. doesn’t buy drugs.”
    So they spend our, our, money on DEA etc., boats, helicopters, agents, etc. Eternally funded.
    Win win?

    • Ah, the tin-hat comes out again….. Aren’t we protecting the opium crop in Afghanistan now? I heard that we quit burning it years ago.

    • BUY it? It already does, sort of. The heroin from the Afghan poppy crop is used by the CIA to fund their black budget.

      And U.S. troops are used to guard the poppy crop against theft. In a Geraldo Rivera special about 5-6 years ago, he talked to troops that were ordered to guard the poppy crop.

  31. The fundamental flaw in most pro-drug thinking is that people will stop being addicted to drugs if they are legal. Violent crime may see some reduction, but as long as people are addicted and waste their money on it, there will be drug crime.

    • It’s less pro-drug thinking than a recognition of some basic realities of the human condition, viz. that if there’s demand, there will be supply. And if that which is demanded is illegal, that supply will come from criminals. Yes, there will still be crime associated with drugs (including people doing stupid things while high). But prohibition tells us clearly that crime goes down when you make a drug legal.

      Now, would the gangs move to other crime? Sure. But, more generally, if we took the position that what one or more consenting adults did with their own bodies or property is their own business, we’d really be getting somewhere. Eliminate all “vice” crime, and there really wouldn’t be much turf for street gangs left.

    • The fundamental flaw in most pro-drug thinking is that people will stop being addicted to drugs if they are legal.

      Nobody is saying that except you. What we’re saying is that if you treat it like a disease rather than a crime, then you will see improvement. Locking people up isn’t treatment. It’s suspension of liberties. Helping them recover has proven results. Throwing people in cages just makes them more criminal.

      Violent crime may see some reduction, but as long as people are addicted and waste their money on it, there will be drug crime.

      What happened during alcohol prohibition? Violent crime when up as the gang ran black market booze. What happened after alcohol prohibition? The gang violence subsided until they found a new black market commodity to run: opiates and cocaine.
      The treatment for addiction isn’t to lock them up. It’s a medical condition. Using a medical condition as an excuse to lock people up is absolutely antithetical to liberty.

      Further, without the commodity being illegal, drug gangs won’t be able to keep up with market forces. This has been proven over and over. There is zero rational, data-supported reason other than some “moralist” bullshit to keep drugs criminalized.

      • “What happened after alcohol prohibition? The gang violence subsided until they found a new black market commodity to run: opiates and cocaine.”

        They didn’t “find” a new commodity, the government obligingly provided it for them.

        This is why the “War on Drugs” is more correctly called a subsidy for crime.

    • If/when they are legalized, prices will fall (it’s the very illegality of the stuff that makes it so freaking expensive). Much drug crime is people stealing or mugging to get the money for their next fix. With that next fix much cheaper, there will be less theft and robbery needed to support those habits.

      A lot of other drug crime is dealers fighting over turf, again that would go away or decline if it wasn’t so lucrative due to government price supports (which is what prohibition amounts to). In fact, you don’t see alcohol and tobacco (and caffeine, for that matter) dealers shooting it out over turf, so I’d say…that kind of violence will go away, completely.

    • In fact, addiction rates were pretty low before drugs were made illegal in the early 1930s, especially compared to that they are now. With drugs at reasonable prices at the corner pharmacy, there is little reason to steal in order to support a habit, because Grandma’s little habit is easily affordable.

  32. It would a little, but not nearly as much as people think. While yes these gangs do push and yes there is violence as a result of it, a lot of gang on gang violence is simply from long running hate. If crack and heroin go legal bloods and crips will still kill each other, because that’s just their culture. They’re not gonna look at each other and say “well pot is legal cuz, I guess we don’t have to fight anymore”

  33. The traditional conservative view on criminalizing drugs is that we have to do so to keep our society from moral decay. Until the last couple years, that the way I felt about it as well.

    There’s no merit it to it though, and I should have known from personal experience. I smoked some pot as a freshman in High School and chose not to do it afterwords. During the time that I smoked pot in high school i was also offered other drugs. I didn’t do them. Why didn’t I do them? I wasn’t interested in them. Had nothing to do with the other drugs being legal, illegal, or even illegalerler than other drugs. I just wasn’t interested in them.

    There’s a similarity between the drug control mindset and the gun control mindset. The anti-gunners believe that the second they get their hands on a gun, the gun is going to turn them into a murderous rampage psychopath. Obviously not the case. The drug control crowd seems to think if drugs were legal, every kid on the block would start doing them and then of course they’d all turn into murderous rampage psychopaths. The problem is that most people actually don’t even want to do drugs even if it were legal, and not everybody is prone to addiction. There are plenty of people that can take cocaine and other drugs and come off them just fine. The addictive types are most likely already on the drugs. But even still, it’s something like 93% of people that have tried meth have not done it in the last 30 days.

    Gangs income also comes from pimping and extortion of area vendors/businesses. If you got rid of drug income, they could still pimp. If you got rid of pimp income. They could still extort. But since there isn’t a market demand for extortion, after a few arrests that market will dry-up as the risk-reward changes without being able to shower your homies with cash from the drug/pimping games to make extortion worthwhile.

    For your edification, here are some drunk monkeys. Drinking is not illegal if you’re a monkey, but most monkeys aren’t interested in alchohol while many are total alchoholics. Who the hell cares?

    • The traditional conservative view on criminalizing drugs is that we have to do so to keep our society from moral decay.

      And this is the problem with modern conservatism. NOBODY wants you telling us how to live our lives.

        • I would have to say that you are referring to politicians, not normal humans. I am a conservative, and my only agenda is that we stop allowing “the people” to vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. Every function of government must be paid for by those who advocate for it. Assistance for the poor, including free money, should be paid for by a tax on the poor. The Fed should be paid for by a tax on the rich.

        • That is a fascinating idea; whether it’s practical or not remains to be discovered.

          Take, for example, unemployment benefits. Why do we tax employers vs. employees? How much “insurance” does each laborer want to “buy”?

          By taxing all employers we discourage employers from hiring employees. Those employers who operate in industries with high turn-over pay disproportionately high premiums for unemployment insurance. Shouldn’t their employees decide whether to pay a high or low tax for greater or lesser benefits?

          In one industry or another employees will reach different conclusions. E.g., coal miners may decide that they can’t very well leave their homes and families to pursue careers in manufacturing. Burger flippers may decide that they can stock shelves. They would be apt to make different – equally rational – decisions. Better still would be Gold/Silver/Bronze plans in each industry where employees could decide how much they want to “socialize” the costs of unemployment according to individual circumstances.

          Social Security Disability probably ought to be privatized. We know this program is rife with fraud and abuse because no one cares enough to investigate suspicious cases. The insurance industry has been dealing with such problems for centuries; presumably, they got good at it a hundred years ago.

          FDIC insurance for depositors and capital requirements for banks probably could better be privatized. The best congressmen money can buy should not be able to impose financial adequacy regulations on the smaller tiers of banks in order to drive them to sell-out to the largest banks. Instead, each tier of banks ought to organize their own deposit insurance fund and capital adequacy rules suitable to consumer and merchant banking, industrial banking, international banking and so forth.

        • “Social Security Disability probably ought to be privatized. We know this program is rife with fraud and abuse because no one cares enough to investigate suspicious cases.”

          The way Social Security Disability works is that just about all applications are initially denied. It’s up to the applicant to then appeal and provide additional evidence. It’s hard enough to get on SS Disability that there are lawyers in towns right down to under 5k people that do nothing but try to get applications approved.

          Oh, and where do the lawyers’ fees and the costs of expert testimony come from? Out of the disability payments, if they’re ever achieved.

          Though this is what one should expect when it’s government bureaucrats and lawyers running the system!

    • “The traditional conservative view on criminalizing drugs is that we have to do so to keep our society from moral decay.”

      The irony is that we have created far more moral decay by engaging in the misnamed “War on Drugs”. Jacob Sullum’s _Saying Yes_ sets out just how the government had to seriously lie and deceive to make its case for how bad drugs are — and that was just the beginning of the corruption of government.

  34. Will the cartels continue to engage in crime? Sure, its what they do.

    But is there another criminal activity that is as profitable as drugs? I’d like to know, if so. Cartels will have to start laying off and cutting back. Maybe bankrupt some senators and congressmen.

  35. No it would not. What did Cain kill Abel with? Not guns or swords or knives, as those had not been invented yet, to our knowledge. The problem has and always will be that of the heart. Not drugs (per se), not guns, not knives. Fix the heart of the problem (pun intended).

  36. Once again we’ve failed to learn from history–prohibitions never work and only increase criminal behaviors and networks.

    • Exactly. It is another one of those “crimes” that never ceases no matter how many laws are made against it. Why not legalize that also ? What is the downside ? Upside would seem to be less illegal activity that goes along with illegal prostitution and healthier prostitutes. License them and make them go in for regular checkups to keep their license. Set up standards for them to follow. Heck they could even unionize….;-) !

  37. Even if all drugs are legalized, employers will continue to drug-test employees and reject those who use. Thus there will continue to be a large unemployable population of addicts, who will continue to commit crimes to survive.

    • @gp: How is that different than the current situation? The plus side would be all the tax money that would be saved by firing all the folks doing that enforcing now. Those folks who live off the taxpayer, do not stop the supply and seem to have NO effect on drug use. Why keep paying them for no results ? And the side effect from all the graft and corruption that goes along with these illegal activities has to be taking a toll on our society in so many negative ways. And if we could keep the drugs from being imported it seems like much of the underground money flowing to other countries and the thugs in those countries would be substantially reduced. Perhaps some kind of registered, controlled drugs and prescribe them to the hard core addicts so they would not have to rob and steal to get the money to buy them. That would have to be less expensive than what we have been doing for the last several decades. Anything that can dry up the money that goes to support the gangs in Mexico and elsewhere would appear to be a positive development.

      • All governments combined in the U.S. have spent well upwards of a trillion dollars on the fake “War on Drugs” since Nixon declared it. Imagine if that had gone to our highways instead.

  38. The drug problem in the US should have never been a criminal problem. It pretty much by definition is a public health issue that “we” decided to make into a criminal offense.

    Legalize and regulate the product muck like alcohol. It becomes safer because the people buying know that they aren’t getting the mistakes some methed out joker made while following instructions he doesn’t understand in some crappy trailer somewhere. It also provides the option to have things like doses being controlled and clearly labeled, lowering risk of accidental OD. In short, the drugs can be made safer.

    You also get rid of the major incentive for drug cartels to operate in the US. Sure they will try to find new ways to make money but that is always the case. Most of the other activities that they could be involved in are already illegal so those laws would still hold.

    What someone does to their own body should be up to them.

    If someone is endangering their children through their careless acts there are already laws that provide for the transfer of custody to the other parent, another family member (first options), adoptive parents, foster parents and so on. If someone does this while pregnant I would call it child endangerment but that is just me.

    If someone commits a crime because of their addictions (theft, robbery and the like) there are laws that deal with those offenses.

    If a person can’t perform their job it is up to their boss to fire their asses.

    It is actually much the same argument as prostitution. Keeping it (or any vise it seems) illegal does nothing to deter it and can in fact make it more glamorous. It fills our prisons with people who haven’t necessarily brought any harm to another person or the community and it costs us a great deal in resources to try to fight leaving our police less capable of going after truely terrible criminals.

    Like with prostitution if it is legalized and regulated it becomes safer for all involved in every reasonable way, creates businesses and offers a revenue stream for the state through taxes.

    It’s simple really, make people responsible for themselves. The laws should be there to protect others from harm (or provide recourse should harm be done), not from them harming themselves. The government not only saves money on the lack of a need to enforce these laws but now suddenly makes money on the taxes paid. The community gets safer streets when there aren’t cartels fighting for territory, control of the product, money/whatever and more resources can be spent going after things like murderers, rapists and thieves. The individual gets more freedom to make their own choices.

    While we may see an uptick in addiction and the like truthfully any place that I have visited or lived where such things were legal had fewer problems with addiction in the end. The people there simply had less interest in taking the chance with their future because they knew more about the effects and consequences.

    • “If a person can’t perform their job it is up to their boss to fire their asses.”

      I recall reading once that the only rule in the French Foreign Legion was “Be fit for duty”. Makes sense for employers, too.

  39. Of course you can’t just flick a switch and “End Gangs”, but you can dry up a massive section of their market by legalising relatively harmless drugs such as Marijuana, MDMA, LSD, which people are going to buy & use ANYWAY. If the illegal market is smaller, then the associated economy of violence will wither.

  40. Anyone who thinks making crack or other drugs legal will reduce crime is a liar or a fool. Users a thieves. They can’t hold down a job. It won’t take long before they are fired from their place of employment. Then they will steal to get the money to buy the poison.

    They will kill to get the money and many have killed to get their drug payment money. They will rape under the influence of the intoxicant They will sell their daughter or son to a man for sex to get the money and then get intoxicated. They will burn their own children with cigarettes while under the influence of these drugs.

    Anyone who says violent crime will be reduced does not know what they are talking about. There may be less street crime. But crime will not go down. If the goal is to move crime indoors that may happen.
    You can blow your brains out if you want to. You can use a drug like crack or a 357 revolver.

    If you are a white person you will be safe from police arrest when you travel to the black neighborhoods to buy your drugs. And that is the reason why so many white people want drugs legal. A white neighborhood will not put up with a crack operation. But it is ok to go to the blacks to get your drugs. Richard Prior made jokes about this. Having the blacks on welfare also helps insure white libertarians can get their drugs at a low cost. If the blacks had real jobs there would be fewer drug dealers and the price would go up for the white user/buyers.

    • They will kill to get the money and many have killed to get their drug payment money. They will rape under the influence of the intoxicant They will sell their daughter or son to a man for sex to get the money and then get intoxicated. They will burn their own children with cigarettes while under the influence of these drugs.

      Yes, we know what happens with booze, but what about drugs?

    • @Chris T from KY

      How much does the government pay you to repeat their lies? That’s the same lying racist bullshit that got the war on citizens going to subsidize crime.

    • Lordy, but that is silly, and racist thrown into the bargain! Why would “white folks” go to “black neighborhoods” to purchase a legal product? Myself, if I wanted me some meth, I’d go to CVS, unless Walgreens had a better price. The cheaper of the two would probably be where my contacts in the black neighborhood were buying it anyway. You need to think legalization through a little better.

    • Well, around here, the closest weed shop is actually in the middle of a rich white suburban area (Issaquah). And it’s mostly staffed by white dudes. Sorry to bust your nice theory.

  41. “Anyone who thinks making crack or other drugs legal will reduce crime is a liar or a fool. Users a thieves. They can’t hold down a job. It won’t take long before they are fired from their place of employment. Then they will steal to get the money to buy the poison.”

    That is already the case and I’m hard pressed to figure how decriminalization would make it worse. These drugs are already incredibly easy to get.
    What we can change is the way users are treated. Routing these folks directly to prison has made the problem worse in most every aspect.

  42. Every anti-drug argument made here matches the anti-gun arguments made by the Bloombergites.

    Think about that. Also think about what “liberty” means, while you’re at it.

    • This. A Million Times This.

      If you don’t want to use drugs like marijuana or cocaine, don’t. I don’t, for example. It’s never been a problem for me.

      The real, underlying issue here is a two-part question:

      (a) Who decides?

      (b) Who is responsible?

      The banning or rendering illegal any substance or object fundamentally assumes a collectivist answer to both of those questions.

      I reject that outright. I can only speak for me, but I really don’t want the State or “Society” telling me what I can / cannot have and I CERTAINLY don’t want the State or “Society” taking my responsibility for my own life from me.

      Arguments like “but druggies are thieves” and “they are dangerous when driving,” well…guess what? That’s NOT the DRUG committing those crimes; that’s people. People have free will; guns and drugs do not.

      Stealing is already against the law. Hurting someone due to bad driving is already against the law. Neither of these require a person to be a drug user. A non-drug user can well steal something.

      Grind’s point above is spot on…right on the money. There is ZERO difference between the anti’s trying to give guns fairy tale agency, will and intent and those that give drugs agency.

      A thief stealing is not the “Drug’s Fault.” It’s the thief’s fault.

      The bottom line is either one accepts a collectivist, Statist view as the “Right, True Way,” or one adopts Individual Liberty as the true natural state of man.

  43. Upside: after practically legalizing marijuana in LA, the black market prices plummeted, making it an unviable business for illegal drug dealers.

    Down side: said dealers are now selling crystal meth, which is quite literally destroying people.

    Thing is though, you’d also have to combat the causes of poverty to also combat crime. You can listen to any of the drug dealing rappers’ lyrics, and in between bragging about how many of their peers they are murdering, they’ll claim they are doing it just to get by. However, it is Alladin who says it best when he sings, “gotta eat to live/ gotta steal to eat/ otherwise we’d get along,” before finding a genie and marrying into royalty.

    • Your pot vs. cristal meth example vividly illustrates the substitution effect associated with supply-side-prohibition.

      We could succeed with supply-side-prohibition by aggressively pursuing capital punishment for suppliers. If that option is off-the-table politically (presumably so) then supply-side prohibition doesn’t work.

      Better to work on the demand-side. Capital punishment for consumers could work; but, it’s even less politically viable. We might be more successful marketing the idea of not consuming something that will destroy you. Has Madison Avenue nothing to teach us about marketing to consumer demand? If they really do know how to turn-ON the spigot of consumer demand presumably they also have some insight on turning-it-OFF.

      I see no Federal Constitutional warrant to enforce laws against substance-abuse. Nor do I see a Federal Constitutional warrant to tax and spend to persuade against substance abuse. Nevertheless, the traditional view of States’ “police power” includes each of these powers. The damage caused by government interference in substance-abuse is probably lower if exercised by: the several States; and, persuasion vs. coercion. Perhaps this is the direction to which we ought to advocate.

      • “We could succeed with supply-side-prohibition by aggressively pursuing capital punishment for suppliers.”

        Bullshit. The American people will pay any price for their drugs. I can make a million dollars a week, but if they catch me without my guards, they will spend 20-25 years trying to kill me? Not only will I take those odds, but so will a few hundred thousand of my closest friends. The war on drugs cannot be won, and never could be won, even if the “capital punishment” you speak of consisted of castration, followed by hot pokers through the eyes, cutting out the tongue, and then disembowelment before burning to death. The war was obviously lost decades ago, Whose idea it is to continue the charade, I have no idea.

        • Either one of us might be right. You might be an incorrigible dealer. Others might see their way clear to lowering their recidivism rate after the first personal experience of capital punishment.

          Seems to be fairly effective in Singapore.

          In any case, The point of my (relatively flippant) remark contemplating capital punishment is that it’s not a option on the table for discussion in America. In fact, America experimented with really long prison terms for dealing drugs and eventually abandoned the practice. In fact, the American judicial system doesn’t consider small-time dealing a serious enough offense to do anything but seal the fate of the convict of ever getting a really decent job. Now, he has a felony for dealing on his record.

          What we have today is a War on Drugs as a form of public-safety theater. It is no more effective than supply-side alcohol prohibition. Probably less so; inasmuch as it’s easier to transport a few grams of cocaine than it was to roll a barrel of beer down the street in the 1920s.

  44. Grinder
    “Every anti-drug argument made here matches the anti-gun arguments made by the Bloombergites.
    Think about that. Also think about what “liberty” means, while you’re at it.”

    Not everyone can do drugs, and still maintain the society we have, and the amenities it affords. You want both for you, and you don’t care what any long-term effects are on how we hold things together for you so you can go ‘party.’ Again, drug users are not in-it for tomorrow, you obviously could care less. You talk about liberty as though it does not at least require that you are somewhat dependable (to your fellow man) with the liberty you are sharing in, and that requires a larger buy-in than you appear to want to offer. Freedom “does not equal liberty, that freedom was personal will, and that liberty was the receipt of apportioned opportunity offered through societies to carry it out.
    Liberty is the earned commodity, the currency received in trade for the protection of other’s freedoms. Liberty has but one price, and that is life, thereby taken liberty, in turn, threatens the life, in itself, of the takers.” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas, R., 2012, pg. 119]

    If you are not in-it for tomorrow, and the tomorrow of tomorrow, then we (will eventually) settle this out as armed conflict (that is what History has shown).

    • “Just as when the term freedom is discussed, it is pointless to ignore the party who is in possession, it is also pointless to ignore whom they are free from. So too it is with liberty. A party’s ability to act upon any freedom is (relatively) unquestioned, it is the further liberty to act upon any-other freedom that is limited by the result.
      Liberty is the culminating result of upholding a ‘societal agreement’, the specific performance, within the bounds of behavior, of effecting illimitably sustainable conflict. Liberty cannot be exercised without personal sacrifice. Liberty also requires the requisite sacrifice of others. In the words of George Bernard Shaw “self-sacrifice allows one to sacrifice others without blushing.”
      Liberty is the demanded, and if deserved, earned of its, right-of-way. It is the removal of the ‘stay,’ or rather, the removal of the other parties check, on the first parties struggle; see the essay Society [2]. It is part of the mutual-allowance within a societal agreement to obtain and maintain that which is required or desired by the first party.
      When Society is upheld and the dividend not paid (Liberty not granted) it causes reluctance, in the slighted party, to continue to uphold the agreement, AND, most importantly, it causes the slighted party to be more reluctant to be paired with others in Societal agreement. The result is breakdown.
      Therefore and thereby, it is not whether or not you have upheld society. It is whether my upholding of society and the associated societal agreements, has rewarded me with the blessings of it, or the feeling that such blessings are forthcoming.
      Liberty is the fulcrum in the balance of a society, the check to the unifying factors of Security, and Freedom, and no greater outlay of priority has been apportioned to obtain anything else in human existence, to include the attainment of life in the hereafter.” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012 Pg. 120]

    • Joe, you are so far off you may as well be reading from bad fiction.

      I know three cocaine users: one is a city accountant, one an attorney, and one a contractor. All are quite respected and quite successful.

      I know two heroin users: a hairdresser people have to schedule three months in advance to see, and a highway engineer.

      Among the marijuana users I know are a housing contractor, a roofing contractor, a real estate salesman, a librarian, an auto repairman, several store clerks, an apartment manager…. the list goes on. And I know three people who used marijuana as a tool to get off meth (which is the only drug I’m aware of that ruins more lives than not).

      Yes, there are some who ruin their lives. But referencing them to describe all who enjoy altering their brain functions for whatever reason is fallacious.

      • Further, I wonder what the addiction / abuse rates are now compared to prior to passing the Controlled Substances Act in the 1910’s.

        One thing is certainly clear; making drugs “illegal” and the so-called “War on Drugs” has not prevented people from messing up their brains (to larger societal detriment or not) with drugs.

        In other words, the ban is a farce, just like we always remind people that attempted bans on guns are / would be a farce.

      • Roy@
        You could give me hundreds of examples of anecdotal evidence, it doesn’t in any way contradict my statement that liberty in society has a cost, and that cost is quite a bit of intolerance of ‘wild-cards’ and that’s what drug users have been most often shown-to-be. It’s not the same argument as the anti-gun movement. If America folds, you will likely need a gun to restore it, if you stockpile drugs for use in “altering your brain function” instead, no one will confuse you with someone who wants to restore it, regardless of your skills, I.Q., previous employment, station in life, etc.
        Society IS what’s required (to have Liberty), but it is something entered into and shared by each individual, with every other individual. (A) Society is ONLY formed between a pair of people. Those two people are locked in conflict that is either illimitably sustainable, or not. If not, then the society collapses in unsustainable conflict.
        “Society, in primal terms, is the name of the treaty, in the suit for peace, for mankind.
        The term treaty is actually improper here as well, since society is the defining term we place on mankind’s ARMISTICE within itself. Society is the name of the cessation of hostilities within the species of man.
        An illustrative example, of its result, is the average U.S. citizens’ positive expectation of obtaining a fresh doughnut, hot cup of coffee, and a current newspaper from the local convenience store, on their way to work.
        How far removed from that, is the same individual surviving the natural elements of the night before, and waking up under a tree to the concern over whether or not armed conflict will be required to maintain the possession of a rudimentary shelter, and the proceeds of the days’ forage and hunt.
        Not to mention, the prospect of protecting the ‘possession’ of a desired mate, and resultant offspring.
        The exact distance, between those two possibilities, is often called “society.”
        Armistice, however, is not peace, although peace, too, survives under the rules of armed conflict. The most basic of these rules was codified by Carl Von Clausewitz in his treatise “On War”, in which he wrote that peaceable resolution to conflict is only effective, and should only be sought and relied upon, when it is certain that the other party will never resort to arms, with the implication that that is never [2].
        Again, society’s armistice is not peace; it is the reduction of conflict to an illimitably sustainable level. The record, for cessation of hostilities, is contained in laws, at times supported by documentation [3]
        The reason for armistice, however, is not. The reason is only contained within the individual parties.
        The future and posterity are often drivers for a society. However, an individual’s reason is the reason, the expression of which is only a compilation of approximates [4]. Yet, no man interested in the fate of a society, should assume that a society is either a resignation of will to the other party or the removal of the obligation to throw it down [move to unsustainable conflict] [5] [6].” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012, Pg. 21]

        • Your argument is EXACTLY like that of the gun banners: “Some people can’t be trusted with X, so we have to regulate X”.

          So you favor intolerance. Why does your brand of intolerance get a pass, and not others’? There’s no difference between being intolerant of guns and intolerant of drugs — it’s just intolerance. It boils down to you feeling superior to others and therefore considering yourself justified in deciding what others can or can’t do with their own bodies — the root of statism.

        • ” liberty in society has a cost, and that cost is quite a bit of intolerance of ‘wild-cards’ and that’s what drug users have been most often shown-to-be.”

          So you say. I say, I am ready to pay that cost for that liberty. Make actions which affect others subject to laws, actions which do not affect others are your own business. If you want to hide somewhere and make “allowances” for people who contribute nothing, we are at an impasse. I would let rich folk buy all the drugs they want, of any kind. If someone wants to steal from me to buy his drugs, I will kill him. But the government needs to butt out, and stop throwing my tax dollars into the crapper by the billions, for precisely nothing.

        • That IS the point, drugs have already proven to not be a victimless crime. Drugs have already proven to be destructive to Society, a persons in it. The problems that they create are insidious. The damage is swift and permanent. Your argument sounds like, well Woody Allen married his adopte daughter and they’re still together. Pedophilia is therefore just as good as protecting kids from it.

        • Are they destructive to society because of their innate qualities or because of all the other burdens piled upon and around them? Is heroin/alcohol/pills/crack/pot/etc destructive because no one can be a functional user or because to be a user you must become nonfunctional to support your illegal habit? I’m sure there is a mix of both but the majority of the ratio is the latter not the former.

        • Lots of things people do have adverse repercussions on the lives of others. That’s life. The real question we face is: Whether society is convinced that government regulation of the disparaged practice does MORE GOOD than HARM?

          In the middle ages society thought that persecuting heresy was worth-while because it would preserve the public’s immortal souls from damnation due to wrong thinking. How did that work-out?

          We tried it with alcohol; how did that work-out? Drugs; how did that work-out?

          As a society we CAN to use the iron fist of government to stamp-out whatever it is that we agree must be stamped-out. Are we wise to do so in EVERY case that we THINK is too pernicious to tolerate? In each case, we need to think about the costs vs. benefits.

          E.g., consider DWDrunk or DWTexting. We could consider mandating technology that would preclude starting the ignition of a car until the driver cleared a breathalyzer test. Or, technology that would suspend delivery of any text messages while the car is in motion. Conceivably, such measures might be cost-effective, not too difficult to enforce and more-trouble-than-it’s-worth to evade. Might improve public safety.

          Or, we could just destroy the future of anyone who is caught DWD/DWT. Make him un-employable.

          Or, live with each individual enjoying his liberty until he is killed in an accident or does enough damage that we lock him up.

          We have choices. Which one works least well? Can we figure this out? Can we AVOID pursuing the solutions that seem to work LEAST well?

        • It looks like you’re redefining “victimless crime” to mean “something I don’t like because people don’t do what I want them to do”.

          Fear not, you’re in good company here. For example, such esteemed gentlemen as Bloomberg and de Blasio have supported a ban on soda drink sizes in NYC for similar reason – after all, the country is in the middle of the obesity epidemic, and the link between that and sugar in soda has been clearly established, so clearly it’s a good idea.

        • “Are they destructive to society because of their innate qualities or because of all the other burdens piled upon and around them? ”

          Matt – drugs are escapism. People don’t do drugs because they are satisfied living in their own head in the real world. People on cocaine might claim it’s their limitless pill, that gets them a better grip (expanded) on reality, but that’s only because they can’t simultaneously be the sober version of themselves standing next to themselves going ‘wtf?’

          People on drugs cannot universally/continuously/ or even consecutively be counted on to not be at least ‘flaky’ in potentially dangerous ways.

          Drug use is not new, but what is older I human history and human nature. Society has already weighed in on things that further society, and everything else operates in secret or is abolished (or Society is hampered enough that there is physical violence between the parties).

        • You really are clueless.

          Movies are escapism. Alcohol is escapism. Sports are escapism. Vacations are escapism. Frak, when you get right down to it, clothes are escapism — real men would faced the world naked and unafraid! And cars are escapism, and elevators, indeed tools of all kinds . . . .

          Drugs for most people are just another means of dealing with and/or enjoying life, no different than taking aspirin for a headache or going to church.

        • You can walk out of the middle to end of a Movie and sprint off to perform a heart transplant. Clothes are a form of personal shelter because Mother Nature is trying to kill us on this rock. Leave church out of this, if you don’t go it’s no reason to claim to be an expert on it.

          If you were alone on the planet, your day would be full of selfish toil against your environment and time.

          But you are not.

          The addition of a single other person requires that you take them into consideration. They are either an ally or an enemy, but can be either momentarily and you won’t know which (for certain) until it occupies you completely.

          Those who choose to do drugs have shown to be (more often then not, or human history would not have to fend off your arguments every so often) not good partners to the above pairing. They have proven to be too much of an unknown quantity, and therefore usurp too much [extra / more than most] of the resources of the other in monitoring them. Usurpation is warfare (somewhere below the level of combat but somewhere north of illimitably sustainable conflict). And warfare of any kind that remains un-answered, is war lost. [loosely paraphrased, TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012]

        • >> They have proven to be too much of an unknown quantity, and therefore usurp too much [extra / more than most] of the resources of the other in monitoring them. Usurpation is warfare (somewhere below the level of combat but somewhere north of illimitably sustainable conflict).

          Wow, you literally are parroting the anti-gun propaganda, almost word for word. They also believe that gun owners “usurp too much extra resources in monitoring them”.

        • Reading your references to stereotypes long since shown to be false is tiresome. Most “recreational” drug users are dependable, productive, ordinary people.

          Your prejudice shows in your failure to be consistent: either we should face the world without crutches, which seems to be how you regard drugs, or we shouldn’t. If we should, then clothes and indoor plumbing and yes, church, are all crutches to be discarded as much as any drug.

          But in reality they are all tools. Many of us share a good number of those tools, but to a large extent we choose our own. If you choose not to use the tool called “drugs”, fine — but don’t disparage anyone else for choosing that tool.

          BTW, church is an excellent comparison to drugs: both, used wisely, are beneficial, but both can be taken to destructive extremes.

        • Ok, 19th, let me double-check your reasoning on that then.

          Because there are guns, you need them (for many reasons, one being to counteract the threat).

          Because there are drugs, you need to . . .?

          Am I more or less likely to need a gun because of (the existence of) drugs. Do people on drugs pose a greater or lesser ______? call it a distraction, um consideration (you don’t have to call it a threat, I guess, until after the fact).

          Drugs will not contribute to the notion of tomorrow the way guns will. I want you (and everyone so inclined) to have a gun, I just want to look you in the eyes (when I see you with your gun) and not have to say oh, crap, is that guy on drugs?

        • Talking in terms of “you need” is a losing proposition. I am a free man. I don’t have to tell you why I need anything, and it’s not up to you to say that if I don’t need it, I shouldn’t have it.

          You don’t really need a gun, either. Nor do you need a car, a house, a computer etc.

        • I don’t think necessity or utility is a loosing argument; quite the contrary.

          The 2A – or any other right for that matter – can be thought of as a chicken vs egg question. Did the 2A emerge from a void? Whether by an act of God or a whim of the Anti-Federalists? Were that so, then of necessity we would be confined to arguing for a “Bill of Rights, not of necessities”.

          It serves our purpose better to argue that the founders recognized the utility – indeed the necessity – of arms, and the importance of guaranteeing the right to arms to preclude a tyrannical (or misguided) infringement on the People’s use of a necessity.

          The overwhelming number of citizens are vulnerable going mono-a-mono against a fit young male predator. Still more vulnerable going mano-a-tire-iron. There was – and remains – no adequate substitute for a firearm for the purpose of self-defense.

          You and I might enjoy a lifestyle relatively free of predation; yet many do not. Most of our population lives in, or nearby, an inner-city. Much of the remainder lives in rural areas with no nearby neighbors to provide surveillance. To a greater or lesser extent each of us feels a need for security and the means to defend ourselves effectively.

          The need for a means of self-defense was recognized in antiquity and enshrined as a right in the 18th century. That need has never disappeared at any time nor in any place in America. Nor can we predict with any confidence that it might disappear in the future.

          Any one of us is free to discount another individuals perceived need for security or any other necessity; but that freedom of perception of someone else’s necessity does not constitute any objective reality. It certainly has nothing to do with the objectified individual’s sense of need.

          In any case, when our form of government was established, the founders wisely reserved as “rights” the utility of necessities for a society founded on the principle that sovereignty is vested in the People, not their governors. They saw fit to guarantee rights of: speech; press; assembly; petition; religion; arms; and many others.

          We have never repealed any right enumerated in the Constitution. While Congress and State legislatures have many times infringed upon enumerated rights history has consistently shown the hazards of defying the wisdom of the People enshrined in Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

          We toy with any Constitutional right at our peril.

        • I think you have misconstrued my point. It was rather that the moment we start rationalizing “granting” rights on the basis of utility only, any right becomes conditional and revocable. Indeed, literally anything you do every day could then be subject of government scrutiny if any, however remote, effect on society can be observed (and this can be stretched far indeed: just look at today’s applicability of the Commerce Clause!).

          For example, do you really need free speech? In general, most people agree, but when it comes to specifics it changes quickly. For example, I can rephrase it to: do you really need to be able to fly the Confederate flag? I bet you that in a good half of the states in this country at least, the majority of the general public would disagree with it being a need (an indeed, what rational purpose does it serve?). And so, if the right is conditional on need, you’ll see that right stripped away pretty fast.

          With guns, also, essentially the entire anti-gun premise is build on the notion that people don’t need a gun, and therefore shouldn’t have a right to one. You can dispute the “need” point, but this is precarious ground, as it can be applied even on individual basis: does Joe need a gun? does Dave need a gun? does Mike need a gun? And especially if the onus to prove the need is on the one desiring to exercise the right, you can be certain that even just statistically, there will be people unable to successfully argue for their need, even before the most predisposed jury.

          The other approach to right is that they are not granted by anyone, but stem out of the notion of a sovereign individual (if you’re monotheistic, then said sovereignty is limited by the Creator God, and so you’d speak about that Creator as a source of rights, whereas us atheists just consider them inherent; but that is largely irrelevant in the bigger picture). From that perspective, the default mode is that you have a right to do anything you wish, and limitations on that right need to be justified on a “need” basis. In other words, if you want to legally ban people from doing something, you’d better have a very convincing argument as to why that ban is necessary, and why the public good achieved by it would outweigh the infringement of natural liberty inherent in the ban. Neither the gun control advocates nor the drug prohibition advocates have ever managed to convincingly show that (or, indeed, the fact that any public good comes out of it in general).

        • I think you might have misconstrued my point. It was rather that the moment we start rationalizing “granting” rights on the basis of utility only, any right becomes conditional and revocable. Indeed, literally anything you do every day could then be subject of government scrutiny if any, however remote, effect on society can be observed (and this can be stretched far indeed: just look at today’s applicability of the Commerce Clause!).

          For example, do you really need free speech? In general, most people agree, but when it comes to specifics it changes quickly. For example, I can rephrase it to: do you really need to be able to fly the Confederate flag? I bet you that in a good half of the states in this country at least, the majority of the general public would disagree with it being a need (an indeed, what rational purpose does it serve?). And so, if the right is conditional on need, you’ll see that right stripped away pretty fast.

          With guns, also, essentially the entire anti-gun premise is build on the notion that people don’t need a gun, and therefore shouldn’t have a right to one. You can dispute the “need” point, but this is precarious ground, as it can be applied even on individual basis: does Joe need a gun? does Dave need a gun? does Mike need a gun? And especially if the onus to prove the need is on the one desiring to exercise the right, you can be certain that even just statistically, there will be people unable to successfully argue for their need, even before the most predisposed jury.

          The other approach to right is that they are not granted by anyone, but stem out of the notion of a sovereign individual (if you’re monotheistic, then said sovereignty is limited by the Creator God, and so you’d speak about that Creator as a source of rights, whereas us atheists just consider them inherent; but that is largely irrelevant in the bigger picture). From that perspective, the default mode is that you have a right to do anything you wish, and limitations on that right need to be justified on a “need” basis. In other words, if you want to legally ban people from doing something, you’d better have a very convincing argument as to why that ban is necessary, and why the public good achieved by it would outweigh the infringement of natural liberty inherent in the ban. Neither the gun control advocates nor the drug prohibition advocates have ever managed to convincingly show that (or, indeed, the fact that any public good comes out of it in general).

        • I don’t argue that any particular person recognizes his own personal need where his recognition thereof is subject to validation. I take it that you are an atheist. You don’t recognize any need within yourself for religion. That’s fine. I will not undertake the task of attempting to validate your lack of need for religion.

          Instead, I will argue that there is utility in having a system of beliefs that serve to guide one’s life. You may not recognize that in yourself, nor in others. And, yet, others recognize this utility and express it as a personal need.

          The founding generation faced a problem that traditionally had to be solved by governments: what do do about “establishing” a national religion and regulating religious practices. It recognized that solving this problem in America would be exceedingly difficult because there was nothing approaching a consensus on the topic. Moreover, they were well versed in the difficulties created when governments attempted to establish a religion and regulate the practice of religion. And so, they dealt with this particular problem by declaring: “Congress shall make no law . . . ” Whereupon, there came a governmentally guaranteed freedom of religion.

          Religion is a utilitarian social phenomena that many people recognize as a personal need; but, it’s not universal. It’s also a right guaranteed; yet, no one is obliged to practice it. The entire notion that someone might be expected to argue his personal justification of necessity to practice a religion is simply absurd.

          Likewise, the utility of speech, press, assembly and petition are all utilitarian. Each of us makes a decision to speak, print, assemble or petition from time to time as we sense the urge to do so. Or not, as the case may be from time to time. That I have not yet petitioned my government for a redress of grievance does not preclude me from exercising my right when I might feel motivated to do so.

          We could examine Michael Bloomberg’s personal situation and reach the conclusion that HE in PARTICULAR has no need to keep and bear arms. He has people to do that for him. And, recognizing this to be the case, he may conceded that he has no personal need; he would derive no personal utility from baring arms personally.

          Nevertheless, our society generally recognizes that there is social utility in civilians keeping and bearing arms. Indeed, our traditions argue that even our Mr. Bloomberg could be compelled to bear arms at muster in his younger days. Should he have refused to do so he could be imprisoned for his defiance. Albeit this is merely an aside, speaking only to a point of general social utility in bearing arms but having nothing to do with the right to do so.

          Wherever we have a “right” enshrined in the Constitution I don’t believe there is ever an implication in the slightest of any individual being expected to show a personal need to exercise it. It seems to be held to be self-evident that there is social utility to the right.

          Interestingly, there is a right which – at government discretion – can be stripped from a person without cause. Government can compel a person to testify by promising immunity from prosecution. Such a witness must thereupon be compelled to testify because the possibility of need has been eliminated. He may have had no fear of prosecution in the first place because he was never guilty of a crime. I.e., he had no need in the first place. Nevertheless, he had the right to remain silent until it was taken away from him at government discretion.

          Can government – in an analogous manner – take a particular individual’s right to keep and bear arms? Yes, it can and it does whenever it arrests a particular individual and keeps him in custody. Thereupon, government takes upon itself a “special duty” to protect that particular individual. And, government then becomes liable for any loss occasioned by its negligence to protect that arrested and incarcerated individual. Thereupon, his individual need is removed.

          Will government undertake this special duty to protect everyone whom it chooses to disarm? Not without committing fraud. Government lacks the capacity to meet this obligation; e.g., for virtually the entire populations of NJ and MD, for example.

          I’m beginning to see the circularity of the argument of a constitutionally enumerated right and social utility. Because of the social utility the authors of our constitution enshrined certain practices (speech, religion, keeping and bearing arms) as guaranteed rights. From whence they came doesn’t matter. The act of ratification settled the political question of social utility – at least until the criteria for amending the constitutional guarantees are reached.

          Anyone is free to dispute the social utility of guaranteed rights; but, there is nothing government can do to violate its guarantee short of achieving the ratification of an amendment.

          If, by act of Congress (or act of a State’s legislature such as that of NJ or MD) government fraudulently undertakes to be liable for injuries suffered by all the People it disarms it violates the Constitutional guarantee. And, it is precisely the purpose of a constitutional right to secure the People in the exercise of the protected practice.

          So, here we found ourselves: you; I; and a hypothetical voter we are trying to persuade of the merit of the RKBA. You have concluded that the Constitutional citation is dispositive. I have concluded that the utilitarian argument is more persuasive. Ultimately, I now conclude (through this process) that we really need to convey both the utilitarian argument and the constitutional guarantee.

          The constitutional guarantee by itself, unfortunately, means little to current American sensibilities; it doesn’t stand well-enough on its own. The general social utility of keeping and bearing arms is essential. The Constitutional citation confines the discussion to the narrowest of grounds. The voter who disagrees with the RKBA must undertake an amendment simply because that is the way our system of a written constitutional government works.

        • >> Instead, I will argue that there is utility in having a system of beliefs that serve to guide one’s life.

          I’m in agreement with that. Secular humanism is exactly such a system that is fairly popular among atheists. Such systems of beliefs do not have to be religious in nature, though, and thus are non-exclusionary the way most religions are (i.e. I can acknowledge that other people’s belief systems are equally valid, even when they are incompatible with mine; it’s only when those other people interact with me that there is a conflict of interest, that I will naturally try to resolve in favor of my system).

          As for the rest of it, I think you have again misunderstood the point I was making. It wasn’t about RKBA at all; that was just used as an illustration that has particularly good expressive power hereabouts. It was rather about drug laws, and the general notion that society can ban victimless crimes for the sake of “public morality” or some such. The argument that some prohibitionists here are making is that drugs are “not needed”, and therefore even a mere suspicion of harmful effect on society as a whole is sufficient to ban them on those grounds. That is what I was refuting.

        • Seems as if there are a couple of threads-of-thought in play here:
          1. – defense of the RKBA – an already enumerated right under attack; and
          2. – an assertion of an unenumerated right to engage in certain “victimless crimes” such as drug use.

          The tactics in play are apt to be different because of the enumerated vs. un-enumeraated character of the rights in place.

          On the RKBA, I think I’m coming over toward your viewpoint of continuing to remind the audience of the enumerated right. However, I see it as a problem of circularity. Recognition of social utility of a controversial issue led the founding generation to secure this right constitutionally. The social utility continues to exist; and, in any event, it’s protected constitutionally. Therefore, before government can “infringe” upon this right the opponents must approach a consensus sufficient to alter the enumerated right. Until you can do that you must respect the right if you make any legitimate claim to respect our form of government.

          Where a “right” is NOT enumerated the battle is much more difficult. You make as strong a 10A argument as you can. You make a penumbras and emanations argument if it does you any good. You make a Federalism argument. Or, you make a net utility argument.

          If you don’t happen to be a SCOTUS justice, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader of the Senate or President, none of these arguments has much impact. Somehow, you really have to get a super-majority of voters to overturn the key powerhouses in our system of government.

          Our history illustrates how easily SCOTUS can dictate to over-rule the majority – when IT WANTS to do so. It will also cheerfully stand aside and let the political process go where it may when SCOTUS does NOT want to do the right thing.

          Our federal system is really a very powerful vehicle; if we will simply use it. We see the effect of nullification in pot de-regulation. Just a few States have decided to defy the Federal government and the national majority (if a majority of voters nationwide still support the War on Drugs) and become a law unto themselves. This is ACTUALLY WORKING.

          There is also a sense in which Right-to-Carry might be viewed as a quasi-nullification. There is – relatively speaking – a minority of Federal regulation on guns. Most of the onerous regulation is at the State level. CC, OC, GFZ, and the like really have much more impact on the keeping and bearing of arms than the NFA or GCA. Now we have 40+ States with a Right-to-Carry. A growing list of States that have adopted Constitutional-Carry. Most States have not forbidden OC; and the number of States where OC is actively practiced is growing. If we PotG became really aggressive – say for 5 years – in practicing OC everywhere it is legal then we might normalize guns to the point where Congress, SCOTUS and a President would stop standing in our way.

          The traditions of our federal system leave to the States an enormous amount of “police power” that extends to public “morals”. I do NOT think that it’s feasible to secure a claimed “right” that is NOT enumerated without a dictate by either SCOTUS or Congress. That would be really very tough to achieve for something like drugs – or any other activity widely regarded as a “vice”.

          The best avenue – that I see available – is to begin and pursue a nullification movement whether explicit or implicit. E.g., suppose the right you wanted to advance were prostitution. Well, then, first convince the police in a municipality to de-emphasize enforcement. Then, convince the governor to de-emphasize enforcement by the State police. Get the legislature to relax the laws; eventually repeal the laws. Since and repeat.

          Once you get 38 States – sufficient to amend the Federal constitution – then there would be little appetite left in the 3 branches of the Federal government to continue opposing that particular activity.

        • Most people go through life without ever needing to engage in self-defense. Making the Second Amendment a matter of need plays right into the agenda of the disarmers, because they know that most people will never need a firearm for protection.

          But rights don’t depend on need, they rest on the foundation of self-ownership — and only a determined fool would dispute that we own ourselves.

        • “Most people . . . ” Yes, so? How about the rest of the people? They count NOT AT ALL?

          How do I know if God’s plan for me is to fall into the class of “Most people”? Who knows, He didn’t mention it to me during any of my prayers; however, it might be so that one-day the predator crosses my path. I gain utility – if only a psychological sense of safety – by preparing for a means of self-defense.

          In the oral arguments in Heller one of the justices asked the solicitor general if the People – at the time of the ratification – understood that they had a right to defend themselves from hostile Indians, wolves or bears. (Forgive my vague recollection and paraphrasing). At that point – observers realized – the die was cast on an individual right of self-defense.

          Where does our potential citizen-victom live? Perhaps hear an Indian reservation where a hostile member of the tribe might attack someone outside his community. How about bears? When I lived in a NJ suburb I once saw 4 bears cross the road in a neighboring town. Wherever any of us live we are vulnerable to some risk of predation whether it be high or low.

          How does our society conclude whose risk is high-enough to meet some social utility test of need for self-defense? Your line of reasoning is that a social-utility test admits of a power of government to draw that line separating government officials and their wealthy campaign contributors from the rest of us. OK, so I’ll concede that you are CORRECT! We the People, at the ballot box, COULD decide that only the President, Congressmen and rich white campaign contributors have social utility in protecting from predation.

          Now, how do you get this proposition air-born? You are in a conversation with a typical voter who is trying to make-up her mind about the social utility of self-defense. Ask her what she thinks about this proposition? Do you believe that only the President, Congressmen and really big campaign contributors’ lives are vulnerable enough to predation (assassination) as to justify the risk of their self-defense? I.e., for the purpose of survival, we must organize citizens into two classes: noblemen who enjoy the right of justifiable need to defend themselves; vs. commoners who probably wouldn’t be targeted? (And, even if she were tagged, her life wouldn’t be much of a loss to society anyway.) How does this line of reasoning go over with a typical voter?

          If she believes that each citizen’s life is worth defending against predation then there is some social utility in defending each individual’s life. In our system of equal justice before the law we strive to treat the prince and the pauper equally whether either is the victim or the defendant. A criminal who kills a pauper deserves the same punishment as he would get had he killed a prince. A pauper defendant is entitled to the same jury trial as a prince would receive.

          Can you convince everyone of the merit of this argument? Of course not. Michael Bloomberg is apt to believe that some billionaires are more equal than others. But, such individuals that can afford their own Pretorian guards get just 1 vote. Will Mr. and Mrs. Sixpack agree that only their betters’ lives are worth defending? Or, will they adhere to the egalitarian principles that all men are created equal?

          We get to lead-off with just one key argument; which is more effective?
          – It is written, “the right of the People” . . .
          – Your life, as an average American, is worth defending . . .

          Which has the stronger appeal? What seises the emotions of a 21st century American? The defense of her own life? Or, what some old white slave-owners scratched on a bit of parchment in 1791?

          If you think your audience is – first and foremost – a constitutionalist then by all means, quote the 2A. Conversely, if you think she might be more interested in defending her own life, then talk about personal utility.

        • ““Most people . . . ” Yes, so? How about the rest of the people? They count NOT AT ALL? ”

          According to the gun-banners, you have to prove you’re part of that “rest” — you have to show you have a “need”. That’s why the argument from “need” sucks.

        • I wouldn’t bother trying to persuade a gun-banner about my need. Rather, I’d try to persuade a non-committed voter about her need for self-defense. Or, the need of a sister/fellow individual in sympathetic circumstances.

          Michael Bloomberg is apt to feel that his need is greater that yours or mine; he has more money. He is correct; he does have more money. However, he is unlikely to be able to persuade – e.g., – a mother that she does not have adequate need to protect herself and her children.

          Our audience is filled with suburban dwellers who have not had to confront predators. These people will have a tough time coming to grips with the possibility that they really aren’t as safe as they think they are. That’s OK. Ultimately, the thought process is apt to go like this: ‘I don’t want to carry a 2-lbs. gun everywhere I go. I don’t want to learn to use a gun. If I had to use a gun I wouldn’t want to kill somebody. Therefore, my risk of being assaulted or killed is negligible.’ The reasoning is faulty; but it’s there. Concluding that one’s risk is too low to justify making these efforts is the only way to force-fit the equation to the desired result. We all do it to some extent for if we didn’t do it all our energy would be invested in diverse risk-reducing measures. (E.g., bullet-proof glass in the windows of our houses and cars.)

          The approach to take here is – I think – to depersonalize the threat. Imagine that you – my neighbor – don’t think that you are threatened. Nevertheless, there are many sympathetic cases of people who are less fortunate than you are. Co-eds who have to attend classes at night. Working women who have jobs in dangerous precincts; or whose incomes are so low that they can only afford to live in dangerous neighborhoods. Do you have any empathy for such a person who would carry a gun to protect herself but for the law in her state that only allows men of means and their guards to carry guns?

          The FBI crime statistics speak for themselves. There has to be somebody – or a lot of somebodies – out there who are the victims of the reported murders, rapes and robberies. Did these victims have no need to the means of self-defense? For those who survived, how can we conclude that they won’t ever need to defend themselves from future violent crimes? If they live/work/study in dangerous places – where they were attacked the first time – they must be vulnerable to future attacks. Some of these survivors must have gotten a wake-up call.

          In any case. Let’s suppose for a moment that you are correct. There are far too many voters who won’t concede that there are sympathetic citizens who have a need. Even so, you imagine that these same voters are constitutionalists. By simply pointing out that in 1791 the founding generation recognized a need and guaranteed the right to bear arms – now, that right can’t be taken away.

          You and I are (I presume) convinced by this appeal to constitutionalism. Tragically, the same voters we appeal to are NOT constitutionalists. They are convinced that constitutionally-guaranteed rights mean nothing worth considering.

          I don’t dismiss the utility of the constitutional argument. Rather, I think it’s of secondary rhetorical value. I think we need to first make a case for utility: the demonstrable case that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are a social good. Then explain that because the founding generation recognized this utility – which they characterized as “necessary” – they guaranteed it in the Constitution. As have most of the States in their Constitution as they drafted them and amended them over the last 2 centuries. This utility – or necessity – has always been recognized throughout our history and will remain relevant for the imaginable future.

        • int19h, you nailed it: as a “free man”, that is to say, a sovereign self-owned individual, it is no one’s place but mine to say what I do or do not “need”; further, it is not up to anyone else to say whether or not “need” is a measure of how I should choose what I want.

        • Oh, my….

          “Drugs will not contribute to the notion of tomorrow the way guns will.”

          You’re right — guns won’t contribute to creativity, or easing pain, or helping misery, but drugs do.

          ” I want you (and everyone so inclined) to have a gun, I just want to look you in the eyes (when I see you with your gun) and not have to say oh, crap, is that guy on drugs?”

          And I should give a shit what you “want” because . . . ????

          As the Israelites asked Moses, “Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us?”

        • And I should give a shit what you “want” because . . . ????

          Funny, I can picture a business owner, who is worried about losing a bunch of customers or his insurance company, saying the exact same thing to you.

    • You proved my statement.

      Not everyone can do drugs, and still maintain the society we have, and the amenities it affords.

      Everyone isn’t going to do drugs. That much is obvious. Anti gunners make the same argument “if we let every one have guns…” blah blah blah.

      [TERMS, J.M. Thomas, R., 2012, pg. 119]

      Hows your unpublished manifesto coming along? You should put it on Amazon when you’re done.

    • You proved my statement.

      Not everyone can do drugs, and still maintain the society we have, and the amenities it affords.

      Everyone isn’t going to do drugs. That much is obvious. Anti gunners make the same argument “if we let every one have guns…” blah blah blah.

      [TERMS, J.M. Thomas, R., 2012, pg. 119]

      Hows your unpublished manifesto coming along? You should put it on Amazon when you’re done.

        • Patience. Ya gotta get your book out there before you complain about how long it takes. Also, formatting for Kindle requires an unusual bit of handling for any illustrations, and there had to be illustrations for Grinder to look at, move his lips, and make up captions to, while he sparks one. I already told him I don’t want to catch him reading it.

  45. The most dangerous addiction of all is the addiction of bureaucrats and politicians to power, and to increasing their power.

    The misnamed “War on Drugs” has given us no-knock raids, SWAT teams busting down the wrong doors, thousands of innocent people dead, militarization of police, theft of property, millions of lives ruined, and more — and that’s just what the government has done to us. If ending that “war” would bring a stop to all of that, and change nothing else, ending it would be worth the price.

    It’s just too bad we can’t sue all the bastards and get our trillion dollars back.

  46. Just my personal opinion, as a person who never took any illegal drugs nor have an interest in it, period.

    Legality of drugs should be left up to the states and localities like how it is supposed to be in the 10th amendment.

    The only drugs that should be regulated are the ones shipped in from outside the continental United States. To me, that’s the only Constitutional basis the Federal government has when it comes to drug enforcement. I also bring this up because history has shown how countries have encouraged drug use to push their national interests on other countries (See British Opium Wars in China). Otherwise, if it’s grown or manufactured here in the U.S., then state and local laws apply.

    Finally, the open welfare system has to be closed. Decouple the welfare state from the Federal government and keep the original money at each state and locality. If a state doesn’t want to impose any drug testing for their welfare program, they can fund the entirety of the problem themselves.

    Will all this eliminate or lower violence in America? I don’t know, to be honest. I think the war on drugs has been a costly delay at the very least, costly failure at the very most. But I think the cultural and societal nuances with most illegal drug use are different from just alcohol and smoking, so I don’t think legalizing every single illegal drug will make all the problems or cartels disappear.

    Oh, and I never argue for the legalization of drugs (particular marijuana) with the notion it will bring in additional revenue to the government. That’s like trying to bribe the cops for your personal freedoms. Argue on the merits of personal liberties, don’t resort to political bribery.

  47. Google Portugal drug laws. If I understand it correctly they legalized everything 15 years ago. Think of it this way; illegal drugs cost tax payers for police, courts, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and if convicted prisons and guards. That is 7, SEVEN, levels of expenses. If drugs are legal you have two, distribution and rehabilitation and if you tax it one of those can be eliminated. Drugs are bad and a waste of life but prohibition does not work, we tried it with alcohol and all that did was make some people rich. Drunk drivers kill how many people? Texting and driving kill how many people? I think it would be better if the druggies were given their drug and watched for anti-social behavior instead of paying 7 levels of money.He is still a politician and loyal to the party. Here is a good question for sincerity, when will double standards end and the DC politicians are put on Obamacare and SS
    Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word. mrpresident2016.com

    • “Texting and driving kill how many people”

      600 years ago you couldn’t find two kids in the same village who could navigate a donkey cart down the middle of the goat trail if the donkey wasn’t fully in control. Now kids operate in traffic (kinda like cops do) while also operating other devices. It is where technology is taking us, and likely will be necessary skill(s) if ever we are to leave this planet.

    • There are very deep moral questions that have to be addressed by a society that will not take a moral stand on issues that ripple through generations . I am not one who would argue the point that a person should be imprisoned and stripped of inalienable rights because they choose to placate their consciousness and alter their state of mind to a point of harming , numbing or amusing themselves . I understand all the arguments about how the collective society has to pay for part of the cost of other peoples behavior , it is the inevitable cost of freedom . I believe a person should have every right to consume what ever they choose to , whether it be a bushel of poison ivy or a pound of skunk , we will still need rules and regulations and laws to try and curtail the potential harm inflicted onto innocents and maintain a resemblance of order .

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