Ben Jackson (courtesy wbur.org)

American gun control laws were created to prevent people of color from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. So it takes a special kind of idiot to suggest that racism is responsible for the lack of gun control laws. Natick, Massachusetts essayist Ben Jackson is the latest intellectually challenged Bay State liberal bent on using white guilt to sell civilian disarmament, asking Opioids And Guns: Does The Race Of Their Victims Drive How We Combat Them? Here’s how that one plays out . . .

Two epidemics. Thousands of deaths. So why aren’t our leaders attacking these crises with equal urgency, funding and legislation? Consider this data point: Guns claim a disproportionately high number of black lives, and opioids claim a disproportionately high number of white lives. While it is too simple to cite racism as the root of the disparity in treatment of these two scourges, are we wrong to ask whether, if the most affected populations were reversed, one or the other crisis would be getting different attention?

In 2013, for example, there were 17.8 gun deaths per 100,000 blacks versus 9.0 per 100,000 whites. In that same year, 17.6 white opioid users per 100,000 lost their lives, while 9.7 per 100,000 blacks did. Those stats are near perfect reverse images of each other.

So why are opioids, which arguably could be called a white problem based on the numbers, identified as a “disease” and an “epidemic” that merits social support and health care, while guns, which claim more black lives, are met with law enforcement and incarceration?

Clearly, Mr. Jackson believes “gun violence” in the black community is a sign of white privilege run amok. At best, he reckons the lack of “adequate” gun control — and/or overly harsh incarceration for firearms-related crime — indicates indifference to black suffering.

As stated above, he’s not entirely wrong. But suggesting that the “white establishment” has an obligation to create more and stricter gun control to stop firearms-related homicide in the black community is to suggest that racist policies cure crime. Which is exactly how we got here in the first place.

50 Responses to Opioids and Guns: Racism Revealed?

  1. The reality is this nation’s drug and gun policies (control) have a lot to do with creating a illegal black market for both.

    • Hardly. The only thing that creates a black market is demand. Neither the DEA nor the ATF force people to break the law. The only difference is that the right to keep and bear arms is reaffirmed in the Constitution. Drugs? Not so much.

      • Point to where the Constitution allows the Federal government to control what people choose to put into their bodies, please. The first prohibition took an amendment to accomplish, and an amendment to undo. Where are the amendments for the other substances?

        • Point to where it doesn’t allow the Federal government to render certain substances illegal. Fact of the matter still remains. Drugs being illegal does not force people to sell, possess, or consume them anymore than murder being illegal forces people to commit murder.

          Comparing weed, cocaine, etc to alcohol is laughable at best. Consumption of alcohol has cultural significance dating back millenia among nearly every (if not every) ethnic group that resides in the US. The same can’t be said of the other substances.

          If you really want to get technical, the Commerce Clause would be what you’re looking for in the case of both prohibition of drugs and alcohol.

        • Yawnz, marijuana has been used for just as long as alcohol if not longer. The fact it’s going in someones body is what means the government shouldn’t regulate it. If it doesn’t effect another person, DIRECTLY, then I can do what I want. That’s the whole idea of Freedom no?

        • I think the point is that there is no specifically-enumerated provision which prohibits the State from regulating your drugs. Which points out the problem that some of the Framers actually had with the BOR–to them, it tended to imply that “if it isn’t prohibited for the government to do, it is authorized for the government to do” when in fact it was suppose to be, “if it isn’t authorized for the government to do, it is prohibited for the government to do”. And they seem to have had a point.

        • Hammers, reread what I typed. Recreational marijuana use has no long-standing cultural significance to 90%+ of the people inhabiting the US.

          Howdy, grats on missing the point and not understanding the difference between “enumerated” and “implied” powers.

        • Point to where it doesn’t allow the Federal government to render certain substances illegal.

          Every single line.
          The Constitution enumerates a finite set of specific powers the federal government has. Not one of them says anything about restricting the consumption of drugs, so the federal government does not have that power. The tenth amendment reserves that right to the states and people. So state level restrictions on drugs are constitutional.
          The feds claim they have the power under the commerce clause to restrict the manufacture and sale of narcotics. However the original intent of the commerce clause was to eliminate state barriers to interstate trade, not to enable federal barriers to interstate trade. It takes a Filburn level distortion of the Constitution to believe that the commerce clause would apply to consuming drugs.

        • JasonM

          Have you even read the Commerce Clause?

          [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

          It explicitly grants Congress the authority to regulate trade among states, unlike the “well-regulated militia” phrase in 2A, which makes no mention of any part of the Federal government as to who should regulate the militia.

          Even then, drug laws still do not cause people to possess, sell, or consume substances that they know are illegal and have been illegal for most if not all of their lives. Do I think that someone should spend several years in jail for having a couple seeds of weed? No, but they get no sympathy for me for being victims of their own stupidity.

        • “Point to where it doesn’t allow the Federal government to render certain substances illegal.”

          Ahem.

          Amendment IX
          The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

          Amendment X
          The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

          “Have you even read the Commerce Clause?”

          The Commerce Clause does not empower the federal government to regulate the intrastate possession and transfer of goods.

        • “Ahem” to you twency.

          Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 AKA The Commerce Clause:

          [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

        • Yawnz,

          For one, “regulate” refers (or more correctly referred, pre newspeak) to making regular. Not ban. As in: States cannot demand drivers drive on the left side of the road on interstates in “their” state.

          And even in your either childish or just purposefully obstinate “interpretation” of the commerce clause, me making and selling speed to my neighbor is in no way affected by it. Assuming none of us are conducting business on behalf of an Indian tribe.

        • “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”

          if you know your history, then you know that the primary intent of this clause was to prevent the states from introducing tariffs, or otherwise restrict trade, with other states within the country – which is something that had actually happened before, and was deemed as not a good power for the states to have. So the power to regulate was granted to the Congress, but the intent was that Congress could forcibly maintain a free trade regime.

          But even if we ignore it and just stick to the literal reading of this passage, none of it gives Congress the authority to regulate a substance per se. It gives it authority to regulate interstate commerce in said substance only. Which means that manufacturing drugs for personal consumption, or for sale within the borders of the state, cannot be so regulated. Yet that is exactly what the drug laws do.

          And yes, I’m well aware of the Wickard v. Filburn decision that says that Commerce clause does actually grant the federal government such powers. The problem with that decision is that it has to engage in very disturbing mental gymnastics and sophistry to get from the literal text to the interpretation; to the point where it basically renders the original text completely meaningless. Under that interpretation, literally everything is interstate commerce, and hence Congress can regulate anything. I could even imagine it being used to justify, say, federal regulations on abortion and marriage, because both affect the market (changing the number of consumers and/or affecting their needs). Anyone who has any respect for the Constitution at all has to reject Wickard – it’s a travesty from any perspective other than “ends justify the means”.

          As to your original assertion – yes, it is demand that creates the market. However, that demand is rather natural for certain things, including drugs. However, the resulting market is not inherently illegal, and there is a slew of problems that are unique and appear only if and when the state attempts to make it illegal. Simply put, it’s really dumb idea to ban something that so many people want to engage in, and which doesn’t cause any immediate harm to anyone other than themselves (if that).

      • Where as the “gun lobby” seeks to protect liberty, the “drug lobby” seeks to restrict it. Where do you think these opiates are being produced anyway?

        • Yet firearms are explicitly enumerated in the Constitution as being protected under the Constitution. The same can’t be said of drugs.

          Still don’t see either the “drug lobby” or the DEA forcing people to break the law.

      • We shouldnt need laws or amendments to protect the individual right to consume unadulterated plants. I cant even grow a non-intoxicating hemp plant, (which produces hemp seeds, arguably one of natures most perfect foods, not to mention all the other fibers and products) without concern that i’ll be charged with a felony, because Hurst and Anslinger needed to protect their investments close to a century ago. What about if i want to grow some poppies? Theres a thin line between medicine and drugs, especially in a shtf scenario, why should young men sign on to “save the world” only to find out they are guarding poppy fields for drug cartels and I cant getine without asking a doctor and paying insurance and all that. Dude, if i break a limb, i dont want to wait till i get to the e.r. and anotjer however many hours that will take, i want to go to my stash and smoke up some shit for immediate pain relief witbout becoming a felon in the process. How about chewing raw coco leaves? Guess what, compared to a coffe its healthier and lrovides a way smoother boost and helps at altitude and has little to no addictive potential. Guess what happens if I try to grow some coco leaves? No the answer is not that I get asked to work for Pepsi. Its not what you put in your body or on your hip, its how you handle your shit, period.

        • I think everyone is missing the point. Regulation is always to someone else’s benefit. Drug manufacturers insurance companies doctors or in the case of guns the police and politicians who get to decide who gets to own a gun and where they take it. Drugs aren’t illegal if you can pay a doctor and the prescription costs, it just might be something different from what you may prefer or what you could get on the street. Same with guns in NJ if you have the money or have a great lawyer.

          I’d have to say the internet has been the greatest defense for trying to turn America back from ‘home of rich, land of the politically connected’

        • Or you can take 1200 mg of Tylenol and avoid the jail altogether. It’s like you’re ignoring the fact that other options exist.

          Like I said, the law doesn’t cause people to be put in jail, it’s the actions of said people that do.

          You’re free to consume what you want or carry what you want, the law can’t stop you from doing so, but you have no right to complain about being punished for doing something you know is illegal. We shouldn’t have enumerated amendments for free speech, KBA, etc. either, yet sure as shit we do. I don’t agree that I can’t openly carry my gun through the TSA checkpoints, but I don’t because it’s illegal to do so and I’m not interested in getting a bullet in my ass and/or spending time in prison.

        • Steve in TX

          Private possession of arms is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as being protected under the Constitution. The same can’t be said of drugs. It’s like I’m a broken record or something.

        • Yawnz
          First I am in no way trying to promote drug use or say that it is proper in the majority of the ways it is used today including when perscribed by a doctor. But I’m sure everyone else above feels like a broken record explaining that the constitution does not say what the feds can’t do. Instead it says what there powers are. The commerce clause while treated as it is a pass for congress to do whatever they want, it really isn’t. Surely, after all the British parliament did to the colonies the founders would not grant such a super unrestricted power to congress.

          That said i was attacking regulation in general which is to always regulate someone’s actions to benefit someone else. Take regulations against theft. It protects property owners from non-property owners no matter the disparity. Although this is necessary in a city where people are to live amongst each other a prohibition against self defence and its effective implementation is not necessary unless your goal is to make second class citizens of the poor and unconnected.

      • It can be argued that the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness stated in the DoI include drugs. It will be a long time before people are willing to consider the idea that drug-use may be in some part related to, or even the sum total, of the pursuit of happiness (and the liberty to do so), so I will set that notion aside. People would call it sick and insane now. One day, it will be radical. One day, it will be within reach.

        All that being said, the statistics this person quotes about opioid-caused or opioid-related deaths in this country are incorrect. They do not differentiate between deaths caused by prescription opioids and streets drugs. They don’t differentiate between illegally-obtained prescription opioids and those prescribed for the person who took them and died. And they include any death in which opioids were found in the bloodstream, even if they were not the conclusive cause of death; so if someone was in Hospice and had their pain managed until they died, they still go into that scary number.

        The DEA does not like the fact that there are legitimate uses for opioids. Consequently, over the last 15 years I’ve seen so much happen that truly scares me. Studies which were showing promise, which could potentially create new pain medications that were more effective and presented less danger for abuse, they were cut left and right. The CDC and other government-run or funded medical organizations have slowly altered their recommended protocols for pain management, both acute and longterm, until now many of them say opioids are not an effective means of treatment, though they offer no alternatives. Doctors I have known have been investigated, and even falsely accused of writing pain prescriptions for people who didn’t need them (he was a palliative care specialst and faced prison-time for merely trying to ease the suffering of the dying.)

        I myself have to deal with constant pain following cancer-treatment malpractice. It took three years of going to one specialist after the next looking for a cure before one finally had the stones to say he would help manage the pain. If he hadn’t, I’d have lost everything by now, including my life. I have my life back, my career, am building a family, and have achieved more than I thought possible. And I maintain that the means by which I became able to pursue these things, and find happiness, are an inalienable right.

        Nevertheless I still live in constant fear that it will be taken away, because not only does the vast majority of our population sees the word “drugs” and immediately thinks “Bad!” but because there are people who know this and see the chance to stay in office for another term by appearing “tough on crime.” And people have suffered and died so others can get into office for centuries.

      • The problem is with regulation. Opiods are drugs made from the poppy or drugs made to mimic those with a nayural base. the chemically made drugs seem to be harder on the body, the clean out is longer with oxycodone than with codine. The oxys were over prescribed, but worked well for those in chronic pain. Now that Obamacare is here, we have politicans in control of doctors. They set policy for which drugs get prescribed, just as 30 years ago, csrtain drugs hit the street from Medi-Cal groups of doctors that were asked to give one drug or another to the welfare moms and their problem children. As these drugs got popular on the street, they changed to different ones – what a great way to check hows drugs in a population react.

        Obamacare has put the screws to doctors that prescribe opiods. It has gotten pills off the street, but street herion(which isn’t really herion, per se, it is whatever the main supplier puts together). In the Southwest, it is usually raw opium(tar herion) Back east, the big suppliers use what they can put together, the addition of fentanol and other short lasting surgery drugs help it to give a kick, but it is short term, so the user is looking sooner to get “straight”. If they use too much, bye-bye.
        Setting daily limits on chronic pain patients isn’t the answer. While 80 lb grandma gets relief at a certain daily intake, a 250lb+ construction worker that ends up unable to work because of back problems or (you pick), can be in a lot of pain for life. Cutting his daily use to what the 80lb grandma uses is not good enough. He either has to go looking for more or have much more pain. People on pain maintence drugs do not “get high” from them, they get relief. People in chronic pain who get no relief have major depression problems and are much more likely to take thier own lives.
        Politicans have no reason to tell doctors what to do. Even political groups like the CDC have other motives than Joe Patient’s pain relief.
        Regulation is everywhere and is getting stronger. We have a renewed “war on drugs” now, when we should be closing and controlling our borders and checking imported goods.
        While the TSA was created to check those who are flying and stop terrorists, they are looking for people who are carrying drugs(even their own) both from other countries, but also within our borders and inside a state.
        This is resembling the movies of Europe during WWII and the cold war. “Your papers, please” is a phrase I thought I would never hear in the US.

        The feds are tightening down and taking our freedoms. The electorate has always backed the big business and made laws that made things much harder for anyone who wanted to compete and handed out licenses and permits to those that “helped” them get elected, but now, many of those corporations that put people in power are now running things in a much stronger way. They want the feds to clamp down, make laws that can get anyone convicted with the “right” judges, so they keep the citizenery down for thier profit.

  2. Mr. Jackson may be pleased to learn that unelected bureaucracies are issuing unconstitutional degrees, drug re-schedules, and “interpretations” regarding both of these issues with equal fervor.

    He should not be disappointed with the way both agencies are swiftly using any public problem to separate people from their money and freedom.

  3. “17.8 gun deaths per 100,000 blacks”

    And exactly how many of those 17.8 involve legally owned guns that this new, magic, common-sense gun legislation will then simply disappear?

    Thinking people would like to understand this.

    Oh, and there’s that whole, ‘shall not be infringed’ part also, but let’s leave that as a secondary discussion point.

    Answer the first question.

  4. “So why are opioids, which arguably could be called a white problem based on the numbers, identified as a “disease” and an “epidemic” that merits social support and health care, while guns, which claim more black lives, are met with law enforcement and incarceration?”

    Because addiction is a disease that can be helped with healthcare treatment, and being a thug cannot? What is that statistic again, in 98% of gun deaths of black men, the victim had a prior criminal record.

  5. They are really swiping that race card a lot lately vis-à-vis guns. I expect the same answer will come back: that card has long since been maxed out.

  6. The majority of white deaths by gun are suicides. The overwhelming number of black deaths by gun are criminal homicides by other blacks. So I guess blacks are self hating racists.

  7. Interesting. Lets compare the 2. When gun violence occurs, people blame the guns. When drug overdoses occur who is to blame. My brother died of a herion overdose march 16th, 2005. I never, not once blamed the dealer who sold him the herion, the herion itself, etc. I blamed my brother. He was responsible for his death. Now, look at guns same way. People must b held accountable for their actions. U kill someone with a gun, its u, not the piece of metal in your hand.

  8. If we outlawed black people then our gun violence, as a country, would go down. After all, you have an enumerated constitutional right to a gun, but no such right exists to be black.

    • Black people do indeed have a right to be three fifths of a white person.
      The Three-Fifths Compromise, is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution, which reads:
      Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

  9. “So why are opioids, which arguably could be called a white problem based on the numbers, identified as a “disease” and an “epidemic” that merits social support and health care, while guns, which claim more black lives, are met with law enforcement and incarceration?”

    This is completely backwards. Much opioid use and possession is already illegal. Yet politicians go on and on and on about firearms ownership and use, as though a) it is a crisis and b) no drug epidemic existed. Here is a short piece comparing the death tolls. The question is not whether drug use should be legalized. The question is what is an actual epidemic.

    http://www.realclearpolicy.com/blog/2015/12/21/guns_vs_cars_and_drugs_1500.html

  10. I’m troubled by this. I agree that both present problems, but I see a gradual shift towards liberalization of drug laws and a tightening on firearms.

    What seems to be happening is that we are taking steps to resolve the killer of whites by reducing the criminality and violence that surrounds them. With firearms, we are imposing the failed drug control laws, likely exacerbating the harm that is plaguing black families.

    Maybe we owe it blacks, browns, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and anybody else who has fallen victim to the “colored” categorization to show them the same respect we are beginning to show whites in reducing the financial incentives surround their killer.

    • Decriminalizing drugs will do nothing to stem overdoses. People will always strive for more—a better trip, a stronger buzz, or an amazing high. You already have cartels shifting their production to crystal methamphetamine and China is providing plenty of poisonous fentanyl to suit our “desires.” Opiate production from Afghanistan has significantly increased (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-spoils-of-war-afghanistan-s-multibillion-dollar-heroin-trade/91) despite US efforts to counter the Taliban’s cash crop. People will continue to become addicted and addicts will continue to overdo it.

      • Think of it as evolution in action. Elimination of the unfit.
        Hey, I had a former friend kill himself off by continuously drinking too much mouthwash.

  11. I think the real racism can be found in that nitwits like this guy still divide things into “white” problems and “black” problems.

  12. Let’s look at “real” numbers. Taking his numbers and multiplying out by actual population numbers we see that gun caused over 30k deaths for blacks & white while opioids caused almost 48k deaths for black and whites. So why are opioids bigger news that guns? Shear numbers. This guy should have taken a math class instead of a sociology class.

    • Incompetent healthcare professionals cause 250,000 unnecessary deaths every year. That should be addressed before we spend too much time worrying about guns and drugs.

  13. I live in Western Massachusetts which is mainly rural areas where guns and Liberals actually live in the same towns. Most of the idiots we read about spurting anti-gun sentiment from the bay state is from the Eastern/Boston half. I swear when I travel the 1-1/2 hours to Boston for a Sox game I am always amazed at the difference between the ends of the state when it comes to politics and world views. Eastern MA is a hub of libtard fantasy and us Western MA folk are embarrassed. We apologize for our retarded Eastern brethren.

  14. So why are opioids, which arguably could be called a white problem based on the numbers, identified as a “disease” and an “epidemic” that merits social support and health care, while guns, which claim more black lives, are met with law enforcement and incarceration?
    Sooo… if I violate gun laws and kill people, I should be sent to a group therapy meeting and not to prison?

    • “Hi, I’m Tom, and I’m a gun murderer.”

      *multiple voices*

      “Hi Tom.”

      Not calling you a gun murderer of course, just having a laugh at that idea.

  15. A far more interesting comparison is opioid abuse epidemic today, vs crack epidemic 20 years ago. The latter, as we all know, led to a number of draconian crime bills, on the assumption that the main problem are the criminals that crack “generates”. With opioids, now, it’s all about prevention, and anyone suggesting that we should just imprison all the users, and punish repeat offenses especially harshly, would be considered insane.

    One can be an optimist and say that the difference is due to the sour experience with the “war on drugs” in general, but there’s a legitimate question here as to whether the affected demographics do also play a part in the different approach.

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