War… What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing! (written March 25th, 2004)
The war on drugs seems to be much more of a distraction than a deterrent, in the sense that it’s a lot easier to focus on drug dealers and drug users, when there are other, more crucial issues to handle in our country. Furthermore, the war on drugs is quite hypocritical because many of those who have waged it are former drug users, and possibly still using.
If a “war” is declared on something, then it is the ultimate evil in a society. The notion of drugs being so is confusing because the line is not completely drawn so that we can understand just how bad they really are. After all, cigarettes and alcohol are considered drugs, but the government has made exceptions for them. But marijuana is illegal, and among the greatest “enemies” in our drug war, despite the fact that it is legal or not considered an issue in more tolerant countries, like our neighbors in Canada, who are by far a much less violent society in general.
So where exactly is the line drawn? Is it that the government wants to be able to profit from the drugs that are sold in this country, or that it targets certain substances that people commonly use in order to always have someone to stigmatize? And why is a drug-free society an idealized utopia? Will all our problems disintegrate when we get rid of the drugs?
The drug war, in essence, creates more conflict than good. Because of the three strikes rule, someone caught with cocaine may stay in jail their entire lives while child molesters, rapists, and murderers luck out with lighter sentences. If we’re talking about crime prevention, the only real crime drug dealers are committing is the providing of a service that generally consenting individuals are seeking.
Now this doesn’t make it a “right” or moral thing to sell drugs, but there would be a lot fewer drug dealers if the government took the time and effort to regulate the drugs that are now illegal, thus freeing up the jail cells for people that are potentially threatening our lives, the difference being that people who buy drugs have control of their actions, whereas someone being raped or murdered does not.
Worst of all, in my opinion, is that children in public schools are being brainwashed to think all people who use drugs are evil, horrible criminals who destroy their own lives and the lives of others. But what about those of us who just use on occasion, at a party after a long week of work? And what about those of us who have different perceptions about drugs, I mean there are millions of us out there. . . do we deserve to be treated so harshly?
Or what about all the wonderful music, art, writing, talent, and culture that has emerged from the world that drugs create for some people? Why hasn’t the war on drugs banned the records, books, and portraits created in altered states? It seems to be a very exclusive war, where paraphernalia can be legally bought, creating tax revenue, and income for the factories and businessmen, but cannot be used for its rightful purpose by the consumer because drugs are, in fact, illegal.
In the end, it seems that the war on drugs gives us just one more reason to be afraid of everything. And if you ask me, someone smoking a doobie or even shooting heroin is really not much to be afraid of in comparison to the infinite number of violent criminals who are freed because of the drug laws. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of an intoxicated society, and some drugs are definitely lethal, and do in fact hurt people and ruin lives.
But if waging a war on drugs means taking away our human rights, then it’s absolutely undemocratic! One person does not have the right to tell another what to put into their body, let alone wage a war against it.