Thursday, December 5, 2013

You cannot legislate morality

I've heard the phrase "you cannot legislate morality" applied to lots of different issues.  Yesterday was the first time I had heard it applied to the drug war.

Last night whilst procrastinating hard core, I fell down the Pinterest hole, and I saw this video that was being hailed as a mind-blowingly interesting interview with a retired police officer who is in favor of legalizing all street drugs.  I have my personal views on legalizing marijuana, but I'd never considered legalizing all drugs.  It just seemed so... crazy!  So, even though I hate watching videos and would MUCH rather read a transcript of the interview, I hit play.

I.
Was.
Dumfounded.

This man, who had 20 years under his belt as a cop, 20 years fighting this so-called "drug war", 20 years seeing some of the worst effects drugs could have on society, had amazingly rational answers to fixing america's drug problem.

One of the highlights, one of the first (of many!) times my mouth hung agape, while I thought to myself "Holy cow, I never thought of THAT!", was when he said (paraphrased) the police and federal law enforcement were created, and are still here, to protect people from other people.  Not protect people from themselves.  Drugs are a moral issue, a healthcare issue, not an issue of safety.

Another jaw dropping moment was when he said (paraphrased): think of alcohol and tobacco: when their use starts to endanger other people, the law gets involved.  Smoking is only legal in certain places.  Public intoxication and driving under the influence is still illegal.  This is law enforcement's job.  It is NOT law enforcement's job to tell you smoking is bad for you.  Or drinking too much will harm your liver.  Or keep you from doing any other things that may hurt you.

He continued: We tried prohibition of alcohol, and during that time, violent crime rose steadily.  As soon as prohibition ended, violent crime returned to the levels it was before prohibition.  This is not a coincidence!

We have spent BILLIONS on the "drug war", and it has been all but lost.  In fact MORE deaths have been caused by the illegal drug trade than saved by making it illegal.  Significantly more!  If we legalize it we can regulate it, we can tax it, we can make it safer, and we can kill the underground, dirty, violent illegal drug trade.  There will still be people who choose to make their own, but you know what?  People can choose to make their own alcohol right now, and do they?  Not many people do, and those that do don't illegally sell it because nobody is going to buy underground, unregulated alcohol when they can get safe, perfectly legal alcohol at the store.  People rarely grow their own tobacco even though it's totally legal.  People just aren't going to make the same effort to be illegal and dangerous when there's a perfectly safe and legal alternative!

I actually had a friend say this next line to me the other day, a line the cop also addressed.  My friend was hesitant to move to a place that had recently legalized recreational use of marijuana because she was afraid there would be people using it everywhere, including driving, and make the city a dangerous place to live.  The cop was asked "if it's legal, then isn't everyone going to be using it?  Wouldn't we increase drug use and the subsequent effects of drug use, like violence and death?"  His answer was "do you know a single person whose only reason for not doing cocaine is because they can't find it?"  You can find drugs everywhere right now, and legalization isn't going to change that, it's going to regulate it and make it safer.  Alcohol is legal, but most people don't drive under the influence, and public intoxication is illegal.  Some still do it, and they're arrested and punished.  Drugs would be the same way.  Alcohol has the same "blackout" effect drugs do.  You aren't more likely to make bad or violent decisions on drugs than you are with alcohol.  In fact there are plenty of drugs that mellow you out and make you significantly less likely to do these harmful things than you would be on alcohol.  So, logically speaking, if you aren't worried about the effect alcohol has on your town, you shouldn't be worried about the effect drugs would have.

There are so many amazing, jaw dropping answers this man has, I encourage you to watch the interview


or you can open it a separate window by clicking here.  It's from a reputable site (upworthy.com) and it's about 15 mins long, and everything is SFW, just for your information.

It isn't political or "right wing" or "left wing" or whatever you call it, it's purely logical and thought provoking.  If nothing else it presents you with points you probably haven't ever considered!  I know it did for me!

Enjoy!

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