By Mark David Blum, Esq.
I guess congratulations to our local police agencies are in order. Twelve more bad guys were arrested this week. Four ounces of marijuana has been taken off the street. The cost of incarceration, prosecution, defense, and maintenance of these 12 ‘evil drug dealers’ are now upon the backs of all us taxpayers. Qui bono? Newspapers show that credit is given to the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, involving undercover officers from state and Syracuse police. That’s their job; at least its their job security.
Over the years, I have written extensively on the subject of the mismatch of using the criminal justice system as a solution to the nation’s drug problem. It a dance now thirty five years old and the river of blood and bodies grows along with the problem.
Here it is: Arresting a Drug Dealer does NOT stop demand or supply of drugs. All it does is create a job opening. This is your nation’s policy on drugs.
Prohibition does not work. Every time you arrest a ‘drug dealer’, though you shut down a drug network, you also create job openings for a new one. Since the employment scene in the drug market is not one regulated by government but instead run by organized crime, whenever police go out and sweep clean a street, there is always a subsequent and lasting rush of violence and death to fill the vacuum.
Vendettas last forever. The innocent are dying in the crossfire.
I ask you: When is the cycle of violence and addiction to the drug war going to stop? How many more dead and wounded children will it take before people sit down and finally put and end to this game. The only ones profiting are the criminals and the cops and the prison industry.
There is an epidemic of burgeoning violence which is the real cancer killing our society. Like hopeless addicts; folks keep engaging in the same behavior, despite knowing how bad and ineffective it is, and how doing so is going to kill … and despite that, nobody seems to care and we want it all the more.
By making these mass arrests, dealers may have been taken out of the loop and a network broke apart.
The problems is that now, someone new will step in and fill the void. But, should two people want the same job; instead of interviews, we get gunfire. It is that simple. Do you get it now? Once shots are fired, they fire in two directions and then on more occasions and then it becomes intergenerational. The cycle only worsens until election time when our elected ones want their jobs back. Then Operation Impact comes in and arrests an entire neighborhood and the cycle starts all over again.
Simply put, how it is that despite everything, there is nobody out there today who if they want any particular drug, not only can get it easily, but probably has some already. If we cannot keep drugs and cell phones out of our supermax prisons, how are we ever going to keep them out of a free society? An aggressive policy of arresting entire generations from a particular neighborhood does not reduce in any way, anybody’s ability to get any drug they want. Arresting 29 marijuana dealers causes not a dent in the local demand or supply.
Please do not misunderstand me. I do not bear any police officer any ill will for enforcing the law. The mistakes and failures of this policy of prohibition are not as a result of actions by police. Rather, the mistake is government using the criminal justice system to engage in what is clearly a health and education issue.
I wholly support good policing. I just wish my tax dollars were being used to fight crime … not create it.
Twelve more down. Thirty million more to go.