Exactly when was I drafted into the War on Drugs?

I was out of the country when this editorial“Drug users share the blame in officer’s death” – ran in the Dallas Morning News, so forgive me for being late. When I read it I thought it had to be a hoax or something. Turns out it’s not. It manages to be at once infuriating and naive.

Go back and read it, and then I’ll go through it point by point. Ready?

This is for anyone who even occasionally uses drugs and for the people in their lives who – even if they disapprove – ultimately do nothing to stop the drug use: You have blood on your hands.

This is a melodramatic appeal to emotion designed to circumvent rational thought. It’s employed by groups like MADD. This opening statement is no different than saying that anyone who occasionally drinks a glass of wine or even goes to a restaurant that serves beer has blood on their hands when a drunk driver kills someone. It’s nonsense.

At 6:14 p.m. Tuesday, three of Dallas’ finest stood on one side of an apartment door. On the other side were men in possession of a large stash of marijuana and cocaine. The officers were there to serve an unrelated felony warrant, but they had come across a drug house.

Four shots were fired through the door at the police, and one struck Cpl. Norman Smith in the head, killing him.

Smith had been on the job for more than 12 hours Tuesday, protecting and serving the people of Dallas. He had been doing just that for 18 years. The thug who started shooting apparently was trying to protect an illegal drug business. In short, he was protecting your ability to buy marijuana and cocaine.

What’s not said was that officers told the occupants they were someone else, and then busted down the door in a dynamic entry. The occupants claim they thought it was a home invasion and fired in self defense. One occupant even called 911. All of these facts were known when this editorial was written.

Police say dynamic entries are used to disorient people in a house. And police readily admit they lied to the occupants. I’m also wondering about the logic of these kind of dynamic entries. If a person is so dangerous it requires a military assault to take them down, why attack that person when and where he is most defensible, and then disorient him so that even if he’s not the kind to shoot at police, he is given a reason to?

Your life and the gunman’s are intertwined. There’s an easy-to-trace line between a casual drug habit and the high-stakes drug wars fought in the streets in neighborhoods you would never dare visit

You, the student at a private university who smokes with your pals at weekend parties. You, the Allen real estate agent who does a line of cocaine to give yourself a boost before meeting a new client. You, the Irving mother who hopes your daughter’s occasional pot use and creepy new friends is just a passing phase.

The drugs in your lives passed through an apartment just like this one. They were bought and sold by men who would kill police officers to protect the flow of drugs from far-off places to your hands.

Um, no. The violence associated with the drug war is because there is a war on drugs being waged by the government. Government criminalizes drugs creating a profitable demand, which in turn brings in the criminal element willing to face the legal risks to meet that demand and earn those profits.

Notice how few criminals are involved in distributing liquor? How little violence is associated with the liquor trade in general? Why? Liquor is legal. And we deal with people who abuse it accordingly, while leaving alone the rest of people who can handle it responsibly.

This newspaper stands with the Smith family, the Dallas Police Department and many others as they mourn the loss of a disciplined, decent and dedicated man.

I think we all agree here. The death was senseless, tragic, and it didn’t have to happen.

At 6:17 p.m. Tuesday, a call went out that an officer was down and that two suspects were still on the other side of the door. Which side are you on?

Neither. Call me a conscientious objector in the War on Drugs. If people want to smoke pot or put other toxins in their body to alter their consciousness, they are only hurting themselves. Just like with beer, wine, or tobacco. The violence arises from the criminalization of certain drugs, which creates enormous profits for those willing to risk arrest and imprisonment.

If marijuana were legal and sold at the neighborhood CVS, do you really think there would be violence associated with the pot trade?

The editorial states in no uncertain terms that, “…anyone who even occasionally uses drugs and … the people in their lives who – even if they disapprove – ultimately do nothing to stop the drug use: You have blood on your hands.”

But it’s wrong.

Those who support the War on Drugs are the ones who perpetuate the violence associated with the drug trade.

And the only person with blood on his hands — regardless of whether he was acting in self-defense or in murderous defense of his drug business — is the man who pulled the trigger.

Comments

  1. amanda says:

    While the death of the officer is tragic, the facts, as you rightly point out, leave much room for the DPD to take a second look at policy…

    Personal responsibility. When everyone takes responsibilty for themselves, their actions, and choices…much is gained.

  2. Kate says:

    Trey, I couldn’t agree more with your comments, and I just wish more people saw the “war on drugs” for what it is – a farce created to marginalize minorities that has outlived its usefulness.

  3. Steve says:

    Fantastic analysis, man. You hit the nail right on the head.

  4. matt says:

    couldn’t agree more…what an effing waste of not only money but the lives of those who have fooled themselves into thinking that 1. they can make a difference and 2. it’s a difference worth making.

    I applaud the bravery of our officers but surely there are better things to devote oneself to than the “war” on drugs.

  5. StopTheAbuseOfIntellect says:

    Your point by point analysis is as fallacious as the melodramatics you are criticizing. Is most “drug-related violence” between law enforcement and drug pushers? (What about the increasingly perilous US-Mexico border towns and the drug “executions” that occur there?) What this editorial does extremely well is to paint a picture, an image–let’s look at it as a literary device–of privileged Dallas residents who have no clue, and no care, about the supply chain of their illegal substances. And yes, that drug supply chain is part of what makes much of Dallas unsafe and unsightly.

  6. Liz says:

    I love that you seriously broke this down; spoon-fed clarity. It annoys me to no end when people try to evoke, incite and link un-related complicated issues. I am a conscientious objector regarding war as well, I’ll add the one on drugs to the list.

  7. Lemmy says:

    Hate to break it to you, but the problem is drugs, not the criminalization of drugs. The more available they’re made, the more problems you’ll have. Even the mythical Amsterdam is learning that lesson.

  8. I made a shady backroom deal in the express lane of a Dallas Kroger last weekend to secure some New Belgium beer, beer which is effectively illegal in my home state.

    Complicity never tasted so sweet. And hoppy!

  9. Oh My Eyes says:

    Okay… I have been spending so little time at FB (thanks to a more
    consuming addiction than drugs: the Caylee Anthony murder story), that
    I missed this whole discussion there. I just read the thread, and
    forgive me if a scream… but GIVE ME A FRICKING BREAK!

    Until I moved to the farm, I lived in the Lower Greenville area. Less
    than 100 yards from where I used to sleep at night, Officer Brian
    Jackson was shot, and killed by an illegal alien, who was being
    arrested for spousal abuse.

    So, if the logic they used at the DMN says that Drug usage is the
    causal link to the first officer’s death… then logic must follow that
    illegal immigration is a causal link to the death of cops, or spousal
    abuse is a ‘cop killer’ for that matter.

    If you are growing pot for personal use, then you are bypassing that
    ‘illegal drug pipeline’, and taking matters into your own hands. To
    claim you are contributing to narco-terrorism is a farcical comment at
    best.

    I will admit this to anyone who asks: I smoked like a chimney in the
    70s and 80s. It didn’t harm my family, ruin my life… or prevent me
    from being a productive member of society.

    In the 90s, for a short time, I worked for the Cafe Brazil corporation
    (I think it was part of the deed restrictions for living in the Lower
    Greenville area… that, and working at Whole Foods). While there, I saw the
    absolute horrors that occur when someone uses heroin, and later meth.

    Young, driven and hard working adults turned into gaunt, sickly
    and addicted thieves, doing whatever they had to do to get a fix.
    Their teeth fell out, their families disappeared from their lives, and
    in some cases… they lost their freedom, or lives.

    I can tell you from personal observation that there is a BIG difference
    between pot, and cocaine, or heroin… and to group pot together with
    those other drugs is wrong, and deceptive.

    Think how many young people (man, how old does that sentence make me
    sound) are sitting in the prisons, and jails for something that is
    basically a ‘victimless’ crime.

    If you make pot legal in this state, what do you think would happen?

    It would revitalize the farming industry, finally creating a niche
    market for the number one ‘cash crop’ in the country. It would add to
    dwindling tax coffers of small counties, and give farmers the first
    chance at financial stability in years.

    It would empty the jails, and save the tax payers money.

    And most importantly, it would allow young adults the opportunity to
    live their lives without fear that their “weekend party favor” would
    cause them to have a criminal record that will follow them for their entire lives.

    Enough is enough! End the criminalization madness! Legalize Pot, and
    save the country!

  10. Robert Guest says:

    StoptheAbuseof,

    The editorial places the blame for an officer’s death on all drug users while ignoring the obvious. Our government chose violent criminals as our nation’s drug supplier by making drugs illegal. Alcohol prohibition taught us that violence is a direct externality of Prohibition. The government refuses to accept responsibility for this disaster, and DMN sees fit to share the delusional belief that somehow the WOD is good for America.

    Casual drug users would love to purchase legal products from legitimate business. We should let them.

    Lemmy,

    You are either a student in a DARE class, a cop, or not paying attention. Millions of Americans use or have used drugs. Our last 3 presidents have used marijuana.

    Availability isn’t the issue. Drugs are readily available in every city in America.
    The WOD is a perpetual failure. End the war, tax and regulate the product.

    RG

  11. Lemmy says:

    No Rob, i’m just a person who has seen first hand what drug and alcohol abuse does to people. Making drugs legal will only get rid of the problems associated with distribution, the other social and health problems associated with using them, which are the large majority of the problems, will remain and making them legal will exasperate those problems just as they’ve done with alcohol. If you think there hasn’t been any violence associated with alcohol since prohibition ended, then you’re the one who hasn’t been paying attention. As i said before, legal or illegal, the problem is the drugs themselves and the easier they are to get, the more problems there will be. And our last two Presidents have been pretty worthless and this current one will be worse still, so that really doesn’t help your argument much.

  12. Robert Guest says:

    It’s difficult to argue with someone who is comfortable making up facts to verify their point. So the “large majority” of the problems from drugs are social and health related to use? And we couldn’t instantly shift all the tax dollars wasted on jails and police and use those for social services?

    I guess the hundreds of thousands of drug prisoners, the corruption of law enforcement, the thousands of deaths in Mexico, are nothing compared to the fact that some people get high and do bad things. What is your belief based on? Your astute powers of observation? That must make it so!

    More telling is your belief that ending alcohol prohibition didn’t do much for alcohol related violence. Drunks may still get in bar fights, but the mafia is no longer in a bloody war over alcohol territory. Even an Eagle Forum member can appreciate that difference.

    Just because you or people you know can’t handle drugs/alcohol doesn’t mean we should arrest everyone who possess these substances. Why don’t you and your irresponsible cohorts stay away from drugs, alcohol, and sharp objects and let the rest of the adults live in peace.

  13. Lemmy says:

    Oh, i see. It’s all about the evil white man holding the brown man down for you isn’t it Rob? You certainly seem to be ascribing a slew of miracles to the legalization of drugs, you think Mexico’s problems will vanish if people can get high legally? No, that country will still be the corrupt cesspool it’s always been. If you think the only problem caused by drugs and alcohol is a few bar fights, then you’re living in a fantasy land. The people who are abusing drugs and alcohol are the ones who are ruining the lives of others and people like you make the problem worse by coddling and enabling them. We want to live in peace, people like you are preventing it.

  14. Tex says:

    Rob, great job man! Lemmy seems like of of those guys that has the circular logic of it’s wrong because it’s illegal and it’s illegal because it’s wrong. He’s not capable of thought on a more complex level. It would be easier just to let him wallow in his own ignorance.

  15. Lemmy says:

    Well Tex, if you had bothered to read my comments you would have seen that i repeatedly said that the problem is drugs themselves whether legal or illegal, but making them legal and increasing the availability of them makes the problems worse. Enjoy your wallowing.

  16. Tex says:

    Illegal- We pay huge tax dollars to fight an impossible war on drugs, billions of dollars wasted every year. When we do catch people we get to pay to feed and house them for whatever period of time the state deems necessary to “rehabilitate” them.

    Legal- We make billions of dollars by taxing the drugs, just as we do with alcohol and gambling. We cut down on wasted prison space and the costs associated with the trials, investigations, housing and feeding of criminals, and so much more. The downside to legalization? The exact same as the downside to having legal gambling and alcohol, there will be those who can’t control themselves. That is always the case and will always be the case with anything. The fact is that not everyone is responsible, that will never change. What should change is punishing casual drug use by an adult just because other adults may not like it. Don’t impose your morals on me. I personally choose not to do drugs, sure I’ve smoked a joint before, so what? Am I a murderer? Am I not a productive member of society because I got high from time to time while I was in college? Does my military and veteran service no longer count to you? I’ve given plenty back to my country, can you honestly say I’m harming anyone if I want to smoke pot in the privacy of my own home?

  17. Lemmy says:

    Government doesn’t need or deserve anymore money from anybody, so i couldn’t care less about taxing drugs. As for people being arrested, they shouldn’t have broken the law. If getting wasted is so important to you that you’re willing to lose your freedom for it, you have a problem and the problem will still be there even if drugs are legal. And why shouldn’t i try to impose my morals on you, if that’s the way you choose to see it, you’re certainly trying to impose yours on me. I’ll sum up your argument for de-criminalization in six words, “it’s too hard, so let’s quit”. The culture of drugs destroys peoples lives and i’m going to protect my kids from people like you whether you like it or not.

  18. Tex says:

    It’s illegal because it’s wrong! It’s wrong because it’s illegal!

    Use your brain, try and think outside of the box for just a moment. I’m not imposing my morals on you or anyone else. What I’m suggesting is that you let adults make their own decisions and not try and force people to do or not do something just because you don’t like it. You advocate using violence against those who disagree with you, I would simply like to change an unjust law. I’m not picking up a gun to do so, but I will cast a ballot. I’m for freedom, I’m for choice, and I am in a larger group of people then you can imagine. The best way to protect your kids from drugs is to educate them. Are you going to protect your kids from rational thought as well?

  19. Jabba the Hutt says:

    Bah. Legalize pot and shrooms. Hang the dealers when you catch em of coke, crack, ice, heroin, etc.

  20. Jabba the Hutt says:

    Bah again! Jabba was only supposed to be for one gag response.

    Now I am…

  21. Bear says:

    Bear!

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