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Closing the Drug War Box


Article Contributed by: James E. Gierach, LEAP Speaker and Board Member (www.leap.cc).   Thank you James, for this great article!

Closing the Drug War Box

Former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard said of the death of Off. Thomas Wortham IV, “He lost his life over a motorcycle…. Where are our values? Where are our morals? They don’t come around too often, people like this.” ( )

Rhetorical question or not – it deserves an answer.

We live in a drug-war society that has ushered in an entirely new set of morals – none.  To a growing segment of society, there are no rules, and there are no values.  To many born into this society, hard work no longer counts.  Choosing gang-banging and drug-dealing makes money king, a gun the decider, a neighbor dispensable, a companion with different gangs signs a mortal enemy, an addict a customer, a preacher a square, a teacher a looser, a parent superfluous, home a faint memory, and an innocent passer-by an unintended target.

In this warped neo-drug prohibition society, the gang has become the center of the universe and the sun revolves around the gang.  What once was wrong is right and what once was right doesn’t pay, in comparison.  The Golden Rule is now just about gold.  And all that glitters – a motorcycle, an Escalade, jewelry, clothes, girls, guns, power, cash – is gold to die for.

In this upside-down drug-war world, common sense solutions fail to stop the violence and lack the capacity to stop the flow of evil like three-million feet of boom against a gulf oil breach.  The drug war has caused a societal blowout and it won’t be easy to stop.

How does one stop the spewing of oil from the breach or the evil erupting from the drug-war gusher?  We know what doesn’t work.

Banning guns, building prisons, invoking community policing, toughened sentencing, cops on the dots and the beaches, pulling Pell grants from drug-offending college students, evicting drug-using tenants, reverse-sting operations, normalization of informant law-enforcement, domestication of military-style SWAT team raids on U.S. soil, releasing bulls in China shops, accelerated extraditions, border fences, Caribbean radar balloons, D.A.R.E. in the classroom, cutting off the head of gang monsters, raising public housing projects, cameras in the public way, drug dogs in the schools, marginalizing drug legalizers, annual forest preserve drug burns, barricading neighborhood entrances and constructing cul-de-sac protections, opening a dozen night narcotics courts, investing in drug courts, funding Ceasefire, S.A.S.C., drug-testing, criminalizing an ever larger segment of society…

The shootings, the killings, the miseries continue to flow, impervious to all these band-aid solutions that are no match for the tidal force of evil unleashed by opening the Drug War Box.

In the circus mirror of a drug-war society, the horrors of prohibition are resistant to every strategy that in a world with gravitation force would make sense and work.  But in the drug-war world we have outlawed gravity (figuratively), drug use, drug addiction, human nature, greed, human weakness, laws of supply-and-demand, compassion, tolerance, understanding, forgiveness, hope, the Golden Rule, and realizations as simple as one that substance abuse is a matter for physicians and not police.  All these foundational rules of a working society have been abrogated and displaced with zero tolerance.

In this mixed up society, the “good guys” and the “bad guys” both support the drug war, the rich drug-war gravy spread thickly on the bread of both competing forces.  In this perverted and transformed society, a snitch is a loser, police are the enemy, a park is place of business, a school is a recruiting station, prisons are for reunions, cars are for drive-bys, handcuffs are for adults engaged in consenting transactions and volunteered behavior.  In this transformed world, anywhere can be “the wrong place at the wrong time.”  Chicago was for Off. Wortham.

Pundits, politicians and publics “can’t get their minds around drug legalization.”  Drug legalization is only life and society with the lid back on the Drug War Box, life and society the way it was before we took the lid off.  I pray we get our collective minds around it soon.

James E. Gierach

LEAP Speaker and Board Member (www.leap.cc)

May 28, 2010

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