Friday, November 04, 2005

Thoughts Not Tied Down

~I've often been told that a pastor doesn't hit his/her ministerial stride in a particular setting until somewhere in years 3-6. That gives me hope as I look back almost one year in, on everything I could have done better and hope I do better next time.

~This afternoon my wife and I got into an argument (well, a discussion during which I got increasingly defensive) about legalizing and regulating drugs. She seems to think that it would eliminate a lot of the Prohibition-esque problems we're facing with substances such as cocaine, heroin, and so on. I think it's a bunch of crap. My only problem is that I can't articulate an argument much better than that right now. But I'm working on it. I can't come up with anything other than moral outrage, and logic says you need more. However, considering the act of CD bootlegging is a start, I think. People do it because prices are high, not because it's illegal. If someone can get an ounce of crack on the corner for a cheaper price than whatever the FDA would charge for it, it's still gonna happen, and probably with murder and mass organization still behind it. So I'm working on that.

~I can only respect tradition so much before I find myself bowing down at its altar.

~I've been writing a lot on here since I came back from my little break. I have to do that more often. Just a heads up: I'm thinking about giving it up as a Lenten discipline. I know, I know, stock up on supplies in your bunker now.

4 comments:

Vitaly Kartsev said...

If someone can get an ounce of crack on the corner for a cheaper price than whatever the FDA would charge for it, it's still gonna happen, and probably with murder and mass organization still behind it. So I'm working on that.

I don't know that that's quite true. Look at cigarettes these days. Is organized crime involved in black- and grey-market cigarettes? Probably to a certain extent. But it's not as lucrative as marijuana. With the current drug regime, that's an unbelievably lucrative business, from top to bottom, that could be erased overnight by legalization with few side effects. There'd still be a black market, but it would be tiny.

Part of that's also because a lot of consumers would love to go above ground--the constant threat of jail time and a criminal record work their magic. Suburbia, colleges, and rural areas would not harbor the organized criminal trade in drugs they do now.

That's not saying I'd favor legalization of everything, of course, but the case against marijuana is weaker than the case against alcohol, or even cigarettes. As for harder drugs, the studies show an increased emphasis on treatment (instead of prosecution) would curb much of the problem. A little economic development probably wouldn't hurt, either, but Americans seem hell-bent on electing borrow-and-spend Republicans these days.

Jeff Nelson said...

Greetings, Chris. Patiently waiting for the new site.:)

I understand the plusses of such legalization, especially that organized rings would be neutralized. Like I said, for me it's mostly moral outrage looking for solid ground. I'm pretty ambivilent about marijuana, though. I'd be interested in reading the studies dealing with treatment and prosecution.

Andrea cited the greater concentration in drug trafficking in poorer areas. I answered that the root problem isn't drugs, it's hopelessness. It's desperation. Much the same way that a mother in an underdeveloped country offers her 13-year-old daughter for prostitution. It doesn't justify the behavior itself, but poverty has a lot to do with why people turn to such things. But when the government cuts aid programs to keep inflating its war budget...

Vitaly Kartsev said...

Here are citations of some relevant studies on treatment:

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/treatmen.htm

Those are basically just relevant quotes from the studies; some of them are available online with some googling.

Andrea cited the greater concentration in drug trafficking in poorer areas. I answered that the root problem isn't drugs, it's hopelessness.

Definitely. But prosecuting those folks who have fallen victim to desperation just exacerbates the problem. Not to mention, prosecution seems skewed in a racist direction, which is troubling not only for the African-American community, but for society as a whole:

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/usa/Rcedrg00-04.htm

I have to admit I'm far outside the mainstream on pretty much all issues relating to criminal prosecution, though. I firmly believe that if we followed Christ's example in John 8 a little more faithfully, we'd be shocked by the results. And save hundreds of thousands of dollars in prison costs.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if legalizing anything will alleviate the problems that are ultimately the root causes of drug use/addiction. When we stop trying to escape and actually deal with our shortcomings, failures, or just the desperation of our situation, we won't need to escape from them.

I know, its easier said than done, and I don't foresee government being able to effectively do anything about it either way.