From: Jim Rosenfield
Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs Date: 09 Jun 94 22:35 PDT Subject: Anti- Hoover.zip! Message-ID: <1484000555@cdp> Found this on COmpuserve, Arguments against those in Cliff Schaffer's "HOOVER.ZIP". >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Re: Hoover.zip. From the beginning: Item 1C states, "There is no credible evidence anywhere that we could stop, or even greatly reduce, the sale of drugs within the United States. In fact, all of the Federal Government's own evidence shows that this is impossible and not only is it a waste of money to try, but it actually does more harm than if we did nothing at all. This presumes that our sole m ethod of attempting to stop the sale of drugs is through arrest and imprisonment. How about addressing the question of stopping the sale of drugs by effecting change in society such as to keep people from getting on drugs in the first place? If we do this, then items 1A and 1B become moot -- if there's no market (or a sharply reduced market) in the U.S. for such drugs, other countries won't be so tempted to grow/ produce drugs and ship them here. Item 2 asks, how many millions of people will have to go to prison in order to win the drug war with our current approach? This presumes that every last user will have to go to prison to "win" the drug war. There are more effective ways to get people NOT to use drugs. Legalizing drugs will not do so, however. Item 3 asks, What is the biggest single reason for the epidemic of crime in the inner city? The answer: The biggest single cause of crime in the inner city is the fact that most black men cannot find jobs. Item 4 then goes on to link the difficulty black men face in finding jobs to their prison records, and Item 5 states that black men have prison records because they're arrested on non-violent drug charges. This is convoluted and unsupported reasoning at best, and unfairly uses race as the basis for supporting legalization of drugs. I won't dispute assertions about the number of black men who have arrest and conviction records. But how many of those black men have records for other charges *in addition to* their drug arrests (anything from petty theft, illegal weapons charges, and larceny to assault, battery, rape, b&e, etc.)? These convictions also play a role in the reluctance of employers to hire these men. Furthermore, there are many, many additional factors that contribute to chronic unemployment in the inner cities. Factor in the high drop-out rate from school -- how many of these men never finished high school, and in fact are functionally illiterate? Factor in the low quality of education even for many of those who do finish high school. Factor in the astoundingly high illegitimate birth rate in the inner cities -- those kids (boys and girls, both) grow up in poverty and with NO role models. Their "role models" are the fathers who sell drugs and the teenage mothers who have crack babies. Factor in the fact that many of these children, born into what we euphemisticallly call "single-parent families," grow up virtually unsupervised, either because their mother is out working 2 or 3 jobs to support her family, or she's an alcoholic or drug addict herself, or a prostitute, or otherwise is simply *not there* for her children. This leaves these kids with large amounts of unsupervised time. They begin developing their lawbreaking ways very early on. Factor in the culture of non-achievement, in which black students who do well in school are ridiculed and ostracized by their peers. Please factor in these considerations and the many others that contribute to the problems in the inner city. You simply *cannot* lay the problems of the inner city at the feet of "non-violent drug arrests." Item 6 asks, why were the laws against drugs passed in the first place? How is this even relevent? You're once again attempting to use race as a weapon to bludgeon people into accepting legalization of drugs. We know, today, that many of these drugs are serious health hazards, and also cause tremendous dysfunction in the addicted individuals (and their families). It doesn't matter why drug laws were passed in the first place. Item 7 compares the numbers of deaths from various types of legal and illegal drugs. Alcohol kills 80,000 per year, and cocaine kills about 2,200. These numbers are bound to be misleading. How many drinkers are there vs. how many cocaine users are there? If there were as many cocaine users as there are drinkers, how many would cocaine kill in a year? I'd be more interested in statistics that you can actually compare. Item 8, which drug causes the greatest burden on our medical facilities? Alcohol and tobacco are the clear leaders. Again, a misleading comparison. If there were as many crack and cocaine users as there are smokers and drinkers, which drug would cause the greatest burden on our medical facilities? Item 9 asks, which drugs are the most addictive? "Tobacco is the most addictive drug. ... cravings for heroin and cocaine are usually over within the first month." So, if we keep drugs illegal, but mandate treatment programs instead of jail time, we could eliminate drug addiction fairly easily, wouldn't you say? Then we wouldn't need to discuss legalization. Item 10, do illegal drugs cause violent crime? "... less than one percent (can) be attributed to the behavioral effects of cocaine or crack." Again, misleading statistics. How many people find themselves dysfunctional, out of a job, and totally unemployable because of a severe addiction? Many of these people turn to crime because it is the only avenue open to them. Their crime is not necessarily "attributed to the behavioral effects of cocaine or crack," but can be attributed to the "lifestyle" and "life-altering" effects of cocaine or crack. Item 11., Can we stop drug production overseas? "ABC Television . . . concluded decisively that there was no hope." Well, ABC Television is sure the expert I turn to on these things. Additionally, the key is to reduce demand in our own country. If the demand isn't high enough in the U.S. to justify the cost and the risk, the flow of drugs into this country will stop, or slow to a trickle. Legalizing drugs will *not* reduce demand. Simple economics says that if you take a product, lower the cost, make it more widely available, and make it socially acceptable, the demand will increase. Item 12, can we stop drug smuggling at the borders? Again, the key is to reduce demand, and the supply will dry up. We reduce demand by mandatory rehabilitation of addicts and by changing the social and economic conditions that lead to addiction. Item 13, can we arrest all the drug dealers in the United States? This question is ridiculous to the point of absurdity. Again, the key is to reduce demand through rehabilitation and social change. When demand is reduced sufficiently, drug dealers will disappear, because they'll have no market. Item 14 details the cost to put a "single drug dealer" in jail, and compares that cost to the cost of providing treatment/education for 200 people. Again, a ridiculous question. While we won't win the drug war or solve the drug problem by jailing all drug dealers, neither will we do so by legalizing these drugs. We will do so by reducing demand. I'm all for providing treatment for drug addicts. However, if drug use is legalized, we have to no tool with which to compel users to get treatment. I'd rather see the laws rewritten to provide for "sentences" of treatment programs levied against users rather than jail time. Legalization is not necessary to accomplish this. Item 15, what does this drug policy do to the black community? Again, this is an incendiary, inflammatory and unjustified use of race in an attempt to justify legalizing harmful drugs. Alcohol, which IS legal, is a major, major problem in the black community. Statistics show significantly higher numbers of liquor stores, per capita, in black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods. The easy availability of alcohol, and the social acceptance of its abuse, leads to chronic probems related to dysfunctional families, unemployability, inability to function in society, child abuse, and many other problems. The problems caused by alcohol do not stem from arrest records for "non-violent drinking." Illegal drug use causes similar problems, and will only increase if these drugs are legalized. It is absurd to think that drug use by itself has no negative impact on the black comunity and that the only problems associated with it stem from non-violent drug charges. Item 16 asks, How does our policy compare with the policies of other countries? The answer states, "Let's compare the results of two roughly comparable major cities which both have a drug problem. The cities are New York, and Liverpool, England." How can you assert that New York City, with its population of more than 7 million people, a city that is a mecca for the criminal and disenfranchised, is "roughly comparable" to Liverpool, with its population of about a half million? New York City has many, many extremely serious problems that Liverpudlians couldn't even begin to imagine. Hardly a fair comparison. Item 17, Do the illegal drugs have any legitimate uses? It is correct that many illegal drugs do, in fact, have legitimate uses, and I grant you that, unfortunately, our current policy does not allow for valid use for other purposes. Unfortunately, it is also the case that many who oppose drug legalization also oppose allowing legitimate uses of these drugs. I support the position that we should allow these drugs to be used for legitimate therapeutic purposes. To accomplish this, however, does not require blanket legalization of all drugs for any purposes. As with prescription narcotics, we can allow legitimate medicinal use while maintaining controls. As to the sources listed: The two most major studies cited, the Consumers' Union Report and the National Commission Report, were both published in the early 1970s. Marijuana was the biggest drug "problem" at that time, and crack didn't even exist. Under "Do's and Don'ts" is the following statement: The following sentence works for nearly anything your opponent may say: "There is no evidence to support hat assertion. Every major study of drug policy agreed that, even if it was true, decriminalization would still be a better solution." This "standard response" does not even allow for the possibility that the "opponent" might have something worthwhile to say, or may bring up some valid point that has *not* been addressed by the "major studies of drug policy." This is oversimplification to the point of absurdity. Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" : The subject is not legalization or decriminalization. The subject is prison. Many of us who are against legalization are not necessarily in favor of prison for users. I myself would prefer to see *mandatory* treatment programs in lieu of prison sentences. Legalization is not required to implement this idea. This is an extreme oversimplification and presents an unrealistic either/or choice -- prison vs. legalization. There are other options. Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" : Salesmen memorize their sales pitch because, once they have it down by rote, they can say it without even thinking, That's the problem. Many pro-legalizers aren't thinking. Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" : Don't let the discussion stray into related social issues. You don't have time for it and most Americans don't have the brain capacity to understand the complexities anyway. There are many related social issues that bear directly on the issue of whether drug legalization would be good or bad for society. These issues MUST be discussed and addressed by anyone who advocates taking such a major step as legalizing crack and heroin. This statement is also an unwarranted and juvenile ad hominem attack on those of us who oppose drug legalization. Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" : Do not discuss your personal plan for how legalization would work The reasons are: a) you can only sell one product at a time. First convince them whether we should change the laws. We will have plenty of time for how later. Those of us out here with brains quite reasonably want to have some idea of "how legalization would work" before we will be prepared to discuss legalization. The "cure" could be worse than the disease. Under "responses to specific arguments" is the statement: The only way that we will ever find a better approach is by an open and honest discussion of the evidence and all of the possible approaches to the problem. Refusing to discuss *how* legalization will work, refusing to discuss the related social issues, simplifying the issue into a false "either/or" choice, inflaming racial conflicts and resorting to a "standard response" to any question or objection by the "opponent" does NOT constitute an open and honest discussion of the evidence. Under "Political Strategies," referring to arguments based on civil liberties and economics, is the statement: They make people think too much. This is part of the problem. This entire "Hoover.zip" document is aimed at making sure people don't "think too much." Also foundunder "Political Strategies" is this statement: Point out that people are not vilified because they are Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian, but people are vilified if they even want to discuss a different drug policy. This is McCarthyism. Rubbish. This is not McCarthyism. Read your history texts. As far as the information from NORML, on marijuana, I suspect that a great many people who are opposed to general drug legalization would not necessarily be against decriminalization of marijuana use. But you won't convince many of us that we should legalize crack, or PCP, or heroin, just because marijuana isn't particularly dangerous.