Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner recently spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the damage that she saw the drug war inflict on people during her time working in the system. Gertner spent 17 years as a federal judge, and she now regrets a vast majority of the decisions that she made while she was in power.
“80 percent I believe were unfair and disproportionate. I left the bench in 2011 to join the Harvard faculty to write about those stories––to write about how it came to pass that I was obliged to sentence people to terms that, frankly, made no sense under any philosophy,” Gertner said.
“This is a war that I saw destroy lives. It eliminated a generation of African American men, covered our racism in ostensibly neutral guidelines and mandatory minimums… and created an intergenerational problem––although I wasn’t on the bench long enough to see this, we know that the sons and daughters of the people we sentenced are in trouble, and are in trouble with the criminal justice system,” she added.
Below is Gertner’s speech, it starts at the 41:00 marker in the video.
There is no doubt that drug abuse is a serious issue in our culture, primarily because people are so depressed and beaten down that they self-medicate just to be able to tolerate the average day.
However, a prohibition policy is a policy of violence, because if you happen to be caught with any of these banned items you will be forcefully taken against your will and put in a cage. If you dare to prevent this kidnap from taking place, you will inevitably be killed. This is the fundamental issue surrounding the drug war on which we need to be focusing.
Bickering over how to slightly reform drug policy or arguing about which drug is more harmful than the other is nothing more than a waste of time. We need to address the fact that prohibition itself is an inherently violent policy that rests upon the stone age concept of prohibiting personal choice.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.