In the many recent police murders and police attacks on innocent people, one of the primary root causes of this problem, the drug war, is rarely mentioned. In many of the cases that we regularly report on, police are violating people’s rights in the search for drugs, and in many cases they don’t even find any. To make matters worse, when someone becomes a drug suspect, whether they are guilty or not, they are automatically perceived as expendable, by the officer, the media, and the general public.
With the recent case of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, he too was a victim of the drug war, both in his life and his death. He was targeted by police officers for harassment because he had a prior drug record, and although he was breaking no laws at the time of his death, he was treated like his life had no value. Then, even in death, his character is attacked because of alleged involvement that he had in the drug trade.
David Simon, creator of the hit television show “The Wire”, which takes place in Baltimore, recently brought up this point in a public statement.
In an interview with Bill Keller of The Marshall Project, Simon was asked how the current situation could be resolved.
Simon replied by saying that “We end the drug war. I know I sound like a broken record, but we end the [expletive] drug war. The drug war gives everybody permission to do anything. It gives cops permission to stop anybody, to go in anyone’s pockets, to manufacture any lie when they get to district court… Medicalize the problem, decriminalize [it] — I don’t need drugs to be declared legal, but if a Baltimore State’s Attorney told all his assistant state’s attorneys today, from this moment on, we are not signing overtime slips for court pay for possession, for simple loitering in a drug-free zone… then all at once, the standards for what constitutes a worthy arrest in Baltimore would significantly improve.”
Simon continued, “The drug war — which Baltimore waged as aggressively as any American city — was transforming in terms of police/community relations, in terms of trust, particularly between the black community and the police department… Probable cause was destroyed by the drug war.”
Simon was also a journalist with The Baltimore Sun for a number of years and is no stranger to the complex issues that exist in Baltimore.
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 objects.
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.