My elementary school’s DARE officer always warned it was illegal drugs, like marijuana and MDMA, that put holes in people who used them.* But in one recent case of drug related violence, it was an armed gang of street thugs who did just that to a drug-free toddler in their latest home invasion. When they threw a flashbang grenade into the crib of Alecia Phonesavanh’s 2-year-old son, it left a hole in the boy’s chest to his rib. He was hospitalized for three weeks, and remains scarred with burns and who knows how much mental trauma from the incident.
Unlike the M16s the SWAT team was armed with, ecstacy isn’t capable of actually leaving holes in people’s heads. It’s just another drug war myth, similar to those surrounding LSD and pot, and propagandized police departments have fed it to a drugophobic public for decades.
That’s not to say that a molly roll, or any illegal substance, is completely risk free. But despite the fact tainted pills are known to have killed people on the black market, it is still far less dangerous than what the prohibition of any substance enables law enforcement to do to families like this one:
“A few nights ago, my 8-year-old woke up in the middle of the night screaming, ‘No, don’t kill him! You’re hurting my brother! Don’t kill him.’ How can I ever make that go away? I used to tell my kids that if they were ever in trouble, they should go to the police for help. Now my kids don’t want to go to sleep at night because they’re afraid the cops will kill them or their family. It’s time to remind the cops that they should be serving and protecting our neighborhoods, not waging war on the people in them.”
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As a room to room search eventually revealed, nobody on the raided property even had any drugs.
But suppose they did find contraband considered illegal under state and federal law?
Would that have justified half of the actions a militarized SWAT team took in the name of ‘enforcing the law’ in this case?
Some might say that laws against drugs must be enforced simply because they are laws. That means no matter how flawed or immoral these particular laws might be, they will want violators of them threatened with perpetual violence should they choose a recreational activity others don’t approve of.
This argument is often heard from ‘law and order conservatives,’ and I know I’m not the only one finally fed up with the hypocrisy of it. If we contrast the ideas of many of today’s conservative ‘patriots’ with the actions of their self-professed ideological forefathers during the American Revolution, their idol worship of law and order contradicts the struggle for independence completely. The conflict started, after all, over unjust British laws over tea and taxation. Its most remembered acts of civil disobedience were the Boston Tea Party of 1773, and of course the colonial rebellion itself, which the British crown considered high treason.
In 1776, literal law and order conservatives were Red Coats. They weren’t classical liberal rabble rousers like Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and others who considered disobedience of unjust laws a consistent calling in life.
Still, there are idols of today’s Tea Party movement, like presumed presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, who say laws must be enforced, no matter how many innocents die when they are. That’s in essence what a Draft Carson ’16 petitioner regurgitated to me once when I refused their petition on common sense civil liberties grounds.
If that’s how they really feel, and if they value their argument’s consistency, a former Auschwitz camp guard might need a defense attorney after being found in Philadelphia. SS officers like Breyer were “just following orders” as well when they enforced the laws of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
Not to equate perhaps well meaning American drug warriors inherently to Nazism – but they undoubtedly bring eerie similarities to light when they too defend the indefensible.
*This same cop also led a whole class of 5th Graders to believe, until they reached high school, that marijuana was a white powdery substance that would rot their brains out. If he was speaking from personal experience, that could possibly explain the whole lecture.
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