Saturday, December 10, 2011

Casualty of the War on Drugs: Flash-Bang Grenade Burns Flesh Off Woman's Leg in Botched Drug Raid

StarTribune -- "The Minneapolis City Council approved a $1 million settlement Friday after a botched drug raid in 2010 in which an officer threw a "flash-bang" grenade into a south Minneapolis apartment burning the flesh off a woman's leg.The payout to Rickia Russell, who suffered permanent injuries, was the third largest payout for alleged Minneapolis police misconduct on record.

Flash grenades are intended to distract and intimidate, not to injure people, but during the raid the device rolled under the legs of Russell, who was seated on a sofa, and exploded. The police were looking that day for a drug dealer, narcotics and a firearm, but found nothing."

MP: When police SWAT teams smash down doors with battering rams without any warning, and then use flash-bang grenades to burn innocent victims and cause permanent injuries, is it any wonder they call it a "War on Drugs," aka the "War on Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Use Intoxicants Not Currently Approved of by the U.S. Government, Who Will Sometimes Break Into Houses of Suspected Users and Burn Flesh Off Their Legs."

55 Comments:

At 12/10/2011 12:20 PM, Blogger rjs said...

The Pentagon Is Offering Free Military Hardware To Every Police Department In The US: The U.S. military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will. We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.
The Daily reports on a little known endeavor called the "1033 Program" that gave more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone. 1033 was passed by Congress in 1997 to help law-enforcement fight terrorism and drugs, but despite a 40-year low in violent crime, police are snapping up hardware like never before. While this year's staggering take topped the charts, next year's orders are up 400 percent over the same period.

http://www.businessinsider.com/program-1033-military-equipment-police-2011-12

 
At 12/10/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger Idontwantastinkingnickname said...

My guess is that the police will not learn anything, and the taxpayers will pick up the bill for the settlement

 
At 12/10/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Marko said...

This is state law enforcement going after violations of state law. There was an accident - they used a flash bang because they believed there was a drug dealer with a firearm. If you were a cop going into a armed drug dealers house, would you want to use a flash bang? I bet you would. What's the problem?

How many people over dosed on drugs that week in Minneapolis? What is the human toll in accidents, over dose, ruined lives of drugs that you seem to discount?

 
At 12/10/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Here is a guy in Minn. that was suing the cops because a police dog bit his leg, but the suit failed because the plaintiff later died of a mixed drug overdose.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/s2304050.shtml

Dog bite vs OD, which is worse?

Another casualty of DRUGS, not the war on drugs.

 
At 12/10/2011 3:38 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Those are medical and health problems: ruined lives from drug and alcohol abuse, drug and alcohol overdoses, etc., not legal problems. We don't put alcoholics in cages.

 
At 12/10/2011 4:37 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

RJS--

That is an amazing, and amazingly bad program.

 
At 12/10/2011 5:19 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

There will sometimes be "collateral damage" in a war zone or in a war on drugs, murder, terrorism, etc.

 
At 12/10/2011 6:59 PM, Blogger Craig said...

If you were a cop going into a armed drug dealers house, would you want to use a flash bang? I bet you would. What's the problem?

Oh, I don't know. Burning the flesh off an innocent young woman's leg? Or is the effort to protect people from possibly ruining their own lives more important than an individual trying to live hers?

You sound like a bootlicker.

 
At 12/10/2011 9:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

This is state law enforcement going after violations of state law. There was an accident - they used a flash bang because they believed there was a drug dealer with a firearm. If you were a cop going into a armed drug dealers house, would you want to use a flash bang? I bet you would. What's the problem?

The problem is that they were wrong, used excessive force and harmed an innocent person. That person should be compensated and the police who did the damage should go to jail for assault as any ordinary person who took the same actions would.

 
At 12/10/2011 9:27 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Time to repeal the War on Private Intoxication

 
At 12/10/2011 9:33 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> How many people over dosed on drugs that week in Minneapolis? What is the human toll in accidents, over dose, ruined lives of drugs that you seem to discount?

1) Why the eph should anyone care if someone abuses drugs to the point of screwing up their lives? Who made you -- or me -- the supervisor of their souls?

2) It's called freedom. Along with the freedom to succeed comes the freedom to fail, including dismal and even heart-rending failure. Why would you think you have the right to deny people the opportunity to succeed?

3) Geez, do you have ANY IDEA how many people are in prison -- with felony records now, to dog them for the rest of their lives -- and who are out of prison with the same -- who have done nothing more awfully horrifying than to light up a cigarette? HINT: It's a hell of a lot larger than either of the two numbers you ask about.

Obtain a CLUE, please, or report to your nearest bitch-slapping official for suitable installation of same.

 
At 12/11/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Yes, it is tragic when an innocent person suffers as a result of an accident. And that is what this is, an accident. There is absolutely no proof that the police intended to do harm. In fact, their intent was to prevent the targeted drug dealer from doing further harm to the community.

This anecdote is hardly representative of the true picture, which, if you look, has drug use at the center of the victimization of innocents:

"In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug." -- USA Today

Got that? The vast majority of persons arrested for a crime in these cities tested positive for drug use.

Where are Dr. Perry's stories about the innocent victims of these crimes?

How about a few stories about crack addicted babies and other innocent children whose lives are rendered a living hell by the drug abuse of their parents.

 
At 12/11/2011 5:25 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"That person should be compensated and the police who did the damage should go to jail for assault as any ordinary person who took the same actions would." -- Vange

Yes, the unintended victim should be compensated. As for putting the cops in jail, here, as always, you prove to have absolutely no sense of proportion. You are simply overcome by the same authoritarian impulses that you pretend to abhor in others.

 
At 12/11/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

How about a few stories about fetal alcohol syndrome [crack addicted babies] and other innocent children whose lives are rendered a living hell by the alcohol [drug] abuse of their parents.

To be consistent one should treat legal drugs like alcohol the same as illegal drugs like marijuana. If you favor putting people in cages for drug possession, then you should likewise favor putting people in cages for alcohol possession. If aren't in favor of putting people in cages for abusing or possessing alcohol, then you can't be in favor of putting pot users in cages and be logically consistent, and you've taken a position that really can't be taken seriously.

 
At 12/11/2011 6:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, it is tragic when an innocent person suffers as a result of an accident. And that is what this is, an accident. There is absolutely no proof that the police intended to do harm.

Sure there is. That is what guns and grenades do; cause harm.

In fact, their intent was to prevent the targeted drug dealer from doing further harm to the community.

Not at all. They were out to harm someone who was selling drugs to people that wanted them. This is not confined to drugs. We have seen police invade farms that sold raw milk, homes of people who were behind on their student loans, etc. The fact is that the US has turned into a police state because some local forces have gotten way out of hand.

"In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug."

So what? People use drugs. Big deal. Don't cops, prosecutors, Congressmen, Senators, Presidents drink or smoke? (Or use drugs themselves at times?) If drug users like Obama, Bush, and Clinton can become president why are governments prosecuting others for using them?

Got that? The vast majority of persons arrested for a crime in these cities tested positive for drug use.

Why would this surprise you? They commit crimes because the government puts such a huge barrier to competition that drugs are too expensive. If the typical user could buy what he needs for his daily use by working an hour at a fast food joint he would do that instead of rob little old ladies or knock off liquor stores.

Where are Dr. Perry's stories about the innocent victims of these crimes?

He has posted on this before. The crimes do not happen because people use drugs but because the price of drugs is so expensive. And gang wars happen because the drug trade is so lucrative. In the old days, when one could buy cocaine or opium at the local pharmacy you did not drug store owners killing each other for the 8% margin.

 
At 12/11/2011 6:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, the unintended victim should be compensated. As for putting the cops in jail, here, as always, you prove to have absolutely no sense of proportion. You are simply overcome by the same authoritarian impulses that you pretend to abhor in others.

Proportion? You burn off the skin from an innocent victim and you expect to be let off? Sorry but a common law court would be just as severe as I am.

 
At 12/11/2011 7:47 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

I do not favor putting casual pot smokers "in cages for possession" provided that they have not caused others harm. And the evidence suggests that neither are the authorities:

"An honest debate on marijuana policy also carefully considers the costs of our current approach. Arrest rates for marijuana are relatively high, reaching about 800,000 last year. Though these numbers are technically recorded under the category of "possession," the story that is seldom told is that hardly any of these possession arrests result in jail time (that is why former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made headlines when he aggressively arrested public marijuana users and detained them for 12 to 24 hours in the 1990s).

One of the most astute minds in the field of drug policy, Carnegie Mellon's Jonathan Caulkins, formerly the co-director of Rand's drug policy research center, found that more than 85% of people in prison for all drug-law violations were clearly involved in drug distribution, and that the records of most of the remaining prisoners had at least some suggestion of distribution involvement (many prisoners plea down from more serious charges to possession in exchange for information about the drug trade). Only about half a percent of the total prison population was there for marijuana possession, he found. He noted that this figure was consistent with other mainstream estimates but not with estimates from the Marijuana Policy Project (a legalization interest group), which, according to Caulkins, "naively ... assumes that all inmates convicted of possession were not involved in trafficking." Caulkins concluded that "an implication of the new figure is that marijuana decriminalization would have almost no impact on prison populations." This is not meant to imply that marijuana arrests do not have costs, but rather, that these concerns have been highly exaggerated." -- LA Times

I am agnostic on the legalization of marijuana, but draw a hard line at the legalization of addictive and destructive drugs that rob the users of their free will, rendering them slaves to their addiction.

The problem that I have with libertarians is that they fail to acknowledge the costs, both material and societal, associated with the legalization of hard drugs and hide behind the call to legalize pot, disingenuously implying that that is where their drug legalization advocacy ends.

As for being logically consistent, I am in favor of "putting people in cages for abusing or possessing alcohol" when it violates the law and puts others at risk of harm. At least 20 states have made it a crime to abuse alcohol while pregnant and all of them make it illegal to drive under the influence and to sell or to provide alcohol to minors.

 
At 12/11/2011 8:49 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Idontwantastinkingnickname: "My guess is that the police will not learn anything, and the taxpayers will pick up the bill for the settlement"

My guess is that as long as the majority of Americans are too stupid to recognize that the state is continuously breaking the law, then they will continue to do it. Explain to me where the laws against assault, battery, home invasion, etc., do not apply to people employed by the state.

Here's hoping your leg is the next one destroyed. Don't worry, you'll probably get a check.

 
At 12/11/2011 8:56 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che is dead: "Yes, it is tragic when an innocent person suffers as a result of an accident. And that is what this is, an accident. There is absolutely no proof that the police intended to do harm."

Throwing a life grenade is the closest thing to the definition of intending to do harm as you can get. An accident is slipping on the stairs. Throwing a live explosive into an occupied building and burning somebody's leg off is not an accident. Maybe they intended to burn somebody else's leg off, but they definitely intended to do harm.

I've never read where the state is given permission to deliberately harm citizens, even is they are suspected of committing crimes. You've become an apologist for the fascist state.

 
At 12/11/2011 9:14 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

It can't be emphasized enough that drug use, drug possesion, drug sales, and even drug abuse are largely "victimless crimes." If I occasionally smoke weed, ingest meth, cocaine or heroin in my house to get high, there is no clear "victim," so how can there be a crime that might result in me being locked up in a cage if I caught getting high?

To the extent that the resources of law enforcement are diverted to break into houses with grenades, burn innocent victims and leave them with permanent injuries, and arrest people for the victimless crimes of drug use, drug sales, drug possession, etc. those are wasted resources that could have been used to prevent or deter crimes with actual victims like robbery, rape, murder, etc.

 
At 12/11/2011 10:51 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/11/2011 10:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I knew a person whose home was raided and substantially destroyed.

No recourse, no reimbursement.


If you think it cannot happen here, or cannot happen to you, then you should think again.

 
At 12/11/2011 11:11 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I knew another couple that had a gorgeous antique boat, winner of many antique boat show awards.

Unfortunately it was also of the folder, inexpensive vintage favored by drug smugglers.

On one trip from Florida to. Ew new jersey they were boarded four times by death agents.

The last time, the agents were in plain clothes and refused to show ID.

As reported, the hatch slammed open in the middle of the night, and my friends were ordered out of bed. Standing naked in the cabin the watched armed men search their home. Emptying the kerosine lamps and generally making a huge mess.

Once nothing was found, the officers identified themselves and tried to apologize.

This being the fourth time, my friends had them sign the ships log with an entry for the events.

Even in the 1970's one would think the database would have caught up with the boat over the course of a couple of months.

The couple eventually got a formal apology from the government, but that took two years.

 
At 12/11/2011 11:24 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The problem that I have with libertarians is that they fail to acknowledge the costs, both material and societal, associated with the legalization of hard drugs and hide behind the call to legalize pot, disingenuously implying that that is where their drug legalization advocacy ends.

++++++?++++++

Don't assume that only libertarians fa or a change in the war on drugs.

Any fiscal conservative would demand the same, with the exception that a fiscal conservative would demand that expenditures on the war on drugs not exceed the benefits.

I suspect that would preclude sending four people out to ad remote slough in coastal south carolina to flustered a middle age couple out of the sack, for the fourth time.

One might make a similar argument over enforcing the border or deporting illegals: there is a price at which it makes sense, and one at which it is madness.

There is nothing libertarian about wanting the best value for the money spent.

 
At 12/11/2011 11:31 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

The problem that I have with conservatives is that they fail to acknowledge the costs, both material and societal, associated with the legalization of strong liquor like vodka, whiskey and gin.

 
At 12/12/2011 12:34 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The problem I have with economists is that they distingush between material costs and societal costs.

 
At 12/12/2011 12:58 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The problem that I have with conservatives is that they fail to acknowledge the costs, both material and societal, associated with the legalization of strong liquor like vodka, whiskey and gin." -- Dr. Perry

No one, certainly no conservative, is saying that the abuse of alcohol is costless to society. It is you who argues that there is "no clear victim" associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs while failing to acknowledge that the crimes that you consider to have "actual victims" - robbery, rape, murder, etc. - are often committed under the influence of drugs. And while it's clear that alcohol and pot users can function in society - maintaining employment, caring for dependents, etc. - it's far less clear that hard drug users can.

I don't understand how arguing that alcohol abuse is bad, and therefore society should compound its problems by making other more addictive drugs legal makes any sense.

Let me also point out that many of the drugs you claim are harmless to ingest in your home can stay in ones system for days. I for one would not want risk that my surgeon, airline pilot, fireman or school bus driver was still under the influence while performing their jobs.

Will we all have to submit to routine blood tests, users and non-users alike? It would seem at that point that drug legalization advocates like "geoih" would actually be the "apologists for the fascist state."

 
At 12/12/2011 1:05 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The philosophic argument is that, in a free society, adults should be permitted to do whatever they please, always provided that they are prepared to take the consequences of their own choices and that they cause no direct harm to others. The locus classicus for this point of view is John Stuart Mill’s famous essay On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of the community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” Mill wrote. “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” This radical individualism allows society no part whatever in shaping, determining, or enforcing a moral code: in short, we have nothing in common but our contractual agreement not to interfere with one another as we go about seeking our private pleasures ... Mill came to see the limitations of his own principle as a guide for policy and to deny that all pleasures were of equal significance for human existence. It was better, he said, to be Socrates discontented than a fool satisfied."

"The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved. And when such a narrowly conceived freedom is made the touchstone of public policy, a dissolution of society is bound to follow. No culture that makes publicly sanctioned self-indulgence its highest good can long survive: a radical egotism is bound to ensue, in which any limitations upon personal behavior are experienced as infringements of basic rights. Distinctions between the important and the trivial, between the freedom to criticize received ideas and the freedom to take LSD, are precisely the standards that keep societies from barbarism." -- City Journal

 
At 12/12/2011 1:18 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"It can't be emphasized enough that drug use, drug possesion, drug sales, and even drug abuse are largely "victimless crimes." -- Dr. Perry

"You've become an apologist for the fascist state." -- geoih


The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) estimates the total financial cost to taxpayers to be $500 billion annually. The human misery is incalculable. Increased use of illegal drugs will increase these costs and this misery.

A Medicaid patient with drug and alcohol problems costs $5,000 to $15,000 a year more in health-care costs than one without such problems. Most Medicaid hospital patients readmitted within 30 days are those with drug and alcohol problems. Do states, crushed financially by Medicaid costs, want to increase the number of Medicaid patients abusing and addicted to drugs and alcohol? ...

The notion that taxing sales of marijuana and drugs like cocaine and heroin will provide a windfall for our public coffers is also illusory. For every $1 of taxes collected from the sale of tobacco and alcohol, we incur $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs. These costs will skyrocket if legalization becomes the norm, draining our public coffers at an even more alarming rate. ...

Sweden offers an example of a successful restrictive drug policy. Faced with rising drug use in the 1990s, the government tightened drug control, stepped up police action, mounted a national action plan, and created a national drug coordinator. The result: Drug use is a third of the European average.

We strongly support greater emphasis on prevention and public-health initiatives to reduce drug use, especially among children and teens. This is a war that has to be fought on all fronts, from prevention and treatment to law enforcement and interdiction. But legalization, a policy certain to increase illegal drug availability and use among our nation's children, hardly qualifies as sound prevention. The facts are indisputable: 20 years of CASA research shows that a child who reaches 21 without using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so.

Sadly, we've shown little capacity to keep our two legal drugs, tobacco and alcohol, out of the hands of children and teens. There is little reason to believe that we can legalize drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin only for adults and keep them away from our children and teenagers. -- WSJ

Apologist for the fascist state? Just where does the right to enslave others to your appetites and desires come from? When the state comes for my money to pay for the consequences of this "victimless activity" who then is the apologist?

 
At 12/12/2011 6:54 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che is dead: "Apologist for the fascist state? Just where does the right to enslave others to your appetites and desires come from?"

Both problems, the war on drugs and the socialized costs of drug abuse come from the same place, the state. Two wrongs do not make a right and your position is indefensible beyond supporting the unrestrained authority of the state to do what it pleases.

I do not accept you apology.

 
At 12/12/2011 6:55 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che is dead: "Apologist for the fascist state? Just where does the right to enslave others to your appetites and desires come from?"

Both problems, the war on drugs and the socialized costs of drug abuse come from the same place, the state. Two wrongs do not make a right and your position is indefensible beyond supporting the unrestrained authority of the state to do what it pleases.

I do not accept you apology.

 
At 12/12/2011 8:28 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I do not favor putting casual pot smokers "in cages for possession" provided that they have not caused others harm. And the evidence suggests that neither are the authorities:...

The 'authorities' should have no say in the matter because the use of drugs should not be illegal. The problem, as Mark has pointed out, is the law that makes pot illegal, not pot itself.

I am agnostic on the legalization of marijuana, but draw a hard line at the legalization of addictive and destructive drugs that rob the users of their free will, rendering them slaves to their addiction.

You mean you favour the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco? How did that work out the last time that it was tried?

And I suggest that you take a look at the history of drug use in your country. There was a time when someone could buy cocaine or heroin at the local pharmacy for little money. Addiction rates were not higher than they are today.

 
At 12/12/2011 8:28 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem that I have with libertarians is that they fail to acknowledge the costs, both material and societal, associated with the legalization of hard drugs and hide behind the call to legalize pot, disingenuously implying that that is where their drug legalization advocacy ends.

First, there are two type of libertarians. Both make a valid argument against your position, so I will provide both the arguments.

The David Friedman types are utilitarian. They argue that liberty leads to a state of affairs that benefits the most members of society. In the case of drugs, they point out that the costs to society are far greater when laws are passed to make them illegal than they would be if drugs were legal.

The observations clearly support this argument because we see around us the huge costs of the war on drugs but none of the benefits that it is supposed to create. We see gang wars leading to the unintentional murder of innocent individuals. We see innocent people robbed so that addicts can afford the high price of drugs. We see huge expenditures by bankrupt municipalities as they buy all kinds of heavy combat gear, electronic surveillance equipment, drones, etc. But even though this war has been going on for decades addiction rates are pretty much unchanged when adjusted for demographic changes.

So all we see is a lot of cost but no benefit.

The second type of libertarian is not as concerned with utility as with deontology. To this type of libertarian the important issues are natural rights of the individuals and the principle of non aggression. This type of libertarian would point out that people own their own bodies. They would point out that people own their own property. And they would point out that there is no legitimate argument to prevent people from using their own bodies and their own properties in the way that they would choose as long as they comply with the non aggression principle.

That means that if you sell the marijuana that you grow in your back yard to your neighbour I have no right to stop you. And if I don't have that right then neither does the state.

 
At 12/12/2011 8:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

As for being logically consistent, I am in favor of "putting people in cages for abusing or possessing alcohol" when it violates the law and puts others at risk of harm. At least 20 states have made it a crime to abuse alcohol while pregnant and all of them make it illegal to drive under the influence and to sell or to provide alcohol to minors.

So if the government decides to bring back prohibition you would be all for it? Here is a good example why the country is in such trouble. People use emotion rather than logic and refuse to learn.

 
At 12/12/2011 8:31 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

My guess is that as long as the majority of Americans are too stupid to recognize that the state is continuously breaking the law, then they will continue to do it. Explain to me where the laws against assault, battery, home invasion, etc., do not apply to people employed by the state.

Statists make exception for the state. They worship it and cannot understand how their God could ever be immoral or wrong.

 
At 12/12/2011 8:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

To the extent that the resources of law enforcement are diverted to break into houses with grenades, burn innocent victims and leave them with permanent injuries, and arrest people for the victimless crimes of drug use, drug sales, drug possession, etc. those are wasted resources that could have been used to prevent or deter crimes with actual victims like robbery, rape, murder, etc.

I take it that you are aware of this development. We read, "Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of trying to trade drugs to a man for sex, as investigators monitored the deal."

It is clear that the issue here is not liberty, well being, or even some common good but power. States use their monopoly on force to gain more power over the individuals that they rule. The people who wield that force are not angels but human beings like the rest of the population. As such they suffer from the same failings as the rest of us and should have no more protection under the law than the average citizen. And if the average citizen initiates force against others and does harm, s/he should be held accountable for those actions.

 
At 12/12/2011 9:23 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) estimates the total financial cost to taxpayers to be $500 billion annually. The human misery is incalculable. Increased use of illegal drugs will increase these costs and this misery.

Most of the cost is due to the fact that drug use is illegal. And if individuals are willing to bear the cost personally what give you the moral authority to tell them that they shouldn't?

The cost to others comes from the fact that the use and sales of drugs is illegal and requires huge expenditures to try to control. This is not very different than the cost of prohibition to society.

 
At 12/12/2011 10:05 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Both problems, the war on drugs and the socialized costs of drug abuse come from the same place, the state. Two wrongs do not make a right and your position is indefensible beyond supporting the unrestrained authority of the state to do what it pleases." - geoih

Ah, yes, if I reject the argument that you have an inherent right to sell and use drugs and support laws, that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and reviewed by an independent judiciary to ensure that they are constitutional, well, I must be a fascist who's in favor of the "unrestrained authority of the state". You see, drug use can lead to idiocy.

"I do not accept you apology." - geoih

I wasn't offering one.

 
At 12/12/2011 10:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Ah, yes, if I reject the argument that you have an inherent right to sell and use drugs and support laws, that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and reviewed by an independent judiciary to ensure that they are constitutional, well, I must be a fascist who's in favor of the "unrestrained authority of the state". You see, drug use can lead to idiocy.

There is nothing constitutional about invading the homes of innocent people and firing guns at them. There is nothing constitutional about the federal drug laws.

 
At 12/12/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che is dead: "... if I reject the argument that you have an inherent right to sell and use drugs and support laws, that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and reviewed by an independent judiciary to ensure that they are constitutional, ..."

By what right do you have to say anything about me selling or using anything that is my property? By what right do the demands of certain individuals, elected through some concocted procedure, by some concocted majority, have any rights to say anything about me selling or using my property?

If you believe that the state has an inherent right to impose itself into the lives of individual citizens through procedures that would be considered illegal if done by individual citizens against each other, then you are not a believer in liberty.

My neighbors are not allowed to deliberately through explosives into my house, no matter what I might be doing there. If you think the state has a right to do that, then you're not a believer in liberty.

 
At 12/12/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che is dead: "... if I reject the argument that you have an inherent right to sell and use drugs and support laws, that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and reviewed by an independent judiciary to ensure that they are constitutional, ..."

By what right do you have to say anything about me selling or using anything that is my property? By what right do the demands of certain individuals, elected through some concocted procedure, by some concocted majority, have any rights to say anything about me selling or using my property?

If you believe that the state has an inherent right to impose itself into the lives of individual citizens through procedures that would be considered illegal if done by individual citizens against each other, then you are not a believer in liberty.

My neighbors are not allowed to deliberately through explosives into my house, no matter what I might be doing there. If you think the state has a right to do that, then you're not a believer in liberty.

 
At 12/12/2011 2:30 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"By what right do the demands of certain individuals, elected through some concocted procedure, by some concocted majority, have any rights to say anything about me selling or using my property?" - geoih

Please, tell us, how will laws be enacted in your "libertarian" fantasy land. Describe the way that you believe government should be ordered and the procedures by which you imagine liberty to be protected.

 
At 12/12/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Please, tell us, how will laws be enacted in your "libertarian" fantasy land. Describe the way that you believe government should be ordered and the procedures by which you imagine liberty to be protected.

You don't need a fantasy. All you need to do is to end the war on drugs by making the use and sales legal just as the war on alcohol use was ended when its use and sales were made legal.

 
At 12/12/2011 9:16 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Got that? The vast majority of persons arrested for a crime in these cities tested positive for drug use.

LOL, you miss a key element of your statistic, first off.

What crime were they arrested for... drug use?

Since that stat doesn't clearly exclude anyone who

Second is another "post hoc ergo proctor hoc" error -- I'd suspect many of them had kitchen knives. Are you going to argue that owning kitchen knives is a cause of crime?

Yes, that's an absurd connection, but it makes the point -- you haven't done the least thing to establish causation, only connection. That criminals are often in the same class as regular drug users does not mean regular drug users are in the same class as criminals (if you exclude drug use as a crime for the purposes of this discussion, which is one of the main points of the thread).

>>> Only about half a percent of the total prison population was there for marijuana possession, he found.

Dude, first off, it's presumed if you possess over a certain amount, it was an "intent to distribute". Now, define, "distribute" for me -- if you bought a pound of grass for you and 15 friends, that's "intent to distribute", but it's hardly a major threat to society, nor does it mark you as a significant criminal element.

Moreover, possession of more than a certain number of plants also constitute an "intent to distribute", even if there's no distribution at all, if you were growing it solely for yourself and breeding better plants. And, of course, as above -- if you give anyone ANY of the resulting plants, that's "intent to distribute".

The PA's office generally aims for the highest charge it thinks it can scare you into pleading off on.

That so very few indictments go to trial -- something like less than 25% -- is itself a crime.

That it is illegal to stand up in court and call it to the attention of the jury that they do have the power to nullify the law if they think it's wrong -- that's also a crime... and much, much bigger ones than a large chunk of drug users have ever committed.

The only drug which one can argue ought to be illegal to possess and use in a controlled environment (i.e., not while driving, for example, but in your own home for the entire time of its effects) is possibly PCP, since it, as I understand, can drive you nuts long after you stop taking it.

>>> draw a hard line at the legalization of addictive and destructive drugs that rob the users of their free will, rendering them slaves to their addiction.

So you believe in the total criminalization of alcohol and tobacco, then?

Because they are far and away the most addictive of all drugs in regular use.

>>> The problem I have with economists is that they distingush between material costs and societal costs.

The problem I have is with people who can't grasp that there's no real difference.

There's always a tradeoff. Alcohol prohibition begat major organized crime. The current drug prohibition begets not only more major organized crime and violence on the part of drug "entrepreneurs", but it also begets a vast array of privacy-invading and freedom destroying actions and laws to justify them by the police.

Hey, drug profits pay for a lot of terrorists, y'know? So clearly, we should use any laws designed to prevent terrorism to also stomp on Ma and Pa Kettle because Pa, Jr. had a dozen pot plants on the south forty.

 
At 12/12/2011 9:27 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Whoops:
===================
Since that stat doesn't clearly exclude anyone who ... got arrested solely for drug crimes, it might easily include mostly people whose ONLY crime was using and possessing -- perhaps with intent to distribute -- drugs.

================

Further a little drug tale, how prevention of distribution only compounds the problem.


Back in 1985, I had a group of friends who smoked pot regularly. Now, the summer of 1985, the Gainesville, FL PD made a serious effort to kill the supply, and succeeded. I even recall seeing people wearing t-shirts that said "I survived the great Gainesville pot famine, summer, 1985.

"Wonderful", right? No one smoking pot any more.

Well, the thing is, people who want to get high are going to get friggin' HIGH.

So they started using cocaine, which WAS still readily available, and which they'd NEVER used before, to the best of my knowledge -- certainly not regularly.

Cocaine was less bulky and packed a better "price per ounce" than pot did, meaning the cops had a harder time interdicting the supply.

The point is, people who want to get high are going to get freaking HIGH -- it isn't THAT unusual to hear about some wino who poisoned himself drinking denatured alcohol or some other similarly "poisoned" form of legally sold "not for consumption" form of alcohol. And sometimes it's known that they KNEW it was poisoned, they didn't CARE -- they wanted their drug. Period.

The solution, here, is to tax it and use the taxes to pay for treatment programs and drug education programs, and the like, to counter the problems that result from drug abuse, while using peer pressure programs to discourage it, which is, so far, the only remotely reliable way to discourage drug use.

 
At 12/12/2011 9:42 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Ah, yes, if I reject the argument that you have an inherent right to sell and use drugs and support laws, that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and reviewed by an independent judiciary to ensure that they are constitutional, well, I must be a fascist who's in favor of the "unrestrained authority of the state". You see, drug use can lead to idiocy.


Dude, the power of the State to pass laws regarding specific behavior derives from the people they govern. When the State ignores the will of the people in favor of enforcing laws it has passed in complete defiance of the will of the people, then the State has lost its legitimate authority to enforce those same laws and is acting as a defacto criminal organization no different from the Mafia.

That's not saying they've lost ALL legitimate authority to enforce ALL laws, but only that continued enforcement of these specific laws that have been clearly and inarguably rejected by the people in conflict with the will of the people is blatantly illegal. Frankly, any cop or other official who commits such an illegal act, in my opinion, is placing themselves outside the Law, and is fair game for anyone who decides to remove them from the gene pool.

That, of course, is yet another way in which Drug Laws create terrorists.

The fact is, the existing system of criminal juries is, in concert with jury nullification, expressly intended to neutralize the efforts of Congress to create laws which are not supported by more than about 12-13% of the population.

Yes, 12-13%, that's about how unpopular (i.e., 87-88% have to agree that it should be a low) a law needs to be for a 12-man jury to likely contain someone who disagrees with the law in question.

And I'll guarantee you that the Founding Fathers knew that, which is one reason the system was defined as it was. And drug laws are currently not supported by a true majority of the population, so, if jury nullification became a well-known part of the judicial process again, as it was meant to be, then there would be NO successful drug enforcement except in some fairly extreme cases, and drugs would be defacto legalized, as they were meant to be.

 
At 12/12/2011 9:53 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> If you believe that the state has an inherent right to impose itself into the lives of individual citizens through procedures that would be considered illegal if done by individual citizens against each other, then you are not a believer in liberty.

I don't believe you can go quite this far. If you're going to claim that the State has no power which isn't available to the average citizen, then they have no power to do ANYTHING, really. Including stop and imprison those guilty of offenses of the law that DO cause harm to others.

If YOU grab someone and hold them prisoner, that's called "kidnapping". But clearly, it's a power we grant to the State under some expressly limited conditions.

Similar with executions -- we do, for a short list of crimes, allow the State to act as executioner, which is not a power we want granted to the citizenry in general.

BTW, I've seen others invoke the notion that anything legitimate for the army to own is legitimate for the average citizen to own. This is taken to a rather absurdist conclusion by simply taking it to nuclear weapons.

Are you going to seriously argue that anyone who can afford one should be able to own their own nuclear weapon?

 
At 12/13/2011 6:36 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Che id dead: "Please, tell us, how will laws be enacted in your "libertarian" fantasy land."

Please tell us, how the state is restricted in your fascist fantasy land? Where those in the state are free to throw explosives into people's houses without warning and without consequence. Where defending yourself is a crime punishible by summary execution. Where searches and seisures of your person and property are the accepted norm and any resistence to include refusing to speak will result in immediate imprisonment.

Is this the wonderful fantasy land you're defending?

 
At 12/13/2011 12:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I don't believe you can go quite this far. If you're going to claim that the State has no power which isn't available to the average citizen, then they have no power to do ANYTHING, really. Including stop and imprison those guilty of offenses of the law that DO cause harm to others.

While no citizen has the right to initiate violence s/he has to right to protect property and other individuals from harm. The 'state' can certainly try to perform that function as long as it does not prohibit other institutions from competing with it in the security business.

If YOU grab someone and hold them prisoner, that's called "kidnapping". But clearly, it's a power we grant to the State under some expressly limited conditions.

That is not true. If a person has just harmed someone, s/he has to fully compensate the victim. If the individual cannot it may be possible for the state or security company to pay the victim and force the criminal to pay off that debt by working at half pay, selling a kidney, or whatever arrangement can be made to ensure that the most just arrangement takes place.

Similar with executions -- we do, for a short list of crimes, allow the State to act as executioner, which is not a power we want granted to the citizenry in general.

The state does not kill the criminal. The hangman does. And should be fully accountable for his crime.

BTW, I've seen others invoke the notion that anything legitimate for the army to own is legitimate for the average citizen to own. This is taken to a rather absurdist conclusion by simply taking it to nuclear weapons.

Why should anyone have nuclear weapons? Unlike a rifle or a knife, it is not possible to use a nuclear weapon to target specific individuals who are trying to kill the innocent. As such nuclear weapons are not permitted and anyone who used them to kill innocents should have paid for his crimes.

Are you going to seriously argue that anyone who can afford one should be able to own their own nuclear weapon?

I don't know what response you will get from others but I will argue that nuclear weapons are not legitimate for any government to have.

 
At 12/13/2011 12:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Please tell us, how the state is restricted in your fascist fantasy land? Where those in the state are free to throw explosives into people's houses without warning and without consequence. Where defending yourself is a crime punishible by summary execution. Where searches and seisures of your person and property are the accepted norm and any resistence to include refusing to speak will result in immediate imprisonment.

Is this the wonderful fantasy land you're defending?


Yes it is. In our friend's world you are not supposed to notice the crimes of the state. It's bad manners.

 
At 12/14/2011 11:35 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"LOL, you miss a key element of your statistic, first off. What crime were they arrested for... drug use?" -- OBH

No, read the article. They were arrested for a crime and then tested. Baby steps.

"Yes, that's an absurd connection, but it makes the point --" -- OBH

Yes, it makes the point that you are completely disconnected from reality.

"Whoops: Since that stat doesn't clearly exclude anyone who ..." -- OBH

Drug abuse will do that to you.

"Dude, the power of the State to pass laws regarding specific behavior derives from the people they govern. When the State ignores the will of the people in favor of enforcing laws it has passed in complete defiance of the will of the people, then the State has lost its legitimate authority to enforce those same laws and is acting as a defacto criminal organization no different from the Mafia." -- OBH

Dude, time to put down the bong, wipe the spittle from your chin and turn on the light in your mom's basement. The "state" has not passed drug laws "ignoring the will of the people" or, as you restate it in the same sentence (drugs will do that to you), "in complete defiance of the will of the people". How do I know? Because we have regular elections which provide the people the opportunity to elect new representatives and, in many cases, judges. Think about it.

If, in your drug addled state, you want to believe that the police are a "criminal organization no different than the Mafia" and wish to try to remove one or more from the gene pool, as you put it, be my guest. That will be one less moron that I will have to support with my tax dollars.

 
At 12/14/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Please tell us, how the state is restricted in your fascist fantasy land? Where those in the state are free to throw explosives into people's houses without warning and without consequence." - geoih

The police are required to secure a warrant from a judge and to "show cause" supporting the request for that warrant. The warrant in question was a "no knock" warrant issued because the intended target was believed to be extremely dangerous and a flight risk, and, again, the police must show cause to support that belief.

Contrary to your assertion, their are very real consequences for police that break the law, and the community is not shielded from civil suit in the execution of a warrant.

This is really basic stuff, and if you do not know this then you shouldn't be spouting off about "fascist state[s]".

"Where defending yourself is a crime punishible by summary execution." - geoih

Complete nonsense.

"Where searches and seisures of your person and property are the accepted norm and any resistence to include refusing to speak will result in immediate imprisonment." - geoih

These paranoid delusions may be a symptom. I would have them checked out if I were you. Read this story "Why was he freed to kill?", NY Post for just one example of just how wrong you are.

The accused in the U.S. have more rights and are granted more privileges than the accused in any other country on the face of the Earth. So, again, I ask you to describe your "libertarian" fantasy system.

 
At 12/14/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"So you believe in the total criminalization of alcohol and tobacco, then? Because they are far and away the most addictive of all drugs in regular use." -- OBH

As I've said before, the compounding societal problems is not an affirmative argument for your cause. I am, however, glad that you bring up tobacco and alcohol in this context. Despite hundreds of years of use, - in the case of alcohol thousands of years - and with full knowledge of the potential dangers associated with their use, people have not been willing to accept the consequences of their decisions and have instead looked to others, including the state, to help mitigate the costs they've incurred. This evidence strongly suggests that the libertarian argument - that a person should be allowed to use any drug they please just so long as they are willing to accept the consequences of their actions - is nothing more than philosophical bullshit.

 
At 12/14/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

No, read the article. They were arrested for a crime and then tested. Baby steps.

I did. And the point made still holds. First of all, any arrests that have anything to do with drugs should be expected to produce a positive test. But so would many arrests for prostitution or robbery because they are also related to drug use. How do you think that drug users pay for their habit when drugs are as expensive as they are because of government prohibition?

The article you cited is a good reason why drug use should be legal. With cheaper drugs more people would be able to afford to support their habits without resorting to property crimes.

 
At 12/14/2011 3:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The police are required to secure a warrant from a judge and to "show cause" supporting the request for that warrant. The warrant in question was a "no knock" warrant issued because the intended target was believed to be extremely dangerous and a flight risk, and, again, the police must show cause to support that belief.

So what? The process failed because the police got a warrant by using bad information. A warrant does not make it OK for police to injure or kill innocent people.

Contrary to your assertion, their are very real consequences for police that break the law, and the community is not shielded from civil suit in the execution of a warrant.

I see little evidence of this. In the US police often kill or seriously injure innocent people and get off.

As I've said before, the compounding societal problems is not an affirmative argument for your cause. I am, however, glad that you bring up tobacco and alcohol in this context. Despite hundreds of years of use, - in the case of alcohol thousands of years - and with full knowledge of the potential dangers associated with their use, people have not been willing to accept the consequences of their decisions and have instead looked to others, including the state, to help mitigate the costs they've incurred. This evidence strongly suggests that the libertarian argument - that a person should be allowed to use any drug they please just so long as they are willing to accept the consequences of their actions - is nothing more than philosophical bullshit.

Why should the state mitigate the costs of people who make bad decisions? And why should alcohol or tobacco be prohibited if the cost of prohibition is higher than the imagined cost of using alcohol or tobacco?

 

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